The lack of building materials has now reached crisis level.
The materials shortage has now overtaken the skills shortage as the number one risk to the recovery of the construction industry. Covid-19, Brexit and rising demand are increasing prices for the essential materials the UK’s construction sector desperately needs.
The UK government's “Build Back Better” is focused on economic growth through investment in infrastructure, skills and innovation. As admirable as this is, the Covid-19 pandemic and the impact of Brexit, have created problems for the country’s construction industry. One of the most damaging is the building materials shortage.
The Impact of Covid-19
The ongoing impact of Covid-19 has created shortages and price increases due to;
- Transport delays
- Stronger demand conditions
- Stretched global supply chains
- Greater shipping charges
- Rising commodity prices
- Stamp duty holiday
These issues create the strongest increase in cost burdens across construction since 2008.
The Impact of Brexit
Brexit has also slowed imports of building materials and other goods. More pressure on border officials and new paperwork covering trade between the E.U. and the U.K. have also affected prices and shortages. Looking closer to home for vital materials may work for some, but many firms are still reliant on them being exported from overseas.
The Impact of Rising Demand
Demand for materials has inevitably risen, yet supplies have slipped, and prices are rising. The West Midlands has reported significant shortages due to the considerable amount of projects such as;
- Major infrastructure projects
- New stations for high-speed rail
- Facilities for the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham
While supply and demand issues are likely to rebalance within the next few months, global dynamics may continue to drive prices up.