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.
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?
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.