89% of builders face job delays as shortages continue

building job shortages

89% of local builders have reported delays to jobs due to a lack of materials or skilled tradespeople, according to the latest State of Trade Survey by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB)

89% of builders have reported delays or cancelled jobs due to a lack of skills or materials.

97% of builders have reported skyrocketing material prices, expecting this to continue until the end of 2021, as 78% pass the increased costs onto the consumer also.

Builders have been forced to defer jobs due to the increasing difficulty of hiring skilled tradespeople, such as general labourers and plasterers.

Around nine out of ten builders in the UK are struggling with these setbacks.

Despite a slight easing, near half of FMB members are also facing pressure to find carpenters/joiners and bricklayers.

Survey findings

Delays and cancellations

  • 82% of builders have delayed jobs due to a lack of materials
  • 60% have pressed pause due to a lack of skilled tradespeople
  • Combined, 89% of builders have faced delays due to either materials or skills shortages
  • 8% of builders have been forced to cancel jobs due to a lack of materials
  • 12% have been completely cancelled due to skills shortages.

Skills shortages

  • 42% can’t get hold of general labourers, this way up by 6% on last quarter
  • 37% can’t hire plasterers, a rise of 6% on last quarter
  • 47% of builders are struggling to hire carpenters and joiners, down 6% on last quarter
  • 45% are struggling to hire bricklayers, a fall of 2% on last quarter.

‘A damning situation for the building industry’

Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB, said: “Today’s FMB State of Trade Survey shows a damning situation for the building industry, with 89% of builders facing delays and some cancelling work altogether, due to a lack of materials or skills.”

Berry continued: “The government should use the Budget and Spending Review to tackle the growing skills gap. Effective efforts to help the haulage industry ease the supply of materials are also needed. This will help our members get back to building and help the post-pandemic economic recovery.

“Our data shows the combination of long delays and rising prices mean consumers are also starting to feal the heat. Changing quotes, delays to jobs, and price hikes may lead to some homeowners being pulled in by unscrupulous builders hoping to make a quick buck.

“A good builder is a busy builder, and it is important for consumers to be patient when selecting a builder.”


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