22nd August 2018
– Written by Michael Stephens (Trades & Labour Consultant)
How I Know
As a specialist Recruitment Consultant, I spend 45+ hours a week focusing on Trades and Labor recruitment within the East Midlands, purely for the public sector: Councils and Housing Associations. That’s a pretty niche market and it means I get to discuss with my customers many hot topics surrounding the sector.
My time is split between speaking to organisations and professionals within the industry, and I’ve picked up on a particular issue that’s becoming a concerning ‘pain-point’ among many.
What I Know
With the consistent rise in the development of social housing across the UK to support a variety of disabled and elderly residents, there’s in turn a growing waiting list for adaptions to be made. This is to transform bathrooms into safe wet rooms for the tenants of properties provided by the public sector.
The first issue is the rapidly increasing number of wet rooms needing to be installed, particularly when residents have been promised a wait of no more than 9-months. Some schemes are needed to be completed within a maximum of 3 months from when the initial application is made, to the full completed install of a watertight, walk-in bathroom.
With this ever-growing increase of wet room installs, a second concern has come to light: The chronic shortage of experienced tradesmen with the abilities to carry out the full install of these wet rooms.
Councils and Housing Associations have experienced great difficulty sourcing qualified trades professionals that can carry out all of the required plumbing works; Alongside a well-rounded multi-trade skill set which enables them to complete tiling, plastering, carpentry and most importantly, the laying of Altro safety flooring.
The growing number of properties needing the adaptions are far outweighing the number of skilled tradesmen in the industry with the relevant experience, putting a significant strain on internal teams and recruitment professionals to source the volume of professionals needed to supply the demand.
What I Think
But where’s the ownership? What’s the solution?
It’s the responsibility of us all in this industry that cares about catering for the wellbeing of the individuals who will become affected by the consequences of extended waiting times. The public sector organisations, budgets for having to outsource, overworked tradesmen and most importantly, the residents of the properties in need.
We all need to partner together to offer better training, support and guidance as a solution for the modern day multi-trade. Let’s start now.
I’d be keen to hear your thoughts.