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Paperwork is builders’ biggest stress, merchant research finds

Organising, sorting and finding their paperwork is one of the top sources of stress within the building trade, according to a new survey of builders and trades people.

The survey, conducted by Parker and Chandlers Building Supplies among 700 builders, revealed that almost two thirds, or 62%, of general builders struggle to keep their paperwork in order.

Almost half of respondents agree that their work vehicle frequently doubles as their office space – with receipts for building materials, bills, statements and invoices collecting on their dashboard.

A further 45% of builders do not like doing paperwork with 62% revealing that they find it difficult to allocate the time needed to keep their administration/paperwork completely up to date. Less than one fifth say they enjoy doing paperwork or the administration tasks of running their business. Unsurprisingly 70% say they prefer ‘working on the tools’ to doing admin or paperwork.

Paperwork is a job that two thirds of builders say they do ‘at the weekends or in the evening’, while 17% say they would like to be able to do this work ‘on the go’ or whenever they have a spare moment. One respondent said they work ’80 hours a week and then most evenings in the office’. Only 6% of respondents said that they employed the services of someone else to do a lot of their day-to-day admin tasks.

When asked what would make their job easier or less stressful, 80% said ‘more time’, while a third said ‘being better organised’.

75% of respondents said having ‘materials delivered to site’ made their day-to-day job more efficient, while in joint second place for almost half of all builders was ‘getting expert advice on building material options’ and ‘hiring an extra pair of hands when needed’.  Four in ten builders agreed that ordering materials online made their day-to-day easier.

Another key sources of stress mentioned was  ‘too much work’, with three quarters of respondents agreeing that this was stressful or very stressful, while eight in 10 builders revealed that ‘ambitious deadlines’ were very stressful.

In response to this Parkers, Fairalls and Chandlers Buildings Supplies have each invested in a new website and ‘paperwork portal’. This allows customers to keep all their paper work online, organised by statements, invoices, cost estimates, project plans and projects lists and this is accessible at 24/7.

Allun Pittingdale, managing director of thethree  merchant brands’ parent company, Independent Builders Merchant Group, said: “It’s not surprising that paperwork is one of the least favoured parts of a builders job. This is what prompted the development of the new online platform for customers. The aim is to make builders’ lives a little easier – it takes away much of the paperwork that consumes so much of their time.

“Housed alongside the online shop, the feedback from customers so far has been super – it is obviously a very welcome service.”

Pittingdale said: “Saving time and reducing stress is key to everyone’s well being. We’d like to think this free online service will go some way to supporting builders in this regard.”

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Fiona Russell-Horne
Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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