Construction Leadership Council finds that bagged cement delays expected until the end of the year

Smaller developers may be forced to delay starting on sites as materials shortages continue to wreak havoc on the industry, the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) has warned.

While major housebuilders are managing sites to completion, regional firms may need to wait for certainty around product availability before starting jobs, the body said in an update.

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Delivery times for bagged cement are showing no signs of improvement amid unprecedented demand

It warned that delivery times for bagged cement are showing no signs of improvement with delays expected to remain until the end of the year.

The product is one of the hardest hit amid the continuing material shortages due to “unprecedented” demand.

Its update said materials used in the housing repair and maintenance sector are the among the worst affected, including roofing products, insulation, landscaping products, blocks, sealants, kitchen carcassing and products that use plastic such as drainage pipes.

Supplies of timber are also expected to continue tightening following the Scandinavian holiday and maintenance season in July, although the CLC said that global demand is beginning to ease and there are signs that availability may improve in the autumn.

But timber is still seeing some of the highest price rises for all materials, with most types of wood costing around 20% to 50% more amid reports that some merchants are destocking products for the first time because they have become uneconomical. For OSB and other sheet materials, costs have risen by more than 100%.

The update said labour shortages were also a rising concern, with all regions reporting a shortage of drivers and reports of other vacancies being hard to fill, such as yard operatives and experienced bricklayers.

And the update warned that an increase in the number of construction workers being told to self-isolate by the NHS test and trace app after coming into contact with someone who tested positive covid-19 is further escalating the shortages.

The global shipping industry has also failed to recover from the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic, with congested shipping routes, container cancellations and higher costs still impacting global supply chains.