Belfast Telegraph

Plumbers and roofers in short supply as construction firms face skills shortage

The skills shortage hitting construction firms has spread beyond bricklayers and carpenters to other trades including plumbing and roofing, a study shows.

Firms are also reporting difficulty hiring electricians and plasterers, said the Federation of Master Builders.

A survey of more than 230 smaller construction companies found that half were having problems finding roofers.

Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB, said: "We've been experiencing a severe shortage of bricklayers and carpenters for quite some time.

"These latest statistics show that skills shortages are now seeping into other key trades such as roofers and plumbers.

"Of the 15 key trades and occupations we monitor, 40% show skills shortages at their highest point since we started to feel the effects of the skills crisis in 2013, when the industry bounced back post-downturn.

"This growing skills deficit is driving up costs for small firms and simultaneously adding to the pressure being felt by soaring material prices linked to the weaker pound."