Skills Shortages and the Solution

Despite increasing demand for new homes, skills shortages continue to hamper the UK Construction market.

Elliot Street

The economy is improving and there is a huge and increasing shortage of housing in the UK, yet there has yet to be significant improvement in the number of houses being built. The construction industry appears to be unable to respond to market demand, even though the Government has seen fit (inexplicably!) to relax the need for better standards of performance.

The initial materials’ shortages are becoming resolved and the bottleneck now appears to be the availability of skilled and experienced building operatives. The Federation of Master Builders recent poll of small and medium-sized building firms confirmed increasing workloads and also growing skills shortages, notibly bricklayers, joiners and site managers. At a time when the CITB is forecasting annual growth in construction of 2.9% until 2019, many companies are already turning away work due to lack of suitably skilled manpower. What can be done to improve the output and performance of your business?

Contractor building with BecoWallformOne alternative to faithfully following the old recipies for building solutions is to adopt revised building techniques which not only improve levels of productivity but also achieve higher standards of building performance at the same time. BecoWallform is such a technique, Insulating Concrete Formwork (ICF) providing a rapid method of building insulated structural walls, the format of which also bypasses many of the weaknesses and potential defects of traditional building methods.

12 - built gable beco wall and pour concreteThe existing skills of groundworkers, joiners, bricklayers and general operatives all relate directly to this building technique. Onsite training for Wallform construction adds to the skill set of the existing labour force and provides significant improvement in levels of output. Given the relative simplicity of the Wallform building process, existing operatives can be trained and gain additional qualifications for ICF construction through onsite assessment. Disruption to current operations is minimised and output progressively increased as confidence in the system grows. Further benefit is gained by reducing Health & Safety risks onsite, since less plant and equipment is required and heavy lifting is not involved in the building process.

Approved Apprenticeship Schemes are also available for new recruits to the industry. This form of training is attractive to school leavers, as the method of building is akin to that of building with childhood “Lego” and the courses are of shorter duration than traditional building courses.

The Wallform building system may not be the complete solution to the growing pressure on construction output, but it is a practical option for improving levels of productivity and the skills of the existing workforce, as well as raising the levels of building performance.

Skills Shortages and the Solution was last modified: June 29th, 2020 by Robin Miller