Construction Materials Shortages – A Time for Opportunity?

Construction Materials Shortages – A Time for Opportunity?

Oct 18, 2021

With construction one of the sectors at the centre of the government’s post-covid agenda, it’s important now more than ever that we provide all the support we can for hirers and contractors in the construction industry.

Despite a turbulent start to the year which saw reduced activity levels across the construction sectors, it’s clear that now is a time of opportunity for construction workers. Not only have activity levels risen this year, but demand has also increased significantly, with T&T reporting that new orders spiked by £2 billion between the first and second quarters of 2021.

But with increasing demand, comes increasing responsibility for workers and recruiters alike. We’re here to assist our recruitment agency partners so you can provide the highest levels of support for your contractors and candidates during this time of continued upheaval.


Increasing Vacancies

Such a drastic resurgence in new tenders has led to a huge increase in construction vacancies, creating a labour supply shortage that has provided skilled contractors with an arena to ask for higher prices and gain valuable work, helping them to recover from the impact of the lower levels of work available this time last year.

Coupled with the rise in available work, the labour supply shortage has been exacerbated by the reluctance of some workers to return to work following the support they have been receiving through SEISS grants and loans. Although these grants ended at the end of September, the continuation of government support for the last few months has resulted in some workers being less willing to return to contracting roles. This has intensified the worker shortage and given more choice for those workers who were eager to return to work and grasp the best new opportunities.

As a result, the high demand for both skilled and unskilled workers has triggered a rise in average earnings across the sector as hirers are becoming more desperate to find the manpower needed to complete projects. According to T&T’s research report, earnings for quarter 2 in 2021 are up by 14.4% when compared to the same time last year. Clearly, workers have the freedom now to choose the work which suits their skills and can help them maximise their take-home pay.

Where hirers have effectively “blanket banned” roles or produced status determination assessments without considering the full detail of each role, it is highly likely they are now finding it harder to attract the best-skilled contractors. This is because skilled workers are finding it easier to obtain self-employed CIS work with hirers who have taken the trouble to produce detailed assessments, resulting in some roles being considered genuinely appropriate for self-employment within the Construction Industry Scheme, a contracting option preferred by experienced skilled construction workers in the UK. It is therefore vitally important that we all help to educate hirers that it may be counter-productive in these unusual times of scarce labour resources to rush into incorrect status assessments without reference to specific detailed reviews.


Materials Shortages

Unfortunately, the high labour demand and the increase in upcoming construction projects like HS2 have also impacted materials supply as shortages have continued throughout the summer. Key building supplies such as roof tiles, cement, and timber have been experiencing supply shortages for months, seeing their prices climb.

It’s not all bad news though, the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) has reported that material supplies in the domestic repair, maintenance and improvement sector were beginning to ease slightly throughout September, despite predictions that prices would continue to rise by 10% until Summer 2022. This has given the industry some breathing space, according to the CLC group, perhaps creating some optimism that shortages and price rises won’t continue for as long as initially predicted.

Nevertheless, it’s important to remember that this period of turbulence can also be difficult for construction workers to navigate; facing increased pressure to make the most of the abundant opportunities despite roadblocks like materials shortages in their way.


Maximise Opportunities with Crest Plus

For recruiters, this is a time of great opportunity to offer payroll and payment models that help workers continue to take advantage of roles suitable for genuine self-employment. If you don’t already offer payments through the Construction Industry Scheme, just get in touch with our friendly Account Management Team who can help you expand or tweak your services and help contractors to compliantly maximise their take-home payments, or enjoy a range of employment rights and benefits where self-employment is not appropriate.

By partnering with Crest Plus, you can offer workers the great benefits of our Construction Industry Scheme and Umbrella company with the confidence that we are industry experts in these areas, having been successfully offering both umbrella and CIS for hundreds of thousands of happy contractors for over 21 years. As the number 1 provider of CIS and Umbrella payments in the UK, we’re pleased to offer enhanced benefits for our agency partners and contractors such as Personal Accident Insurance as standard (including your commute) and access to our exclusive rewards package, Crest Plus Advantage, which boasts carefully curated discounts with a range of specific suppliers to benefit CIS workers including B&Q TradePoint and Anchor Safety PPE.

Why not turn a time of turmoil in the industry into an opportunity to fill more roles and create growth for your agency with the support of Crest Plus. Get in touch on 01244 684700.

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