89% of Builders Delay Jobs Amid Materials and Trades Shortages

89% of builders delayed jobs this summer
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Nine out of 10 local builders are having to delay jobs due to either materials or skills shortages, according to a new survey from the Federation of Master Builders.

The construction materials shortage has put a strain on SME builders and tradespeople all year, while record construction unemployment - there were 43,000 vacancies between July-September, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) says - means tradespeople are facing overwhelming demand.

Now, the latest Federation of Master Builders (FMB) State of Trade Survey (released quarterly) reveals the challenges facing builders of small to medium-size SME construction firms in the UK.

A staggering 97% of builders say that they are facing material price rises, and 93% expect this to continue into early-2022. A consequence of this is that 77% said they had been forced to raise their prices in the past few months. 

Meanwhile, 82% of builders said they had delayed jobs due to a lack of materials, while 60% had pressed pause on a job due to a lack of tradespeople. The survey revealed that the quantities of general labourers, carpenters/joiners and plasterers are all down by 6% since the last survey.

(MORE: How to Find a Builder)

“Consumers Feel the Heat”

The problems facing tradespeople have extended to self builders, renovators and home improvers this year, who have reported having serious supply issues

Builders have been impacted by shortages and price rises this year

Builders have been impacted by shortages and price rises this year.  (Image credit: Getty Images)

Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB, said: “Our data shows the combination of long delays and rising prices mean consumers are also starting to feel the heat. Changing quotes, delays to jobs, and price hikes may lead to some homeowners being pulled in by unscrupulous builders hoping to make a quick buck.

For those planning new projects or in the midst of existing builds, Berry has this advice: “A good builder is a busy builder and it is important to be patient when selecting the right person for the job.”

Ahead of the Spending Review and Autumn Budget on Wednesday, Berry has urged the government to act to ensure shortages - in particular the shortage of more than 100,000 drivers in the UK to deliver materials - do not continue to hurt the industry.

(MORE: 6 Things to Look Out For in the Spending Review and Autumn Budget)

“The Government should use Wednesday's Budget and Spending Review to tackle the growing skills gap. Effective efforts to help the haulage industry ease the supply of materials are also needed. This will help our members get back to building and help the post pandemic economic recovery,” he added.

Jack Woodfield
News Editor

Jack has worked in journalism for 11 years and is the News Editor for Homebuilding & Renovating, a role he has had since 2019. He strives to break the most relevant and beneficial stories for self builders, extenders and renovators, including the latest news on the construction materials shortage and hydrogen heating. In 2021 he appeared on BBC's The World at One to discuss the government's planning reforms. 

He enjoys testing new tools and gadgets, and having bought his first home in 2013, he has renovated every room and recently finished a garden renovation.