Housing to be foundation of growth for Scots construction

Housebuilding will be relied on to push the construction industry forward. Picture: Contributed
Housebuilding will be relied on to push the construction industry forward. Picture: Contributed
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Growth in Scotland’s construction industry over the next five years will be driven by housebuilding, but is expected to lag behind the UK average as concerns remain over a shortage of skilled workers, according to research published today.

The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) said in its latest Construction Skills Network forecast that public and private housing are predicted to show “sustained and solid” growth in this period at 3.6 per cent and 4.1 per cent respectively.

The report also found that repair and maintenance of existing buildings is improving, with a year-on-year average of 2.3 per cent.

These sectors will “pick up the baton” as a driver for growth from infrastructure projects set to complete by 2020, according to the CITB.

Steve Radley, the organisation’s director of policy, said: “Scottish construction has had an incredible few years, operating at record highs, with a string of major infrastructure projects delivered.

“This report shows that housebuilding will now take over as the prime driver of growth.”

The CITB also said that Scotland’s overall construction output will be 0.5 per cent per year until 2020, against a UK average of 2.5 per cent.

Scotland needs more than 21,000 new builders over the next five years while 232,000 jobs are expected to be created across the UK from new nuclear power stations and rail projects during this time.

Looking at the UK picture, Radley said: “All types of training, and especially apprenticeships, will be vital to delivering this pipeline of work.

“This positive forecast should inspire more people to start apprenticeships, and more firms to take them on.”

The report comes after it was revealed last month that confidence in the Scottish construction sector fell in the last quarter of 2015.

The Scottish Construction Monitor, carried out for trade body the Scottish Building Federation (SBF), found that industry confidence was down 13 points on the previous three months, with the SBF highlighting “continuing concerns about the unbalanced performance of the industry”.