A strong pick-up in house building and engineering construction has helped lift overall building activity for the first time in five months.

The Ai Group and Housing Industry Association Performance of Construction Index (PCI) rose 5.4 points to 53.1 points in February, from 47.7 points the previous month. A level above 50 points indicates an expansion in activity in the sector. The February reading was the highest since mid-2016, and the first…