Builders in Wales reported a decreased workload and enquiries for the period February to April 2020, according to the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) Cymru. However, looking ahead, respondents in Wales were more optimistic than elsewhere in the UK, with expected workload set to increase. The Welsh Government must build on this relative optimism by bringing forward a national retrofit strategy to turbocharge the domestic repair, maintenance and improvement sector.
Key findings from the FMB’s State of Trade Survey, the only survey to track key indicators in the small to medium-sized (SME) building sector, are as follows.
- Total workload for those firms based in Wales fell during February to April, compared to the previous quarter; but remained notably higher than all other nations;
- 59% of respondents in Wales expect higher levels of workload in the coming quarter, compared to 27% who anticipate a continued decline. This makes Wales the only home nation to register a positive outlook for workload in the months ahead.
- 9 in 10 (93%) builders say the impact of the coronavirus is constraining their firm’s output;
- 4 in 5 (82%) report that they expect building material costs to increase over the next three months.
Ifan Glyn, Director of FMB Cymru, said: “While workloads for local builders in Wales have significantly declined, they haven’t dipped quite as far as what has been reported in the other home nations. Adapting to physical distancing requirements on site is a challenge, which inevitably impacts productivity. Shortages of key building materials like plaster are also hampering workloads. However, I’m reassured that today’s data indicates that Welsh builders are relatively optimistic about how the next few months will go, with workloads expected to increase. I believe this speaks to the support issued from the Welsh Government during this difficult time, which has cut through and assisted small building firms and hopefully provided them with strong foundations from which to recover. Indeed, construction firms made more applications to Phase 1 of the Economic Resilience Fund than any other sector.”
Glyn concluded: “To build on this relative confidence, the Welsh Government must invest in an energy efficiency upgrade programme that turbocharges activity in the sector. Retrofitting ticks all the boxes: it creates good quality jobs and boosts economic growth whilst also helps tackle fuel poverty and climate change.”
A copy of the report is available here.
About the Federation of Master Builders
The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) is the largest trade association in the UK construction industry representing thousands of firms in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Established in 1941 to protect the interests of small and medium-sized (SME) construction firms, the FMB is independent and non-profit making, lobbying for members’ interests at both the national and local level. The FMB is a source of knowledge, professional advice and support for its members, providing a range of modern and relevant business building services to help them succeed. The FMB is committed to raising quality in the construction industry and offers a free service to consumers called ‘Find a Builder’. Please visit www.fmb.org.uk.
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FMB Cymru Director Ifan Glyn is available for comment and is experienced at broadcast interviews. Please get in touch to arrange.
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