NATIONAL SHORTAGE OF QUALIFIED QUANTITY SURVEYORS HOLDS BACK CONSTRUCTION GROWTH
In July 2013, the Government set out its long-term vision for the construction industry. The result was ‘Construction 2025’ a joint strategy between the Government and industry to put Britain at the forefront of global construction over the coming decade.
At the time the report was published, key markets for construction had seen decline – output in the private housing market had fallen by 40% and private commercial building decreased by more than 30% since 2007.
To help boost economic recovery, Construction 2025 outlined a clear set of aspirations for the UK industry, including lower costs, faster delivery, lower emissions and improvement in exports. Investment in smart construction and digital design, research and innovation and Building Information Modelling (BIM) were seen as key to ensuring the industry remained efficient and technologically advanced.
The latest RICS Construction Market Survey outlines the industry has seen a steady pace of growth with 19% of surveyors reporting their workloads have risen. However, this still represents a significant slowdown on the rate of growth that prevailed over the past three years. According to contributors to the report, private housing continues to see the strongest rise with 27% seeing their workloads rise rather than fall, followed by 16% in the commercial sector and 13% in the industrial sector. Meanwhile, activity in the public sector continues to underperform all others.
Financial constraints remain the most significant impediment to growth with planning and regulatory delays coming a close second.
Another issue is the pressing need for a skilled workforce. Construction firms must be able to recruit, retain and develop skilled, hard-working people in sufficient numbers to meet the increasing demand for construction.
The RICS report found that skills shortages have reached their highest level since 2008. 54% of firms taking part reported insufficient numbers of Quantity Surveyors and bricklayers being available to meet demand, playing a significant part in constraining growth within the construction market.
Alan Muse, RICS Director of Built Environment, said: “The UK construction market is mirroring the natural consequence of a rise in demand after five subdued years. The upsurge in housing demand is creating pressure across an industry which failed to invest in attracting new talent or in the training of existing employees at the height of the economic downturn and this in turn is creating similar effects among material supply.”
Vitruvius, which is regulated by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, was one of the first construction management companies to embrace the use of BIM on its projects. Through their combination of Project, Cost and Construction Management services, they provide a complete solution throughout the lifecycle of a construction project, working with clients to define the key business objectives of their project and then leading and managing the entire construction process from start to finish, delivering quality projects on time and on budget.
“The shortage of QS’s is critical, but there’s also a shortage of project and commercial managers and estimators. Many of our clients appoint us after running into difficulties on projects because of financial and planning control,” explains Mark Price of Vitruvius. “The industry needs to invest in training and technology to be able to meet the needs of our growing construction industry.”