Insulation specialists and heat pump installers picking up £70 an hour

A lack of so-called ‘green collar’ construction workers such as insulation specialists and heat pump installers mean those trades in London are earning more than £130,000 a year.

A new report from Turner & Townsend said workers with these skills were likely to be pocketing £70 an hour – the equivalent of £134,000 per year.

The figure is more than twice the amount general construction labourers pick up in the capital, which is currently around £28 per hour.

Heat pump installation shutterstock 2023

Source: Shutterstock

In-demand heat pump installers in London are among those trades pocketing big wages, the T&T report said

T&T said workers in these new green sectors were picking up £47 an hour outside London with the knock-on effect that the UK will have trouble meeting a series of net zero targets it has signed up for.

The consultant’s international construction market survey said all UK regions were suffering from labour shortages which was sending hourly pay packets to record levels.

Overall, it said that average construction wages in the UK have increased by 13% since 2023 – rising from £36 per hour to £42 this year.

Chris Sargent, managing director of UK real estate at Turner & Townsend, said: “[The UK has] a relatively old and inefficient building stock, and construction is absolutely central to meeting our net-zero goals and making our homes, offices and public buildings fit for the future. Fundamentally, this can’t be done without the workforce.

“High wages may make the role more appealing to many and attract these much needed skills. But green construction cannot afford to be in a separate tier of costs from traditional work.”

Meanwhile, London ranks as the 10th most expensive construction market globally, rising from 14th in 2023. Average construction costs in the capital have risen to £3,503 per sq m compared to last year when costs per sq m were £3,024.

Globally, the report said the US continued to dominate the rankings of the most expensive places to build, with six US cities in the top 10. New York is the most expensive market to build in for the second year running at an average cost of £4,536 per sq m.