Thursday, 16 September 2021

Surveyors: Skills shortage could hit supply of new homes

WHEN the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) carried out a UK construction market survey in

WHEN the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) carried out a UK construction market survey in the last quarter of 2015, it found labour shortages reported by 66 per cent of construction professionals across the UK to be the most significant barrier to growth.

In the South East 58 per cent of respondents cited a shortage of skilled labour compared to the national average of 51 per cent.

Quantity surveyors are reported to be in particularly short supply, with 65 per cent of survey respondents having difficulty finding them and 60 per cent reporting problems in finding other construction professionals.

Despite the dearth of qualified professionals, output had not been significantly affected, with a net balance of 36 per cent of South East respondents seeing an increase in workloads over the last quarter.

Going forwards, respondents in the South East remained optimistic, with 75 per cent expecting further growth in workloads over the next 12 months.

Nationally, construction skills shortages have resulted in average construction earnings rising by more than six per cent in the year to October — a marked increase on the average UK wage rise over the same period of less than two per cent.

However, RICS is warning that this development could potentially put at risk some of the government’s biggest housing and infrastructure programmes.

RICS chief economist Simon Rubinsohn said: “While workloads are still growing at a relatively healthy pace, labour shortages in the construction sector are causing delays at different stages in the development process and leading to significant problems with project planning. More than 60 per cent of our survey respondents said that these resulting planning delays were an impediment to growth.

“That said, industry wages are becoming increasingly attractive and I would hope that over time this will encourage skilled workers to return to the sector, as well as drawing school leavers and graduates towards construction industry careers.”

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