Brexit and Covid-19: How to avoid material shortages with your building projects

Construction has returned to growth in the UK. The latest figures for the construction industry show that it has had it’s sharpest turnaround since 2014 despite the shortage of materials. This is according to data released by IHS Markit. There are still delays and disruptions on projects because of Brexit and the pandemic, but big construction is booming.

Self builders, small contractors and DIYers on the other hand really need to plan ahead to avoid delays with any homebuilding or renovations they have planned.

We spoke with Johnpaul Manning, owner of Build4Less, an online building supplies store. 

Johnpaul said: “Self builders are at the most risk because they don’t have a main purchaser to help with logistics and deliveries.”“It’s really important that self builders check on what materials they need now as there is no guarantee that these will be available in time if their order isn’t placed soon.”

Johnpaul offered the following advice for self builders and diy enthusiasts:

  • Builders should plan ahead and do the research they need to know which materials are in short supply.

“Construction timber is in short supply. Not enough timber is being made to meet the world’s demand. And other countries are willing to pay more money for it, putting the UK lower on the list.” Johnpaul said.

He added: “Steel, plastics, cement, and aggregates are joining the lists of products that are hard to find. There is also a shortage of roof tiles, bricks, screws, fixings, plumbing items, and more.”

  • Check with suppliers on availability and lead times well in advance before you start building your project, so it doesn’t get delayed after commencement.

“If the materials you need have excessively long lead times, builders should check with their suppliers to see if there is an alternative.”

“Larger independent online suppliers like build4less are a great resource for this thanks to a team of experts available to advise and guide over the phone or via livechat.”

  • Order materials now if at all possible, rather than waiting until the last minute. There’s a risk of a further shortage or price increase. If the supplier can’t supply items then you’ll have to go elsewhere but this process could cause delays as well.

The material shortages and delays are going to be with us for the next few months if not until the end of the year but with a little planning you can avoid trouble later on.

So if you’re building or renovating, watch out for shortages and delays and allow plenty of time to order what you need.