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Freelance Builder Pay Trends: May 2015

News and Views | 19th May 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.

Earnings are down in four out of Hudson Contract’s five regions this month, and the explanation can be summed up in a single word beginning with E. . .

 …No, not the election, but Easter.

With April including – for many – two bank holidays, plus school holidays, short weeks appeared to be the order of the day, with a consequent impact on earnings.

“In fact, if it weren’t for the fact that so many freelance builders are on measured rates or price work, the consequences of the bank holiday would have hit even harder,” says Hudson Contract Managing Director Ian Anfield. “And with two further bank holidays in May, it remains to be seen whether a similar pattern of 2% reductions will continue.”

This month’s winners:

  • Plasterers in the North-East: +18%
  • Steel & Timber frame erection in the South-East: +14%
  • Joiners in the South-West: +13%

And the losers:

  • Plumbers in the North-West: -19%
  • Electricians in the Midlands: - 17%
  • Shopfitters in the North-East: -15%

The bigger picture

Looking at the wider picture, Markit/CIPS UK says it believes April’s further reduction in output can be put down to uncertainties in the run-up to the election, and a temporary hold on spending – and that given the decisive result, output will soon pick up again.

“However, another reason stated for the downturn was lack of sub-contractor availability,” Ian Anfield observes.

A shortage of high quality builders is also highlighted by the latest state-of-the-trade survey from the National Specialist Contractors Council. Nearly half of their members say they have been finding it hard to recruit skilled labour, with applicants having neither the required skills nor relevant experience.

“With companies anticipating their workload will increase, the skills issue is likely to continue for some time. It’s not something you can change overnight,” Ian Anfield says. “There seems to be a particular – and continuing – shortage of bricklayers, and this could be key, with the Conservatives pledging in their manifesto to build 200,000 starter homes.”

NORTH EAST

  Last Month 3 months ago % change
Bricklaying £605.24 £532.80 13.60%
Civil Engineering £638.89 £651.08 -1.87%
Demolition £418.17 £377.08 10.90%
Electrical £616.92 £684.85 -9.92%
Equipment & Operator hire £754.54 £739.76 2.00%
Fit out by specialist trades £725.52 £696.72 4.13%
General Construction £684.87 £685.99 -0.16%
Insulation £641.65 £629.27 1.97%
Joinery £658.57 £693.02 -4.97%
Mechanical £668.50 £670.95 -0.37%
Plastering £746.98 £634.75 17.68%
Plumbing £569.25 £576.42 -1.24%
Roofing £641.02 £620.41 3.32%
Scaffolding £520.00 £509.60 2.04%
Shopfitting £677.69 £798.04 -15.08%
Steel & Timber frame erect £775.44 £703.01 10.30%
Surfacing contractors £705.65 £695.48 1.46%
Average £649.94 £641.13 1.37%

NORTH WEST

  Last Month 3 months ago % change
Bricklaying £586.81 £533.76 9.94%
Civil Engineering £579.31 £593.83 -2.45%
Demolition £681.87 £694.63 -1.84%
Electrical £754.03 £733.85 2.75%
Equipment & Operator hire £622.70 £732.58 -15.00%
Fit out by specialist trades £604.48 £644.02 -6.14%
General Construction £726.45 £688.06 5.58%
Insulation £689.10 £657.62 4.79%
Joinery £703.05 £656.12 7.15%
Mechanical £542.13 £562.47 -3.62%
Plastering £467.95 £494.59 -5.39%
Plumbing £477.15 £589.70 -19.09%
Roofing £774.38 £809.31 -4.32%
Scaffolding £506.10 £535.58 -5.50%
Shopfitting £874.02 £815.51 7.17%
Steel & Timber frame erect £749.02 £667.82 12.16%
Surfacing contractors £603.05 £573.73 5.11%
Average £643.62 £646.07 -0.38%

MIDLANDS

  Last Month 3 months ago % change
Bricklaying £618.20 £637.00 -2.95%
Civil Engineering £701.46 £747.09 -6.11%
Demolition £742.88 £775.00 -4.14%
Electrical £648.80 £782.25 -17.06%
Equipment & Operator hire £683.31 £618.93 10.40%
Fit out by specialist trades £837.48 £785.55 6.61%
General Construction £663.76 £703.42 -5.64%
Insulation £579.95 £675.67 -14.17%
Joinery £755.17 £681.97 10.73%
Mechanical £696.32 £814.27 -14.49%
Plastering £628.33 £633.63 -0.84%
Plumbing £770.13 £760.91 1.21%
Roofing £659.62 £603.41 9.32%
Scaffolding £590.42 £690.67 -14.51%
Shopfitting £861.22 £782.04 10.12%
Steel & Timber frame erect £625.75 £594.23 5.30%
Surfacing contractors £772.09 £798.72 -3.33%
Average £696.17 £710.87 -2.07%

SOUTH EAST

  Last Month 3 months ago % change
Bricklaying £645.95 £591.54 9.20%
Civil Engineering £666.37 £708.14 -5.90%
Demolition £593.97 £641.77 -7.45%
Electrical £843.30 £872.30 -3.32%
Equipment & Operator hire £794.49 £818.21 -2.90%
Fit out by specialist trades £665.11 £676.46 -1.68%
General Construction £661.55 £679.23 -2.60%
Insulation £749.58 £792.16 -5.38%
Joinery £813.06 £840.00 -3.21%
Mechanical £700.26 £774.38 -9.57%
Plastering £616.61 £621.54 -0.79%
Plumbing £849.72 £868.37 -2.15%
Roofing £610.31 £664.41 -8.14%
Scaffolding £700.61 £698.05 0.37%
Shopfitting £862.98 £836.54 3.16%
Steel & Timber frame erect £647.87 £569.92 13.68%
Surfacing contractors £628.20 £630.23 -0.32%
Average £708.82 £722.54 -1.90%

SOUTH WEST

  Last Month 3 months ago % change
Bricklaying £505.72 £473.15 6.88%
Civil Engineering £617.35 £666.88 -7.43%
Demolition £591.11 £561.88 5.20%
Electrical £678.06 £641.45 5.71%
Equipment & Operator hire £563.19 £595.81 -5.47%
Fit out by specialist trades £779.71 £769.22 1.36%
General Construction £583.16 £602.34 -3.18%
Insulation £641.92 £620.15 3.51%
Joinery £752.47 £663.18 13.46%
Mechanical £630.43 £603.49 4.46%
Plastering £614.97 £552.66 11.27%
Plumbing £633.90 £660.06 -3.96%
Roofing £718.57 £735.60 -2.32%
Scaffolding £662.38 £696.99 -4.97%
Shopfitting £839.37 £880.24 -4.64%
Steel & Timber frame erect £594.02 £687.05 -13.54%
Surfacing contractors £555.71 £605.07 -8.16%
Average £644.83 £647.95 -0.48%

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 2015.