Switzerland has kept its crown for being the most expensive country to build in, with the UK coming 15th, according to new figures.

The annual EC Harris International Construction Costs Report showed that out of 53 countries included in the study the UK dropped from 13th in 2011, making it the eighth dearest in Europe.

Despite the falling value of the Swiss Franc, Switzerland stayed at the top of the chart, with Denmark placed second, Australia third and Japan fourth. In the case of Australia, it climbed from fifth in 2011 to its new position, while France dropped from sixth to ninth this year.

In terms of continents, Asia-Pacific had four of the ten most expensive locations for construction, with Europe claiming five places in the table despite the current economic situation in the eurozone.

Matthew Riley, group head of cost and commercial at EC Harris, said that the countries which are least constrained by debt are continuing to invest in construction activities, which are in turn helping to fuel growth.

"In the UK however, a slow economic recovery combined with a lack of private investment, means that construction workload is unlikely to increase until 2014 at the earliest. London’s office sector is a potential bright spot, however even then market uncertainty and difficulty in securing funding means that opportunities may not be fully realised," he added.

Last month, EC Harris reported that construction tender prices were being hit by continuing economic problems in the eurozone. The organisation's quarterly Market View study showed that tender prices nationally will fall by 2.5 per cent in the year to the second quarter of 2013.

This will then be followed by a rise of 1.8 per cent in the following year, with a further surge to 3.5 per cent in the 12 months to the second quarter of 2015.

Paul Moore, head of cost research at EC Harris, said that the pressure will only increase on contractors with the UK economy back in recession.

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