Housebuilders and subcontractors need better collaboration

Housebuilders and subcontractors need better collaboration

Better collaboration between housebuilders and subcontractors is key to solving skills crisis, suggest the latest report from the Home Building Skills Partnership.

Greater collaboration between housebuilders and their subcontractors is essential if the industry is to address its skills shortage and continue to increase output in the coming years, a new report has noted. ‘The case for collaboration in the supply chain’ goes on to say that providing subcontractors with better visibility on future work; prompt payment; and sharing training resources will help enable them to grow – and so increase industry capacity.

The report is the first major piece of work to be undertaken for the new Home Building Skills Partnership (HBSP), a pan industry body set up by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) and Home Builders Federation (HBF) in June ’16 to ensure the industry has the skills it needs to deliver.

The report is based on research conducted with 20 large UK housebuilders and 204 subcontractors, who in total employ up to 150,000 workers. It reveals that:

  • Two thirds of subcontractors want to grow through house building
  • Builders and subcontractors have mutual objectives – profitable work, positive reputations, safe and productive sites
  • 57% of subcontractors are planning to increase direct employment in the next year
  • Only 50% of subcontractors are confident they can meet house builders needs
  • Critical shortages include ground workers, plumbers, electricians, bricklayers, carpenters, plasterers, roofers and painters
  • Without greater collaboration supply chain capacity increases will be limited

The report calls for housebuilders to give greater visibility to their future pipeline of work at regional levels; to reduce the half year and year end pressures; pay promptly; make the training infrastructure they have in place available for subcontractors and consider mandating subcontractor training.

It also calls on the HBSP and CITB to take the recommendations in the report forward and develop solutions that will lead to increased cooperation and more joined-up training processes that will allow the industry to grow, and in particular, increase the number of apprentices.

Speaking at the report launch, John Tutte, chair of the HBSP said: “The industry faces a huge challenge in the years ahead as it looks to attract and train the people required to build the homes the country needs. The relationship between homebuilders and subcontractors is absolutely critical in terms of how the industry recruits and delivers and it is imperative we work more closely together. The report provides some key insight into how we can collaborate more effectively to deliver improved training processes and ultimately increase capacity. We will now work closely with industry stakeholders to act on the recommendations as part of our wider drive to tackle the skills challenge we face.”

Please click here to view the full report in more detail

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