UK Builders are being advised to liaise with their supply chain much earlier than normal as the end of the transition period for leaving the EU looms.

Trade body Build the UK has estimated that in the case of a ‘no deal’ Brexit duty and other costs could increase from two to eight percent.

Build UK chief executive Suzannah Nichol said: “The overriding message from all businesses is the need for much earlier engagement across the whole supply chain, along with enhanced forecasting information to anticipate and manage supply and demand issues.”

Products imported solely from Europe, such as lifts, facades, cladding, and roof tiles are on the ‘watch list’ as they are usually made to order and there is little stock held in the UK.

“Projects requiring these, particularly any which are specialist or bespoke, should be talking to suppliers and manufacturers, placing orders earlier than usual, importing products ahead of time, and storing them in the UK, particularly in the first quarter of 2021 and where they are on the critical path of any program,” said Ms. Nichol.

Timber has been in short supply since March 2020 and a range of timber products continue to be on longer lead times. Build UK advises advance ordering and working closely with supply chains for the first two quarters of 2021.

New report keeps track of high-risk supplies

Build the UK and the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply have released a report on the supply of construction materials from January 1, 2021, which they plan to update regularly.

The report reveals where goods are manufactured and how they will be affected by changes in regulations, currency fluctuations, transport, and import duties.

The availability of supplies will also be influenced by ports used for imports, the length of supply chains, and the raw materials used. The level of risk will increase as the amount of control over an aspect of supply falls, warns Build UK.

Brokers Hank Zarihs Associates said that shortage of supplies was one of the main reasons why projects overran and were a risk, property development lenders were watching closely.

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