The key products groups have joined a growing list of materials in short supply, including timber, steel, roof tiles, bricks and imported products such as screws, fixings, plumbing items, sanitaryware, shower enclosures, electrical products and appliances.
In a joint statement the Builders Merchants Federation and Construction Products Association, warned: “Demand for construction products remains high both in the UK and globally and is set to continue throughout 2021 in every sector.
“Unfortunately, this means the availability issues we are currently experiencing are likely to worsen before they improve.”
While supplies of plaster and plasterboard have much improved on last year, almost every other product group has started to see longer lead times and, as a consequence, higher prices.
The trade bodies said that prior to the temporary blockage of the Suez Canal, firms were seeing a slight lowering of both container costs and delivery times for key imported goods. This improving trend is anticipated to continue once the effect of the temporary closure works through.”
But suppliers also warned that imports of timber would be an issue for the foreseeable future.
They said: “Not enough timber is being produced to meet world demand. Added to this, other countries are prepared to pay more to secure their supply, pushing the UK lower down the pecking order.
“Steel is also experiencing strong global demand. While supply and demand are likely to rebalance within the next few months, global dynamics will continue to drive prices up, said the statement.
“Raw material shortages constraining polymer supplies are causing production problems for plastics, particularly lower ground drainage.
“Coatings manufacturers are also experiencing raw material shortages beyond their control, at a time when demand is particularly high. These issues will continue for at least 2-3 months, warn the BMF and CPA.
“All users should plan for increased demand and longer delays, keep open lines of communication with their suppliers and order early for future projects.”