Actis welcomes CITB’s £5 million funding

Actis regional director, Jemma Harris, says the CITB’s £5 million funding programme could work in tandem with an increase in off-site homes to help address the housing crisis

The Construction Industry Training Board’s (CITB’s) announcement this week that it is ploughing £5 million into helping underrepresented people move into the industry has been welcomed by insulation specialist Actis.

The CITB’s Pathways into Construction fund will help building firms train ‘hard to reach’ candidates in a bid to address the skills shortage – which is likely to become more severe after Brexit.

The cash will enable business to take on workers from five key undepresented sectors of society: women, former military personnel, young people not in education or training, the long-term unemployed and certain students.

Actis has been a long-term champion of one method of plugging the skills gap – namely increasing the percentage of off-site properties built every year.

Timber frame, factory-built homes take far less time to construct, than their brick and block counterparts, while offering equally good, if not better, thermal performance.

Actis regional director, Jemma Harris, says the CITB initiative, combined with an increase in off-site construction, will go some way towards addressing the housing crisis.

“Creating a timber frame home is around 30% faster than building in brick and block. Timber frame walls, floors and roofs, complete with electrical wiring, plumbing and insulation are built in factories at relative speed. Indeed, some insulation systems such as Actis Hybrid, which consists of insulation, vapour control layer and breather membrane, can be installed effectively with ease by someone who has had minimal training which can even be delivered via an online tutorial.

“As these three in one systems are quicker to install than traditional insulation – many builders report savings of 25% to 50% – this in turn also frees up more man hours.”

Jemma says many of the trainees taken on via the CITB programme could learn some of the ‘easier’ construction skills required to construct off-site homes, enabling those with a longer construction pedigree to address the more complex aspects.