AVAILABILITY OF CONSTRUCTION PRODUCTS is likely to get worse before any improvement is seen.
That is the stark conclusion of a statement issued by the co-chairs of the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) Product Availability work group today.
In the statement, authored by John Newcomb, CEO Builders Merchants Federation and Peter Caplehorn, CEO Construction Products Association, they say demand for construction products remains high. This is in both the UK, and globally, and is set to continue throughout 2021 in every sector. Unfortunately, this means the availability issues the UK construction industry is currently experiencing are likely to worsen before they improve.
Longer Lead Times, Higher Prices
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. These already included: timber, steel, roof tiles, and bricks. Additionally, imported products such as screws, fixing, plumbing items, sanitaryware, shower enclosures, electrical products and appliances.
Shipping Container Costs
Prior to the temporary blockage of the Suez Canal, we were seeing a slight lowering of both container costs and delivery times of these imported goods. The CLC says it anticipates that this will continue once the effect of the temporary closure works through.
Imports of timber will be an issue for the foreseeable future. Not enough timber is being produced to meet world demand. Added to this, other countries are prepared to pay more to secure their supply. This is pushing the UK lower down the pecking order.
Steel is also experiencing strong global demand. While supply and demand are likely to re-balance within the next few months, global dynamics will continue to drive prices up.
Construction Products availability
Raw material shortages constraining polymer supplies are causing production problems for plastics (lower ground drainage etc). Coatings manufacturers are also experiencing raw material shortages beyond their control, at a time when demand is particularly high. These issues will continue for at least 2-3 months.
All users should plan for increased demand and longer delays. They are advised to keep open lines of communication with their suppliers and order early for future projects.
The CLC’s product availability group says it will continue to monitor the situation. The CPA and the BMF – who jointly chair the group – produce quarterly forecasts on market activity which is helping manufacturers to plan output.
Roofing Today examined materials shortages and price increases in its November 2020 edition page 10.