Construction firms told to plan ahead amid ongoing products squeeze

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Construction firms have been warned to plan in advance and work closely with supply chains amid an ongoing squeeze on the availability of a number of products and materials.

While products are available, lead times have lengthened as construction activity continues to pick up, said a statement from John Newcomb, CEO of the Builders Merchants Federation and Peter Caplehorn, CEO of the Construction Products Association, co-chairs of the Construction Leadership Council’s Product Availability working group.

The worst-affected product areas continue to be timber, roof tiles and roofing membranes. The statement warned: “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. However, the supply of roofing products is expected to improve in the second half.”

It also pointed to constrained production of PE and PP plastics, PIR insulation, paints, adhesives and other coatings, and also packaging for other product groups, as a result of raw material shortages, stemming from global demand and other external factors such as factory closures outside the UK.

And global demand also continues to impact prices and delivery times on structural steel, internal steel products and galvanised steel, it said, with evidence that some steel products may suffer continued shortages into the second half of the year.

The statement said: “The CLC’s key advice is to plan in advance, work closely with your supply chain and communicate your requirements early with suppliers, distributors and builders merchants. Collaborative, ongoing communication throughout the whole supply chain is essential.

“The Product Availability Group is also exploring further solutions to alleviate other bottle necks in the supply chain such as logistics and transport, including the ability to accept deliveries outside of normal opening hours.”

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