Today’s item on the BBC News about shortages of building materials came as no surprise to us, We have been hearing about this from other architects and our builders for several weeks.
Shortages, delays, and increases in prices caused by a combination of Brexit and Covid have caused the crisis, while delays in global supplies caused by the Suez blockage have not helped either, are holding up projects across the nation.
From large to small projects, they are all getting affected by the shortage of cement, steel, sand, and the 80% increase in timber costs, as well as other materials like aluminium, copper and simple paint products. So projects priced before the Lockdown that was on hold until now could see an increase on the tender priced as contractors will need to catch up with the costs increases. In addition, the contractors need to plan well ahead and find additional storage on site to allow materials to be ordered in advance avoiding delays down the line.
In one of our projects, we have been advised that delays in roof tiles could reach 6 months on a loft conversion that the project timeline is around 10 to 12 weeks in total. The industry is worried that the material shortage could still continue into summer and therefore the increase in the demand, lengthening of lead times which is making it difficult for manufacturers and suppliers to build up stock levels will push the prices further up.
The moral to this story is ‘plan ahead and be prepared to be flexible’