More builders needed to meet demand for new homes

More builders needed to meet demand for new homes

If the UK is to narrow the supply and demand gap inherent in the country at the moment, more needs to be done in order to attract people to work in the building sector, according to one of the country's biggest construction firms. 

It's not down to a lack of materials, supplies or even available land that the building sector is struggling at present, but rather because the firms doing the construction need more workers in order to be able to build the number of homes that are needed. 

According to findings published recently by the Federation of Master Builders, as many as 66 per cent of small and medium firms have had to turn away building work purely because they did not have requisite staff numbers to complete the work. Bricklayers and carpenters are typically the most understaffed areas.

Bob Weston, chairman and chief executive of Weston Homes, said that there is a real need for the construction industry and the government to come together to make it more attractive to work in the sector. He said this will be vital if the industry is to meet the government's target of having built 200,000 new homes by the end of 2020.

"Whilst we as an industry are committed to the target of more affordable homes available to first time buyers, Weston Homes has had to really ramp up its recruitment in order to meet these targets," Mr Weston said. 

He added that the sector as a whole is experiencing a real shortage in skilled workers at present. Skilled tradesmen, construction managers and fabricators, especially those with many years’ experience in their specific areas, are hard to come by at the present time. 

What the industry needs, Mr Weston said, is for more to be done at the education level to attract young people into apprenticeships, especially as it can take upwards of five years to fully train someone as a skilled tradesman in the building sector.