Increasing shortages of bricklayers and bricks threaten to undermine ambitious housebuilding plans laid out by politicians ahead of the election, a leading construction industry group has warned.
All the main parties have sought to assure voters they will tackle Britain’s chronic housing shortage but the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) says its members are already struggling to get the skills and materials they need to meet demand.
After its savage recession, the construction sector is still scrambling to get brick plants back to full capacity and to train more tradespeople. Half of small- and medium-sized (SME) builders are finding it difficult to recruit bricklayers, according to the FMB. Two in five say they are struggling to source certain types of bricks, with some being asked to wait up to six months for new stocks from suppliers.
FMB chief executive Brian Berry says the latest poll of SME construction companies exposes politicians’ pledges on housebuilding.
“The brick manufacturers are working hard to reignite their kilns, which were mothballed during the recession. However, in the meantime, let’s make sure small local housebuilders are not overlooked in favour of large housebuilders when it comes to manufacturers meeting requests for new bricks,” he said.
“In terms of skills, the ever-growing lack of bricklayers is causing concern. Compared to this time one year ago, more than twice the firms are reporting difficulties recruiting these tradespeople. In the short term, many SME housebuilders may have to rely on migrant labour.”
via The Guardian