Tradespeople see surge in demand for projects designed to reduce energy bills

A new survey of over 1,500 UK tradespeople has revealed the vast majority are optimistic about their near-term prospects with increased demand from homeowners for projects designed to reduce energy consumption.

93% of respondents to the survey, undertaken by building materials and equipment supplier Travis Perkins, believe their workloads will increase or remain the same over the next two months, while over 61% expect materials purchasing requirements to increase.

71% of respondents also revealed they are seeing an increased level of demand in the next few months from homeowners for projects designed to make their homes more energy efficient, such as improved insulation for cavity walls, lofts, walls and ceilings as well as heat pumps and renewable energy sources.

The research found that the impact of rising petrol and diesel costs has also altered how tradespeople are operating, with eight in ten saying they have changed how they do business. This includes passing on higher fuel costs to customers when pricing projects (39%), choosing to work more locally (31%), and requesting that products be delivered rather than collected (29%).

12% of tradespeople said they are holding more virtual visits with clients instead of visiting them in person, while 6% said they have decided to invest in more fuel-efficient cars, vans or lorries.

Nick Roberts, CEO of Travis Perkins plc, said, “Having met the challenges posed by the pandemic head on, the resilience of the UK’s tradespeople continues to be tested, and they are, once again, having to adapt their businesses to deal with other challenges facing the wider economy. Nevertheless, they remain confident in the outlook for their businesses and, while many are having to adjust how they operate to deal with rising fuel prices, the increased demand for projects that improve the energy efficiency of the UK’s housing stock is encouraging.

“With one of the oldest housing stocks in Europe, the UK’s ambition of achieving net zero carbon by 2050 depends on remedial activity, which will lower the heating bills today and decarbonise our homes for the future. Along with housebuilders and developers, it is the UK’s army of tradespeople who will ultimately make this happen and, as the leading partner to the UK construction sector, we are ready to work in partnership with them to help deliver this vision.”

The survey is the fourth full publication of Travis Perkins’ RMI Index following the inaugural report in August 2020.