Shortage of building materials is perfect storm with prices up 40%

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Warnings about lead times for building materials and construction products including roofing materials and timber have been highlighted by may tradesmen and companies contacting nationaltradesmen.co.uk with prices for timber jumping by 20%.

Manufacturers and merchants have pushed the alarm button raised concerns about growing supply side issues in key materials for the industry.

With the Builders Merchants Federation saying that some firms had reported that they may have to wait until August 2021 for  some roofing products, while timber prices are surging by an average of 20% to 30%.

With the huge hike in steel prices 40%of reported by nationaltrdesmen.co.uk which has been hitting structural steel and ductwork contractors and builder alike.

Factors including high demand, coupled with escalating prices for shipping and delays at some British ports, are all having a major impact.

Chief executive John Newcomb of the BMF and co-chair of the Construction Leadership Council’s Brexit Movement of Building Products and Materials Group.

He commented saying that: “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”.

Lakes Showering, a family owned manufacturer and supplier of showering spaces,  bath screens and walk in showers, which imports into the UK, via the China-Europe shipping route said container prices were soaring.

Mike Tattam, Sales and marketing director, commented saying: “We are facing a perfect storm caused by a number of factors, including a shortage of containers because of unprecedented demand, ships mothballed with their containers and crew, and carriers reluctant to take bookings for the UK because of the congestion at UK ports.

“The latest development is that we’ve found the shipping companies are not even quoting contract rates, it’s all based on spot pricing, where you get what’s available at a price, on that day.

“Currently we are looking at the cost for a container of around $15,000. This time last year it was $2,100.

“We’ve even heard reports of costs going to $30,000, and that’s untenable.

“It’s having a very serious impact and it’s a situation that’s getting rapidly worse.”

The Construction Products Association also raised concerns about supplies in its trade survey for the final quarter of last year.

Rebecca Larkin, CPA Senior Economist commented saying that: “The welcome recovery in construction continues to drive the improving performance in the closely-linked product manufacturing industry, but pinchpoints are starting to emerge.

“At the end of last year, around one-fifth of product manufacturers noted that issues around material and component supply risked constraining activity over the next 12 months.

“For the heavy side, this was the highest proportion on record and highlights the effect that global supply issues for imported products such as steel and timber, as well as maritime transport logistics, are having on UK manufacturing and construction.

“Given expectations of continued recovery in activity throughout 2021, concerns over capacity, particularly if large numbers of staff are required to isolate due to coronavirus, were also notable among manufacturers.”