Latest construction product availability statement

The latest statement from co-Chairs of the Construction Leadership Council's Product Availability working group includes information on the effect of Russia sanctions on building materials.

A statement from John Newcomb, CEO of the Builders Merchants Federation and Peter Caplehorn, CEO of the Construction Products Association, have said there are good stocks and availability of most products, with strong sales in all product categories due to a mild winter.

But supply challenges continue to affect bricks, aircrete blocks, roof tiles, steel lintels, cable trays and trunking, manhole covers, gas boilers and some electrical products.

They said price inflation, largely caused by a shortage of raw materials, rising energy, freight, and labour costs, is "of greater concern than availability". Many manufacturers have announced price increases of 5-10% this year, and energy-intensive products have increased by as much as 20%.

Other ongoing issues include labour shortages. However, road haulage has improved slightly as the shortage of HGV drivers has lessened. Transport delays continue though, along with high transport costs, as shipping rates still remain eight to nine times higher than pre-COVID levels and air cargo rates seven times higher.

Meanwhile, they said the effect of the war in Ukraine and subsequent sanctions against Russia on building material supply in the UK "is still to be determined".

The region including Russia, Ukraine and Belarus accounted for only 1.25% of building products imported into the UK in 2021. However, they warned there are likely to be higher levels of direct or indirect exposure to some product components either through raw materials such as aluminium, copper, bitumen, and pig-iron and iron ore used in the manufacture of steel, or through higher prices in more exposed European markets.

Sanctions against individuals with links to the regime in Russia and firms with Russian ownership may affect the UK supply chain, they added.

Read the full statement here.

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