Freelance Builder Pay Trends: August 2018

Freelance Builder Pay Trends: August 2018

11th September 2018 | Hudson Contract

Hudson Contract delivers the most accurate indications of pay trends across the construction industry, using payroll data for over 2,200 construction companies to publish the average pay for a spectrum of 17 different trades now split across ten regions.

August holidays – and our scorching summer – spelled time off for many subbies – with earnings more or less the same as July.  “It’s as we expected,” says Hudson Contract Managing Director Ian Anfield. 

“We all know how much weather influences construction, and August almost always means a holding pattern for earnings.  When the school holidays kick in, freelancers and smaller contractors enjoy a family break, and return to their sites refreshed and ready to push on during the autumn and then face the rush to get projects finished by Christmas.”

Even with so many away from the sites, earnings nationally have set a new all-time high of £884 a week.  “It’s only a couple of quid extra – enough to buy an ice lolly,” Ian Anfield adds.  “More significant perhaps, the weekly figure is £32 up on this time last year.  So when you take into account the harsh winter that saw earnings plummet by almost 12% in January alone, it’s been a healthy few months for construction, with earnings rising month-on-month since May.”

National Weekly Average Earnings August 2018: £884


Region August 2018 Average Change from July 2018
North East £806.00 +0.99%
North West £796.00 +1.76%
Yorkshire & Humber £834.00 +0.12%
East Midlands £885.00 +1.02%
West Midlands £951.00 +1.05%
Wales £834.00 +4.80%
East of England £925.00 -1.30%
London £880.00 +0.11%
South East £882.00 -2.27%
South West



To view our interactive pay trends map click here

Individual Trades:  National Winners and Losers:


  • Steel & Timber Frame Erection: +8.98%
    Very busy in the North-West and the East Midlands
  • Insulation: +3.14%
    Busy across all regions
  • Shopfitting: +1.60%
    All systems go on East Midlands projects


  • Demolition & Wrecking: -7.12%
    Very quiet in the South-East
  • Bricklaying: -2.86%
    Building’s traditional barometer struggling in and around London
  • Mechanical & Engineering: -2.11%
    East of England hit – but earnings still £1,000+ p.w.

On to the national picture, with the latest IHS Markit/CIPS UK Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index reporting that house building sites were particularly quiet during August, and overall growth was also down.  Commercial building led the way, while civil engineering projects continued to tail off, actually decreasing for the first time in five months, while waiting for new infrastructure projects to get underway.

Ian Anfield adds:  “As our own data shows, there was an overall loss of momentum during August, but the outlook for the future remains positive.  Construction companies are aware of the issues they face as they grow – finding flexible yet suitably skilled labour, cashflow hurdles due to late payments and of course Brexit – but they are taking these in their stride, as they always do.

“Finally, the big delay on Crossrail has come as a disappointment to millions of Londoners, and the continued work on the new Tottenham stadium has Spurs fans up in arms, but both projects spell continued work for contractors and subbies.”

Hudson Contract’s ‘Window on the Construction Industry’ gives you hard figures and data that is not available from any other source, with pay averages that reflect the amounts paid by a sample number of businesses – large and small – to specific trades during August 2018.

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