Home Makeovers: The True Cost? - Tonight

Homeowners planning to revamp their homes and gardens are in for a shock, the ITV Tonight Series has discovered.

Millions of us are now spending more time in our own homes than we ever thought likely.

With time on our hands and in some cases money in our pockets, there’s been a resurgence in the numbers of people investing in house refurbishments. 

But as reporter Jonathan Maitland finds out, that has led to higher prices  - both for building materials and tradespeople.

Andy Argent, who is in the middle of renovating his 3 bed detached house, explains: “At the end of day we had to pay more for some of the tradesmen to get them actually in within a month. Otherwise it was like literally a two-month waiting list.”

And builders’ merchants boss David Young says that increased demand is leading to double digit inflation in some products.

“Business is booming. Everybody wants building materials, be that trade or retail.”

We meet Samantha Golden and her builder Paul White.

Samantha has commissioned Paul to build her five bedroom dream family home.

But the project comes with a problem - quotes were given before rocketing prices hit the industry.

Now the pair are trying to keep costs down by working together.

Samantha: “I spend my whole life on the phone trying to get the prices down and it’s bedlam is the best way to describe it.’

Paul: “Sometimes we’ve been travelling 40 or 50 miles just to pick up material.”

A perfect storm has erupted, according to expert Noble Francis of the Construction Products Association.

A rapid recovery worldwide in renovations and DIY, increased numbers of savers, and a shortage of workers due partly to Brexit, have all contributed.

One of the solutions should be a new golden age of apprenticeships, according to Charlie Mullins, of Pimlico Plumbers.

He wants the Government to do more to encourage apprenticeships.

“There's a massive skills shortage. There is a massive unemployment of youngsters. They're talking the talk, but not walking the walk unfortunately.“

The Government responded: “ "We are taking action to make sure there are more high-quality training routes on offer that will help fill skill gaps and dispel the myth that a degree is the only path to success and a good job.”

Garden landscaper Karl Harrison is also having a busy time. He’s  booked up now till the New Year.

He also reports higher prices: “Prices have gone up by 25 percent. People are being forced to wait excessive amounts of time, between two and three months, to get their materials that they need for their garden renovation project.”

Home Makeovers: The True Cost? is on ITV tonight (Thursday 22nd July) at 7:30pm.

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