UK tradespeople see increase in demand for energy efficiency projects
By Sarah Wood | 9th May 2022
A survey of over 1,500 tradespeople across the UK has revealed that the vast majority are optimistic on their near-term prospects.
That is partly due to increased demand from homeowners for projects designed to reduce energy consumption, offsetting the pressures they are experiencing due to rising fuel costs.
Over nine in 10 (93 per cent) respondents to the survey, carried out by Travis Perkins plc, the UK's largest supplier of building materials and equipment, believe their workloads will increase or remain the same over the next two months, while nearly two-thirds (61 per cent) expect their materials purchasing requirements to increase.
In addition, 71 per cent of respondents, who represent a snapshot of the nation's builders, electricians, plumbers, joiners and other tradespeople, are seeing an increased level of demand in the next few months from homeowners for projects designed to make their homes more energy efficient, such as improved insulation for cavity walls, lofts, walls and ceilings, as well as heat pumps and renewable energy sources.
Travis Perkins, which has stores in Gloucester, Cheltenham, Stroud, Tewkesbury, Bourton-on-the-Water, Cirencester, Moreton-in-Marsh, Cinderford, Lydney and Coleford, also found that the impact of rising petrol and diesel costs has also altered how the UK's tradespeople are operating. Eight out of 10 said they have changed how they do business. This includes passing on higher fuel costs to customers when pricing projects (39 per cent), choosing to work more locally (31 per cent) and requesting that products be delivered rather than collected (29 per cent).
Tradespeople are also increasingly turning towards technology to help them combat higher prices at the pumps, with 12 per cent saying that they are holding more virtual visits with clients instead of visiting them in person. Six per cent of those surveyed said they have decided to invest in more fuel-efficient cars, vans or lorries.
The survey is the fourth full publication of Travis Perkins' RMI Index, following the first report published in August 2020.
Nick Roberts, CEO of Travis Perkins plc, said: "Having met the challenges posed by the pandemic head-on, the resilience of the UK's tradespeople continues to be tested. They are, once again, having to adapt their businesses to deal with other challenges facing the wider economy.
"Nevertheless, they remain confident in the outlook for their businesses and, while many are having to adjust how they operate to deal with rising fuel prices, the increased demand for projects that improve the energy efficiency of the UK's housing stock is encouraging.
"With one of the oldest housing stocks in Europe, the UK's ambition of achieving net zero carbon by 2050 depends on remedial activity, which will lower the heating bills today and decarbonise our homes for the future. Along with housebuilders and developers, it is the UK's army of tradespeople who will ultimately make this happen and, as the leading partner to the UK construction sector, we are ready to work in partnership with them to help deliver this vision."
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