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A new survey among UK timber stairs manufacturers has revealed large employment ambitions for the year ahead.
In a poll of British Woodworking Federation (BWF) Stair Scheme members, 81% of respondents are expecting to create jobs within the next 12 months and of those expecting to create jobs, 55% are aiming to make 10-50 employment opportunities within their company.
As the survey suggests, members are feeling positive about the industry and are therefore motivated to plan investments. However, these hopes are quickly being supressed by the stark reality of the current construction climate. The skills shortage was identified by 73% of respondents as a constraint to the UK timber stairs market as well as cost increases and economic uncertainty.
Hannah Mansell, BWF Schemes and Technical Manager, said: “Our members seem to be very optimistic about the future of the market but obviously they have concerns. Price is continuing to be a large factor for many clients which means that quality and safety can be compromised. The current skills shortage aggravates the situation further as it is leaving more opportunities for installation issues and a lack of technical compliance on site. These are all concerns that the BWF Stair Scheme will be continuing to address in 2016.”
Given that 732 people died from falls from stairs and steps last year, it is important that stairs are of a high quality and are safe for everyone. The BWF Stair Scheme is the only accreditation and certification scheme of its kind in the UK. It was established in 2011 to raise awareness of timber stair standards, to give accreditation to high quality stair manufacturers and to improve safety. Ranging from domestic, common and fire protected common stairs, the standard expected of the manufacturers for their stairs is extremely high to ensure quality and safety.