By using this website, you agree to our use of cookies to enhance your experience.
Graham Awards


RICS backs government call for ex-troops to build homes

The Royal Institution for Chartered Surveyors says it supports a call by housing minister Brandon Lewis for personnel retiring from the armed services to consider new careers building homes. 

Lewis has gone on record as saying: “Housebuilding levels are now more than double those seen in 2009 – meaning developers need more skilled workers than ever. Men and women who have served our country in our armed forces are well-equipped with the skills that the industry needs – such as opportunities in construction, civil engineering and the built environment sector.”

Now Sean Tompkins, chief executive of RICS, has backed the initiative. 


“Mass skills shortages continue to blight construction with 63 per cent of our profession  identifiying labour shortages as an obstacle to development and 40 per cent having to turn down work because of it” says Tompkins.

“Harnessing the transferable skills of some of these ex-service personnel in order to fill gaps in all of the major construction trades as well as the wider project management needs across the sector, will be vital to solving the UK’s housing shortfall” he adds.

“Finding a workable solution to the national emergency in British housing requires a supply-side revolution across all factors of supply – most notably, labour.”

  • Neil Briggs

    Good idea, assuming the armed services personnel want to do this. If the expertise is there, utilise it by all means. But Lewis should recognise that building new houses isn't enough, we need to look at ways of bringing brownfield sites and empty homes into use.

  • Fake Agent

    “Finding a workable solution to the national emergency in British housing requires a supply-side revolution across all factors of supply – most notably, labour.”

    Yes, but as Neil points out, that's not enough. We're not going to be able to build the number of houses that need to be built - the numbers are just too high and we've failed to hit our targets for decades. Last year was the lowest level of housebuilding since the 30s, that isn't going to change overnight, no matter how many ex-army personnel you recruit.

    What we need is an approach that is multi-pronged. Build more houses, yes (many more are needed), but also work to bring abandoned, derelict properties back into use and give serious consideration to whether certain brownfield sites can be regenerated. I know there are pros and cons to brownfield regeneration, but from what I've seen the pros outweigh the cons by some margin.

    Also, and I'm talking about London specifically here, do more to stop the practice of overseas investors buying up flats, apartments and houses in Prime Central London that they have no plans to ever live in. All they'll do is sit on the investment until the prices rocket again - alakazam, more money in the pocket! In the rest of Europe and Australia they make this practice as difficult as possible, can we not do something similar here?

    None of these measures are guaranteed to work, but it's gotta be better than burying our heads in the sand for the next decade.

  • Jamie  Humm

    Nice idea. Once the houses are built, we'll be there to carry out all the necessary home improvements!


Please login to comment

MovePal MovePal MovePal
sign up