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RCI Feb 2018

Zink INDUSTRY NEWS 01992 801927 www.almhm.co.uk Housebuilders are investing in modern methods of construction and skills to address a number of industry challenges, as it looks to deliver growth and new homes for the future, according to new research from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking. The third annual Lloyds Bank housebuilding report which surveys housebuilders and their supply chain, analyses the state of the industry today, and the opportunities and challenges it faces in the future. Innovating to boost supply According to the report, the sector is adopting modern methods of construction that hold the potential to boost productivity and supply. Firms reported that they are already investing in new building techniques, including modular housing (68%), and panelised systems (56%). Housebuilders’ motivations to adopt these methods include improved efficiency, ease of build, better construction standards, and in some areas, increased margins. As a result, firms’ investment in new building techniques has increased year-on-year from 20% of current annual turnover to 24%, over five years. Innovation is also supporting the delivery of sustainable homes with 82% of firms saying they are more focused on this issue than ever before. Tackling the skills shortage An ongoing shortage of skilled workers continues to affect the sector with a third (31%) of firms saying there is a skills shortage at a national level. More than a quarter (29%) said they have trouble recruiting skilled workers in the regions where they operate. The report also found that the UK’s exit from the EU was exacerbating the skills shortage, with half (50%) stating that it was making recruitment harder for specific roles, while a quarter (26%) said that access to EU labour is a key challenge for their business. On a positive note, the report found a sector tackling the skills shortage head on, as almost seven in 10 firms (69%) of respondents are investing in staff training, and half (51%) are setting up apprenticeship programmes. 006 FEBRUARY 2018 RCIMAG.COM Copper Stainless The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) has undertaken an initial survey of its members, following the collapse of Carillion to assess the potential impact of the company’s liquidation further down the building supply chain. The BMF represents builders’, plumbing and timber merchants, as well as companies that manufacture and supply an array of building materials. Its members’ combined sales turnover is around £28 billion. John Newcomb, chief executive of the BMF, said: “From our initial survey of members, it seemed that very few traded with Carillion directly, and it was a very small part of business amongst those who did. However, a number believe they are likely to be indirectly exposed as their customers include Carillion sub-contractors. “It is well-known that Carillion operated on 120-day payment terms, and most of their sub-contractors are owed money for work carried out prior to the liquidation. At the moment, it seems that most of our merchant members will be covered by credit insurance for any losses, but they would like to hear from customers who may be affected as soon as possible, so they can find ways to move forward and support them.” John continued: “We would also call on the government to learn lessons from this and take immediate steps to promote and enforce the Construction Supply Chain Payment Charter, which is designed to ensure that payments are made to the supply chain within 30 days.” The BMF is also highlighting the employment opportunities offered by the building materials industry, and is urging Carillion’s 1,400 apprentices, as well as other staff, to consider entering the sector. John added: “There are opportunities within our sector in all parts of the country. Through our own Apprenticeships Training Agency, and our dedicated recruitment portal, we can offer recruitment options to former Carillion employees who would like to find out more about furthering their career in the materials supply sector.” BMF assesses Carillion’s impact on materials supply chain The Single Ply Roofing Association (SPRA) has announced the launch of an Affiliate Category. This announcement followed the launch of a new branding, a new website, new installer membership and a new online training and assessment tool. Piers Dormeyer, vice president of sales at EagleView, said: “Becoming SPRA’s first affiliate member can open many doors for us as we begin our transition into the UK. We see a long-lasting partnership between EagleView and SPRA, and we’re looking forward to working closely with the Association to give roofers in the UK the technology they need to succeed.” Jim Hooker, SPRA’s technical director, added: “We have long known about companies, such as EagleView, who are implements technology into the single ply roofing process. The technological innovations it is known for will assist our members in saving time and money, while also creating a safer roofing environment – a crucial component in our sector. SPRA is always seeking to improve quality, and we see affiliate membership as a way of ensuring that a single ply roof can carry the SPRA quality logo from start to finish. We hope that by taking these steps, the decision by clients to specify a whole SPRA system will become the norm, and we will see less problems in the future with roofs that have been ‘valueengineered’.” SPRA welcomes first affiliate member Confidence and growth ambitions The research found that, in the face of ongoing uncertainty, optimism about the future of the housebuilding industry remains steady at 6.9, down from 7.2, with 10 representing the highest level of expectation. Firms’ growth ambitions also remain strong with the sector anticipating growth of 29% of current business turnover over the next five years, up from 28% last year. Housebuilders expected to invest 31% of their current annual turnover back into their business over the next five years, still historically high, but down slightly from 35% in the last report. Firms said they plan to create more than 139,000 new jobs in the next five years, which equates to more than 40,000 fewer jobs in the pipeline, than there were a year ago. David Cleary, regional director and national head of housebuilding at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “The housebuilding industry remains upbeat, despite issues that have weighed down the sector for some time, including Brexit uncertainty, which is contributing to a skills shortage and inflating the cost of raw materials. “It is reassuring to see the sector confronting these challenges head on by investing and planning for business growth, prioritising staff training and looking at more innovative new building techniques. This has the potential to boost productivity and, more importantly, increase the pipeline of new homes that the nation badly needs.” David continued: “We fully back the sector in this ambition, both by providing funding solutions and banking services, and through our Housing Growth Partnership, to increase the number of new homes built in the UK. By sharing the insight in this report, we hope to inform decisions at a time when the industry faces challenges, but also great opportunities.” Housebuilders innovating and investing to plug the housing gap


RCI Feb 2018
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