THE small building sector in Scotland has seen a surge of activity which has pushed sentiment into positive territory for the first time since 2008.

The State of Trade survey by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) found the final three months of 2013 saw more firms securing work and predicting that trend would continue.

A composite indicator, combining existing workload, expected workload and enquiries, improved by seven percentage points to a net balance of +4.

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That was the first positive balance - where firms expecting better conditions were more than those predicting contraction - since the first quarter of 2008.

Grahame Barn, FMB Scotland director, said: "This survey shows that Scotland's SME building sector is back on track, posting the most positive results in nearly six years."

Separately research from the Scottish Building Federation said almost a third of the public believe investing in infrastructure is the best way to boost Scotland's economy.