Materials lead times back to pre-pandemic levels

Inflationary pressures rather than availability now present the main challenges for energy-intensive products such as glass, concrete, cement, PIR, plasterboard and bricks.

Easing pressure on volumes was reported in the latest Builders Merchants Federation member returns for the third quarter. This showed volume sales were -6.8% down compared to the third quarter in prepandemic 2019 while prices were up 32.4%.

While general product supply continues to improve, pinch points are still being felt from the restricted supply of semi-conductors.

This continues to dog manufacturers of electro-technical products and gas boilers, though stock volumes are recovering, according to the Construction Leadership Council’s product availability working group.

With current demand in the UK still outstripping supply, coupled with ongoing capacity and logistics issues in Asia, extended delivery times are likely to remain until the middle of 2023 and inflationary pressures will persist for these products.

There is now a plentiful supply of timber with prices falling for Canadian Lumber Standard structural timber in particular.

But birch plywood – currently a sanctioned good from Russia – is in short supply.

Buyers can turn to legally sourced plywood from Finland and Latvia but should request full due diligence to avoid pitfalls.

The CLC working group warned that any imports of birch products from China and Vietnam will be manufactured from wood from Russia, which cannot be legally sold in the UK.


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