THE construction sector’s recovery risks being undermined by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent impact on the supply of materials and rising costs, according to the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).
Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB, spoke out in the wake of new ONS data which shows output is at its highest level since September 2019.
“Construction output is now at its highest level since September 2019, which is very positive news following an extremely difficult two years for builders,” he said. “Interestingly, repair, maintenance and improvement projects were responsible for much of the increased output in January.
“The impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine is likely to exacerbate the current challenges around the cost and procurement of building materials, with oil, steel, aluminium, timber, and copper set to be some of the worst affected materials.
“At a time when costs are surging, the situation puts builders in the unenviable position of having to raise costs for a customer base that is tightening its belts. To counter this, the FMB is advocating that the Government bring forward policy interventions at the upcoming spring statement that can ease the effects of this increase. In particular, there is a growing need for a national retrofit strategy and a cut in VAT on all energy efficient home improvements. These policies would provide an economic boost for local builders, reduce consumers’ vulnerability to energy shocks and further the UK on its journey to net zero.”