Aarsleff said current lead times are coming under pressure as the construction recovery continues and specialist contractors are struggling to cope.
Chris Primett, MD Aarsleff (UK) Ltd, said: “Whilst it is great to see signs of recovery within the construction sector, the demand this presents on a finite pool of resources, positions occupied by the specialist contractor such as piling, is considerable.
“The ability to adapt to the rate of contracts available is not an easy one and has the potential to ultimately present itself on-site.”
Lead times for many materials are already being stretched with some block manufacturers quoting four months and longer for deliveries.
Primett said: “Any delays can cause problems on-site but they could also threaten the rate of the UK’s recovery and possibly lead to swings in the price of construction products and services as a consequence of supply and demand.
“As well as a better appreciation by Tier 1 contractors and clients that longer lead times may be needed, there must also be a better understanding of the effects moving previously programmed start dates can have on a specialist contractor, as this might have quite a significant impact, especially for any follow-on-projects that may have been committed to.
“Piling, as the work of specialist contractors, has always been considered a long lead-time element and where these appear on the construction time-scale or pathway, they should be given due consideration and scheduling so that any delays do not to impact on the entire project.”
Aarsleff is also keen to to point out that specialists can also do a lot to ease the problems themselves.
Primett said: “It is important that specialist contractors clearly identify lead times and communicate these to clients from the outset of discussions.
“This will allow projects to be planned better, with works scheduled and front-end elements like piling and ground works may even benefit from early contract placement to protect the entire project and remove them as the rate limiting step for future works on the construction pathway.”