You are here: Home / News & Resources / Freelance Builder Pay Trends: March 2015

Freelance Builder Pay Trends: March 2015

News and Views | 17th March 2015

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 the full spectrum of 17 different trades across five regions.

Inconsistent. In a word, that sums up this month’s pay statistics. It’s rare that no one trade is either up or down in all regions, but that’s what’s happening – and the most logical explanation is the uncertainties of the upcoming general election.

“Nationally, the picture is one of continued optimism,” Hudson Contract Managing Director Ian Anfield observes. Confidence remains high, due to the improving economy. But I think the uncertainties surrounding the outcome of the election are prompting many organisations to put their spending plans on temporary hold.”

Across the UK, February saw the sharpest expansion of construction activity since last October, according to the Markit/CIPS monthly survey. All three areas, civil engineering, commercial and residential showed increases with residential especially strong.

So far as freelance builders engaged by Hudson Contract are concerned, average weekly earnings in the North-East, Midlands and the South-East rose by at least one percent, with small falls in the North-West and South-West. As always, there are bigger fluctuations for individual trades:

This month’s winners:

  • Scaffolders in the North-West: +20%
  • Roofers in the Midlands: +16%
  • Joiners in the South-West: +16%

And the losers:

  • Specialist Trades in the South-West: -17%
  • Shopfitters in the North-West: -14%
  • Specialist Trades in the North-East: -11% 

Reports of the £1,000-a-week bricklayer…

Bricklaying, the general barometer of the industry, remains something of a mystery. We are seeing ongoing media reports about a skills shortage – and our own clients say the same thing.

In the London area, earnings of £1,000-a-week are not inconceivable. Yet our own pay stats our show only £654, which is 6% higher than three months ago.

How come? Here’s our take on what’s happening:

  • Our South-East region covers not only London but also surrounding counties such as Kent and Essex, Surrey, where these premium rates are probably not be available
  • Bricklayer contracts are coming in with day rates of £170/180 but hod carrier rates are considerably lower – between £90 and £125 per day – and both are categorised under bricklaying in our statistics
  • Given the demand high for skilled brickies, those who are self-employed are working where the money is, and some of the earnings processed by Hudson Contract are for part weeks.

“One of our clients currently working in London tells us the going day rate for a basic, time-served bricklayer is £170,” says Ian Anfield. “But he’s having to pay over £200 a day to get the quality his clients demand – and even then, the choice is limited.

“With the latest Construction Trade Survey reporting that 70% of firms had difficulties recruiting bricklayers during the final quarter of 2014 the problem will only intensify, so Hudson Contract is doing its bit by supporting five bricklaying students via our ongoing apprenticeship scheme.”

NORTH EAST

  Last Month 3 months ago % change
Bricklaying £608.43 £580.71 4.77%
Civil Engineering £672.33 £651.76 3.16%
Demolition £439.77 £424.97 3.48%
Electrical £857.33 £791.56 8.31%
Equipment & Operator hire £718.63 £702.91 2.24%
Fit out by specialist trades £692.98 £775.44 -10.63%
General Construction £700.07 £715.99 -2.22%
Insulation £652.97 £641.39 1.81%
Joinery £648.84 £667.47 -2.79%
Mechanical £659.08 £678.08 -2.80%
Plastering £724.93 £717.09 1.09%
Plumbing £623.71 £626.66 -0.47%
Roofing £669.46 £682.68 -1.94%
Scaffolding £551.37 £591.65 -6.81%
Shopfitting £729.47 £668.07 9.19%
Steel & Timber frame erect £759.29 £703.52 7.93%
Surfacing contractors £638.08 £586.66 8.76%
Average £667.46 £659.21 1.25%

NORTH WEST

  Last Month 3 months ago % change
Bricklaying £564.10 £588.96 -4.22%
Civil Engineering £609.33 £596.43 2.16%
Demolition £718.60 £755.59 -4.90%
Electrical £749.66 £802.64 -6.60%
Equipment & Operator hire £698.08 £770.49 -9.40%
Fit out by specialist trades £658.19 £622.97 5.65%
General Construction £725.15 £682.57 6.24%
Insulation £643.23 £698.86 -7.96%
Joinery £659.63 £680.80 -3.11%
Mechanical £538.47 £496.83 8.38%
Plastering £466.91 £491.16 -4.94%
Plumbing £573.88 £534.10 7.45%
Roofing £739.22 £762.98 -3.11%
Scaffolding £530.52 £441.55 20.15%
Shopfitting £840.48 £979.59 -14.20%
Steel & Timber frame erect £556.13 £547.76 1.53%
Surfacing contractors £598.64 £598.23 0.07%
Average £639.42 £650.09 -1.64%

MIDLANDS

  Last Month 3 months ago % change
Bricklaying £629.69 £643.45 -2.14%
Civil Engineering £735.67 £733.23 0.33%
Demolition £769.40 £755.95 1.78%
Electrical £719.04 £737.98 -2.57%
Equipment & Operator hire £669.88 £618.91 8.24%
Fit out by specialist trades £802.10 £776.83 3.25%
General Construction £701.99 £702.13 -0.02%
Insulation £651.47 £683.03 -4.62%
Joinery £700.31 £717.58 -2.41%
Mechanical £779.38 £723.44 7.73%
Plastering £650.34 £627.74 3.60%
Plumbing £792.51 £715.56 10.75%
Roofing £641.55 £551.43 16.34%
Scaffolding £667.43 £674.05 -0.98%
Shopfitting £785.39 £882.42 -11.00%
Steel & Timber frame erect £594.29 £664.21 -10.53%
Surfacing contractors £791.54 £736.55 7.47%
Average £710.70 £702.62 1.15%

SOUTH EAST

  Last Month 3 months ago % change
Bricklaying £654.04 £616.93 6.02%
Civil Engineering £721.23 £717.75 0.48%
Demolition £637.00 £595.82 6.91%
Electrical £943.83 £891.99 5.81%
Equipment & Operator hire £807.38 £788.40 2.41%
Fit out by specialist trades £687.76 £743.95 -7.55%
General Construction £697.46 £672.68 3.68%
Insulation £790.81 £776.29 1.87%
Joinery £880.87 £893.62 -1.43%
Mechanical £780.66 £755.15 3.38%
Plastering £681.35 £617.47 10.35%
Plumbing £927.51 £898.22 3.26%
Roofing £633.23 £667.70 -5.16%
Scaffolding £725.35 £721.50 0.53%
Shopfitting £816.08 £808.82 0.90%
Steel & Timber frame erect £613.16 £622.35 -1.48%
Surfacing contractors £682.76 £694.62 -1.71%
Average £745.91 £734.31 1.58%

SOUTH WEST

  Last Month 3 months ago % change
Bricklaying £461.47 £487.33 -5.31%
Civil Engineering £658.28 £682.36 -3.53%
Demolition £641.46 £651.78 -1.58%
Electrical £655.10 £682.19 -3.97%
Equipment & Operator hire £601.55 £575.86 4.46%
Fit out by specialist trades £705.34 £849.20 -16.94%
General Construction £602.97 £663.37 -9.11%
Insulation £642.21 £631.98 1.62%
Joinery £749.91 £648.29 15.68%
Mechanical £686.25 £749.82 -8.48%
Plastering £596.11 £653.30 -8.75%
Plumbing £695.61 £611.47 13.76%
Roofing £717.87 £700.00 2.55%
Scaffolding £678.18 £629.29 7.77%
Shopfitting £721.55 £715.63 0.83%
Steel & Timber frame erect £758.89 £716.84 5.87%
Surfacing contractors £581.61 £583.76 -0.37%
Average £656.14 £660.73 -0.70%

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 over the twelve weeks to 28th February 2015.