Timber batten prices go through the roof

Aaron Morby 1 year ago
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Roofing contractors are warning of faltering supplies and rapidly rising costs of basic materials such as roofing battens.

Roofing contractor sound alarm over roofing batten shortages
Roofing contractor sound alarm over roofing batten shortages

Global timber shortages combined with rising demand from the housing industry are putting a squeeze on firms that are now reporting shortages of battens alongside concrete roof tiles.

The firms are warning that underlying factors are unlikely to be resolved this year and will impact upon housing delivery programmes.

Eddie Stanton, chief executive of national roofing contractor Avonside Group, said: “The price of roofing batten is rising on a monthly basis, already in excess of 50% over the past six months, and supply lead times are getting longer.

“This is putting enormous pressure on the house building supply chain, especially roofing contractors, in terms of what price increases they can absorb and what they have to pass on.”

James Talman, chief executive of the National Federation of Roofing Contractors, said: “We are currently seeing unprecedented shortages of roofing materials, in particular timber.

“This is due to a whole host of different reasons, from Covid-19 restrictions to the impact of low US timber supplies.”

Talman said the trade body’s latest survey showed that two-thirds of roofing contractors saw material availability deteriorate in the first quarter of the year, and 89% reported price rises.

Talman said: “Timber battens were the second-highest material shortage after roof tiles with a third of contractors reporting shortages.”

He added: “While our supplier members are doing all they can to alleviate shortages, it will still be some time before we are back to steady levels of supply, and home builders therefore need to work collaboratively with roofing contractors to plan ahead, build in lead times, factor in price rises and ensure flexibility in contracts.”

The industry’s leading timber batten suppliers said they were trying to keep customers informed about current stockholdings, lead times and pricing.

Supplier Marley’s JB Red timber brand director Stuart Nicholson said: “The global/US pressure of increased demand for timber has exacerbated the supply issues caused by the pandemic and Brexit.

“Marley has strong relationships and a robust supply chain with more than 60 timber mills. However, even considering this, current demand levels are outstripping supply.”

SR Timber’s Trading Director Shaun Revill said: “We’re in the very fortunate position of having our own dedicated sawmill in the Baltics, which means we have our own robust supply chain – but even that has been tested to the limit.

“We have been very proactive and transparent with our customers and given them lots of information to explain the situation regarding stock availability – which currently has a lead time of around ten days – and price movements.

“This has been well received when you put it into context that the industry hasn’t seen anything like this since World War II.”

 

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