Delays in UK housebuilding likely with worsening building materials shortage

Monday February 8 2021

Among the variety of new hobbies discovered by Britons during the pandemic has been a new enthusiasm to revamp our homes. Trapped indoors with not much to do, it makes sense to make your environment the best it can be. This renovation boom has been driving record sales for builders’ merchants, with growth rates of 10% – higher than ever before, according to John Newcomb, chief executive of the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF).

A knock-on effect from this, however, is the growing shortage of essential construction materials. And as builders are fighting to get their hands on products, the housebuilding industry is in danger of experiencing delays this year. In the face of unprecedented demand that far outstrips supply, UK factories are struggling to keep up.

These challenges are coupled with the ongoing congestion at large UK container ports such as Felixstowe. A consequence of Brexit, it may result in the industry running short of necessary equipment. Although three quarters of materials are produced in the UK, essentials such as power tools, screws and fixings tend to be shipped in from overseas.

While Newcomb doesn’t believe this is having a major impact on contractors and housebuilders just yet, he sees delays a strong likelihood unless the pressure eases up over the next couple of months. The imbalance of supply and demand will even out, Newcomb maintains, but what we are seeing is still a ‘spillover effect from April, May when factories were closed’.

Mindful of these pressures, The TP Group are keeping a close eye on our stock levels and are in close contact with our suppliers, managing to source all materials during this time. Get in touch to find out more about our services.