13 May 2021

Material prices are moving apace. According to the Construction Leadership Council, plastics, cement, timber, roof tiles, bricks and imported materials such as plumbing and electrical products are in short supply. It should also be noted that the £1.6 billion funding for re-cladding unsafe blocks of flats could lead to a shortage of cladding generally. The HS2 project is also being a drain on materials supplies.

Since the beginning of the year the IHSMarkit/CIPS UK Construction PMI has shown shortages of over sixty different construction materials including bricks, timber, roof tiles, insulation and kitchen appliances in every month of this year so far. Overall, the number of construction materials experiencing shortages and price increases is trending upward.

As steel producers start to ramp up production following the worldwide pandemic, the price of reinforcement could fall later in 2021, and BCIS have currently allowed for falling prices in the second half of 2021. As a result, the price of steel reinforcement is expected to fall by 9% in the year to 1st quarter 2022.

Most timber is imported for use in the construction industry, and world demand is exceeding supply. The Timber Trade Federation currently suggests that UK demand will outweigh supply in 2021.