The shortage of skilled workers in roof and facade construction is a “ticking time bomb”. According to reports, 77% of contractors reported a labor shortage in the third quarter of 2021, warns the National Federation of Roofing Contractors (NFRC).
According to the NFRC / Glenigan survey, slates and tilers were the most in-demand roles, reflecting the growing housing market for new builds. The survey also shows that flat roof companies were also hard to find.
In addition, just under one in 10 NFRC members reported difficulties recruiting facades, which could impact the government’s £ 5 billion facade renovation program.
As a result of the shortage of skilled workers, roofers have increased wage costs, with roofers reporting a 57% increase over the previous year. In addition, 92 percent of roofers have increased material prices.
- A net balance of 40 percent of roofing firms reported growing workloads, up from 54 percent in the previous quarter.
- 28% of the members reported higher inquiries.
- Employment levels rose, with 12 percent of contractors reporting a growing workforce.
- Northern England and Scotland saw the highest growth rates, with Wales being the only part of the UK where workloads and inquiries decreased compared to the previous quarter.
- 77% of the roofing companies reported a deterioration in the availability of materials in the course of the quarter, 31% reported bottlenecks in “all materials”.
- 92% of roofing companies reported an increase in material prices.
- 70% of roofers increased their tender prices in the reporting period.
- Before COP26, almost half of the roofing companies developed a net zero strategy or were considering developing one.
“Skilled labor shortage is a major problem for roofers”
Commenting on the study, NFRC Policy Director Philip Campbell said: “The headlines lately have rightly focused on the shortage of truck drivers, but the next ticking time bomb is the shortage of skilled workers in the construction industry, particularly in the roofing trade.
“We found that skilled labor shortages had become a major problem for roofers this year, and our latest survey found that three-quarters of our members are now having difficulty recruiting in all kinds of positions, from roofers to tilers to facades.
“The Chancellor confirmed this week billions of pounds in funding pledges for housing, leveling and renovation of facades, but the government may not be able to achieve these goals if the building skills are not in place.
“We saw what happened to the Green Homes Grant when government ambitions and supply chain capabilities were mismatched.
“In general, while it was encouraging to see growth in the roofing and facade industries again this quarter, growth slowed, particularly in the home, repair, maintenance and improvement sectors, as a result of persistent material and skill shortages. However, roofers are still optimistic about the future. “