England is still falling short of house-building targets set in the Conservative manifesto in 2017

The government set a target of 300,000 new homes to be built annually by the mid-2020s but in 2019/20 only 242,700 net dwellings were built, and this dropped in 2020/21 to only 216,460.

Included in these numbers are the government’s targets for social housing (discounted rent and affordable ownership) which were set at 180,000 during the period between 2021 and 2026.

There are several reasons these numbers are falling short which include labour shortages, land banking and smaller building companies coming out of the market.

Labour Shortages in Construction: There are shortages across the full construction industry but there are specific sectors which remain hard to fill as identified by the Construction Skills Network.

  1. Groundworkers, there has only recently been an apprenticeship programme to encourage young people into the industry, but there is still a lack of trainers and assessors to meet the demand.
  2. Bricklayers, the industry not only needs more bricklayers but also well-trained and qualified tradespeople, poor bricklaying is one of the biggest changes for new builders in the UK.
  3. Plant operatives, some of the largest infrastructure projects like HS2 are absorbing many of the competent operatives from the industry, and there remains a shortage of well-trained machine operatives.
  4. Dry liners – new build developers tend to use dry lining for internal walls as it’s a far quicker process as there is no plaster to dry

Land banking: There are over 30 million homes in the UK and over 1 million applications which have been granted planning permission and are yet to be built.

Smaller House Builders: There has been a dramatic drop over the last 40 years in the number of SME builders from 40% down to 12%, struggling to compete in the tendering process.

Our Construction Desk at Axiom Personnel works closely with our industry partners to support our clients in attracting the best talent available in the market. If you are struggling to recruit for a site at the moment call Liam for an initial free consultation.