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Freelance Builder Pay Trends: September 2015

News and Views | 15th September 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.

The era of the £1,000-a-week freelance builder is back with us – almost! 

For the first time in more than three years, there is one specific trade in one particular region where labour-only subbies earned more than they have been in a long time . . . and ended the month just a single penny away from crashing through the four-figure earnings ceiling.

. . . And the trade group is . . . Shopfitters in the South-East.

Hudson Contract Managing Director Ian Anfield comments: “In the past few months, we’ve all heard anecdotes about foreign bricklayers coming here and earning £1,000 a week. Personally, I’ve yet to meet any. By contrast, Hudson Contract’s pay data is derived from real people and genuine earnings. The nature of the trade and the retail industry’s demand for a quick turnaround means shopfitters often work unsociable hours, which is reflected in the rates they can negotiate.

“Shopfitters across the country are traditionally one of the highest earners. They briefly crossed the £1,000-a-week threshold in 2012 – and this month, demand for their services has been particularly strong, with the trade appearing in the top three in four out of the five regions – and in the North-East it is fourth.”

Top three trades & weekly earnings by region

  South-West North-East Midlands North West

South-East

1

Joinery

£843

Equipment & Op Hire

£862

Surfacing

£884

Shopfitting

£918

Shopfitting

£1,000

2

M & E

£732

Specialist Trades

£818

Shopfitting

£873

Electrical

£823

Electrical

£937

3

Shopfitting

£709

Electrical

£792

Plumbing

£850

Demolition

£767

Plumbing

£877

Ian Anfield continues: “Earnings are unquestionably buoyant - it’s been a case of across-the- board increases for the second month running. The Midlands leads the way with a six percent increase on three months ago. In the North-West and South-East, the hike is an additional four percent, while the South-West shows a more modest rise of just over one per cent.”

This month’s winners and losers…

Winners:

Demolition in the North-East: +20.7%

Plumbers in the North-West: +19.2%

Insulation in the South-East: +18.4%

Losers:

Plasterers in the North-East: -20.3%

Scaffolders in the North-West: -13.9%

Roofers in the Midlands: -11.5%

Looking at the wider picture, the mood of confidence extends to the latest Markit/CIPS survey. August’s ‘confidence index’ is up again and 95% of those surveyed bullish about the future.

There is, however, one note of caution: New data from the Office of National Statistics reveals the amount of new housing built fell in July for the first time in over two years – a statistic that has come as a surprise to many observers of the markets.

NORTH EAST

  Last Month 3 months ago % change
Bricklaying  £     691.21  £      595.33 16.11%
Civil Engineering  £     693.56  £      643.96 7.70%
Demolition  £     505.74  £      419.05 20.69%
Electrical  £     792.45  £      683.08 16.01%
Equipment & Operator hire  £     862.41  £      850.47 1.40%
Fit out by specialist trades  £     818.20  £      815.27 0.36%
General Construction  £     748.49  £      692.17 8.14%
Insulation  £     662.49  £      658.36 0.63%
Joinery  £     706.68  £      661.08 6.90%
Mechanical  £     618.68  £      651.08 -4.98%
Plastering  £     644.33  £      808.11 -20.27%
Plumbing  £     599.15  £      664.37 -9.82%
Roofing  £     635.00  £      623.88 1.78%
Scaffolding  £     546.34  £      502.69 8.68%
Shopfitting  £     783.48  £      747.16 4.86%
Steel & Timber frame erect  £     744.83  £      822.80 -9.48%
Surfacing contractors  £     755.65  £      673.37 12.22%
Average  £     694.63  £      677.19 2.58%

NORTH WEST

  Last Month 3 months ago % change
Bricklaying  £      647.85  £       572.86 13.09%
Civil Engineering  £      628.40  £       594.19 5.76%
Demolition  £      767.41  £       684.99 12.03%
Electrical  £      823.35  £       792.88 3.84%
Equipment & Operator hire  £      744.17  £       721.93 3.08%
Fit out by specialist trades  £      749.18  £       707.70 5.86%
General Construction  £      687.80  £       690.78 -0.43%
Insulation  £      750.35  £       681.43 10.11%
Joinery  £      745.04  £       705.20 5.65%
Mechanical  £      545.85  £       531.86 2.63%
Plastering  £      495.53  £       438.48 13.01%
Plumbing  £      559.96  £       469.80 19.19%
Roofing  £      744.42  £       780.83 -4.66%
Scaffolding  £      469.42  £       545.07 -13.88%
Shopfitting  £      918.42  £       937.01 -1.98%
Steel & Timber frame erect  £      598.57  £       549.73 8.88%
Surfacing contractors  £      621.14  £       654.01 -5.03%
Average  £      676.29  £       650.51 3.96%

MIDLANDS

  Last Month 3 months ago % change
Bricklaying  £     707.01  £      633.08 11.68%
Civil Engineering  £     768.94  £      698.47 10.09%
Demolition  £     805.35  £      707.33 13.86%
Electrical  £     716.11  £      702.01 2.01%
Equipment & Operator hire  £     751.82  £      659.80 13.95%
Fit out by specialist trades  £     816.16  £      778.03 4.90%
General Construction  £     730.69  £      667.18 9.52%
Insulation  £     694.68  £      644.84 7.73%
Joinery  £     741.16  £      767.47 -3.43%
Mechanical  £     807.39  £      724.72 11.41%
Plastering  £     751.90  £      688.20 9.26%
Plumbing  £     849.69  £      803.16 5.79%
Roofing  £     621.84  £      702.71 -11.51%
Scaffolding  £     618.73  £      595.06 3.98%
Shopfitting  £     873.40  £      848.83 2.89%
Steel & Timber frame erect  £     573.93  £      601.63 -4.60%
Surfacing contractors  £     884.15  £      781.03 13.20%
Average  £     747.82  £      706.09 5.91%

SOUTH EAST

  Last Month 3 months ago % change
Bricklaying  £      689.63  £       635.41 8.53%
Civil Engineering  £      724.59  £       685.49 5.70%
Demolition  £      668.69  £       635.63 5.20%
Electrical  £      937.08  £       919.39 1.92%
Equipment & Operator hire  £      835.09  £       812.74 2.75%
Fit out by specialist trades  £      669.21  £       672.40 -0.47%
General Construction  £      733.97  £       678.89 8.11%
Insulation  £      869.68  £       734.42 18.42%
Joinery  £      826.86  £       817.68 1.12%
Mechanical  £      821.71  £       761.18 7.95%
Plastering  £      665.97  £       641.46 3.82%
Plumbing  £      877.02  £       872.59 0.51%
Roofing  £      650.30  £       658.66 -1.27%
Scaffolding  £      731.84  £       706.59 3.57%
Shopfitting  £      999.99  £       952.66 4.97%
Steel & Timber frame erect  £      656.17  £       690.38 -4.96%
Surfacing contractors  £      665.51  £       613.86 8.41%
Average  £      766.08  £       734.67 4.27%

SOUTH WEST

  Last Month 3 months ago % change
Bricklaying  £      507.17  £       480.49 5.55%
Civil Engineering  £      650.18  £       613.54 5.97%
Demolition  £      618.69  £       598.61 3.35%
Electrical  £      667.56  £       689.88 -3.24%
Equipment & Operator hire  £      589.30  £       560.67 5.11%
Fit out by specialist trades  £      670.34  £       651.14 2.95%
General Construction  £      644.35  £       603.46 6.78%
Insulation  £      648.35  £       659.21 -1.65%
Joinery  £      842.71  £       746.35 12.91%
Mechanical  £      731.78  £       707.38 3.45%
Plastering  £      683.76  £       678.85 0.72%
Plumbing  £      629.20  £       635.37 -0.97%
Roofing  £      681.39  £       687.96 -0.95%
Scaffolding  £      577.68  £       632.96 -8.73%
Shopfitting  £      709.17  £       784.26 -9.57%
Steel & Timber frame erect  £      632.67  £       670.54 -5.65%
Surfacing contractors  £      584.35  £       548.38 6.56%
Average  £      651.10  £       644.06 1.09%

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 August 2015.