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Instability from Poor Availability

Like most industries, the construction industry has struggled in recent years, with issues involving the supply levels of vital materials needed to carry out their work.

The Brexit deal made life harder for construction companies, ranging from higher prices of materials, longer lead times and a shortage of staff. These disruptions were further amplified by the outbreak of Covid-19, which saw the world come to a standstill, and global lockdowns resulting in production coming to a complete halt during these periods.

Although, it can be said that current levels of availability in the UK construction industry are now gradually improving, as the country endures and attempts to recover from the strenuous events suffered in recent years.

In fact, the drop in demand due to a reduction in consumer confidence and spending has given supply stocks more time to replenish, before demand reaches previous levels.

Covid-19

The material shortages across the industry at present are just one of many consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit outcomes, which have both had a huge impact on the supply levels of construction materials not just domestically, but also globally.

According to gov.uk In July 2019, just 8 months before the first national lockdown, the number of new houses built was at an 11-year high - standing at 173,660 new homes – an increase from the previous year by 8%. This growth of new properties was stunted by the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic for clear reasons, including national lockdowns bringing work to a halt, the drop in the level of productivity due to sickness and fatalities, and so on.

Brexit

On top of this, the Brexit decision left the construction industry in the UK with a skills shortage due to the increased difficulty in recruiting staff from abroad. The Office of National Statistics stated that in comparison to the figures from 3 years ago, there are now 244,000 fewer workers in the construction sector.

In turn, this means that the poor availability of labour, aligns with the poor availability of materials.

These significant setbacks led to a large drop in the number of houses built in 2020, by 23% in comparison to 2019 - according to the NHBC. However, the number of dwellings completed in 2021 had risen again to an estimated 175,390 – a 19% increase on the 2020 figures, indicating the environmental changes in the demand and supply for new homes has not affected the production of homes more recently.

As stated by CIAT, some of the most extensively used materials in the UK construction industry remain somewhat difficult to obtain as they remain on allocation or are subject to longer lead times, which has a direct correlation with property deadline delays. Additionally, increases in the price index of materials mean that the cost of production has risen significantly with the current rate of inflation for relevant development hardware at roughly 23%.

The Russia-Ukraine conflict also factors into the universal rise in costs of products, due to the reduced access to commodities and Russian sanctions in place. The volatility in the price of commodities means that there have been unpredictable cost increases for multiple variables, such as energy and fuel for example. This made energy-intensive materials that are vital to construction, such as cement, steel, and bricks, very expensive for firms to purchase.  

Due to these steadily rising costs and later finishing dates, we encourage potential home buyers to practice patience and rethink budgets before embarking upon buying a new home.

For more information, please do not hesitate to contact our team: 01484 960560 | admin@franceandassociates.co.uk.

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