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Freelance Builder Pay Trends: May 2014

News and Views | 1st May 2014

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.

Britain’s economic news continues to be encouraging, and confidence in a genuine recovery is growing. So on the face of it, the fact that this month’s earnings have plummeted – by as much as 3.5% in South-East England – comes as a surprise.

But Hudson Contract Managing Director Ian Anfield can explain. “Yes, construction is definitely bouncing back and I believe the worst is now behind us,” he says. “But now, the industry is faced with a double whammy of material shortages and rising building costs which are likely to undermine fatter order books.

“Both the Institute of Chartered Surveyors and the Federation of Master Builders have warned that concrete blocks and bricks are in short supply. I’m hearing some small house builders have been told they’ll have to wait until next year for any new orders to be fulfilled. . . presumably because large house builders are getting priority.”

In terms of individual trades, earnings for civil engineering, general construction and insulation specialists have fallen right across the country compared to three months ago.

This month’s winners

Mechanical and Engineering in the Midlands: +17%

Steel and Timber Frame Erectors in the South-West: +16%

Bricklayers in the South-West: +16%

This month’s losers

Demolition in the South-West: -18%

Plumbers in the North-West: -17%

Demolition in the North-West: -15%

Looking at the regions:

  • The North-East has been least affected by the earnings reversal, with overall rates up by 0.35%
  • Freelance builders in the South-East are still the highest earners in the country on an average of £654 a week – although that is £25 less than three months ago.
  • The Midlands isn’t far behind, with average weekly earnings of £650 in April
  • Last month in the North-West, North-East and South-West, freelance builders earned £590 - £600 a week on average.

Meanwhile, the latest Markit/CIPS survey indicates that all areas in construction output continued to grow in April, with house-building showing continuous growth for 15 months - the longest since 2006/7. Civil engineering was the hardest hit with growth slowing to rates not seen since before September 2013 – mirroring the trends seen in the Hudson Contract pay trends.

NORTH EAST

  Last Month 3 months ago % change
Bricklaying £534.67 £548.46 -2.51%
Civil Engineering £600.06 £616.53 -2.67%
Demolition £401.00 £409.80 -2.15%
Electrical £697.32 £670.11 4.06%
Equipment & Operator hire £620.72 £614.29 1.05%
Fit out by specialist trades £606.05 £624.99 -3.03%
General Construction £584.38 £599.94 -2.59%
Insulation £626.17 £641.69 -2.42%
Joinery £731.89 £667.31 9.68%
Mechanical £624.38 £671.57 -7.03%
Plastering £595.92 £573.39 3.93%
Plumbing £587.92 £620.54 -5.26%
Roofing £527.44 £529.58 -0.40%
Scaffolding £465.01 £503.94 -7.73%
Shopfitting £636.46 £570.65 11.53%
Steel & Timber frame erect £696.76 £627.17 11.10%
Surfacing contractors £533.38 £544.10 -1.97%
Average £592.33 £590.24 0.35%

NORTH WEST

  Last Month 3 months ago % change
Bricklaying £517.52 £512.20 1.04%
Civil Engineering £540.80 £601.35 -10.07%
Demolition £629.69 £743.69 -15.33%
Electrical £678.09 £650.87 4.18%
Equipment & Operator hire £602.07 £641.12 -6.09%
Fit out by specialist trades £592.89 £608.54 -2.57%
General Construction £563.91 £578.97 -2.60%
Insulation £670.95 £686.86 -2.32%
Joinery £667.24 £703.23 -5.12%
Mechanical £416.02 £437.53 -4.92%
Plastering £547.33 £561.81 -2.58%
Plumbing £548.17 £657.95 -16.69%
Roofing £647.52 £695.85 -6.95%
Scaffolding £459.07 £422.45 8.67%
Shopfitting £880.75 £835.04 5.47%
Steel & Timber frame erect £688.50 £633.82 8.63%
Surfacing contractors £553.17 £595.92 -7.17%
Average £600.22 £621.60 -3.44%

MIDLANDS

  Last Month 3 months ago % change
Bricklaying £510.70 £507.92 0.55%
Civil Engineering £656.48 £693.18 -5.29%
Demolition £665.94 £597.03 11.54%
Electrical £609.66 £638.66 -4.54%
Equipment & Operator hire £595.40 £585.71 1.65%
Fit out by specialist trades £673.47 £727.05 -7.37%
General Construction £599.08 £657.97 -8.95%
Insulation £618.39 £670.91 -7.83%
Joinery £620.10 £713.88 -13.14%
Mechanical £837.56 £716.62 16.88%
Plastering £647.17 £633.39 2.18%
Plumbing £750.65 £702.26 6.89%
Roofing £604.59 £669.01 -9.63%
Scaffolding £549.80 £565.59 -2.79%
Shopfitting £679.57 £674.43 0.76%
Steel & Timber frame erect £672.74 £783.20 -14.10%
Surfacing contractors £753.09 £683.08 10.25%
Average £649.67 £659.99 -1.56%

SOUTH EAST

  Last Month 3 months ago % change
Bricklaying £553.54 £558.05 -0.81%
Civil Engineering £638.29 £671.37 -4.93%
Demolition £536.02 £519.04 3.27%
Electrical £816.27 £866.72 -5.82%
Equipment & Operator hire £776.45 £789.63 -1.67%
Fit out by specialist trades £679.98 £662.20 2.68%
General Construction £613.28 £658.50 -6.87%
Insulation £714.64 £751.90 -4.96%
Joinery £681.70 £689.34 -1.11%
Mechanical £652.86 £751.70 -13.15%
Plastering £561.92 £585.18 -3.97%
Plumbing £720.44 £797.55 -9.67%
Roofing £618.13 £557.09 10.96%
Scaffolding £617.39 £626.20 -1.41%
Shopfitting £808.71 £835.81 -3.24%
Steel & Timber frame erect £541.17 £568.73 -4.85%
Surfacing contractors £593.19 £644.48 -7.96%
Average £654.35 £678.44 -3.55%

SOUTH WEST

  Last Month 3 months ago % change
Bricklaying £452.33 £390.09 15.96%
Civil Engineering £563.29 £595.99 -5.49%
Demolition £547.27 £667.80 -18.05%
Electrical £577.78 £628.82 -8.12%
Equipment & Operator hire £493.81 £543.68 -9.17%
Fit out by specialist trades £664.22 £779.91 -14.83%
General Construction £595.95 £632.02 -5.71%
Insulation £615.14 £627.38 -1.95%
Joinery £494.10 £444.00 11.28%
Mechanical £656.71 £620.31 5.87%
Plastering £571.30 £597.89 -4.45%
Plumbing £599.39 £638.60 -6.14%
Roofing £547.42 £565.25 -3.15%
Scaffolding £551.50 £587.33 -6.10%
Shopfitting £847.95 £784.92 8.03%
Steel & Timber frame erect £733.46 £629.89 16.44%
Surfacing contractors £502.08 £550.94 -8.87%
Average £589.04 £604.99 -2.64%

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 30th April 2014.

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