Builders report busy summer of home upgrades, says FMB

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Strong levels of demand for repair and maintenance works saw builders report a busy summer, according to a new survey released today by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).

Key findings from the FMB State of Trade Survey, the only survey of its kind to track the experience of small to medium-sized (SME) firms in the building industry, include:

  • 1 in 2 builders (47%) reported increased workloads in the summer months;
  • More than 2 in 5 (42%) predict higher workloads in the autumn;
  • More than three quarters (78%) of builders said they expect material costs to increase over the next two months;
  • Almost 1 in 5 (17%) SMEs is planning to increase the number of general labourers on-site in the months ahead; and
  • Almost 1 in 5 (16%) SMEs is planning to increase the number of specialist tradespeople on site.

Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB, 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.”

Berry continued: “With a healthy proportion of builders forecasting higher workloads in the autumn months, and almost 1 in 5 looking to recruit, there is clearly a demand for new jobs in the industry. Young people taking their next steps after school should consider an apprenticeship in construction, and those seeking a career change will also find new opportunities.”

Berry concluded: “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.”

A full copy of the report is available here: https://www.fmb.org.uk/media/57602/fmb_state_of_trade_q2_2020.pdf

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