Small builders call for national retrofit plan as workloads fall


THE Federation of Master Builders (FMB) has revealed that 74% of small builders support a national retrofit strategy.

The findings were revealed in the FMB’s latest State of Trade Survey, highlighting strong support in favour of the UK Government introducing a plan to reduce energy consumption by making homes greener and more energy efficient.

The survey shows that growth in workloads, enquiries and employment levels are all continuing to contract, with enquiries dropping into negative territory for the first time since 2013, excluding the pandemic years.

The FMB added that these findings come at a time of political uncertainty with builders having to adapt without knowing what the immediate future holds, due to ‘inconsistent’ economic policies. The FMB warned that without clear political and economic direction, the industry will continue to face an uncertain future.

The survey also revealed that 90% of builders are experiencing material cost increases, while 88% of respondents expect prices to rise in the next quarter. Material shortages and difficulties finding skilled labour are still causing job delays for the majority of FMB members.

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 (SME) construction firms in the UK. The latest survey for Q3 2022 found:

Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB, said, “The fall in builders’ workloads and enquiries to a level not seen since 2013, discounting the turbulent market during the Covid pandemic is a worrying signal about the future prospects for the building industry. They reflect the overall economic situation that the UK finds itself in.

“Small builders across the country need clear policies, and a degree of assurance so they can plan ahead. The current political uncertainly and its impact on the economy needs to be addressed quickly. Over 70% of members support a UK-wide retrofit strategy to make the existing housing stock more energy efficient. This is one of the best ways to boost both the economy and the industry, while also upgrading our homes in an energy efficient way.”