Housebuilders warned supply chain may ‘run out’ of timber | News

Suppliers to UK homebuilders have warned that a worldwide spike in demand for construction products puts the industry at risk of “running out” of supplies of raw materials.

Roofing industry organizations have come together to warn home builders of the “serious challenge” now posed by the lack of availability of materials, particularly the European coniferous wood used to make roof battens, which has increased prices by 50%.

roofing 1 national federation of roofers

A surge in demand for timber from the US, China and Russia has been attributed to sharp price increases and growing shortages of raw materials after half of the US and Canadian sawmills were closed during the first pandemic.

In a joint statement, the National Federation of Roofing Contractors (NFRC) and major specialist roofing companies Avonside Group, Marley and SR Timber said the problem was fueling steep and rapid cost inflation for roofers.

The statement said specialists “are running out of equipment as the housing supply chain struggles to stop the flow of global factors well beyond the UK’s control.”

> Also read: CLC drives rationing of materials as shortages worsen

The increases come at the same time that British Steel has informed customers that it is currently no longer taking orders due to a global material shortage, with prices up nearly 50% from a year ago. Global commodity shortages are also exacerbated by covid and Brexit-related import delays.

Last month, the RICS warned that material shortages are now the biggest threat to growth in the construction industry, while the Construction Products Association has said delays in introducing a product certification system after Brexit could bring supplies to a halt later. year.

Stuart Nicholson, director of roof systems at Marley, said: “Finding the raw materials needed to manufacture and supply finished products remains a huge challenge. Marley has strong relationships and a robust supply chain with more than 60 timber factories. But even considering this, current demand is outstripping supply. “

Construction worker

James Talman, CEO of the NFRC, said: “We are currently seeing an unprecedented shortage of roofing materials, especially wood. Unsurprisingly, this is the number one concern for roofers – over Covid and Brexit.

“While our suppliers are doing everything they can to reduce shortages, it will be a while before we have a stable supply again, and homebuilders must therefore work with roofers to plan ahead, build in lead times, factor in price increases and provide flexibility. in contracts. “

Avonside Group CEO Eddie Stanton said the price of roof battens has already risen 50% in the last six months and delivery times are getting longer. This puts enormous pressure on the housing supply chain, especially roofers, in terms of the price increases they can accommodate and what they have to pass on. “

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