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13/10/2020

Builders workloads increase due to home improvements

Words: Laura Edgar
House extension / Shutterstock_306149180

New data shows that 47 per cent of builders saw an increase in their workloads during the summer months.

According to the Federation of Master Builders’ State of Trade Survey, 42 per cent of respondents* predict that their workloads will be higher in the autumn.

Chief executive Brian Berry attributed these statistics to people wanting home upgrades.

The report says that total workload stayed in “negative territory” for builders in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. “Expectations for future workloads are not optimistic, with respondents noting low levels of enquiries. Expected workload for the period September to October is relatively strong,” states the report.

The survey also found:

  • 78 per cent of builders expect material costs to increase over the next two months.
  • 17 per cent of SMEs are planning to increase the number of general labourers on site in the months ahead.
  • 16 per cent of SMEs are planning to increase the number of specialist tradespeople on site.
  • 74 per cent of SMEs say the impact of the coronavirus is currently constraining their firm’s output – down from 93 per cent in Q1 of 2020.

Berry said: “Builders’ workloads bounced back in the summer, as pent-up demand for home upgrades and more domestic space fuelled activity. However, builders in other sectors are struggling, especially those working on social new-build housing and on public buildings. To sustain recovery in the private repair, maintenance and improvement sector a national energy efficiency retrofit strategy is needed that will not only generate thousands of new jobs across the country but also help the government’s commitment to create a greener economy.”

He noted that builders forecasting higher workloads this autumn suggest that there is “clearly” a demand for new jobs in the industry.

Berry added: “Expected increases in material prices are a concern as builders have been reporting skyrocketing prices for years now. As we lead up to Brexit, we need to ensure that the supply chain is in step and that builders can access the materials they need.”

The report can be found on the FMB website.

* The survey was sent out to all members of the FMB, 166 of which responded.

Image credit | Shutterstock

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