You may have noticed that our latest blogs and discussions have been quite heavily focused on the home building industry. You might assume that construction of any type is somewhat of a dicey area to work in, and you’d be one hundred per cent correct, what with all the heavy machinery and working from heights to contend with. It follows then, that the sector has one of the highest accident and fatality rates in the UK (and arguably one of the poorest incident reporting rates). Here at Logincident, we believe that the health, safety and wellbeing of the house building workforce should be at the very core of all business operations and we’re passionate about bringing this to the fore.
With a vested interest in all things home construction, naturally, we’re avid readers of the industry-leading housebuilder magazine. What’s more, at Logincident HQ we were eagerly awaiting the release of their annual SWOT analysis; including the views of an expert panel on the strengths (S), weaknesses (W), opportunities (O) and threats (T) the house building industry currently faces.
We find a little background always helps: As well as having their pulse on fascinating industry insights, market trends, government initiatives and the like, housebuilder place themselves at the heart of the home building industry (unsurprising, given the title!). The magazine was launched seventy years ago and provides quality editorial on all the above plus planning, technical issues, regulations, product innovation and more. The magazine is at the core of their business, and is supported by a super informative, daily updated website.
What are our biggest takeaways from this year’s SWOT?
If you work in the home construction industry, or are perhaps undergoing renovations or extending your home, you’ll be in no way surprised to learn that a recurring theme in the analysis was the exponential rise in building materials coupled with material shortages. On top of that, a post-Brexit Britain exposed a skills shortage that inflicted additional threats to the industry. In a similar way, delays to planning and local government politics surrounding land were touted as the sector’s biggest weakness in 2021.
Underlying demand topped the strengths section. The government’s hugely popular stamp duty holiday that ends in September 2021 has had an undeniably positive correlation with the surge, the initiative saw buyers benefitting from as little as zero stamp duty for properties valued under £500,000.
Net zero and the government’s future home standard are finding their way to the top of many business agendas. As a result, the UK housing market’s equivalent to the space race, to build low carbon and subsequently carbon free homes has begun. Environmental factors were mentioned by the majority of expert panelists when discussing opportunities for the market to better position itself.
So, where did health and safety as well as incident reporting fit into the report? We were a little disappointed to learn that health and safety was only briefly touched upon by the industry bigwigs. The fallout after the utterly tragic Grenfell Tower fire has quite rightly resulted in more stringent fire safety guidance and regulations on cladding used in similar builds but there wasn’t any airtime given to opportunities to improve the health and safety of the workforce or minimizing risk in the home building industry in the final analysis.
How can health and safety be presented as an opportunity for the industry to grow?
Let’s be fair, with the government setting very real targets for offsetting and reducing carbon in home building by as soon as 2023, it’s completely understandable why these factors seemed to eclipse health and safety reporting as opportunities for the industry to grow and improve.
But, we know through our work that digitalised reporting can improve the bottom line of businesses through minimized risk and in turn, a decrease in workplace accidents. Safer working environments mean healthier, happier workers and healthier, happier workers take less time off sick through physical or mental injury, have better morale and are generally more efficient. A win-win don’t you think?
We understand that leaving well-established, traditional methods of health and safety incident reporting behind is a huge step but once the benefits such as streamlined, relevant data are neatly transported into the palm of your hand (or your desktop, tablet, laptop whichever you prefer!) the process will seem a lot less daunting.