There has been an increase in workload for Welsh builders this quarter with enquiries also up. This is in stark contrast to the beginning of the year which saw the majority of Federation of Master Builders (FMB) members in Wales reporting reduced workloads and enquiries, according to the latest State of Trade Survey from the FMB.
Ifan Glyn, Director of FMB Cymru, said “The reporting of an increase in member workload and enquiries is welcome news. It’s difficult to pinpoint the reasons behind this, but I could speculate that people are perhaps choosing to make improvements to their existing dwellings rather than move home due to mortgage rate hikes, or that due to an increase in business liquidations, companies are perhaps facing slightly diminished competition.”
Glyn continued: “Being in high demand is clearly a nice place to be, but we should not forget that the industry skills crisis has not gone away, with over half of respondents stating that they have had to delay jobs because they can’t find sufficient labour to carry out the work.”
Glyn concluded: “If things are bad now on the skills front, they could get significantly worse. Wales has one of the oldest and leakiest housing stocks in Europe, and improving the energy efficiency of our homes is going to be a major infrastructure project as we push towards net zero. The manpower required is going to be significant, far outstripping current demands, therefore it’s critical that we get to grips with the skills crisis as soon as we can.”
The latest survey for Q2 2023 found:
Welsh Market conditions
- Increase in total reported workload is up considerably by 70% (54% in Q2) compared to last quarter where it sat in negative figures (-16% in Q1).
- Enquiries are also up by 36% compared to last quarter, now at 31% compared to -5% last quarter.
The report also found from across the UK:
- Overall, difficulty in recruitment is easing, however;
- 38% of members are struggling to hire carpenters with 29% struggling to hire bricklayers.
- A quarter of members can’t get hold of general labourers.
- Over half of all members reports that jobs are delayed because they are struggling to hire skilled workers.
Impact of changes in prices and costs
- 79% of members report that material costs increased in Q2 2023 with 72% expecting this to continue into the next quarter.
- The impact of increased outgoings has led to 69% of members increasing the prices they charge, with just under half reporting that the business is on track to make a loss.
- 19% report that they are restricting hiring new staff as a consequence of increased outgoings.
The FMB State of Trade Survey, which is released quarterly, is the longest running survey of its kind to track the experience of small to medium-sized (SME) construction firms in the UK.
The full survey results will be available from 00:01 Thursday 3 August at this link.
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.