The challenge of sourcing materials

We discuss the challenges that the UK Construction Industry faces at the moment in sourcing materials

Construction Materials - Scarcity and Rising Costs

The challenge of sourcing construction materials and the rising cost of these materials is causing issues for builders and developers within the UK Construction Industry.    With things such as Brexit and Covid disrupting the supply chains globally, the knock on effect has led to a shortage of raw materials and increased shipping costs.   This has meant that construction companies may find it more and more difficult to source the materials they need to ensure project completion as well as facing  higher than normal prices when they do find them.

A number of other factors have led to this situation.  For example the time spent at home during the pandemic led to a huge rise in DIY projects, which in turn meant firms such as saw mills saw an increase in the demand for timber at a time when they were having to reduce their capacity because of lockdowns and social distancing rules.  This has sent the price of timber soaring.    Materials such as steel has also been affected as lockdowns disrupted trade meaning some areas had surplus and some areas where in shortage.  Steel prices have been fluctuating considerably and it has made it difficult for construction firms to budget for their project and contain overspending.    In addition shipping companies have had to change how they operate following Covid regulations and this has led to an increase in cost for transportation of construction materials.  

Even everyday construction materials like concrete and cement's prices are rising.  Again due to the rise in demand for DIY projects etc.  This has been exacerbated by the production of these materials slowing down during the pandemic.  

Brexit has affected the availability and cost of materials in the UK.  As we departed the European Union we have been subjected to increased checks and paperwork which in turn slows down import and getting materials to site, whilst at the same time adding on the additional costs of customs and other charges.  

This is  all adding up to making it a difficult time for the construction industry .  We are having to adapt to this new reality of increasing costs and supply disruptions.  

There are some ways to lessen the impact of these challenges.  Some builders we have talked to have started working with alternative materials and suppliers as well as ordering materials earlier on to lock in a price before it rises.  We have also noticed that a number of builders are increasing the communication between them and their clients to ensure that they are aware of any price rises and that the client is fully understanding of the challenges the construction industry is facing at present.   

We at SM5 Developments have found that even though Covid, Brexit and a number of other challenges have changed the landscape for securing materials we have found that by being proactive and flexible and working in partnership with our contractors and clients we have been able to overcome these challenges and complete our projects successfully.   Keep the conversations going with your suppliers, understand the challenges they are facing and consider alternatives if you need to.  


 Melinda Smith
 22nd March 2023
fit-out / refurbishment / maintenance / aftercare / bespoke furniture / leisure & retail / office / automotive / healthcare / retail / industrial

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