Media headlines suggest British homebuilding is being held back by a shortage of skilled construction workers, such as bricklayers and carpenters.

In my opinion, this is a myth. And my concern is that self builders and renovators will be put off pursuing their dream build. The reality is, there is no need to panic — there is no shortage in the self build sector. So, just where is this myth coming from?

One national housebuilder suggested that the drive for more new homes in the UK must come hand in hand with the drive to recruit workers. It’s been suggested that the demand on building sites is so high that bricklayers can earn £50,000 a year. Trade professionals charge the going rate, in keeping with their skill and experience; some of the national housebuilders would have you believe otherwise.

There are also media-fuelled fears that Brexit could cut off the supply of labour from Eastern Europe. But the evidence does not stack up. As a nation, we have always opened our borders to skilled workers when there is a genuine shortage.

In my opinion, there is no shortage: the skilled personnel are already here. In fact, many have left the industry because of the poor rates of pay offered by large commercial contractors and national housebuilders.

The Impact of the ‘Lack’ of Skilled Labour on Housebuilding

Again, one trade organisation claimed that the skilled labour shortage ‘crisis’ also threatens the government’s promise to provide 200,000 new homes a year by 2020.

The British building industry is getting back on its feet. National housebuilders need to get on the same page as the private sector and pay skilled construction workers the going rate. There is no shortage of career-minded construction professionals. Many, including skilled bricklayers, carpenters, roofers, plasterers, plumbers, heating engineers and electricians, have been commanding £50,000 per annum for years.

Self builders shouldn’t be put off. Most subcontractors work on a fixed-price basis in any event, so it’s not an open cheque book when it comes to hiring labour.

The key advice here is not to be put off by media scaremongering. Pursue your dream build, and wherever possible employ skilled labour on a firm fixed price.

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