Filling the Construction Labour Shortage Gap | International Timber

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Labour shortages are the #1 issue currently facing the construction industry. Our offsite solutions help bridge the gap by improving project efficiency.

How can we help fill the construction labour shortage gap?

The UK is facing an employment crisis. As recently reported by The Week, labour shortages are “the most urgent problem facing the UK economy” today – spanning all industries and sectors.

An earlier report by The Guardian back in February likened the state of the nation to the aftermath post Black Death back in the 1300s. Although this may seem a little dramatic, the parallels are similar – a virus plagues western Europe for two years, impacts the economy and reduces the workforce. Those that survived then start reevaluating their position.

Where are the labour shortages within the construction industry? 

When it comes to the construction industry specifically, availability of labour is the number one issue – as reported by the UK Construction Purchasing Managers Index (PMI). In addition, finding the right talent is also a challenge, particularly with the pace of change across the wider construction industry and the ever-growing skills gap as older, experienced workers reach retirement.

For our sector, finding joiners is becoming increasingly difficult, particularly with project delays and new project timelines. The demand for new housing is increasing at pace, and with stringent governmental targets, it’s our role to ensure that housebuilders and contractors are supported.

Ways we can bridge the labour shortage gap 

Despite these very real challenges, off-site construction can help deliver a real and lasting solution – and it is our intention to continue to offer alternative products, services and solutions that will prevent project delays and cost increases.

For example, components can be designed and manufactured in our mills to exact specifications, which enables swift assembly on site. This will, of course, alleviate the pressure on available joiners and increase cycle and completion times, making them more efficient.

And it’s not just the construction industry we can support. Many manufacturers who used to operate their own in-house mill are finding it difficult to recruit qualified machinists. Combined with increasingly substantial health and safety obligations, outsourcing their requirements to fully equipped mills like ours can help them to reallocate their team’s time.

Mouldings, components, and bespoke designs can be manufactured in small batches or as part of a large volume order; helping on-site construction teams schedule orders – and deliveries – to suit the available labour and working pattern. With fast turnaround and delivery, we can even help them maintain their just-in-time approach too.

We’ve also instigated change in our operations and processes. Our manufacturing sites are renowned for having the best mills in the UK and are now in operation seven days a week across two-shift patterns. This enables us to respond quickly and improve lead times – in short, our team is more readily available to respond.

Unfortunately, the shortage in labour, both in construction and the UK, is projected to continue, which means the construction market must seek out new ways of working. No matter the project requirement, we’re able to respond to the challenges ahead, and with our experience and expertise in manufacturing timber products we can help to ensure that labour is utilised in a more productive way.

Find out more about our machining services, or contact our team.


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