Property market needs 'a new generation of skilled builders'

Property market needs 'a new generation of skilled builders'

The Autumn Statement from chancellor George Osborne on Wednesday (November 25th) was a positive for the property market, as he announced there would be a new £7 billion investment in the development of affordable homes designed to bring new buyers onto the property ladder nationwide. 

And with the chancellor having announced 200,000 new starter homes, 135,000 shared ownership, 10,000 rent to buy and 8,000 homes for older people, all to be built within the next few years, the property market now sees itself positioned as one of the most important sectors for creating jobs. 

Given this wealth of new work, experts say, the property market will need a new generation of skilled builders to help meet a soar in demand. The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) has pointed out that projects in the UK are often held up by a shortage of skilled staff needed to get them off the ground, so making sure that this skills gap is bridged will be an important move going forward. 

It said that while property has a real opportunity to be able to offer a boost in employment figures with this pledge to build more homes, there needs to be a real focus on making sure there are enough people training in skills that allow them to work in the industry. 

Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB, said: "Unless we see a massive uplift in apprenticeship training in our industry, there won’t be enough pairs of hands to deliver more housing on this scale. The chancellor clearly recognises that the crisis of home ownership is inextricably linked to a crisis in house building. We therefore hope that in order to address both, the government will do everything it can to increase house building capacity."

He also went on to say that small building companies will have a sizeable role to play when it comes to delivering new homes across the nation. In the 1980s building boom, the last time 200,000 homes were delivered in the same year, two-thirds were coming courtesy of small builders. 

However, at the moment, only a quarter of new homes are constructed by small companies. The FMB wants to see more done to not only attract more skilled people into the industry, but also to see funding extended to smaller companies to help them make an impact in the market. 

"If we are to see spades in the ground, then we need to see more of skilled workers to deliver these grand schemes. Further funding for a skilled workforce is required if the construction industry is to match the potential projects that the chancellor is so keen to encourage," Simon Craven, director at Tower8 said of the issue.