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Industry News FUTURE

Industry News FUTURE PLANS Housebuilders are reportedly investing in modern methods of construction and skills to address a number of industry challenges as they look to deliver growth and new homes for the future, according to new research from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking. The 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. The sector is said to be 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. 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 ten firms (69%) of respondents are investing in staff training, and half (51%) are setting up apprenticeship programmes. QUALITY STANDARDS HAVE TO COUNT As part of the Government’s Each Home Counts recommendations, BSI has been appointed by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to review and revise the existing PAS 2030: 2017, the specification for the installation of energy efficiency measures in existing buildings, and develop a new PAS 2035. With this in mind, the National Insulation Association (NIA) attended a British Standards Institution (BSI) high level workshop in January 2018 which briefed key organisations on the work involved in developing new quality standards for the energy efficiency industry. Neil Marshall, Chief Executive of the NIA, commented: “This work is extremely important as it will clearly set out the specifications and Standards that will apply to the installation of insulation measures. The existing PAS 2030 is a little complicated and there are some aspects that are open to interpretation, however, this project provides the opportunity to simplify matters and remove any ambiguity ensuring that all installers will install to a common, uniform standard. New research from Which? Trusted Traders has highlighted the difficulty that members of the public have in finding and hiring tradespeople, with roofers proving particularly elusive. The study, which was carried out on more than 1,000 people found that one in four (25%) had difficulty finding a roofer, with builders (22%) and bathroom fitters (20%) coming in closely behind. “The NIA will be represented on the PAS 2030 and PAS 2035 Steering Groups and the Measures Experts Groups and the intention is for these new specifications to be introduced in October 2018 alongside the new Energy Company Obligation (ECO) and Each Home Counts Quality Mark. “At the NIA we are very supportive of Each Home Counts as it provides a vehicle to ensure quality installations are delivered on a constant basis and instil confidence in policy makers, specifiers and householders. In addition to contributing to the development of the new specifications, we will be ensuring that our members are kept up to date and provide advice and guidance to help them comply with the new Standards. Furthermore, we are also working with the British Electrical Allied Manufacturers Association (BEEMA) which will clearly set out minimum ventilation requirements when installing insulation. We are also advising the Scottish Government on the new quality framework they are currently developing for Government funded schemes.” SURVEY: ROOFERS PROVE HARD TO FIND In contrast, mechanics were the easiest tradespeople to find, with almost all of those surveyed who needed to hire a mechanic (97%) explaining that it was easy to do so. Heating engineers (93%) and electricians (88%) were also among the easiest traders to find. Raj Kakar-Clayton, MD of Which? Trusted Traders stated that: “Consumers shouldn’t have to struggle when trying to track down a local, reliable tradesperson,” and advised members of the public to “work with someone who has an excellent reputation and who has been vetted by an independent endorsement scheme.” How do you promote your business to the public? Email or Tweet us: @TotContractorUK 8 TC MARCH 2018

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