One million people will need to be recruited by 2020 if the housebuilding industry is to build the number of homes the country needs, a global building consultancy firm has said.
In its white paper, People and money – fundamental to unlocking the housing crisis, EC Harris suggests that there is a need for change in accepted construction practices so that the industry can deliver more homes with ‘limited labour resources’.
The paper argues that access to labour and money are currently more important than land availability and planning in the quest to solve the UK’s housing shortage.
EC Harris calculates that the industry currently employs 1.5 full-time workers per home each year, with 120,000 more needed to achieve production of 230,000 units per annum.
The firm says that due to high levels of growth and increasing retirement figures, the construction sector will need 1 million new workers by 2020.
The white paper reveals that the construction industry’ s key trades in demand are bricklayers, plasterers, scaffolders and roofers, with architects and quantity surveyors also ‘squeezed’.
“Across the UK, approximately 300,000 units need to be constructed each year in order to meet demand - 50,000 of these potentially needed in London alone. However, in 2014 we delivered less than half of this,” says Mark Farmer, EC Harris’ head of development.
“This is now about the need for fresh, radical thinking from both industry and government, which respects the existing housebuilding model but also seeks out viable routes to large-scale, additional delivery.”
In last month’s Housing Bill, the Conservative government pledged to ‘support home ownership, increase housing supply and help provide more working people with the chance to own their own home’.
Government figures show that 137,000 homes were started in 2014 – 10% more than in 2013 and a 36% increase when compared to 2012.
A brownfield land register which aims to help identify suitable brownfield sites, the extension of the Right to Buy scheme and the starter homes scheme are three of the Conservatives’ main housing policies designed to increase home ownership, all of which were outlined in The Queen’s Speech in May.