It’s been a busy month for the London region. We’ve been discussing some of the challenges faced by SME builders with key stakeholders from both City Hall and the Cabinet.

Organising meetings and events with industry leaders and policymakers give us the chance to represent the views of our members to the change-makers in government, and to make progress towards meaningful change on some of the bigger issues that the FMB campaigns for – like our SME House Building campaign.

Here’s a round-up of what we’ve been up to over the past few weeks:

Construction Minister visits Kisiel Group Ltd's site 

On 23 May, the Construction Minister Lee Rowley MP and FMB staff, visited a site run by Kisiel Group Ltd, an FMB member company in London, to discuss the future of SME house building. You can catch up with the visit and some of the matters discussed on the day here.

Construction Minister, Lee Rowley MP site visit with Kisiel, London
© © Graham Martin Photography Construction Minister, Lee Rowley meets FMB member Kisiel Group Ltd on site in Ealing, West London.

The Construction Minister referenced the site visit at a subsequent meeting of the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) attended by FMB Chief Executive Brian Berry and other London Board members.

Construction Minister Lee Rowley MP site visit, Kisel Ltd, London 3.jpg
© © Graham Martin Photography Kisiel Group Ltd's Annie Summun (L) with Construction Minister, Lee Rowley MP (centre) and FMB Chief Executive Brian Berry (R).

Working with the GLA to support SMEs

The London region also hosted a meeting with staff from the Greater London Authority (GLA). The GLA are undertaking a piece of research work on the Mayor of London’s policy on SME builders, encompassing both the public and private sectors.

FMB London is one of the first points of call to guide the Mayor on topics such as this, and some of the questions discussed at the meeting included:

  • What are the most significant pressures and risks facing the SME development market in London in 2022?
    We discussed material price increases, and the difficulty in acquiring certain materials with the representatives from the GLA. A shortage of skilled labour was also raised, with the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) and Congestion Charge being a major hurdle to builders being able to access their place of work.
  • How have the pressures and opportunities evolved since 2019?
    Brexit has meant many EU workers have returned home, so there is a significant lack of skilled labour in the capital. This is causing a steep rise in the cost of labour for many of our members. Secondly, there has been high demand to improve homes now that many people are working and living at home. Combine this with a difficulty in acquiring materials, it has been a challenging sector since 2019.
  • What policy interventions would be most welcomed from the GLA to support SME housebuilders in the short and long term?

    Of course, access to land is a major hurdle in London. Our members need the space to build, they also need support in bidding for public sector contracts, as SME’s do not always have the resources to commit to drawn out application processes. We need to get back to when SME house builders delivered 40% of our homes. That was 40 years ago, today, this figure is just 12%.

    Finally, we called for GLA to lobby for a support package for SME builders regarding ULEZ and Congestion Charge. Construction workers need to be able to carry materials and tools into the city at a reasonable cost to them and the client. Especially so if they are to meet the Mayor’s expectation for London to be net zero carbon by 2030.

If you would like to add your views on the points above then please feel free to get in touch.

Setting the agenda for the next London Board meeting

The London Board is made up of representatives from 14 member companies based in London. The Board meets around five times a year to discuss key matters that affect your business. At the upcoming London Board meeting in June, we will be hosting the following guest speakers: 

  • Katherine Hulme from Transport For London (TFL) to discuss ULEZ and the ongoing consultation
  • Mike Hearsey from Croydon Building Control to discuss changes to thermal efficiency regulations; and
  • Geoff Osborne, Principal at Shooters Hill College, to discuss how we can help young people start a career in construction.

The aim of these meetings is to make progress with the issues we lobby for within the Greater London area – in this case, tackling training and the skills shortage as well as retrofit and energy efficiency to help the UK reach carbon neutral targets. These meetings and presentations help the FMB to provide valuable information to our wider membership and ensure we continue to have a say on how construction evolves in the capital.

I will be updating members and sharing the presentations in July. Stay tuned!


Sam Eden

Sam Eden

London Director, Federation of Master Builders

Sam brings his vast experience working within the energy and finance sectors, most recently working for the Architecture Registration Board. At the FMB Sam’s responsibilities cover membership engagement, public affairs, media relations, events and governance but predominantly he is the representative for FMB members within the capital and greater London working with policy makers and stakeholders to ensure SME builders are represented.