The annual Lloyds Bank house building report, which surveys house builders and their supply chain, found that 68% of firms are already investing in modular housing techniques and 56% reported investing in panelised systems. Investment in new building techniques has increased year-on-year from 20% of current annual turnover to 24% over five years.
It is understood drivers for the move include improved efficiency, ease of build, better construction standards and increased margins.
The research found that optimism about the future of the house-building industry remained positive although it had dropped to a score of 6.9 out of a maximum possible 10 compared to 7.2 in the previous survey.
Growth ambitions also remain strong, with the sector collectively anticipating growth of 29% of current business turnover over the next five years, up from 28% last year. House-builders expected to invest 31% of their current annual turnover back into their business over the next five years, the survey found, still historically high but down slightly from 35% in the last report.
The report also questioned builders about the labour market and 31% said there was a skills shortage at a national level. Half of respondents cited the UK’s exit from the EU as worsening the skills shortage. It is understood that almost seven out of 10 firms are investing in staff training but only 51% have apprenticeship programs.
Stewart Baseley, executive chairman of the Home Builders Federation reportedly said that despite unprecedented output in recent years, the UK industry faced significant challenges in meeting the country’s housing demand. House-builders were feeling the need to invest significantly to ensure the industry had capacity and skills to deliver even more, high quality homes.■