CEWales E Bulletin June 2021

There is a big shortage of critical building materials across Wales and the UK that’s affecting output and delaying work on site, says the industry.

The construction industry in Wales has not seen a shortage of this magnitude before.

Price inflation and material shortages are causing lots of anxiety in the construction industry (client and contractors) generally. Brexit and COVID-19 have had a huge impact and to a lesser extent the Suez Canal blockage with some sources blaming HS2 as well.

The procurement steering group within Constructing Excellence in Wales pointed to the commodity price index feature in Supply Management magazine. Vince Hanly, CEWales spokesman on procurement is talking to the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS) or Supply Management to discuss the issue and ask them to attend a CEWales event and help monitor and build more resilience into the supply chain. 

There is serious concern about the rising commodity prices Building crisis looms as dwindling supplies bring sites grinding to a halt | Construction industry | The Guardian (ampproject.org) and how this will push risk through the supply chain. 

Welsh Government have an ambitious plan to retrofit homes to make them energy efficient as well as build net zero affordable housing and council homes on scale and the spiralling costs of materials is likely to make this strategy unfeasible.  Many other schemes – from transport infrastructure, schools and healthcare as well as commercial developments – are threatened. Housing associations and local authorities grappling with soaring prices and dwindling supplies of construction materials as Brexit and the coronavirus pandemic impact global supply chains.

We are being told by our members that there is 17 to 18-week lead time on doors, shortages of steel, brick and timber and a 5-11% increase on inflation on materials like cement. This is therefore placing a risk on the price of the job, creating adversarial tension, undermining collaborative working and as a consequence programmes are getting extended, and the completion of the scheme is becoming delayed. We need to think around the problem and find solutions fast.

CEWales is seeking ideas and information. Everyone has a different experience and perspective on this: we’ve been told of Americans buying up Swedish Timber, large house builders stockpiling materials and specific issues with obtaining anything from roofing materials and decking to clinical sinks used in healthcare facilities.

We want to find out from the industry – our members – what the specific issues are that they are facing, how to overcome those barriers and recommendations and requests for industry representative groups as Government. Click here to take part in a simple survey that will take no more than five to ten minutes of your time and help solve the supply shortage problem.