The slowdown in construction activity since the summer needs to be boosted by a national strategy to upgrade our existing homes to make them greener and more energy efficient, according to the Federation of Master Builders (FMB). This in response to Construction PMI data, published today, showing that construction recovery softened compared to the summer high, and employment continued to fall since the first lockdown.

Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB, said: “With construction’s recovery slowing and employment in the sector continuing to fall, now is the time for the Government to take action and instigate a National Retrofit Strategy. This would stimulate work and employment throughout the sector, while supporting the Prime Minister’s latest carbon emission reduction targets. Decarbonising our homes is vital as they contribute 20% of the country’s carbon emissions and the Green Homes Grant, while firmly a step in the right direction, does not go far enough if we are to achieve to achieve a 68% reduction by 2030, and Net Zero carbon by 2050.”

Berry concluded: “As we emerge from the difficulties faced during the past year, 2021 should be seen as a year of significant opportunity to move the dial further towards Net Zero and build back greener. A retrofit strategy would provide economic, environmental and social benefits throughout all regions, supporting the Government’s levelling up agenda.”

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.