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Gloucestershire Business News

Building trade hit by shortage of materials

Shortages of building materials are having an impact on construction firms in Gloucestershire.

Cement, some electrical components, timber, steel and paints are said to be in short supply as the industry emerges from lockdown.

Simon Ford, CEO of Allstone and Speedy Skips, said on last week's Punchline Talks: "We have experienced a massive spike in demand and a relentless call from everybody for various building materials and skips, to the point where we ran out of some flooring sands, Type 1 cement and skips. We have over 5,000 skips and we just ran out of them."

Construction industry projects have surged with the easing of lockdown, leading to an increase in demand and resulting shortages.

Globally, there are supply issues with timber production in Scandinavia and the production of chemicals and plastics.

Simon also blamed big projects like the HS2 high speed railway which has absorbed huge quantities of supplies - including eight million tons of Type 1 Cement - and he said it was easier for large aggregate suppliers to deal with one customer - the Government who are paying for the project - than dealing with 'the minnows'.

The Federation of Master Builders says that some building firms may have to delay projects and others could be forced to close as a result.

Chief executive Brian Berry said: "Small, local builders are being hit hardest by material shortages and price rises."

The FMB's latest member survey revealed 93% of builders are facing increasing product prices. They are experiencing price rises of 10% to 15% across the board, rising to 50% on timber and 30% on cement.

"We can't build, build, build our way to recovery from the pandemic if we don't have the materials," he added.

"Small builders can't stockpile or plan jobs far in advance, unlike larger firms, so they need to be assured that the materials will be at the merchants when they need them. Consumers must be aware that shortages are causing delays to projects, and that costs may change in the months ahead because of this pressure. 

"However, I would caution against homeowners compromising quality and customer service and defaulting to the builder with the cheapest quote."

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