The findings were contained in a Travis Perkins plc report that helps broaden the understanding of its RMI customers, as they look to navigate an evolving construction landscape.

A survey of 863 tradespeople by Travis Perkins plc has revealed that the repair, maintenance and improvement market remains challenging, with only tentative signs of recovery.

However, there is encouragement in that over 90% of respondents, representing Travis Perkins, Keyline and Toolstation, expect their workload to increase or stay the same in the next two months.

Each quarter, Travis Perkins plc conducts the extensive survey across a range of disciplines - from general builders to plumbers, electricians and decorators - to collect insights on near term outlook, workload, material purchases and other trends.

The key findings in the sixth of the RMI Index Report Series, were:

  • Optimistic near term outlook: Majority of respondents remain optimistic about near term industry outlook with 92% of tradespeople expecting workloads to increase or remain unchanged in the coming months
  • Strengthened workload expectations: Confidence about expected workloads over the next two months has strengthened with 92% expecting workloads to increase or remain the same - up 14% from 78% in the RMI Index Report November 2022
  • Purchasing plans similarly positive: The optimism in workloads is reflected in material purchasing plans, with 93% forecasting that their materials requirements over the next two months will increase or remain the same - up 11% from 82% (November 2022)
  • Rising confidence in commercial market: Most respondents continue to see domestic repair and maintenance as the biggest driver of work for their business (73%). However, at 20%, this survey also shows a strengthening of the commercial and industrial market as a key driver – up seven per cent from 13% (November 2022)
  • Concern for lack of access to training: Rising inflation overtaken by lack of access to training as the top concern for tradespeople. Other concerns include lack of trust in climate change and the government and the cost of green products and initiatives.

“We pride ourselves in our role as partner to the entire construction industry and to do so, we need to understand what it is that makes our customers tick,” said Nick Roberts, CEO Travis Perkins plc.

“The RMI Index gives us valuable insight and plays a significant role in expanding our knowledge and understanding of an important market in which we operate.”

RMI work is worth an estimated £29 billion (2022) to the UK economy.

Travis Perkins customers were surveyed via email in April. The responses represented a significant cross section of the UK market and spanned sole traders to companies employing up to 100 staff.