Boris Johnson’s ‘build back greener’ requires an upgrade of existing buildings, says FMB

Brian Berry, chief executive officer of the Federation of Master Builders
Brian Berry, chief executive officer of the Federation of Master Builders

Planning reforms and an apprenticeship guarantee are welcome policies for the construction industry, but building back greener is not possible without investing in insulating our homes, said the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) in response to the Prime Minister’s statement yesterday.

Local builders and building contractors are the foundation of the construction industry and employ hundreds of thousands of people across the UK. Boosting activity in this sector through a national energy efficiency retrofit strategy will help provide local growth.

Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB, said: “A complex planning system hampers the ability of small to medium-sized (SME) housebuilders to bring forward new homes. I therefore welcome the Prime Minister’s statement of intent to radically reform this process. Builders have been concerned for years that the planning system needs updating to alleviate workloads for stretched departments but also to speed up decisions. More money for the Home Builders Fund is positive, but this must now be open to micro builders delivering five homes or fewer, often on small brownfield sites. The apprenticeship guarantee will be vital in construction where we have been experiencing a skills shortage for many years.”

Brian concluded: “It is not possible to ‘build back greener’ and better without upgrading our existing buildings, however. Heating our homes accounts for 20% of total UK carbon emissions and these buildings must be insulated as soon as possible to achieve net zero by 2050. This programme of work will also help to boost activity in the repair and maintenance building sector which has seen workload, employment levels and enquiries all fall to historic lows this year. These firms employ hundreds of thousands of people, and SMEs train 71% of apprentices in construction. They are key to the levelling up agenda and boosting regional growth.”