UK builders were significantly impacted by the coronavirus lockdown:

  • Workload, enquiries, and employment all dropped to historic lows.
  • 93% said that the coronavirus was constraining their output.
  • 71% reported a lower level of enquiries.

Our top six priorities

Local builders stand ready to support growth, train apprentices, build more homes and decarbonise our buildings.

They must be at the heart of plans to build back better and greener from the economic impact of the coronavirus.

Supporting jobs and apprenticeships


71% of construction apprentices are trained by SMEs.

Building firms have been contending with a skills shortage for many years. Meanwhile unemployment among young people is increasing. Forging stronger links between colleges and employers will help unlock additional apprenticeships in construction.
Ringfenced funding for each college to have an Industry Liaison Officer would help join the dots.

Delivering new homes 


48% of SME house builders say the planning system is constraining their output.

SMEs build high-quality, safe, beautiful and sustainable homes, and in each community across the country. However, the proportion of new homes built by SMEs has been in decline since the 1980s. SMEs face disproportionate barriers when engaging with the planning system. Greater investment in local authority departments would help speed up decisions. Homes England should also forge stronger links with micro and small house builders
Ringfenced funding for each college to have an Industry Liaison Officer would help join the dots.

Decarbonising our homes


Homes consume 30% of UK energy and produce 20% of greenhouse gas emissions.

The Government and Parliament should work with the construction industry and commit to a long-term strategy for decarbonising our homes. 
This strategy must be underpinned by fiscal measures, including a temporary VAT cut on all home improvement works to 5%. The Government should also bring forward the full £9.2 billion committed in their manifesto. The Green Home Grant scheme is not enough in its current form.

Delivering high street regeneration


It is estimated that 300,000 people could be housed in homes above shops. 

The coronavirus has challenged our town centres and retail sector. Local authority investment in regeneration projects, with the objective of creating more housing, will help boost local economic activity and increase foot fall on the high street.
The Government should make low cost loans and fiscal incentives available to help local authorities unlock these opportunities

Increasing building safety and tackling late payment


Homes consume 30% of UK energy and produce 20% of greenhouse gas emissions.

Driving up minimum standards and improving supply chain payment terms will help the industry to build back better.
We are calling for a mandatory licensing scheme that will remove incompetent builders and increase consumer protection. The Government should also work with industry to end the abuse of retentions and late payment culture. In doing so, SMEs will have more resource to invest in research, development and training.

Ensuring a smooth end to the Brexit transition period


82% of builders forecast material prices to increase. 

The construction industry must not face any product shortages or disproportionate costs from January 2021. 
This would limit operations, cause cashflow issues, and hamper recovery. It is also important that SME builders are supported to engage with the new immigration sys tem, as 9% of the construction workforce is from the European Union.