The data comes from the FMB

Nearly half of FMB members report being on the path to make a loss or fall below expected margins

Nearly half of FMB member companies (44%) have reported in Q1 of 2024 that they are on course to make a loss or fall below expected margins.

Despite a moderate increase in enquiries the number remains in the negative region, reflecting similar metrics from 2010 to 2013, when the country was buffeted by austerity, according to the Trade Survey from the FMB for Q1 2024.

However, the Scottish market saw a decline in overall workloads, dropping from 7% in Q4 2023 to 14% in Q1 2024, as well as a slight decline in enquiries, with a decrease from a net change of -13% to -14% on balance.

According to the report overall UK difficulty in recruitment had declined, apart from the hiring of general labourers with 28% struggling in this area compared with 24% last quarter.

The number struggling with hiring bricklayers dropped from 35% in the previous quarter to 28% in Q1, while 33% were struggling to hire carpenters — over a third of members reported that jobs were delayed due to the difficulty in recruiting skilled workers.

The number of members reporting increase in material costs also increased from Q4 2023 to Q1 2024 from 63% to 69%, with the impact of increased outgoings leading to 65% of members increasing prices.

Over one quarter reported they were restricting hiring new staff as a consequence of increased outgoings.

Brian Berry, CEO at the FMB said: “We have seen improvements in the availability of skilled workers, with bricklayers and carpenters becoming easier to hire, and overall workloads are up by 6% on the previous quarter.

“However, with almost half of members reporting a decrease in enquiries, more than two thirds report escalating material costs, and 44% of Master Builder companies say their business is on track to fall below expected margins this year; it is adding up to a deeply alarming picture.”


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