75% of UK construction trade is positive about next 6 months

Almost three quarters (73%) of tradespeople are optimistic about the amount of work in the pipeline over the next six months, according to a survey of 650 tradespeople.

69% of tradespeople said they were expecting either more work (24%) or the same amount of work (45%) in the next six months compared to normal, as UK homeowners appear to become more willing to allow tradespeople back into their homes.

Homeowners were also polled as part of the study, which was commissioned by national builders' merchant Jewson. Just over half (51%) of UK homeowners admitting to doing more DIY than usual in the last six months, having spent more time in the home during the lockdown.

Jewson predicts that as restrictions continue to ease and more people head back to offices and workplaces, DIY work carried out by homeowners will be passed back to the professionals. The study found that while more than half (51%) of homeowners have completed more of the work themselves than they would have done pre-lockdown, in the longer term only 15% intend to do this. The majority (85%) stated that they’d use a tradesperson to complete the same amount of work or more, compared to before the coronavirus pandemic.

While unemployment is significantly up, holidaying is expected to centre on trips in the UK or on staycations', potentially leaving extra money in people's pockets. The survey bears out that idea that there will be extra money in people's cockets - 77% of UK homeowners are planning to carry out work to their homes in the next 6 to 12 months.

The UK government have discussed measures designed to boost the construction sector as the nation strives to recover from the pandemic lockdown. Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a £3 billion green construction package in July, and the government has signalled "radical" planning system reforms, which have themselves caused some concerns, initially at least.

Customer Director at Jewson, Andrew Cushing, said: “We’ve made it clear since the outset of lockdown just how essential the building industry is, and have done our utmost to ensure our customers – a lot of whom are self-employed – can remain on the tools and get the materials they need.

“We’ve implemented a number of changes across our branches to keep both our colleagues and customers safe while allowing tradespeople to get materials and continue to operate ‘business as usual’. This has been supported by the launch of our new e-commerce website and the introduction of both click and collect and click and deliver to make our customers’ lives that bit easier. Not only that, but we’ve recently launched a series of online learning sessions called Toolkit Talks, with a focus on helping our customers upskill and plan ahead for the months to come.

“We’re delighted that the outlook is positive for the trade, long may that continue, and we look forward to helping our customers grow their businesses.”

The survey was carried out by Jewson across June and July, in collaboration with market research agency Two Ears One Mouth Ltd.