The following statement is 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.
For the first time since this group began meeting at the height of the pandemic, there is good availability of the vast majority of building materials across the UK, with increasing reports that availability is back to pre-Covid levels.
Some issues continue around products reliant on semi-conductors, but the general feeling is that this is slowly improving.
While there has been a slight decline in construction activity, the industry overall is performing better than forecasted six months ago. With demand lower than at this time last year, there is also less pressure on prices. As a result, early indications suggest prices for many products appear to be stabilising and in isolated cases even declining from recent highs, though volatility persists.
This does, however, vary by sector and sub-sector. For example, RMI work in both the public and private sector housing to support decarbonisation and improve energy efficiency is driving sales of insulation products Manufacturers in this area are seeing volumes ahead of expectations but are managing supply.
As reported last month, brick stocks have increased due to a slowdown in the housing market and increased production. There are approximately 8 weeks of bricks in stock and, with new plants in the UK coming on stream over the next 6-12 months, the UK’s reliance on more expensive imports to top up stocks will fall rapidly.