Materials costs also heading north, group adds



Growth is slowing among construction SMEs as wages and the price of materials increase, according to the Federation of Master Builders.

Its latest quarterly survey shows 32% of firms enjoying rising workloads compared with 41% between April and the end of June.

Some 86% of builders reported increasing material prices, up from 76% in the second quarter.

Meanwhile, 68% of construction SMEs are finding it hard to hire bricklayers, while 59% are struggling to get more carpenters.

Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB, said: “These skills shortages are also leading to projects being stalled because there physically aren’t enough people to build them.

“Worse still, the scarcity of trades means that when construction employers can find people, they are paying huge salaries which is putting further pressure on margins.”