In order to fix the UK’s broken housing market, more homes need to be built. However, with Brexit looming on the horizon there are concerns that the skills shortage in the sector could worsen.
According to the latest figures from the Office of National Statistics, construction activity fell by 3.4% in April 2018, which is the biggest decline since August 2012. While much of this is attributed to a drop in infrastructure activity, this is not positive news for SME housebuilders, especially with a number of industry commentators citing the skills shortage as an issue.
Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), said that “alongside the cold snap, the drop in construction output can also be attributed to rising costs for construction firms large and small,” with wages “continuing to rise because of the acute skills crisis” in the sector and “firms are also feeling the pinch thanks to increased material prices.”
According to the FMB, 58% of builders are struggling to hire bricklayers and 55% are having difficulties finding carpenters and joiners, which is worrying to hear.
While there isn’t a silver bullet solution, encouraging more young people into the industry seems like a good place to start. With the Government planning to create three million apprenticeships by 2020, there could be an opportunity for SME housebuilders to get involved. Read more information on employing an apprentice.
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Managing Director of Property Finance
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