The Construction Leadership Council’s product availability work group has warned of worsening construction material shortages. Global demand, and global logistics issues is at the core of the current problem.
Timber supplies are badly affected with demand exceeding production where higher prices in other markets pushes the UK to the back of the queue. Steel is in great demand and prices are expected to continue to increase. Other material issues are expected to run for 2-3 months extending lead times and pushing prices up.
Current global issues, exacerbated by container logistics and the blockage of the Suez canal are layered on the UK specific Brexit trade issue.
The CLC message is clear and may well be something to be factored in by clients and their funders at an early stage of a project. Advance orders of long lead time or price sensitive materials are likely to become more frequent. These may be direct orders by clients, but are perhaps more likely to manifest as orders under a pre-construction agreement or a preliminary contract with a tier 1 contractor or a trade contractor with early contractor involvement a clear plus. One area that clients will be rightly cautious about, is getting locked in to an inflexible two stage approach.
While supplies of plaster and plasterboard are much improved on last year, almost every other product group is experiencing longer lead times and, as a consequence, higher prices. Plastics (PE and PP), cement and aggregates have joined existing lists of products in short supply, including timber, steel, roof tiles, bricks and imported products such as screws, fixing, plumbing items, sanitaryware, shower enclosures, electrical products and appliances.