Third of small contractors fear staff cuts this year

Grant Prior 7 years ago
Share

One-in-three small to medium-sized building firms fear they will have to cut staffing levels this year.

The gloomy prediction comes in the latest state of trade survey by the Federation of Master Builders.

Employment levels fell again during the last quarter of 2012 and small builders predict more of the same this year.

Workloads decreased last year, and are expected to keep falling at least for the first half of 2013.

Housing was the only bright spot as the rate at which workloads and employment in the sector fell slowed in the fourth quarter of last year, with many specialist trades reporting the first rise in employment since early 2011.

But there were no positive signs in the non-residential sector  where many firms said they may have to introduce price rises as overheads continue to eat into profit margins and the likelihood of lay-offs loomed.

Brian Berry, the FMB’s Chief Executive, said: “These figures reinforce what we already knew that 2012 was a very tough year for construction, and the outlook for 2013 is still bleak.

“The Government’s support for infrastructure spending is good but it needs to look at ways it can boost the building industry, not least the urgent need to build more new homes by freeing up land, easing planning red tape and by pushing investment through its new Business Bank.

“A VAT cut on building work to make homes more energy-efficient would also help provide an immediate boost for small builders and have the multiple benefits of boosting the economy, helping householders save money on their fuel bills and reducing carbon emission

“The construction industry is on a knife-edge as the Construction Skills Network predicts the slump will last at least a decade.

“Our members are perhaps more adaptable and resilient than some larger construction companies that rely heavily on major house-building or big infrastructure projects, but if the Government does not act swiftly and decisively to support SME builders – the backbone of the British construction industry – then we will undoubtedly see more firms going to the wall and job losses across the board in 2013.”

FMB latest State of Trade Survey at a glance:
Workloads continued to decrease in all sectors: The pace of contraction slowed down in the housing sectors, but the opposite was true for non-residential parts of the industry.

The workload indicator continues its downward trend across all regions and devolved nations.

Output prices, wages and salaries and material costs are all expected to go up in the coming six months: Although in the case of output prices and wages and salaries the vast majority of firms stated no change at 60 per cent and 77 per cent respectively.

SME employment continued to decline in Q4: The overall expected employment levels are predicted to fall at a slower rate over the next six months and specialist builders reported a positive balance for first time since the first quarter of 2011.

Latest news

Staff sent home at Harry Fairclough Construction

Warrington contractor goes under after 120 years in business
2 days ago

Strucktor lands M&E package at £460m Raffles hotel

Specialist bags major win from Ardmore on Whitehall conversion job
2 days ago
STRUCKTOR UK

Construction work stops on another Elliot Group tower

Work suspended on £70m The Residence in Salford
3 days ago

London super sewer passes halfway point

Two further TBMs to be launched this year for east part of 25km drive
2 days ago

Entire facade of wind damaged tower to be strengthened

Major remedial programme planned after three cladding panels blown-off
2 days ago

Costain Welsh road job £100m over budget and two years late

Row simmers with Welsh Government about liabilities for cost overruns
3 days ago

BAM trading steady after second half uplift

Rise in profit at BAM Construction offsets fall at BAM Nuttall civils arm
2 days ago

Plan in for £30m East London ice rink

Twin pad ice skating centre will be biggest in southern England
2 days ago

Winvic starts £43m Milton Keynes rental flats tower

Aubrey Place will rise to 18 storeys around a H-shaped footprint
3 days ago

Boost your online presence – join the Enquirer Directory

Site for suppliers and buyers showcases products, services and latest stories
2 years ago

One million homes with planning permission not built

Council chiefs claim figures show 'the planning system is not a barrier to house building"
3 days ago

Morgan Sindall profit jumps as revenue tops £3bn

Construction margin edges up to 2.2% in bumper year
3 days ago

Laing O’Rourke nets £500m Everton stadium

Work to start later this year on Bramley-Moore Dock stadium
4 days ago

Scotland’s Whyte Crane Hire collapses

11 jobs axed as family-owned mobile crane specialist calls in administrators
3 days ago

Plans go in for HS2 Old Oak Station

Start of construction at HS2’s London super-hub moves a step closer
4 days ago

Opinion: New immigration rules are unworkable on site

Points based system will create severe shortages and is dismissive of construction trades
4 days ago

New minister for HS2 named

Lancashire MP Andrew Stephenson to oversee HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail
4 days ago

Plans unveiled for new £150m film studio in Reading

US giant Blackhall Studios keen to invest in the UK
4 days ago

Government cuts flow of EU construction workers

New points based immigration system means end to free movement of labour to sites
4 days ago

Facade panels blown off 33-storey Manchester tower

Caddick Construction and cladding contractor carrying out checks on building
4 days ago

New Museum of London enabling works to cost £40m

Bidders day planned for complex enabling and structural work package
4 days ago

Summer start for 350-flat Nottingham scheme

9-storey block to be built next to Nottingham station
5 days ago

Millwall FC reveal new stadium plan

Plan for phased expansion of the Den with upper stand tiers
4 days ago

Vistry deal to build 1,400 housing association homes

Aster and Vistry will invest £167m in five new sites
4 days ago

Fusion21 names decarbonising framework winners

Sixty eight firms secure places on £250m energy efficiency framework
5 days ago

Speller Metcalfe wins £14m Devon leisure centre deal

New Tarka Leisure Centre to offer ‘endless ski slope’
5 days ago

Bardsley crashed owing £45m to trade creditors

Manchester builder hit by toxic mix of contractual disputes and project delays
5 days ago

Bardsley hit sends Anders Glass under

Manchester glass merchant and glazing contractor crashes
5 days ago

Green light for UK’s first ‘super slender’ resi tower

Broad Street tower in Birmingham will be less than 10m wide but rise to 37 storeys
6 days ago

Higgins bags £44m job at Shredded Wheat Factory site

Over 200 homes planned for Welwyn Garden City site
6 days ago

Contractor services