Responding to Tuesday’s article in The Times, which cites profit margins for housebuilders are expected to increase by almost 20 per cent by 2019, BSRIA is encouraged by this news but asks how such housing is to be met with the current chronic construction industry skills crisis.
The article expects profits to be 17.6 per cent for 2015, rising to 18.6 per cent in 2016 and 19.2 per cent in 2019. This would be higher than the peak of 18 per cent that the sector reached in 2004.
Yet housebuilders face numerous constraints – the main one being the lack of skilled tradesman – especially brick layers. Analysts at Jefferies estimate that in order to build an additional 100,000 homes, the sector needs to employ another additional 165,000 skilled workers.
Julia Evans, Chief Executive, BSRIA, said: “This is potentially exciting times for the industry, but BSRIA would like to know how are these houses going to be built when there is a severe skills shortage in the house building industry? We acknowledge the investment being carried out by all the major house builders but have acute concerns about who is going to build these houses. Especially who is going to lay the first brick when bricklayers are one of the tradesmen who are in grave demand.
Already throughout 2016, BSRIA has said that all the supply chain elements must align too. We call on government to help make the industry an attractive place to work – with the promotion of STEM subjects at school.
Economic growth – for both the UK and the industry – is paramount yet skills lie at the heart of achieving the housing profit margins the article suggests.”