As predicted, the Beast from the East has bitten a chunk out of freelance builder earnings in February. Thousands of sites across the country were frozen for the last week of the month, impacted by arctic temperatures, travel chaos and Britain’s inability to deal with snow.
“Having said that, it could have been worse,” comments Hudson Contract Managing Director Ian Anfield. “Even in the South-West, where earnings have been most seriously affected, to be down only 6.7% per cent – £45 a week – isn’t so bad. The weather warnings were issued well in advance, and in many cases the freelancers were able to put in extra hours before and after the weather turned. As always, that’s the huge advantage of using labour-only subbies – the flexibility to put in extra hours ahead of a foreseeable event like the Beast, and avoiding the expense of having to stand down your employees when weather forces everyone to stop work.”
|Region||March 2018 Average||Change from February 2018|
|Yorkshire & Humber||£766.00||-4.31%|
|East of England||£894.00||-3.13%|
To view our interactive pay trends map click here
Despite the weather, some trades nevertheless managed to increase their earnings:
The biggest losers:
Turning to the national picture, construction output plummeted more steeply than at any time since the EU referendum in June 2016, according to the latest CIPS/IHS Markit UK Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index which dropped below the no-change threshold of 50 to 47 last month due to the weather and “woefully unprepared” supply chains.
“The general feeling in the industry is that this is just a small road bump, and everyone will bounce back once Spring is properly underway,” Ian Anfield says. “Confidence is also high among those in the M&E sector, which is really positive news, given Carillion’s collapse. And at least the problem of late payment, which forces the closure of at least 50,000 businesses a year, is now coming under official government scrutiny. Payment abuse is a key issue in construction and a major change – such as putting cash retentions in trust, which is now being mooted – would boost the sector overnight.”