8 out of 10 subcontractors return to sites

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Nearly 80% of subcontractors are now back on construction sites according to data from the construction industry’s biggest payer of ‘subbies’.

Hudson Contract shows 117,591 payments to freelance construction workers in August, compared to a peak of 149,067 in February and a trough of 80,625 in April.

The data shows demand for labour has recovered to 79% of pre-lockdown capacity

Hudson’s managing director Ian Anfield said “the bounce-back points to a V-shaped recovery for the construction industry. There is no shortage of work for highly skilled tradespeople, whether they are groundworkers, bricklayers, plasterers or plumbers.

“Building sites are becoming more productive per head and the quality of work is improving because they only have the best lads working on them.

“Building firms have been tightening up on surplus labour because their margins are being squeezed by main contractors asking for discounts, social distancing measures on-site and larger projects splitting into smaller schemes.”

Anfield concluded the remaining proportion of people are choosing not to return to work as a result of state support schemes or seeking opportunities in other sectors.

Overall, average weekly earnings for subcontractors slipped by 1.3% to £877 during the month of August, a similar drop to last year’s holiday season.