Construction Worker Using Drill To Install Window

Construction expected to surge but what trades will be in demand?

Following a slower year for construction in 2021 following the Coronavirus pandemic, the construction industry has returned to full swing and is expected to surge over the next 5 years which according to the CSN industry outlook could see a 4.4% yearly growth rate requiring over 200,000 more workers in that period to meet the demands.

The construction is expected to be infrastructure and new housing, whilst repairing and updating old homes will also make up a large part of the work required. In 2019 the UK government set the target of becoming carbon net-zero by 2050 and have announced this year that they hope to cut emissions by 78% by 2035 compared to 1990 levels, which would take them over three-quarters of the way to reaching the 2050 target.

Construction infrastructure

The goal is seen as one of the most ambitious climate change targets ever and as part of this initiative all homes and businesses will have to meet rigorous new energy efficiency standards to lower energy consumption and bills, helping to protect the environment.

These new standards include radically improving the energy performance of new homes with low carbon heating, reduce emissions and be zero carbon ready by 2025. This would see roughly a 75-80% reduction in carbon emissions to the current level of housing and older housing will be modernised with there being a significant improvement on the standard for extensions, making homes warmer and reducing bills. The requirement for replacement, repairs and parts to be more energy efficient, including windows and building services such as heat pumps and fixed lighting.

With these ambitious targets in place there is going to be a huge demand on workforce to carry out the changes. This does however represent a huge opportunity for construction to modernise, attract a more diverse talent pool and up skill its existing workforce but is a tough ask with many businesses still suffering from the effects of the pandemic.

On top of this commercial demand there is huge demand for trades people in residential homes following the shutdown caused by the pandemic, with lots of people looking to refresh their homes with extra money they might have due to the lockdown or simply wanting to update the home they have been confined to for much of 2020 and 2021.

But with all this construction planned, what trades are likely to see the highest demand?

Interior renovation, construction

It is expected that all trades will see higher demands over the coming 5 years, but with the targets for reducing CO2 emissions set by the government, there will be a need for workers to understand the modernisation that will help to meet these goals.

Infrastructure and house building are the two main areas that will see the biggest investment over the coming 5 years. Projects like HS2 will lead to growth in those regions and the maintenance of existing property to meet the governments CO2 goals will also be a large contributor to the demand for work.

According to CSN, the most in demand trades are forecast to be in wood trades & interior fit-out (5,500 per year), other construction professionals and technical staff (5,150), construction managers (3,600) and electrical installation trades and (3,400). There will also be a demand for non-construction, office-based professional, technical and IT support staff (7,850).

After a tough year for construction, there is light at the end of the tunnel as we return to normal working life and set out on reaching the goals for a sustainable future and hitting net-zero targets.

Sustainable Construction / Solar Pannels

Sustainable construction

The construction industry is one of the largest sectors when it comes to using materials and having an impact on the environment and there is a huge push on sustainable construction, with the aim of becoming net zero by 2050 looming over all developments. But what are the keys to sustainable construction and what challenges are we going face trying to achieve the ambitious goal of becoming net zero by 2050.


Why sustainability in construction matters

The construction industry is at the forefront of building new societies and creating the future world we live in. Due to the constant need for construction and the impact it has on the future of our planet, making the construction industry sustainable is vital for the future health of our planet.

In fact, the building and construction industry accounts for an incredible 40% of CO2 emissions and according to the Supply Chain Sustainability School, building and construction works in countries which are part of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) use:

  • 25-40% of total energy
  • 30% of raw materials
  • 30-40% of global greenhouse gas emissions
  • 30-40% of solid waste generation.


Building a sustainable construction industry


To create a truly sustainable construction industry the first step that needs to be taken is the sourcing of materials and making sure that where

Sustainable Construction, Low angle green apartments

possible the materials used to build our future have come in some capacity from our past, such as recycled materials. As mentioned previously, construction is responsible for 25-40% of the worlds energy usage and therefore finding a renewal energy source is another big step in helping to create a sustainable site.

During projects themselves, care must be taken regarding waste, not just the amount of waste but also how it is being disposed. Can the materials be recycled and used further down the line? Is there a way in which we can dispose of the materials in a less impactful way to the environment? These are questions you should be considering if you’re responsible for the removal of materials.

You should also consider how you’re impacting the environment whilst carry out work such as creating dust, destroying natural habitat and the energy consumptions you’re using. The thought of sustainable construction is to create an environmentally friendly construction site and well as finished project.


What are the challenges?

Adapting to these new methods is something that is going to take time and won’t happen overnight. Not only will they take time to implement and change, but they are also expensive. Using renewal materials and sourcing renewable energy all comes at great costs and although might save you money in the long run, businesses will often take a large financial hit to change from the current processes.


Government plans

Sustainable Construction - turning down CO2 dial

Building a sustainable future is something the UK government is doing its best to tackle. They have set out plans which would see the United Kingdom be net-zero in carbon emissions by 2050. The ‘net zero’ plan would see any emissions balanced by schemes to offset an equivalent amount of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, such as planting trees or using technology like carbon capture and storage to negate the negative effects if CO2.

As part of this initiative all homes and businesses will have to meet rigorous new energy efficiency standards to lower energy consumption and bills, helping to protect the environment.

These new standards include radically improving the energy performance of new homes with low carbon heating, reduce emissions and be zero carbon ready by 2025. This would see roughly a 75-80% reduction in carbon emissions to the current level of housing.

Existing homes will also be subject to higher standards. There will be significant improvement on the standard for extensions, making homes warmer and reducing bills. The requirement for replacement, repairs and parts to be more energy efficient, including windows and building services such as heat pumps and fixed lighting.

Alternative Energy Wind Turbine Green Landscape at Sunset

UK set to announce plans for 78% Reduction in Carbon Emissions by 2035

The Prime Minister, Boris Johnston is scheduled to announce huge changes to the UK’s climate change commitments in the hope to cut carbon emissions by 78% by 2035.

Lots of industries will have to be involved in a national effort to achieve the targets and would require solutions such as electric cars, low-carbon heating and renewable electricity to be the main driving force behind achieving these goals.

electric suv of the future charging electricity with public charger

electric SUV of the future charging electricity with public charger

The prime minister’s commitments, which will become law, bring forward the current target for reducing carbon emissions by 15 years. This would be a world-leading position and for the first time, climate law will be extended to cover international aviation and shipping.

Homes will need to be much better insulated, and people will be encouraged to drive less and walk and cycle more. Aviation is likely to become more expensive for frequent fliers.

The government has accepted the advice of its independent Climate Change Committee (CCC) to adopt the emissions cut, which is based on 1990 levels.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has predicted a major surge in CO2 emissions from energy this year, as the world rebounds from the pandemic.

Environmentalists welcomed the government’s move but warned that ministers had consistently failed to achieve previous CCC-set targets.

The CCC report accepted by the government says low-carbon investment must scale up to £50bn a year in the UK. But it adds that in time fuel savings from more efficient equipment will cancel out investment costs.

The CCC believes around 1% of GDP – national wealth – would need to be spent on shifting away from fossil fuels over 30 years.

Green Home Standing Out From The Crowd

Leading UK development company sets new targets to reduce carbon emissions

Barratt Developments has announced three new carbon emissions targets as part of its drive “to become the country’s leading national sustainable housebuilder”.

Their first aim is to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040 and be the first major housebuilder to do so. Earlier this year they became the first national housebuilder to publish science-based targets for reducing carbon emissions, and they look set to continue this work with a new net-zero goal by 2040.

The second aim the firm announced is for its new home design to be net-zero carbon from 2030. They aim to achieve by this goal by continuing their ‘fabric first’ approach over the next 10 years covering such elements as better insulation, more efficient services and new green technology.

Their third and final aim is to purchase 100% of its operational electricity from renewable sources by 2025. They have announced already that just under half of their energy is already coming from renewable sources and over the next 5 years aim to take that all the way to 100%, reducing their emissions by a further 3,300 tonnes of carbon.

“Identifying and implementing what is needed to achieve these reductions will be an ongoing process across the entire Barratt business,” the firm said. “For instance, reducing diesel use will involve new technology such as solar assisted generators, whilst driving down plant emissions on site and improving the energy credentials of its buildings will all help Barratt to achieve the 2040 net-zero target.”

The targets continue Barratt’s drive to reduce carbon emissions – since 2015 it has achieved a 22% reduction through initiatives such as improving plant efficiency and rolling out energy efficient show home lighting.

With companies such as Barratt putting an emphasis on reducing their environmental output, you can also take steps to reduce your businesses environmental impact by filling out our preferred supplier question set. Showing your businesses you take further areas of compliance, such as environmental, seriously may help you business win work over those that don’t.

workers using personal protective equipment to stay safe from covid-19

Unexpected HSE site checks

The HSE has begun to visit sites across the United Kingdom to make sure that sites are following the correct Covid-19 (Coronavirus) guidelines.

Martin McCabe is Head of Safety, Health, Environment and Quality at HGH Groundworks & Civil Engineering, and a member of the CIOB’s education, qualification, standards and practice board and his site was one of those that was checked.

The site was one that had shut down and recently reopened and the HSE visited the site to make sure they the correct guidelines were in place and being followed by all staff.

Martin McCabe on the unexpected visit:

“The HSE’s visit was unannounced. The inspectors were inducted and went through the site’s coronavirus symptoms checks. They interviewed some of our staff and asked what our COVID-19 checks were. They also enquired about our travel arrangements and then looked at our method statements and risk assessments. They completed a full review of our records of symptom checks and re-inductions. Interestingly, they were still keen to focus on plant use and maintenance. They checked plant operator competence and inspection records.

We received no actions from the visit. It’s down to the dedication of each member of the team, strong supervision has been crucial.

This experience has only reinforced my view that site supervisors are the key to getting things right. They’re the people who drive the culture and behaviours on-site. When you have supervisors who lead by example, it gives you the best chance of success”.

For the full article and more information from Martin on the site visit, please click here.

It is likely that these unannounced checks will continue to happen in the construction industry throughout the UK so please make sure that you are doing all you can to keep your sites safe and compliant.

If you are running on reduced staff and would like help with managing your supply chain and their compliance, please click here and see how our site compliance reports can help you keep on top of your site.

Building Inspector Looking At House Renovation Project

Construction Leadership Council Announce “Road to recovery”

The Construction Leadership Council published has released its 3-phase “Road to recovery” for bringing the construction industry back to normal following the Coronavirus pandemic which has caused the industry to slow down.

The three major phases they have outlined are the following:

They hope the outcomes of this plan will mean there will be a more capable, professional, productive and profitable sector, which delivers better value to clients, better performing infrastructure and buildings, and competes successfully in global markets.

The CLC believes it will take at least 2 years for the industry to fully recover but most of the recovery work will be done in 2021. The Office of National Statistics reported construction activity fell by 2.6% in Q1 2020, and by 5.9% in March.

Whilst The Construction Products Association estimates that construction output will fall by 25% in 2020, with the largest falls in activity in private housing (-42%), commercial construction (-36%), and private repair maintenance & improvement (-35%).

Among the chief aims of the plan, developed by the CLC’s Covid-19 taskforce, are the retention of key skills and employment of the maximum number of people possible by getting the industry back to work wherever it is safe to do so.

The CLC also wants to ensure a pipeline of future workload for all parts of the sector and boost productivity to secure improved value.

The taskforce’s plan looks at the actions required to overcome the problems arising from the industry entering the recovery phase of the crisis and is now engaging with government to see how the plans might be delivered.

Construction Leadership Council joint chair Andy Mitchell said: “The unprecedented challenge of coronavirus calls for unprecedented solutions. I am delighted by the way that the industry has collaborated at a pace to develop this plan, targeting those interventions that will help the industry get back on its feet as quickly as possible. We hope that everyone will take the opportunity to read the plan and consider the part you can play in its delivery.”

Eddie Tuttle, Director of Policy at CIOB, welcomed the plans. He said: “This is an important time for the industry, and a key focus currently is job retention and creation. We are pleased to see this response includes many of our calls made in recent months, including input from our written submission to the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee inquiry on the impact of coronavirus, and look forward to working with the Construction Leadership Council on making these steps a reality.”

Closed due to Cornavirus

COVID-19: urgent clarification on new government restrictions

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement regarding COVID-19 isolation policies on 23 March, we’ve had many calls from business owners, concerned that the new, stricter measures announced by the government will mean that they have to shut their business for the next three weeks.

We wanted to take this opportunity to reassure that this is not the case. Under the latest instruction, travelling to and from work is an acceptable reason to leave home, provided that the work absolutely can’t be done from your home. Even then, you should minimise the time spent outside of the home and practice social distancing by staying two metres apart from people outside of your household.

The list of additional businesses which must now close is as follows:

  • All non-essential retail stores – this will include clothing and electronics stores; hair, beauty and nail salons; and outdoor and indoor markets, excluding food markets.
  • Libraries, community centres, and youth centres.
  • Indoor and outdoor leisure facilities such as bowling alleys, arcades and soft play facilities.
  • Communal places within parks, such as playgrounds, sports courts and outdoor gyms.
  • Places of worship, except for funerals attended by immediate families.
  • Hotels, hostels, bed and breakfasts, campsites, caravan parks, and boarding houses for commercial/leisure use (excluding permanent residents and key workers).

There are 2 exceptions to the rule that there should be no public gatherings of more than 2 people.

  1. Gatherings of members who live in the same household
  2. Where the gathering is essential for work purposes – but workers should be trying to minimise all meetings and other gatherings in the workplace.

Earlier this morning, following some confusion, UK Housing Minister Robert Jenrick confirmed that builders can carry on working, but only where absolutely necessary and must practice social distancing. Plumbers are also allowed to visit homes but must not be in the same room as the people living in the house at any one time.

The government guidance on this remains brief. If you’d like to read their full advice, you can find it here.

The spread of COVID-19 in the UK, and the government measures to tackle it, are fast-paced and ever-changing. We understand that this can be overwhelming for many business owners as we face a time of unprecedented change.

The experts at our sister company, Citation are following these updates closely and are working hard to bring you updates, guidance and clarification as they happen. Keep an eye on our latest articles, free resources and social media for regular updates.

If you’re a Citation client, they’re here to help, guide you and reassure you on how these changes will affect your business. You can call their experts on our 24/7 advice line on 0345 844 4848.

If you’re not yet a client of theirs and you want to discuss how these measures will affect your business, and what they can do to help, give their friendly team a call on 0345 844 1111.