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Freelance Builder Pay Trends: August 2013

News and Views | 12th August 2013

Hudson Contract delivers the most accurate indications of pay trends across the construction industry, using payroll data for over 2,200 construction companies and over 125,000 freelance builders to publish the average pay for the full spectrum of 17 different trades across five regions.

Has the UK construction industry finally reached a turning point? Or is this yet another false dawn? With confidence mounting that the economy is finally turning the corner, our latest pay stats reflect the positive trend.

For the second successive month, earnings have increased across all five regions – and in some cases, the increase is significant:

  • Up 2% – 3% in the South-East, the South-West & the North-West
  • Up 5% in the North-East
  • Up 7% in the Midlands

Comments Hudson Contract Director Ian Anfield: “I’m sure the fantastic weather has something to do with it, allowing freelance builders to work non-stop, but there is also a positive vibe across the industry as a whole.

“For example, the Markit/CIPS Construction Purchasing Managers' Index rose from 51 in June to 57 in July – any number above 50 indicates growth – and that is in line with construction firms saying they are busier than they have been for many months.”

Freelance earnings top £1,000 a week – and more

At Hudson Contract, we have seen and met some exceptionally good earners in the past few weeks. Across the board, the highest-earning freelance builders are in the South-East where they average £679 a week.

However, there are some stand-out earners elsewhere:

  • A scaffolder working on measured rates to erect and dismantle earning £1,200 per week
  • A steelfixer earning £1,250 per week on pricework
  • A washroom fit-out specialist working alone whose weekly earnings last month came to £1,300 £2,700 and £2,900
  • A roofer averaging £1,132 per week on fixed price work

“These are great examples of freelance builders seizing the opportunity to maximise their earnings in accordance with their own skills and ability to organise themselves to produce high quality construction work,” Ian Anfield observes.

“The more this happens, the more everybody wins. Projects are de-risked, production output is running on all cylinders, and both earnings and taxes are increased. It’s an excellent way to drive the country back to economic growth.”

Winners & Losers

So far as individual trades are concerned, the three biggest winners are all from the highest-growth Midlands region:

  • Specialist trades: +22%
  • Roofers:  +21%
  • Shopfitters:  +18%

And this month's losers:

  • Shopfitters in the North-East:  -19%
  • Specialist Trades in the North-West:  -11%
  • Bricklayers in the South-West:  -11%

NORTH EAST

  Last Month 3 months ago % change
Bricklaying £595.16 £ 514.83 15.60%
Civil Engineering £621.90 £ 533.85 16.49%
Demolition £454.89 £ 400.07 13.70%
Electrical £714.23 £ 701.47 1.82%
Equipment & Operator hire £656.83 £ 618.76 6.15%
Fit out by specialist trades £683.66 £ 639.27 6.94%
General Construction £595.12 £ 571.09 4.21%
Insulation £642.57 £ 628.71 2.20%
Joinery £564.05 £ 484.75 16.36%
Mechanical £661.08 £ 641.35 3.08%
Plastering £670.13 £ 612.33 9.44%
Plumbing £636.26 £ 617.58 3.02%
Roofing £524.78 £ 545.31 -3.76%
Scaffolding £466.88 £ 422.45 10.52%
Shopfitting £576.05 £ 715.38 -19.48%
Steel & Timber frame erect £729.09 £ 699.87 4.18%
Surfacing contractors £575.21 £ 506.91 13.47%
Average £609.88 £ 579.65 5.22%

NORTH WEST

  Last Month 3 months ago % change
Bricklaying £497.52 £ 456.16 9.07%
Civil Engineering £569.70 £ 543.57 4.81%
Demolition £765.35 £ 836.27 -8.48%
Electrical £721.03 £ 637.52 13.10%
Equipment & Operator hire £695.60 £ 654.04 6.35%
Fit out by specialist trades £591.02 £ 666.99 -11.39%
General Construction £562.04 £ 577.58 -2.69%
Insulation £717.77 £ 674.70 6.38%
Joinery £679.06 £ 616.42 10.16%
Mechanical £454.60 £ 408.17 11.38%
Plastering £538.56 £ 480.80 12.01%
Plumbing £634.96 £ 637.54 -0.40%
Roofing £664.72 £ 637.28 4.31%
Scaffolding £446.70 £ 408.42 9.37%
Shopfitting £847.99 £ 884.24 -4.10%
Steel & Timber frame erect £761.80 £ 686.88 10.91%
Surfacing contractors £648.51 £ 585.69 10.73%
Average £635.11 £ 611.31 3.89%

MIDLANDS

  Last Month 3 months ago % change
Bricklaying £553.71 £ 489.91 13.02%
Civil Engineering £660.84 £ 664.34 -0.53%
Demolition £557.17 £ 525.28 6.07%
Electrical £673.73 £ 657.83 2.42%
Equipment & Operator hire £640.31 £ 609.43 5.07%
Fit out by specialist trades £622.00 £ 508.88 22.23%
General Construction £638.74 £ 574.77 11.13%
Insulation £673.72 £ 616.72 9.24%
Joinery £621.84 £ 715.93 -13.14%
Mechanical £659.83 £ 585.61 12.67%
Plastering £604.04 £ 527.73 14.46%
Plumbing £601.70 £ 576.28 4.41%
Roofing £515.57 £ 427.34 20.65%
Scaffolding £611.01 £ 556.08 9.88%
Shopfitting £834.47 £ 708.97 17.70%
Steel & Timber frame erect £766.92 £ 791.33 -3.08%
Surfacing contractors £684.29 £ 631.33 8.39%
Average £642.35 £ 598.10 7.40%

SOUTH EAST

  Last Month 3 months ago % change
Bricklaying £548.53 £ 531.95 3.12%
Civil Engineering £655.76 £ 649.01 1.04%
Demolition £575.52 £ 493.21 16.69%
Electrical £822.55 £ 788.85 4.27%
Equipment & Operator hire £745.87 £ 726.12 2.72%
Fit out by specialist trades £649.87 £ 575.93 12.84%
General Construction £612.56 £ 602.35 1.70%
Insulation £713.72 £ 709.75 0.56%
Joinery £710.90 £ 708.69 0.31%
Mechanical £710.61 £ 709.47 0.16%
Plastering £654.63 £ 592.56 10.47%
Plumbing £772.19 £ 826.14 -6.53%
Roofing £607.25 £ 614.97 -1.26%
Scaffolding £648.83 £ 586.03 10.72%
Shopfitting £842.14 £ 924.47 -8.91%
Steel & Timber frame erect £608.23 £ 633.53 -3.99%
Surfacing contractors £662.20 £ 613.12 8.00%
Average £678.90 £ 663.89 2.26%

SOUTH WEST

  Last Month 3 months ago % change
Bricklaying £447.45 £ 502.66 -10.98%
Civil Engineering £579.73 £ 548.33 5.73%
Demolition £602.36 £ 514.58 17.06%
Electrical £610.68 £ 607.00 0.61%
Equipment & Operator hire £561.76 £ 552.53 1.67%
Fit out by specialist trades £664.17 £ 732.99 -9.39%
General Construction £575.61 £ 606.16 -5.04%
Insulation £637.91 £ 615.32 3.67%
Joinery £396.67 £ 386.67 2.59%
Mechanical £630.03 £ 609.14 3.43%
Plastering £562.01 £ 487.14 15.37%
Plumbing £611.28 £ 599.33 1.99%
Roofing £521.80 £ 540.44 -3.45%
Scaffolding £506.53 £ 496.59 2.00%
Shopfitting £961.05 £ 859.89 11.76%
Steel & Timber frame erect £771.15 £ 770.27 0.11%
Surfacing contractors £534.01 £ 524.62 1.79%
Average £598.48 £ 585.51 2.22%

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 over the twelve weeks to 31st July 2013.

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