Reaction to government housing statistics
Skills shortage an obstacle to long term housing starts/completion targets.
The construction industry must address its skills shortage if long term housing targets are to be hit.
That is the view of the Vinden Partnership – the UK’s leading provider of project management, dispute resolution, surveying, fund monitoring and business restructuring services for the construction industry.
It follows Thursday’s release of statistics from the government about housebuilding starts and completions for the June quarter 2015 and annually up to the end of June.
The rate of completions is encouraging, with 35,640 representing a 4% increase from the previous quarter and a 22% rise in comparison to the same quarter in 2014.
Annually, the number of completions are pleasing too. Work on 131,060 was completed in the year up to June 2015. This is 15% higher than the 12 months up to June 2014 – the highest annual rate for six years.
However, the concern comes when looking at the figures for housing starts in the quarter and annually.
Both have suffered decreases and Peter Vinden, Managing Director of the Vinden Partnership, believes that unless more is done to address the skills shortage, a slowdown in the construction industry is “inevitable.”
He said: “It is good to see that housing completions are occurring at a faster rate and it reflects well on the construction industry’s hard work and the government’s commitment to deliver more affordable homes in the country.
“But we cannot lose sight of the decrease in housing starts annually and quarterly in the new figures. When this is coupled with the fact that the government wants to increase the rate of housebuilding to its fastest for 20 years, there is a genuine concern that targets are too ambitious.
“A decrease in housing starts does tend to correlate to the skills shortage that is prevalent in the industry at the moment and to remedy this problem, everybody involved in construction must take the responsibility to bridge the skills gap very seriously.
“If this problem is allowed to fester in the long term, I fear that that it is inevitable that output in construction will be reduced, which in turn is bad news for the economy.”