How Will Materials Shortages Affect 2022?
Just when the construction industry thought it had soldiered through lockdowns relatively unscathed, a new obstacle presented itself in 2021 – the materials and labour shortage.
Effectively putting numerous projects on hold, the heightened interest in home improvement during the pandemic, a deficit of around 100,000 lorry drivers in the UK, increased labour rates and the continued impact of Brexit and COVID-19 on imports have met in a perfect storm of disruption, giving homebuilders costly headaches.
Homebuilding & Renovating has reported that while there is significant carry-over from 2021, the IHS Markit/CIPS UK Construction purchasing managers’ index (PMI) reported a 14% drop in construction firms reporting supplier delays between November and December – though this could also be attributed to in part by a Christmas shutdown.
Unfortunately, the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) has reported that 2022 will likely see “longer lead times and further price increases,” potentially exacerbated by the Omicron variant.
While roof tiles, brick and blocks and cement are amongst the most affected materials, and likely will continue to be over the course of the year, timber imports have increased significantly since the start of 2021, though this may be brought to an abrupt halt by border congestion at UK and Scandinavian ports in the spring.
While this isn’t the update many were hoping for, builders will need to continue to plan ahead, taking opportunities to stock up as they arise. It’s not all bad news, though – the shortage of lorry drivers is being addressed and it is hoped this will have less of an impact this year.