The UK has struggled with material shortages since 2020. This was mainly due to manufacturing plants having to close due to lockdowns because of the coronavirus pandemic.
However, a surge in construction activity earlier in 2021 along with shipping issues exacerbated the problem.
The blockage on the Suez Canal by a container ship, operated by Taiwanese shipping firm Evergreen, became wedged amid high winds and a dust storm back in March. The vessel blocked one of the world’s busiest shipping routes that connect the Mediterranean to the Red Sea for six days, unexpectedly delaying planned shipments.
The partial closure of Ningbo-Zhoushan, the third busiest port in the world, after a worker tested positive for the Delta variant of COVID-19 this month could further push up shipping costs and delays.
The global shortage of key building materials is a major problem. Although tradespeople are finding ways of working around these challenges as best as possible by seeking alternative brands or products, the delays in receiving the goods still poses an issue to projects.
It is clear that the material shortage is limiting construction activity, impacting new and existing projects. Unfortunately, the shortage is set to continue well into the second half of 2021. The situation is expected to worsen before it gets better with material costs rising and building owners left frustrated as they are unable to occupy or let the space in the timescale they expected.