Earlier this month, Advantage wrote that the vaccine rollout is expected to drive a 14% rise in construction this year (according to the Construction Products Association).
However, with demand within the sector high, the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF), has reported this week that shortage of construction products including roofing materials and timber is starting to impact on the building industry.
The BMF (whose members represent a £38 billion slice of the construction industry supply chain) has received reports of August availability for some roofing products, while timber prices are surging by an average of 20 per cent.
Factors including high demand, coupled with escalating prices for shipping and delays at some British ports, are having a major impact.
Exceptional demand for building materials since the last lockdown
John Newcomb is chief executive of the BMF and co-chair of the Construction Leadership Council’s Brexit Movement of Building Products and Materials Group.
He said: “We’ve had a report of a merchant being quoted as far ahead as August availability for some roofing products, particularly pitched roof tiles. We are also facing significant issues with timber supplies.
“Merchants have seen an exceptional demand for building materials since the first lockdown.
“In November we saw an average growth of nine per cent across our membership compared to the same time last year.”
Growth in demand “could be double digits, and that’s unprecedented”
John Newcomb said: “Looking at December’s figures, we are predicting that growth could be double digits, and that’s unprecedented.
“We know a number of roof tile manufacturers are taking extensive steps to meet this exceptional demand.
“Through the Construction Leadership Council, we are also working together with Government to address the issues we face, but it’s a complex situation with many different factors leading us into this position.”
The BMF is also looking into the massive surge in costs of building products shipped in containers from the Far East.
Mr Newcomb added:
“As we reported late last year, we continue to see issues with the availability of products imported in containers, mainly from the Far East, such as screws and fixings, tools, plumbing items, bathroom suites and shower enclosures.
“Since then, the situation has only got worse. Our members manufacture 76 per cent of building products in the UK. However, we need to ensure access to these goods from around the world, to keep the industry running.”
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