Scotland Director of the Federation of Master Builders (FMB)
What does it do?
The UK’s largest trade association for the construction industry
Where are you based?
What is occupying you right now?
I have been busy finalising and promoting the inaugural and free to attend Green Home Festival which has been run as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe by Construction Industry Collective Voice (CICV), a coalition of Scotland’s leading construction trade and professional bodies, with the FMB being a key member.
What are the biggest challenges you face?
Skills shortages in the construction industry continue to be a bane for builders across Scotland. With pressures in the economy also mounting, local building firms have growing concerns as their customer base looks to tighten belts. This will squeeze profit margins in the months ahead, which was reported in the FMB’s State of Trade Survey for Q2 2022.
What should be done to overcome these challenges?
The FMB and other members of the CICV will continue to work together to promote careers in the construction industry. A skilled and vibrant construction industry is essential if Scotland is to achieve its net zero target. To put it bluntly, we will need to reduce the carbon emissions from heating our homes by 95% over the next 23 years. Through improving the fabric and insulation of our homes and installing low carbon heating systems such as heat pumps, we will make great strides towards this target.
Has the Government called it right on taxes?
For our members, the key tax issue is VAT. As builders can now install certain energy efficiency products in homes and charge 0% VAT to customers, this will help. We know that VAT costs put off roughly 4 million households a year from improving their homes. Installing energy efficiency measures isn’t cheap, but with 0% VAT, customers will be able to make substantial savings and use reputable and professional builders to improve their homes.
Has Brexit impacted on your business?
Not directly, and I would add that there is a mixed view across our members on the impact of Brexit so far on the availability of labour and the construction material shortages which have hamstrung the industry for most of the past year.
Do you support a workplace parking levy?
This is one for consultation with our members, but I suspect this won’t be welcomed!
Do you use public transport?
Yes, I use the train and the tram regularly
Do you think this is the right time to be calling for an independence referendum?
I will have to dodge this question as I know there are polarised views on this matter within our membership in Scotland.
What do you drive? Is it petrol or electric? If petrol, what would make you switch?
A petrol car and yes, I would be happy to switch.
This is a new regular column providing a snapshot of opinion on topical issues.
For details on submitting entries, please contact:
URL links are added for a small fee.
Further opportunities are available via a full interview, with photography, as well as personalised columns promoting goods and services.