Skills Shortage Compromises UK Housing Boom

07 January by


The UK Government is driving an increase in housebuilding with a target of 200,000 new homes a year, however according the Office for National Statistics only 152,250 were completed in 2014-15 and this in part says the FT is down to a construction skills shortage.  

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors says labour shortages in the sector are the worst for almost 20 years and at ALLEN & YORK the demand for planners, architects and surveyors far outweighs the talent available;

"the fallout from the recession and years of arrested infrastructure development has lead to a pronounced skills gap within the planning and built environment sector.  There are talent professionals out there, however there are less of them, which makes for a very competitive market." Sarah Kerr, Team Leader Planning & Built Environment at ALLEN &YORK.

The number of homes with planning permission that have yet to be built has hit a record level in England according to the FT with some 475,647 homes approved by local councils yet to be constructed, which is 25 per cent more than three years ago, according to a study commissioned by the Local Government Association.

Councils are under pressure to accelerate development and suggestions such as charging full council tax on unbuilt properties have been put forward.  However, Charles Mills, head of planning at the consultancy Daniel Watney, warned that extra council tax could prove counterproductive. “Placing an additional tax on development will not have the desired effect of speeding up development, but is likely to deter it altogether." 

Councils are also seeking to fight back against accusations by housebuilders that costs and delays in planning act as a big drag on construction. Some 25 per cent of residential planning applications were rejected in 2014, according to research by Daniel Watney.