WORKLOADS for builders show more repair, maintenance, and improvement (RMI) work in the last three months, but house building work lags behind.
There were also more FMB members reporting lower workloads and enquiries than those reporting more, according to the latest State of Trade Survey from the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) for Q2, 2023.
Workloads for Builders
Brian Berry, FMB Chief Executive
Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB, said: “Workloads are up, driven by a strong repair, maintenance and improvement sector and encouragingly we’re also seeing pressure on obtaining skilled labour easing.
“House building has been hit badly… and enquiries continue to look bleak. The fall in house building is worrying because housing supply is a key component of a growing the economy and unlocking a mobile workforce. The Government needs to step up its efforts if its own ambition to build 300,000 each year is to be met because the figure is expected to be less than half than that this year.
“The survey also points towards other areas of concern, with just under half of FMB members saying they expect profits to be lower than expected and around one in five saying they are restricting hiring new staff. With inflation dipping marginally, we’ll need to see over the coming months if this has any positive effects on bottom lines.”
The latest survey for Q2 2023 found:
Increase in total workload and enquires driven by a continued strong rebound in the repair, maintenance and improvement sector.
Overall, 40% of members reported an increase in workload, with only 18% reporting a reduction compared to last quarter.
House building workloads and enquiries continue to struggle with more members reporting a decrease than increase.
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.
Increased outgoings have 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.