A Decade of Change in House Building

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

New report predicts the construction industry's skills and knowledge needs to 2020

A new report presented to the 2016 Zero Carbon Task Force predicts the future of housebuilding and calls for an urgent upskilling for all parts of the new homes industry to deal with a decade of change.

Home Building Skills 2020 is a joint initiative between NHBC, Zero Carbon Hub and ConstructionSkills, supported by the Home Builders Federation. It was set up 18 months ago to investigate the likely changes affecting the new homes industry and to advise on how the various professional, trade and technical roles should prepare in terms of training and qualifications.

Following a year of research and consultation, the Home Building Skills report sets out a series of scenarios predicting the future of home building up to 2020.

Based on these scenarios, checklists have been drafted for eight key roles in the home building supply chain - from architects and planners to product suppliers, specialist trades and inspectors - outlining the likely core skills and knowledge that each role will require, and their Continuing Professional Development (CPD) needs for the future.

The report calls for the industry to unite in defining and confronting the knowledge gaps that could hinder progress towards zero carbon homes and the other significant changes on the horizon.

NHBC, Zero Carbon Hub and ConstructionSkills are also pledging to launch a new online portal next year to help signpost employers and others to the training providers, colleges and universities that offer courses and qualifications to meet the industry's future skills and knowledge needs.

Home Building Skills 2020 - report and recommendations' is available as a PDF download from www.homebuilding-skills.com

Mark Farrar, Chief Executive, ConstructionSkills - "There still needs to be a quantum leap in the home building industry's response to the likely challenges of the next 10 years. The single most important thing home builders and their advisors and supply chain can do is to ensure adequate awareness and understanding of these challenges at the highest level. We only have a short time to prepare."

Neil Jefferson, Chief Executive, Zero Carbon Hub - "The home building industry is no stranger to change, but the pace of change is certainly increasing. The issue is not anymore about where the labour will come from. The key question for the future will be how well the entire team understands which building methods, technologies and combinations of choices are available and how to build low and zero carbon homes in a way that minimises risk to themselves and future owners and occupiers."

Imtiaz Farookhi, Chief Executive, NHBC - "We estimate there may be 10,000 training providers to the UK home building industry. It's a complex and confusing market. Our portal will cut through this - it's being built to help the whole industry to identify the best areas to develop future skills and knowledge and to signpost them to relevant learning providers. We need all training providers, colleges and universities to get involved as quickly as possible."


1. Scenarios published in the Home Building Skills report are based on the views of hundreds of experts and consultees from within the industry, including those already building low carbon homes. They provide a 'best guess' snapshot of what home building will be like in the UK for the milestone years of 2010, 2013, 2016 and 2020.

2. Skills checklists are based on these scenarios and will be published on the new online portal in early 2011 for 8 key groups involved in the design and delivery of new homes:

  • Designers and architects
  • Planners
  • Specifiers, Quantity Surveyors and Buyers
  • Product supply chain (manufacturers, suppliers and distributors)
  • Site Managers
  • On-site trades (bricklayers, joiners and other fabric trades, as well as specialist trades such as roofers, floorers etc)
  • Other trades (M&E, heating and ventilation, electrical etc)
  • Building Control and site inspection

3. The online portal will provide a one-stop-shop where people and organisations can easily establish what training support they need and where to find it. The portal will be established by NHBC, Zero Carbon Hub and ConstructionSkills for launch early next year:

  • Employers will use it as a route to learning provision for their staff;
  • New entrants will use it to source the best courses and qualifications for long-term career security;
  • Learning providers will use it as a marketing route direct to the home building industry.

4. Any learning provider or other organisation interested in participating in the work of the Home Building Skills initiative should contact Rob Lockey at the NHBC on rlockey@nhbc.co.uk

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