The Construction Leadership Council (CLC) has warned that the continuing materials shortages may force smaller developers to delays jobs, as the shortages wreak havoc on the industry. While major housebuilders are managing sites to completion, regional firms may need to wait for certainty around product availability before starting jobs, the CLC said in an update.
According to the latest survey by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), 63 per cent of architectural practices have experienced in-site delays due to shortages, reports Dezeen, and 18 per cent of practices have been held up at the design stage of the process.
Compounding the difficulties in the industry is the ‘pingdemic’, as over 600,000 people have been informed by the NHS COVID-19 and NHS Test & Trace apps that they need to self-isolate, and BBC News reports that 90 per cent of sites in Coventry have been affected by staff shortages.
CLC has warned that delivery times for bagged cement are not showing any signs of improvement and that delays are likely to remain until the end of the year. Bagged cement has been one of the hardest-hit products amid the materials shortages crisis due to ‘unprecedented demand.
An update from the CLC said that materials used in housing repair and the maintenance sectors are among those worse affected. These include roofing products, insulation, landscaping products, blocks, sealants, kitchen carcassing and products that use plastic such as drainage pipes.
Timber supplies are also expected to continue tightening too, following the Scandinavian holiday and maintenance season in July, although the CLC has said that global demand has started to ease, and there are signs that availability could improve in the autumn.
However, timber has experienced some of the highest price rises for all materials, and most types of wood now cost around 20 to 50 per cent more, amid reports that some builders’ merchants have been destocking products for the first time as they have become uneconomical.
OSB and other sheet material costs have soared by more than 100 per cent.
CLC’s update also added to the rising concerns surrounding labour shortages, with all regions reporting a shortage of drivers and other hard-to-fill vacancies such as yard operatives and experienced bricklayers.
The body also warned about the increase in the number of construction workers who had been instructed to self-isolate by the NHS apps after coming into contact with someone who tested positive, and there are now calls to add construction workers to the list of exempt workers, such as emergency service workers and food supply chain workers.
Self-isolation for all fully vaccinated people pinged by the NHS Covid-19 app in England as close contacts are due to be scrapped by 16 August.
The global shipping industry has also failed to recover from the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic, with congested shipping routes, container cancellations and higher costs still impacting global supply chains.
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