As warnings issued by the construction industry have previously suggested to Simon Morris, new figures indicate that a skills crisis could hold back UK property development growth.
Need for development
It’s becoming increasingly clear that the UK needs more residential property. This country is facing a real housing crisis, and this presents a gap in the market for residential property developers. If you want to look at the role that residential property development is playing in solving the problem, just look at UK construction activity figures compiled by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.
44% more surveyors reported higher activity levels in Q2 2015 than the previous quarter, due to rising office development and home building activity. This is a significant rise from the 39% of surveyors who said the same in Q1 2015. Commenting on these figures Brian Berry, the chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), said: “There can be no doubt that the building industry is booming but the skills shortage continues to loom large over our industry.”
The severity of the skills crisis has been brought home to Simon Morris by a new FMB survey. Property Wire reported that 60% of small construction companies indicated in the third quarter of 2015 that they were struggling to hire bricklayers. Only 49% of small construction businesses said the same during the second quarter of 2015.
The FMB poll also found that 54% of small construction firms found it hard to hire joiners and carpenters during the third quarter of this year. Just 47% said the same in the second quarter. Commenting on the figures, Berry said, “if the skilled labour isn’t available, the Government’s ambitions for home ownership won’t be realised.”
He went on to explain: “It’s not just house building and home ownership that are being hampered by the skills shortage. The future economic growth of our country relies on major infrastructure projects, such as HS2 and Hinkley Point, being built.” Basically if we don’t address the skills shortage, major residential property developments will start to suffer.
Find new talent
He concluded by stating that “we urgently need to boost our workforce by convincing people, in their thousands, to return to our industry or join us for the first time.” It’s becoming increasingly clear that residential property development specialists need to address this skills problem, otherwise it will deprive them of the professionals they need to bring large residential property projects to life.