Repairs jump 12%, but building slump ‘concerning’: FMB  


Building repair work jumped 12% in the first three months of the year, data from the Federation of Master Builders shows, but adds that it is “very concerned” about the slump in housebuilding.  

The body says that repair, maintenance, and improvement work rose in the period compared to the previous quarter, accompanied by a 14% lift in enquires.  

Federation of Master Builders chief executive Brian Berry says: “The rebound in domestic building work at the start of this year from the pessimistic forecasts towards the end of last year is an encouraging sign that parts of the building industry are bouncing back.   

“It’s a positive sign for the overall economy that homeowners are continuing to invest in their homes.”  

However, earlier this week, the number of new homes registered to be built tumbled 40% to 27,673 in the first three months of the year compared to 12 months ago, according to data from the National House Building Council, with worse figures for private sector building.   

Housebuilding firms posted 17,953 registrations in the period, a 49% fall in new homes, says the body, which provides insurance for new properties.  

Berry adds: “Despite the good news for domestic building work it is very concerning that housebuilding is still in negative figures, despite a slight increase in reported workloads.   

“Given there is a growing housing crisis the fact we are building fewer and not more homes is a worrying sign for consumers, builders and the government alike.”  

The federation also points out that inflation at 10.1%, near a 40-year high, continues to weigh on the industry, particularly on small builders.  

Its survey found that 87% of members reported material costs increased in the first quarter, while 45% of firms said their business profits were lower than expected.  

Berry says: “The FMB’s survey also shows the effect inflation is having on SME building companies resulting in them having to raise their prices in order to stay afloat and with 10% of FMB member companies potentially at risk of closure.   

“We are far from having certainty in the building industry but at least there are some signs that we are starting to move in the right direction.”  

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