Materials supply crisis continues to curtail builders’ recovery

Building and property maintenance firms are facing enormous challenges as they attempt to recover from the pandemic with a long-lasting crisis in the price and availability of vital building materials now facing them.

Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the Federation of Master Builders, said: “Builders throughout the UK, particularly smaller firms, are struggling to recover from the pandemic as a result of the continued materials crisis. For some time now, demand for building materials has been outstripping supply, with this month’s data representing the second-fastest rate for input cost inflation since recording began.

He continued: “The FMB’s latest membership survey revealed the prevalence of this crisis within the sector, with 98 per cent of FMB members experiencing price increases for building materials. It’s vital that transparent allocation and pricing policies are implemented to help enable SMEs to have continued and stable access to materials. The Government should also re-evaluate their position with regard to issuing temporary visas for EU HGV drivers, to better enable the delivery of materials.”

The supply chain for most imported materials and goods had already been badly affected by unprecedented demand levels in North America, China and across Asian markets. The blockage of the Suez Canal earlier in the year added to problems and unusual weather patterns across the globe have seen forest fires, flooding and hundreds of thousands of homes damaged.

Berry continued: “Notwithstanding the wider economic impact risked by consumers choosing not to undertake building projects as a result of delays, there is also a real risk that the current environment is exploitable by cowboy builders. Builders are working hard to stick to agreed timelines, but consumers must be cautious about promises to complete jobs quickly and cheaply. All too often these will be too good to be true, and could well leave households at the mercy of unscrupulous cowboy builders.”

By Patrick Mooney, Editor