89% Of House Builders Having To Delay Jobs

A building product being manufactured

A shocking 89% of local builders have reported having to delay jobs due to a lack of materials or skilled tradespeople, according to the latest State of Trade Survey from the FMB.

Adding to the pressure facing the industry, 97% of builders have reported skyrocketing material prices and expect this to continue into the last quarter of 2021, with 78% passing this increased cost on to the consumer.

According to the Federation of Master Builders, builders have been forced to hit pause on some jobs, in the face of increasing difficulty to hire tradespeople, such as general labourers and plasterers, with 42% and 37% respectively of builders struggling to get them to a job.

Despite a slight easing, near half of FMB members are also facing pressure to find carpenters/joiners and bricklayers. 

The FMB State of Trade Survey, which is released quarterly, is the only survey of its kind to track the experience of small to medium-sized construction firms in the UK. It found:


Delays and cancellations

  • 82% of builders have delayed jobs due to a lack of materials.

  • 60% have been pressed pause due to a lack of skilled tradespeople.

  • Combined, 89% of builders have faced delays due to either materials or skills shortages.

  • 8% of builders have been forced to cancel jobs due to a lack of materials.

  • 12% have been cancelled due to a lack of skilled tradespeople.



Skills shortages

  • 42% can’t get hold of general labourers, up 6% on last quarter.

  • 37% can’t hire plasterers, a rise of 6% on last quarter.

  • 47% of builders are struggling to hire carpenters/joiners, down 6% on last quarter.

  • 45% are struggling to hire bricklayers, a fall of 2% on last quarter.


Price rises

  • 97% of builders are facing material price rises, with 93% expecting this to continue into Q4.

  • 77% of respondents have been forced to raise their prices in the past quarter.


“The FMB State of Trade Survey shows a damning situation for the building industry, with 89% of builders facing delays and some cancelling work altogether, due to a lack of materials or skills.”

-Brian Berry

Chief executive, Federation of Master Builders


Rogue traders

“The government needs to tackle the growing skills gap and get the haulage industry back on track so building can help the post pandemic economic recovery,” adds Berry. “Our data shows the combination of long delays and rising prices mean consumers are also starting to feal the heat. Changing quotes, delays to jobs, and price hikes may lead to some homeowners being pulled in by unscrupulous rogue traders hoping to make a quick buck.”


Spending Review

The Federation has applauded the Spending Review with Berry saying: “This commitment by the government to make more land available is welcome news for the smallest developers, 63% of which are limited in their ability to build the homes needed by a lack of available and viable land. It’s important that more small sites are unlocked in all communities as local builders often deliver fewer than 10 homes at a time.”

Picture: There is a slowdown in manufacturing building products which are then delayed by haulage industry problems and tradespeople are scarce - leading to cancelled jobs and rising consumer prices.



Article written by Cathryn Ellis
10th November 2021


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