Home improvement in need of repair

A national retrofit strategy is needed to boost the domestic repair and maintenance sector in construction, according to the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), in response to the latest construction ONS data published today that shows a 3% decline in private housing repair and maintenance.

Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB, said: “Homeowners are holding off upgrading and improving their homes due to political and economic uncertainty. The increase in construction output seen in Q3 masks the fact that the repair and maintenance sector has contracted, the bread and butter sector of the construction industry, and one which keeps thousands of builders active and in work.

“This contraction in the private domestic sector even led to a fall in output in September, compared to the previous month. The UK has some of the oldest housing stock in Europe, that urgently needs upgrading. At a time when the government has set an ambitious target of net zero carbon by 2050, we need to be rolling out energy efficiency measures across our existing housing stock, full steam ahead. The uncertainty is holding us back.

“In order to boost consumer confidence, the new government must create a national retrofit strategy that sets out how to encourage homeowners to upgrade England’s housing stock to the highest levels of energy efficiency. This will not only help reach the 2050 target, but will also address the scourge of fuel poverty which puts a strain on our educational institutions and the NHS. We need to urgently reverse the decline in the repair and maintenance sector which keeps so many builders active in the industry.”