June 22, 2024

Worrying signs for construction as housing and RMI output fall, says FMB

Construction workers collaborating on new house building

Concerning dips in housing and repair, maintenance and improvement (RMI) output in November prompted stagnant overall output for the construction industry, according to this month’s ONS stats, which is a worrying sign not just for the nation’s small, local builders, says Federation of Master Builders (FMB).

Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB, said: “Private house building, and repair and maintenance work are the backbone of local builders’ businesses, so today’s falls in output signal a worrying winter for the sector. Likely prompted by consumers tightening their belts in the face of cost-of-living pressures, the falls in the ONS data reflect the FMB’s latest State of Trade survey which recorded declining enquiries for the first time in a decade. We know that a lack of viable land, a complicated planning system and a shortage of skilled workers are hitting SME house builders hard.”

Berry continued: “In the run-up to the Budget I urge the Government to support local building firms with policies that boost demand and reduce costs. One of the best ways to support the RMI sector is through the introduction of a National Retrofit Strategy to improve the energy efficiency of the nation’s leaky homes, which would create more jobs across the UK and, as set out so clearly in the Net Zero Review by Conservative MP Chris Skidmore, will deliver economic growth. We also need to see significant reform to the planning system to ensure housing developments don’t languish in the cumbersome planning system, which is holding back SME house builders from achieving their potential.”