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Helen Gough’s view on tackling building material and skilled worker shortages in the UK
“The scale of key material and skilled worker shortages in the UK has significant implications – a key concern being the further exacerbation of the UK’s housing crisis. We have seen that brick shortages have caused costs to skyrocket and the impact of ‘trades shortages’ including demolition contractors, bricklayers and electricians has meant that some new build projects, particularly in London, have been shelved.
“To tackle this crisis, a skilled economy is a must. There needs to be greater investment in professional and technical apprenticeships and vocational education for secondary school students, particularly in critically important and underperforming sectors such as construction. Construction needs to be seen by young people as an attractive and worthwhile profession. Focussing on short term training and filling quotas will never be sustainable methods for tackling the issue.
“We should also be debating the selection of building materials we use. Traditional construction materials such as bricks make up a large part of the British landscape but the pressures we now see on the supply chain requires us to look more closely at how we build, and the materials and construction methods with which we build including the likes of engineered timber frames, 3D printed ceramic bricks, and algae powered building to name a few.”
Helen Gough, head of Buildings & Construction, UK
(0)207 399 5161