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Material shortage: The main cause and how to handle it

As prices currently stand, the cost of materials is up 23% compared to last August. 23%…

A combination of the pandemic reducing the ability of materials firms to produce products and an unprecedented surge in demand for new homes has opened a gap so large, house builders across the country are struggling to get houses up fast enough to satisfy demand.

Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the Federation of Master Builders spoke to Sky News and said

“The smaller builders are feeling it the most. They’re the ones struggling to obtain the materials needed, and in some cases, small builders are actually saying they’re concerned about the viability of their business”.

On top of this, the UK is suffering at the hands of an HGV driver shortage. The Construction Leadership Council (CLC) said this last month:

“The HGV driver shortage is a major contributor to delayed deliveries in all construction product areas; one manufacturer reported that factories were piled with product that they simply cannot get out”.

Builders are struggling to get hold of imported products, especially those from China – with increase in costs in transportation. The Financial Times recently reported that the cost of transporting a 40ft-container from China to northern Europe has risen from $1,500 in May last year, to over $13,000 in July this year.

So, what is the best way of dealing with these problems?

We spoke to Jeremy Shingler, Managing Director of Shropshire-based house builder Shingler Homes about his experience regarding the material shortage and his approach to navigating the problem:

“We have had to juggle labour around to keep projects moving on sites where materials are more readily available. Materials prices, almost across the board, have soared this year with increases in excess of 40 to 50% on things like timber, insulation, and plaster.

We are having to plan material deliveries much further in advance than we were and put in place measures to both protect ourselves and manage customers’ expectations in terms of when we can complete properties.

The more control you have over the demands and needs of your business, particularly in these challenging times, the more able you will be to put contingency plans in place to help work through these issues.”

Jeremy went on to add that Housebuilder Pro has helped him work around these problems:

“Housebuilder Pro’s range of accurate and up-to-date data means you can plan more efficiently to meet both the needs of the business but also the expectations of your customers”.

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