A shocking 89% of local builders have reported having to delay jobs due to a lack of materials or skilled tradespeople, according to the latest State of Trade Survey from the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).

Adding to the pressure facing the industry, 97% of builders have reported skyrocketing material prices and expect this to continue into the last quarter of 2021, with 78% passing this increased cost on to the consumer. 

Wales saw figures indicative of a slight dip in the market from the strong results in Q2, as shown by a drop in workload with 55% reporting having more jobs compared to 71% last quarter. There continued to be a significant number of enquiries with 77% reporting higher than normal enquiry levels in Q3, up 1% on last quarter. These figures indicate that there was healthy demand for tradespeople in Wales throughout the summer months.  

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:

Delays and cancellations

  • 82% of builders have delayed jobs due to a lack of materials
  • 60% have pressed pause due to a lack of skilled tradespeople
  • Combining skills and materials stats shows a total of 89% of builders have faced delays
  • 8% of builders have been forced to cancel jobs due to a lack of materials
  • 12% have been cancelled due to a lack of skilled tradespeople

Skills shortages

  • 42% can’t get hold of general labourers, up 6% on last quarter
  • 37% can’t hire plasterers, a rise of 6% on last quarter
  • 47% of builders are struggling to hire carpenters/joiners, down 6% on last quarter
  • 45% are struggling to hire bricklayers, a fall of 2% on last quarter

Price rises

  • 97% of builders are facing material price rises, with 93% expecting this to continue into Q4
  • 77% of respondents have been forced to raise their prices in the past quarter

Ifan Glyn, Director of FMB Wales, said: “Demand for building work in Wales is as high as it has ever been. However, shortage of materials and skilled labour are preventing builders from meeting the demand. Both the Welsh and UK Governments must double down in their efforts to help alleviate these issues. Builders have the potential to play a major role in our post-pandemic recovery but are being held back from doing so.”

Glyn concluded: “I would also urge homeowners to show patience with their builder during these challenging times; builders are just as frustrated as their customers about delays and cost increases.”

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.