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Freelance Builder Pay Trends: April 2016

News and Views | 12th May 2016

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 across five regions.

The sun’s been shining – has summer arrived early this year? – but there’s something of a cloud hanging over the construction industry this month.  Earnings everywhere are down by over 2%, which translates to roughly £18 a week.

“A reduction is rarely good news, since it usually indicates reduced activity,” says Hudson Contract Managing Director Ian Anfield.  “But we need to take into account that Easter was early this year.  It fell at the end of March, and as construction still generally works a week in hand, many payments made at the start of April will have reflected the shorter working week.  School holidays will also have had an effect, with some freelance builders deciding to spend time with their families.  Looking ahead, with two bank holidays in May, it will probably be June before we see the true weekly figures again.”

Weekly Average Earnings, April 2016:  £796.56

Regional Averages

North-East

North-West

Midlands

South-East

South-West

£715.79

£743.66

£873.89

£856.75

£792.70

The average earnings figure takes a typical labour-only subbie back below £800 a week for the first time since January.  This month’s ‘poor relations’ include scaffolders in the North-East (£481pw) and plasterers in the North-West (£522pw).  Meanwhile, April’s ‘King of all Trades’ are shopfitters in the South-East whose weekly earnings of £1,485 indicate a regional boom in the retail trade.

The downward picture is also reflected nationally.  The latest survey from Markit/CIPS UK Construction PMI reports growth at its lowest level since July 2013, with firms saying a drop-off in new orders is due to weakening confidence in the UK economy as a whole.

Commercial building activity continues to grow, while house building is also up a little on the previous month, confirming that the slowdown is not sector-specific and changes on a monthly basis.  And while the Construction Products Association, which represents suppliers, recently downgraded its forecasts, it still expects annual growth in construction to be double the 1.8% forecast for the UK economy. 

Ian Anfield adds:  “Looking at the industry figures as a whole, construction is still going in a positive direction, just not at the levels seen one or two years ago. However, growth is still growth and there’s a feeling that once the uncertainty of the EU referendum is behind us, the green light will be given for many new projects, exactly as happened after last year’s General Election.”

This month’s key trend:  Earnings falter.  Gains made in past two months largely wiped out.

NORTH-EAST April 2016
BRICKLAYING £634.55
CIVIL ENGINEERING £641.91
DEMOLITION & WRECKING £529.87
ELECTRICAL £789.09
EQUIPMENT & OPERATOR HIRE £775.41
GENERAL CONSTRUCTION £710.26
INSULATION £702.50
JOINERY £784.13
MECHANICAL & ENGINEERING £904.09
PLASTERING £679.92
PLUMBING £625.91
ROOF COVERINGS £734.91
SCAFFOLDING & LIFTING £481.93
SHOPFITTING £825.17
SPECIALIST TRADES £780.33
STEEL & TIMBER FRAME ERECTION £803.13
SURFACING CONTRACTORS £765.24
REGIONAL AVERAGE £715.79

 

NORTH WEST April 2016
BRICKLAYING £608.77
CIVIL ENGINEERING £679.55
DEMOLITION & WRECKING £740.19
ELECTRICAL £726.68
EQUIPMENT & OPERATOR HIRE £709.45
GENERAL CONSTRUCTION £764.11
INSULATION £1,329.00
JOINERY £723.15
MECHANICAL & ENGINEERING £734.65
PLASTERING £522.50
PLUMBING £616.74
ROOF COVERINGS £779.19
SCAFFOLDING & LIFTING £510.21
SHOPFITTING £1,144.99
SPECIALIST TRADES £756.47
STEEL & TIMBER FRAME ERECTION £757.42
SURFACING CONTRACTORS £539.16
REGIONAL AVERAGE £743.66

 

MIDLANDS April 2016
BRICKLAYING £942.63
CIVIL ENGINEERING £813.53
DEMOLITION & WRECKING £784.63
ELECTRICAL £1,119.94
EQUIPMENT & OPERATOR HIRE £894.16
GENERAL CONSTRUCTION £869.78
INSULATION £643.40
JOINERY £873.29
MECHANICAL & ENGINEERING £909.43
PLASTERING £763.49
PLUMBING £1,228.11
ROOF COVERINGS £690.10
SCAFFOLDING & LIFTING £727.33
SHOPFITTING £1,316.17
SPECIALIST TRADES £875.94
STEEL & TIMBER FRAME ERECTION £676.53
SURFACING CONTRACTORS £727.74
REGIONAL AVERAGE £873.89

 

SOUTH EAST April 2016
BRICKLAYING £665.60
CIVIL ENGINEERING £704.68
DEMOLITION & WRECKING £1,024.83
ELECTRICAL £1,149.22
EQUIPMENT & OPERATOR HIRE £802.24
GENERAL CONSTRUCTION £776.21
INSULATION £985.87
JOINERY £944.06
MECHANICAL & ENGINEERING £925.97
PLASTERING £903.50
PLUMBING £990.31
ROOF COVERINGS £663.51
SCAFFOLDING & LIFTING £853.94
SHOPFITTING £1,030.59
SPECIALIST TRADES £874.68
STEEL & TIMBER FRAME ERECTION £588.41
SURFACING CONTRACTORS £681.13
REGIONAL AVERAGE £856.75

 

SOUTH WEST April 2016
BRICKLAYING £610.67
CIVIL ENGINEERING £645.17
DEMOLITION & WRECKING £1,327.07
ELECTRICAL £642.60
EQUIPMENT & OPERATOR HIRE £603.65
GENERAL CONSTRUCTION £783.93
INSULATION £600.18
JOINERY £1,079.30
MECHANICAL & ENGINEERING £773.08
PLASTERING £672.03
PLUMBING £770.22
ROOF COVERINGS £673.00
SCAFFOLDING & LIFTING £675.92
SHOPFITTING £1,485.65
SPECIALIST TRADES £829.49
STEEL & TIMBER FRAME ERECTION £608.95
SURFACING CONTRACTORS £694.90
REGIONAL AVERAGE £792.70

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 April 2016.

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