World News

Industry news and insights from Europe and around the World

UK News

Latest news and developments in the United Kingdom


Keep up-to-date with the latest new products and technology


General articles, applications and industry analysis

Contractors facing “major challenges”

UK: Building services contractors are said to be facing major challenges due to a combination of rising labour and material costs, growing lead times, shortage of equipment and delivery delays.

There is a particular shortage of m&e engineers, pipe fitters, plumbers, and service technicians, according to BESA members responding to the quarterly survey, which is carried out in partnership with the Electrical Contractors Association (ECA), the Scottish Electrical Trade Body (SELECT) and the Scottish and Northern Ireland Plumbing Employer’s Federation (SNIPEF).

The survey, which covered the three months from April to June and asked business owners to look ahead at their prospects for the rest of the year, found that small firms are facing particular challenges.

Many respondents said they expected the situation to get worse before it gets better, although 80% said they expected to see growing or stable turnover levels through to the end of the year.

Problems recruiting the staff needed to keep projects going was reported by 41% of respondents. 66% expected the situation to deteriorate during the current quarter and 13% expected the situation to remain the same. However, 32% of survey respondents did say they expected to see some improvement before the end of the year.

One fallout from the current crisis is that many businesses will employ fewer direct staff, agency workers and apprentices over the next six months despite the urgent need to increase the flow of skilled people into the industry.

“That is probably the most worrying message from the survey,” said BESA’s director of legal and commercial Debbie Petford. “We already have a serious skills shortage across construction and related sectors like building engineering, but it seems some employers are reacting by pulling in their recruitment horns.

“This will only serve to build up longer term shortages. Without a large enough and suitably skilled workforce we will not be able to deliver on the government’s decarbonisation plans or keep the economic recovery on track. This is a global issue and I hope it will be high on the agenda at next month’s COP26 climate conference in Glasgow,” she added.

Latest News

4th March 2024

UK adds 8,000 heat pump installers in 2023

UK: The number of qualified heat pump installers in the UK grew by nearly 8,000 last year, a 166% increase on 2022.
3rd March 2024

Green Skills Hub opens in Stockport

UK: A new Green Skills Hub has opened its doors at Stockport College in a bid to tackle the UK’s green skills gap.
2nd March 2024

Creating an alternative showcase

UK: A relocation to new premises by UK Alternative Energy Ltd has enabled the Lincoln-based renewable energy specialist to incorporate heat pumps, solar PV and battery storage solutions.
1st March 2024

Heat pump grant requests up 39%

UK: Applications for the UK’s boiler upgrade scheme in January were up 39% on January last year, according to figures from the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero.
1st March 2024

Bitzer to launch new hydrocarbon compressors

GERMANY: Bitzer is to expand its range of compressors with new models for use with hydrocarbon refrigerants.
29th February 2024

BESA backing for WorldSkills UK

UK:The Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) is organising the refrigeration and air conditioning (RAC) category of the WorldSkills UK competition.