We polled more than 800 Technical Manual readers about their 2023 plans

It doesn’t take a weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing for the building industry at the moment, but it doesn’t hurt to ask them directly either.

During the launch of Version 11 of the LABC Warranty Technical Manual, we asked readers if they would be kind enough to answer a few key questions on their plans in 2023.

Some of the results were surprising. Read on for the full rundown.

Temperature check – what do Technical Manual readers have planned for 2023?

What you told us about your plans for 2023

The volume of units you're planning to build in 2023

The first question that downloaders of the Manual were asked was how many units they planned to build in 2023.

 

We can see a bedrock of responses in self-build and lower-unit builders, which wouldn’t surprise anyone that handles our incoming enquiries – interest in those builds is often higher than others.

There’s a big jump down to the 11-51 bracket, and then a steady decline in expected units, until the tail wags a little at the end for the larger-unit builders.

 

What type of homes you expect to build in 2023

Of the respondents who did indicate they would be committing to 500+ new units this year, 44% were in the high-rise sector.

 

It should come as little surprise that self-build homes dominated 90% of the self-build and bespoke categories, given both sectors are disposed to lower numbers of units.

By sheer volume alone, low-volume builders dominated the open market field, but we can look past that - 22% of that open market builders said they’d be building a relatively modest 11-50 homes a year.  

From the respondents indicating that they would build between 51 and 250 units this year, 56% said they would be building social housing. Open market, meanwhile, only comprised 8% in a similar unit volume.

In our separate article about the respondents that plan to build more this year (more on that below), we also note that around a quarter of respondents building less units this year have designs on the open market sector. 

 

Is that figure more or less than last year?

Surprisingly, a healthy majority of our respondents indicated that they were planning to build more housing this year than last, despite the current pall of gloom overhanging the sector.

 

 

For more information on just who these optimists are, you can visit our corresponding blog here that explores more on the answer to this question.

 

The biggest challenge you expect 2023 to hold

Perhaps most surprising in the responses to this question is that materials shortages pulls up the rear, dead last.

2022 was littered with headlines about the construction industry struggling to procure everything they needed to keep sites going, but the survey here indicates it falls well behind other concerns for construction.

Inflation and wider economic struggles are the big leaders, overtaking the majority of the responses, while labour shortages come in third.

 

 

Biggest challenges against type of build

When we lay the challenges out against the type of schemes planned for 2023, we see some new patterns emerge.

Inflation comes in as a significant concern for one-off and self-builders. It wouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone to see inflation impacting someone financing their own new-build home, with no immediate customer to pass costs on to.

High-rise, also, with the huge commitment of cost, time, and resources, sees inflation as a serious concern. 

 

For all of these areas, the wider economic picture is a serious concern. This is understandable, given that wider picture will have serious impacts on not just the ability for developers to finance new building, but for buyers to secure and afford mortgages. 

 

What’s most important to you in a warranty provider?

Respondents to our poll indicated that the one element they’re most interested in when it comes to choosing their structural warranty provider is technical expertise.

 

This is an extremely reassuring answer for the LABC Warranty team. Technical expertise is a cornerstone of the service that LABC Warranty offers to our customers.

It’s why we maintain a large selection of technical knowledge articles, why we take such huge pride in the value that our Technical Manual brings to the wider world of building, and why our Risk Management Surveyors bring so much value to the sites we cover. 

 

LABC Warranty’s biggest strength by scheme type

When we spread our data out across the different type of builds that LABC Warranty covers, we see that technical expertise still survives as the leading strength factor. 

 

Given how much inflation weighed on the minds of our respondents in the survey, it may be surprising to see that price doesn’t dominate the minds of our customers when choosing their warranty regardless of the type of builds they prioritise. 

 

Where this data comes from

This data was assembled from January 27 to February 11, 2023. It was taken from visitors to the LABC Warranty website that downloaded the latest edition of our Technical Manual – we asked them to complete a short poll during the download process.

At the time of writing, more than 863 visitors had filled out a survey response, and their answers have been collated here for you in this article.

Who the respondents are

Of the website visitors that submitted a poll while downloading the latest Technical Manual, and to whom we can attribute an email address, around 34% were house builders or developers. A further 32% were designers or architects.

8% were self-builders, 8% were building control providers, 6% were social housing providers, and the remaining percentages are comprised of consultants, contractors, and other construction-adjacent roles, with some home owners in the mix.

 

This doesn’t reflect every user that downloaded a copy of the Manual – users who actively deny cookies, or who skipped the poll entirely, won’t be reflected in results that can be attributed to known users.

We should also acknowledge that readers of the Technical Manual, particularly ones that rushed to download the latest edition straight away, will be more likely to have some prior relationship with LABC Warranty, which have affected their answers.

This could skew our data – in particular, how they’d see the strengths of LABC Warranty’s services and what’s most important to them in a warranty provider.

 

The limits of this data and what to do next

This survey is intended only to be a quick temperature check, sticking our finger in the air to see which way the wind is blowing for our readers, and how hard.

If you do have any plans to build this year, whether it’s more or less housing than 2022, we recommend getting in touch as soon as possible.

Whether you’re planning your first self-build or a high-rise, make LABC Warranty’s Technical Manual your first port of call. The earlier we talk, the more that LABC Warranty can do for you.

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Please Note: Every care was taken to ensure the information in this article was correct at the time of publication. Any written guidance provided does not replace the reader’s professional judgement and any construction project should comply with the relevant Building Regulations or applicable technical standards. However, for the most up to date LABC Warranty technical guidance please refer to your Risk Management Surveyor and the latest version of the LABC Warranty Technical Manual.

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