Small, local builders, who at the heart of our communities, are crying out for the UK Government to introduce measures to curb rogue traders and keep consumers safe.

In the most recent State of Trade Survey from the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), an overwhelming 86% of respondents said now is the time to introduce mandatory licensing for building firms. With a focus on standards, licensing would professionalise the industry, remove rogue traders and help protect consumers.

The new data indicates rising workloads for Welsh small builders, with 67% reporting an increase in Q4 2021, compared to 55% last quarter. There was an indicative downturn in enquires, however, with 48% saying enquires were on the rise, down from a high of 77% last quarter. These figures suggest sustained healthy demand from customers for building work throughout the winter months, but that the market may be beginning to cool off.   

The FMB State of Trade Survey, which is released quarterly, is the only survey of its kind to track the experience of small to medium-sized (SME) construction firms in the UK. It found:


  • 86% of FMB members want the UK Government to introduce a mandatory licensing regime to enforce a basic level of competence.


  • Findings indicate 67% of builders in Wales have seen their workload increase since Q3 2021.
  • Findings indicate that 48% of builders in Wales are receiving more enquiries for work, compared to the previous quarter.


  • 43% of builders are struggling to hire carpenters/joiners, down 4% on last quarter.
  • 41% of FMB members are finding it difficult to hire bricklayers, down 4% on last quarter.


  • Nearly all FMB members (95%) report an increase in material costs in Q4 2021.
  • 91% of respondents expect material costs to increase in Q1 2022.
  • 74% of builders have put up their prices for work.

Ifan Glyn, Director of FMB Cymru, said: “The last quarter of 2021 saw yet another increase in the workload of builders in Wales. However, although FMB members’ services are currently highly sought after, they continue to struggle to find sufficient skilled labour to meet the demand.”

Glyn concluded: “Let’s be blunt, construction has an image problem, which is one of the main reasons it has failed to attract the talent it requires. Introducing a mandatory licensing scheme would help professionalise the industry, thus dramatically improving the image of the sector amongst youngsters and by result, making it a more attractive industry to join.”

Notes to editors

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 Find a Builder service to consumers.