The Construction Leadership Council (CLC) has warned that the shortage of materials in the construction sector could last well into the second half of 2021. Record demand for building supplies, and packed order books, mean that unprecedented pressure is being placed on supply chains at the moment.

Global demand is also outstripping supply, and summer is traditionally a busy season for the construction sector. Many supply chains have not had chance to recover from the impact of the pandemic, and shipping has been further disrupted by the Suez Canal blockage in March, and the impact of further Covid outbreaks in Chinese ports.

The CLC has set up a Product Availability working group, headed up by Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) chief executive John Newcomb and Construction Products Association (CPA) chief executive Peter Caplehorn.

The group recently issued a statement, which reads:

‘Demand both in the UK and globally continues to dramatically outstrip supply and shows few signs of slowing during the seasonally busy summer months. Inevitably, all of this is feeding into price inflation, and the expectation is that high demand, coupled with tight supply, will sustain elevated prices throughout the year.’

Timber, roof tiles, and some steel products are particularly in short supply, as is bagged cement. Raw materials shortages are currently affecting the manufacture of paints, sealants, and chemical products. Contractors are having to seek alternatives to PIR insulations boards, and plasterboard is subject to delays in supply.

There are also significant problems in the road transport freight network, with a critical shortage of lorry drivers causing delays in deliveries. The Architect’s Journal reports that the accumulated disruptions in the building industry supply and logistics chain has inevitably led to price inflation this year, and this is set to continue throughout the year.


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