Understanding the UK Construction Material Shortage

Builders laying fresh concrete on site in Newry covered by Building Site insurance

Due to new tasks and plans put on hold in the past year, there are many projects currently in the pipeline for construction firms. However, while demand being high may seem like a good thing most of the time, organisations must also understand that with greater demand comes greater costs. In this case, an ongoing shortage of building materials in the UK may have a sizable impact on costs and operations.

In April, the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) added cement, aggregates and plastic products to its list of items currently in short supply in the UK. Other materials in short supply in the UK include timber, steel, insulation, roof tiles, bricks and screws. Items related to plumbing, as well as electrical products, are also on the list. In January, the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) foreshadowed the current shortage when it warned that issues stemming from unprecedented demand for roofing and timber materials had been further exacerbated by port delays.

It’s important for UK construction firms to understand that they are competing against not only their British peers, but also other organisations around the world. The CLC has expressed particular concern regarding the supply and potential resulting price of timber. According to industry experts, the UK may struggle to acquire timber from global suppliers due to other countries having expressed a willingness to pay more for it.

The high demand for construction materials is expected to continue throughout the rest of 2021, and the supply shortage may continue to get worse in the months to come. As a result of the shortage, construction firms should consider planning further ahead than usual when ordering supplies.

In addition to advanced ordering, organisations may also need to adjust their allocation of financial resources. The BMF expects that prices for building materials could rise as much as 10 per cent this year, and the recent Federation of Master Builders State of Trade Survey reported that 87 per cent of builders had reported rising costs.

Many firms may already be in difficult financial situations, so planning appropriately and being as thorough as possible when making purchasing decisions is of paramount importance. For more information, contact us today.