Overcoming the construction skills and labour gap with pre-plumbed IPS panelling systems.

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With the availability of skilled workers within the construction industry at an all-time low it is more important than ever for designers and construction companies to consider progressive product innovations and construction methods available to relieve some of the pressure.

Industry skills gap.
Findings from various industry reports* warn that recruitment and skills shortages are set to overtake material supply as the construction industry’s biggest challenge in 2023. According to the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) 266,000 extra workers are needed to fill the gaps to meet demands, by 2026.

The industry has seen a 5.5% decrease in construction staff from 2019, with UK construction self-employment falling by 19.3% between 2019 Q1 and 2022 Q1. This is mainly a result of a drop in EU workers who have left the UK following Brexit and the pandemic, as well as early retirees leaving the industry. Work force recruitment has become slower and more difficult due to a lack of specialist skilled workers within the industry. With trainee numbers rapidly falling and apprenticeship numbers down, it is making it more and more difficult to recruit.

With the number of available specialist trade staff down, demand for their skills is at a premium, leading to longer lead times and higher costs for their services. This of course is having a knock on effect for construction companies, meaning higher operating costs and increased risk of losing project opportunities due to not being about to meet anticipated deadlines.

So, how can construction companies reduce these risks? The industry needs to refocus on improving productivity and look at ways of growing its own labour force to be able to keep up with demands.

One consideration is seeking out modern product innovations and construction methods. For example, pre-fabricated and modular off-site manufactured products which provide simplified designs for shorter installation times and less labour resource. This has already proven to make a positive impact. According to the ONS, construction output was 3.7 per cent higher in March 2022 than it was in February 2020, even with the declining workforce. This is believed to be due to an increase in offsite manufacturing and changes to working practices during the pandemic. With fewer people on site, jobs were actually completed quicker. Could this be the future of construction?

Pre-plumbed washroom systems.
Project managing a traditional onsite washroom installation can be a time consuming process. Sourcing and ordering individual components, coordinating deliveries, building a timber frame and then integrating the system with existing plumbing can cause an abundance of unexpected complications and delays. Not to mention coordinating and sourcing multiple labourers to undertake all of the work.

For a simple, quick and stress free washroom installation it is worth considering an Integrated Plumbing System (IPS). Installed in half the time of traditional plain panels and without the need for specialist trades, installation is simplified.

What is IPS?
Integrated Plumbing Systems (IPS), are washroom panelling systems that conceal all the mains, waste and toilet cisterns within a void behind the cubicle or wall panelling.

True IPS come complete with factory fitted sanitaryware and concealed plumbing pre-tested and pre-installed before they arrive on site. Everything is delivered as a ready-made unit, including panels, factory-fitted, fully tested sanitaryware, metal framing and associated fittings and fixings.

Not limited to toilets, IPS panels work equally with urinals, wall mounted basins, washtroughs and even showers, to provide a full solution for any kind of project, all from one supplier and with limited labour required to install.


Venesta’s precision engineered Vepps.
At Venesta we are renowned for our continuous innovation in pre-plumbed washroom systems. Bringing together cutting-edge technology and the latest in sanitaryware design, Vepps is the industry’s first precision engineered, pre-plumbed IPS panelling system and provides seven key benefits.

Reduce cost.
Proven to be more cost effective over the whole project lifecycle, Vepps reduces installation and delivery costs and allows for faster installation. With less trades needed onsite and no snagging required, the cost of additional services is limited.

Onsite speed.
The simple installation means limited tradesman requirements and is 50% faster than traditional plain panel method systems, resulting in reduced hours on the project site.

High quality.
Original specification is always met with perfect factory finish products ready and working out of the box. All elements are pre-plumbed, installed and tested at our factory eliminating the risk of faulty products, repairs and installation fault.

Low maintenance.
End users also benefit as the panel design provides hassle-free ongoing maintenance without the need to manually handle heavy panels. Protecting both wellbeing and panels from being damaged when maintenance is required.

Health & safety.
Washrooms tend to be one of the smaller spaces onsite. But with fewer tradesmen required and with manual handling reduced due to the simplicity of installing Vepps, health and safety risks are hugely reduced.

More choice.
Vepps panels are available in a multitude of materials and finishes from our full range of colours and vaneers, and customers can choose from a selection of sanitaryware from Ideal Standard, Armitage Shanks and SanCeram to configure the perfect solution.

Better for the environment.
As the panels are pre-plumbed and sanitaryware comes ready fixed our product has 90% less packaging. What’s more, any board waste left from the manufacturing process is recycled in our biomass burner which then heats our entire facility.



Vepps is suitable for all commercial washroom settings, providing an option for any and all environments, including specially designed solutions for Healthcare facilities.

Considering a pre-plumbed solution? If you need assistance with choosing from our range of IPS products our team are here to help. From specification through to project completion we can guide you and provide useful suggestions for your project and budget requirements.

In the meantime, you can find out more about Vepps here or visit our Technical Library to download brochures, CAD blocks and BIM files.

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