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Builders fear cement shortage will persist until 2022

·2-min read
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Senior figures in the construction industry fear a shortage of raw materials will drag on into next year.

Builders are struggling to secure sufficient quantities of bricks, cement, timber, and other crucial supplies. Demand is high as many Britons seek home improvements to give themselves more space, funded with cash saved during lockdowns. Meanwhile, Covid-19, Brexit and disruption in Chinese ports and on the Suez Canal have restricted supply.

Professor Noble Francis of the Construction Products Association said: “The supply issues are likely to remain a problem for the next six to nine months at least given that most contractors and house builders report that demand for new house building and refurbishment is not just buoyant currently but is likely to continue to be strong for the rest of this year at least as house builders and small contractors have projects lined up going into 2022.”

Brian Berry, chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders, said that the material shortages were the primary issue of current concern to his members, and left the industry open to exposure from cowboy builders.

Mr Berry said: “The national building materials shortage is harming Britain’s local builders and their ability to recover from the pandemic. Without steady and affordable access to materials, builders are unable to accurately quote for projects and deliver them to agreed timescales. This leaves open a dangerous avenue for dishonest tradespeople to exploit with the intention of undercutting their reputable and honest counterparts.”

He added: “ While there is no certainty as to when this crisis will ease, with circumstances differing from material to material, most forecast significant material shortages for at least the duration of 2021.”

Pal Chana, executive director of the Mineral Products Association, additionally warned that cement supply, which has been particularly hard hit, would not return to normal until the end of the year.

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