The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) Cymru has welcomed the Welsh government’s Self-Build Wales scheme as a “positive step forward.”
Under the scheme, the Department Bank of Wales will offer loans on pre-agreed plots that will be repayment free until the new home is mortgaged; this allows people to build their homes and cover living costs.
The Welsh government has estimated that up to £210 million will be spent on the Self-Build Wales scheme, with an initial £40 million investment from the Welsh government to be recycled.
Successful applicants for the scheme could build the homes themselves, or could also choose to use an approved builder.
The FMB, which is an influential voice in the construction sector, representing SMEs, believes that small construction companies in the country will benefit from the opportunities to build homes – opportunities that have fallen away over the last 30+ years.
Ifan Glyn, Director of FMB Cymru, said: “Significant growth in the custom and self-build market could help alleviate the housing crisis and will expand opportunities for small building firms across Wales.
“The house building market is today dominated by a small number of very large companies.
“Back in 1988, 40% of all new homes were built by small firms. Today, that figure is down to just 12%.
“The type of firms that get involved in custom self-build projects tend to be small, therefore this can provide an opportunity for small contractors to re-engage with house building.
“Self-Build Wales could play an important role in creating new sources of supply, by encouraging new entrants into the house building sector and generally boosting the health and diversity of our industry.”
It is apt that FMB Cymru has championed this scheme on what is the anniversary of Carillion’s collapse, which highlighted the perils of handing contracts to larger firms, who could then exploit the labour of smaller businesses.
Self-Build Wales puts SMEs firmly in the box seat.