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27,000 construction projects under threat from skills shortages

Up to 27,000 construction projects could be at risk by 2019 as the industry’s skills shortage worsens.

A survey from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) predicts that 54 per cent of businesses in the surveying sector will be turning down work due to a lack of skills by 2019.

This will amount to around 27,000 projects being turned down.

The shortage is already having an effect among surveyors, with 85 per cent of the those questioned saying that a lack of qualified candidates meant they had problems recruiting during 2014.

At present, 43 per cent of surveying firms currently turn down new business opportunities due to a lack of skilled workers, with each firm passing up an average of five contracts per year.

RICS data suggests that the number of firms turning down work will grow by 11 percentage points in the next four years.

Commenting on the data, Alan Muse, director of built environment professional groups at RICS, said: “Surveyors play a pivotal role in the delivery of every construction project.

“Simply put, without surveyors, things don’t get built.

“That’s why our research is worrying: if so many firms are turning down work due to a lack of available talent, demand for skills will soon far outstrip the supply.

“For many companies, that time is already here, but the next few years look like a real tipping point – construction as an industry looks set to grow, but at this rate it’s very unlikely that we’ll have the capacity or the capability to fulfil planned projects.”

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