Lead times for bricks pass 12 weeks in Midlands

Grant Prior 10 years ago
Share

A housebuilding  boom in the West Midlands has seen lead times for bricks stretch to three months and a chronic shortage of skilled site staff.

Leaders at Lovell highlighted how shortages are spreading from the over-stretched London market.

David Gough, regional director in the Midlands for Lovell, told the Birmingham Post: “This sudden rush of sales and return of confidence has created challenges for housebuilders.

“Many workers had to leave the sector when the recession hit, and now the industry is crying out for skilled tradesmen.

“Similarly, many manufacturers of building products either went out of business or drastically cut production during the bad times, and now the good times are back, they are struggling to meet demand.

“The scarcity of building products in the market is currently at a peak.

“The average lead time on the staple of the housebuilding industry – bricks – is now over 12 weeks, while other products such as blocks and roof tiles are not far behind.

“It has certainly presented some logistical challenges to everyone in the industry but we, like other companies, are working hard to allocate materials and labour carefully and efficiently to ensure all our projects continue as they should.”

Gough added: “There are certain brick types where the lead time is up to 30 weeks. In the recession, when housebuilding fell off a cliff, a lot of the manufacturing plants closed temporarily and laid off staff.

“Now they are just beginning to re-open the manufacturing plants and increase capacity. The average waiting time is 12 weeks and it is all as a result of the fallout from the recession.

“Planning ahead is absolutely vital now. If you have to wait for bricks for between 12 and 30 weeks, you have to be ordering them early in the process.

“At Lovell we use eight million a year in the UK and it is down to very careful planning.

“When the recession hit, a lot of people decided to get out of the industry. Now that housebuilding is back and flying, there’s not enough skilled labour out there.

“We have taken on 21 trainees and apprentices in the last year as bricklayers, site managers, chartered surveyors, management trainees – we have had more applicants than spaces.

“It is a pleasure to face these challenges, rather than laying people off. These are better times, but different challenges.

“It is definitely improving but it is not the panacea, it is not that everything is rosy. If we get the skills base, and people continue to come through their apprenticeships and stay, the future looks pretty good.”

Latest news

Employee-owned Neilcott staff share £250,000 payout

Employee-owned building contractor sales jump 38% to £139m
6 hours ago

Geoffrey Osborne supply chain hit for £26m

More than 500 suppliers and subcontractors left holding unpaid bills
3 days ago

Race for £800m South West Wales framework

Up to 16 firms face fight to renew spots on regional contractors framework
13 hours ago

SME contractors agree 4% pay rise for site workers

Workers will also get an extra day of holiday
3 days ago

South East expansion paying off for Meldrum Group

Turnover up to £55m as North East based contractor expands national coverage
5 hours ago

Wates boosts paternity leave to 12 weeks

Latest leave benefits apply from first day of working for contractor
6 hours ago

Taylor Wimpey chief honoured with CBE

Jennie Daly recognised in King's Birthday honours
2 days ago

Labour to mothball £320m A27 job to fix potholes

Manifesto confirms Arundel Bypass canned as "poor value for money"
3 days ago

Lendlease’s £1.9bn Smithfield Birmingham scheme approved

Initial work to start later this year despite questions over Lendlease's degree of involvement
3 days ago

Crest Nicholson rejects £650m Bellway bid

Second Bellway approach rebuffed
4 days ago

Hill submits £800m East London estate rebuild plan

Over 1,900 homes to be built in five phase at Teviot Estate in Poplar
4 days ago

Plan approved for 8,500-seat Edinburgh indoor arena

Construction expected to start next year once a contractor is appointed
3 days ago

Statom starts on £25m Bristol Airport precast car park

Major work package on transport upgrade being overseen by Griffiths Farrans JV
4 days ago

Build problems plunge Crest Nicholson to a £31m loss

House builder unearths more defects on completed sites
4 days ago

Rebooted Amey lifts contract win rate to 1 in 3 bids

Amey chief says firm exceeded expectations in first year under new owners
4 days ago

BAM Nuttall fined £2.3m after worker drowned

Court hears how series of safety failures led to tragedy
5 days ago

OCU buys Scottish civils contractor RJ McLeod

Deal takes multi-utility infrastructure specialist revenue to over £800m
5 days ago

£220m plan to restore secret wartime tunnels approved

Tunnels under High Holborn to become cultural exhibition space
5 days ago

Galliford Try wins £69m Scottish school job

Deal sealed on Paisley Grammar School project in Renfrewshire
4 days ago

Balfour wins design for £690m Skye transmission job

Main work contract for 137km power line to be awarded later this year
5 days ago

Student and resi developer Fortis goes under

Cheshire based developer follows construction arm into liquidation
5 days ago

Construction output falls for third month running

Heavy rain and strong winds blamed for sharp fall in activity in April
5 days ago

Plan in for Leeds 27-storey block of flats

390 flats planned at former Morgan Sindall office site
5 days ago

Firms readied for £1.5bn Parliament estate upkeep deal

Invitation to tender due to go out next month
6 days ago

Amey switches kit supplier

Deal with HSS was worth £24.5m a year to rental specialist
5 days ago

Track workers scatter to avoid runaway rail trolley

Track trolley careers 1km towards work site
5 days ago

Direct delivery model pays off as Murphy profit soars to £67m

Group operating margin jumps from 3% to 5% in record year
6 days ago

Ex-Galliard boss to lead Battersea next building phase

Don O’Sullivan joins as plans advance to start phase 3C of power station redevelopment
6 days ago

£100m Digbeth 33-storey flats job out to bid

483 flats will be delivered for Clarion housing association
6 days ago

Van Elle fined £233,000 after piling rig kills driver

Court hears how tragedy was caused by poorly maintained plant
6 days ago

Contractor services