Membership of the FMB means you have a voice in Government. Our team is speaking up for Master Builders on the issues that matter the most to you. Here’s some of what we have been up to in recent months.
In September, we attended both the Labour and Conservative conferences. The conferences are an important part of our engagement as they connect us directly with decision makers. High up on the agenda at both conferences this year was retrofitting – preparing the UK’s homes for Net Zero. We spoke at several events, championing the Construction Leadership’s Council’s National Retrofit Strategy, and highlighting that improvements to the fabric of the property must come first.
Material price increases
We’ve taken the following action to highlight the difficulties this is causing for local builders:
- We have used our relationships in Government to raise the issue. This includes a briefing for the UK Housing Minister; correspondence with the Construction Minister; and meetings with officials at the Ministry of Housing and Homes England.
- We’re regularly attending the Construction Leadership Council’s (CLC) Product Availability Group, with FMB members sharing your feedback on shortages. For updates on the crisis from throughout the sector, see the latest Product Availability Statement from this group here.
- Our State of Trade Survey for Q2 2021 revealed that 98% of builders were facing material price rises and expected these to continue through 2021; we’ve been using this data to raise the profile of the issue both in the media, for example with FMB member Mark Gribben of Setanta Construction and our FMB Northern Ireland Director recently appearing on BBC Radio Foyle to highlight this issue and its impact on consumers (Timestamp - 1:39:30).
- We recently held a webinar on the materials shortages, providing members practical tips and advice to navigate the ongoing crisis.
- In Northern Ireland, the FMB are due to meet with the Minister of Finance in early November to brief them on the impacts.
Reversing the decline of the SME House Builder
- In October, we launched our House Builders’ Survey 2021, kindly sponsored by Openreach, in Parliament; revealing the availability of land, a shortage of materials and the current planning system to be most dominant factors holding smaller house builders back. This will be our manifesto for the year ahead, lobbying for policy changes on your behalf.
- In September, we submitted evidence to the House of Lords’ Built Environment Committee’s call for evidence regarding their inquiry into the UK’s housing demand; in doing so, we argued for the need to reverse the decline of SME house builders. Brian Berry has been asked to give evidence on 26 October between 10:00 and 11:30 and you can watch this live through Parliament TV.
Focusing on a long-term plan to tackle climate change
- In response to the UK Government’s recently published Heat and Building’s Strategy, we expressed disappointment at the lack of focus on insulating the nation’s homes; we continue to make the case for a long-term National Retrofit Strategy.
- Knowing that green skills will be critical if we are to decarbonise our housing stock and reach net zero, we’ve been working to support CITB research into the required skills; expected to be published in November.
- The Scottish Government’s Heat in Buildings Strategy contained encouraging elements and the FMB continue to make the case that local, small building firms are ideally placed to deliver the appropriate green upgrades to homes across Scotland; read FMB Scotland’s response here.
- In Wales, FMB Cymru Director, Ifan Glynn, has made numerous media appearances, explaining what’s needed to retrofit Wales’s housing stock (BBC Online) and responding to the recently announced grants for heat pumps in England and Wales (BBC Wales Today).
For more information on the FMB’s advocacy for local house builders, please see our SME house building campaigns page.
If you have questions regarding any of our campaigns, please get in touch with [email protected].