Timber, roof tiles and roofing membranes are proving pricier and harder to source with longer lead times threatening construction output.

Imports such as paints and varnishes are expected to be difficult to get next month with shortages in PVC and resins for the rest of the year.

Roofing supplies are in some cases delayed by up to six months although they’re expected to improve in the second half of the year.

Timber is likely to be scarce for the whole of 2021 with battens and decking the worst affected.

Builders Merchants Federation, BMF, chief executive John Newcomb said: “There is unlikely to be any improvement in timber supplies this year with little or no timber currently coming into the UK that is not already pre-sold and global demand outstripping supply.”

Global demand is causing raw material shortages while factory closures abroad have led to lower production of polythene and polypropylene, thermal insulation foam, paints, adhesives and coatings. Particleboard production is down by 20 per cent, according to industry sources.

The Construction Products Association, CPA, said prices and lead times for structural steel, internal steel and galvanised steel had increased due to worldwide demand.

“Evidence suggests that some steel products may suffer continues shortages into the second half of the year,” said CPA chief executive Peter Caplehorn.

Shipping rates per container have increased from $2,100 last year to more than $10,00, according to MRA Research data.

Industry comes together to address supply shortages

The CLC has set up a products availability group to explore solutions to alleviate other supply chain bottlenecks including accepting deliveries outside normal opening hours.

Brokers Hank Zarihs Associates said property development finance lenders were optimistic good communication and planning with suppliers would minimise problems.

Construction Products Association, CPA, economics director Noble Francis said: “There are significant risks to the recovery in the form of supply constraints in terms of extended lead times and sharp rises in costs for vital imported products. This may hinder the ability of construction activity to increase in line with our forecast.”

The purchasing manager’s index for construction output in March reached its highest figure in six years of 61.7, well above the 50 no-change status.

However, the CPA warned high demand for new housing, repairs and maintenance may subside once furloughing, self-employed income schemes and stamp duty holiday finish on 30th September.

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