NI enquiries still ‘quite strong’- FMB State of Trade Survey

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In the latest FMB State of Trade Survey for Q4 2022, new data indicates that, while the market is still busy for NI builders, this may slowdown in the coming months.

According to the survey results, more builders are reporting that although enquiry levels have been “quite strong,” enquiries have decreased from previous quarters. Workload levels have also dipped slightly as 2022 came to a close.

The Survey shows that across the UK there is a continued decline in workload and employment with significant declines in enquiries. According to FMB, this suggests that clients are less inclined to take forward new projects. Therefore, there could be a decline in work for builders during a tricky period economically.

Price rises have continued, as they did for all of 2022, with 89% of builders experiencing material cost increases and 85% of respondents expecting prices to rise in the next quarter. Material shortages and difficulties finding skilled labour are still causing job delays, but material supplies have improved throughout the course of 2022.

Gavin McGuire, Director of FMB Northern Ireland, commented, “Concerns over rising material costs and an uncertain economic picture seem to be influencing clients’ desire to commit to projects. Without a current working Executive in NI, budget promises and commitments to home building and energy-efficiency programmes have still to become reality.” 

Gavin continued, “Industry needs these pipelines of work to be clear, to invest in training and deliver the projects our communities deserve. Concerns over more attractive rates both East and South worryingly add to skills shortages as sub-contractors see work outside of NI. This is why those pipelines of work are needed quickly to rebuild confidence.”

Q4 2022 UK market conditions

• Both workload and enquiries have decreased in Q4 2022 compared to Q3 2022 on balance in all sectors.

• In terms of total enquiries, 41 % of FMB members report a decrease in Q4 compared to Q3 2022, with only 29% saying this had declined. 

• 70% of builders said they had experienced material prices increases, with 70% having to up the prices they charge.

• 15% of FMB members report an increase in the number of employees within their company’s workforce in Q4 2022, with 90% saying it had decreased. 

• Around a third of FMB members are struggling to recruit carpenters/joiners (39%), bricklayers (30%) and general labourers (30%). 


Federation of Master Builders

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