Skills, planning and NIMBYs top housebuilding worries

A shortage of skilled workers in the housebuilding industry, NIMBYism and slow planning decisionmaking are hindering efforts to tackle the UK’s housing crisis, says a new report from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking.

The report surveyed those within the housing supply chain, from SME contractors to major national developers, and identified issues preventing the effective tackling of the housing shortage, including:

  • slow planning decisions – cited by 46% of respondents
  • public opposition to development – cited by 42%
  • lack of skilled workers – cited by 25% of respondents.

A quarter of respondents said the skills shortage is the biggest broader challenge currently facing their business. More than a third believe there is a lack of suitable candidates to fill existing and new jobs.

Housebuilders said the skills shortage is most acute among the following:

  • electricians and site managers – both cited by 34% of respondents
  • project managers – cited by 33%
  • quantity surveyors and architects – cited by 31%.

The Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking report on the UK housebuilding sector, Building for growth, analyses the state of the industry today, and the opportunities and challenges it faces in the future.

When asked what one change housebuilders would advocate for the alleviation of the housing shortage, 23% said greater local authority support to promote and fund building projects, while the same figure sought additional government support.

Despite the challenges cited in the report, housebuilders seem to be optimistic about the future, with respondents giving an average score of seven out of ten when asked to rate their confidence in the success of the UK housebuilding industry in the future. Some 87% of respondents want to create new jobs in the next 12 months.

Stewart Baseley, executive chairman, Home Builders Federation, commented: “A shortage of skilled people has become the biggest concern and the industry is investing massively in training.

“If a positive policy environment and a stable economy can be maintained, the industry will continue to grow to deliver the government’s ambition to build more homes and tackle our entrenched housing crisis.”

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