Some 73 per cent of tradespeople are optimistic about the amount of work in the pipeline over the next six months, as the building trade recovers from the impact of the nationwide lockdown, according to research conducted by national builders merchant Jewson.
The results of the survey of over 650 tradespeople and homeowners echos those of Travis Perkins, whose Repair, Maintenance and Improvement Index found similarly high levels of optimism amongst its customers. This is despite the pressures that the COVID-19 pandemic has put on the industry over the last six months.
69 per cent of the tradespeople interviewed for the Jewson survey said they were expecting either more work (24 per cent) or the same amount of work (45 per cent) in the next six months compared to normal, as homeowners across the UK become more willing to allow tradespeople back into their homes.
With a lot of the UK population furloughed or working from home in the early stages of lockdown, home improvements surged, with 51 per cent of UK homeowners admitting to doing more DIY than usual in the last six months.
But, with restrictions easing across the UK and more people starting to head back to offices and workplaces, the DIY work carried out by homeowners is expected to be passed back to the professionals. While more than half (51 per cent) of homeowners have completed more of the work themselves than they would have done pre-lockdown, in the longer term only 15% intend to do this. The majority (85%) stated that they’d use a tradesperson to complete the same amount of work or more, compared to before the coronavirus pandemic.
And with much of the UK opting to stay at home this summer, the extra money in people’s pockets saved from cancelled trips abroad may be going towards home improvements – highlighted by the fact that a staggering 77 per cent of UK homeowners are planning to carry out work to their homes in the next 6 to 12 months.
Customer director at Jewson, Andrew Cushing, said: “We’ve made it clear since the outset of lockdown just how essential the building industry is, and have done our utmost to ensure our customers – a lot of whom are self-employed – can remain on the tools and get the materials they need.
“We’ve implemented a number of changes across our branches to keep both our colleagues and customers safe while allowing tradespeople to get materials and continue to operate ‘business as usual’. This has been supported by the launch of our new e-commerce website and the introduction of both click and collect and click and deliver to make our customers’ lives that bit easier. Not only that, but we’ve recently launched a series of online learning sessions called Toolkit Talks, with a focus on helping our customers upskill and plan ahead for the months to come.
“We’re delighted that the outlook is positive for the trade, long may that continue, and we look forward to helping our customers grow their businesses.”
The survey was carried out by Jewson across June and July, in collaboration with market research agency Two Ears One Mouth Ltd.