HBF comments follow Balfour Beatty CEO’s criticism last week

The Home Builders Federation (HBF) has become the latest industry organisation to publicly criticise CITB, as pressure mounts on the training board ahead of next month’s crucial consensus vote.

A spokesman for the HBF, which represents major housebuilders, said: “Sections of the housebuilding industry have been frustrated with CITB’s performance in recent years and we need to ensure that whatever emerges from this process better enables housebuilders to train the people it needs to deliver the homes of the future.”

The CITB is facing its triennial consensus, where 14 trade bodies and 6,000 non-affiliated construction companies vote on whether the organisation can continue collecting the training levy from them. Voting ends on 29 September, with an announcement on the outcome in November.

Last week, Balfour Beatty chief executive Leo Quinn said Britain’s biggest construction company was likely to vote against the consensus, although his position was not supported by trade body Build UK and several contractors contacted by Building. Government ministers also back the continued existence of a reformed CITB.

The HBF spokesman said: “We will be polling members with regards to how we as an industry vote and will be led by them accordingly. This is a key decision for the construction industry as a whole in terms of how we manage training in the future.”

One gripe of housebuilders is that not all the money they pay to the CITB through the levy is channelled into skills relevant to their sector. It is understood the HBF has proposed ringfencing these funds for training specific to housebuilding.

“We want to be sure we’re getting out what we’re putting in,” the spokesman added.

Steve Radley, director of policy at CITB, said: “Our discussions with homebuilders indicate that there are a range of opinions on the levy amongst its membership, but with the Consensus consultation still underway, nothing is certain at this stage.

“We are aware of their concerns and are addressing these as part our wider reform programme. It’s vital that CITB’s reforms deliver the right skills outcomes for the whole of construction. But we are engaging with HBF and its members to look at how we can we work together to meet the homebuilding sector’s skill needs.”