Builders Predict Material Price Hikes Over The Coming Months

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Builders Predict Material Price Hikes Over The Coming Months

Builders Predict Material Price Hikes Over The Coming Months

With the coronavirus crisis still raging on and Brexit on the horizon, looking to the future may seem a little daunting for the construction industry – but the latest State of Trade Survey from the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) has now revealed that, despite the difficulties faced by all, those in the sector reported seeing an optimistic summer.

Some 42 per cent of small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are predicting that they will see higher workloads in the future and 50 per cent are now seeing a higher level of enquiries. However, it’s not all positive news, with 78 per cent of those asked saying they expect to see material prices rise over the next few months.

That being said, 78 per cent of SMEs also expect that the number of builders working within their firms to stabilise in the next two months.

The residential sector performed particularly strongly in the second quarter of the year, solely driven by the repair, maintenance and improvement market, as homeowners looked to upgrade their homes after lockdown.

Time indoors between March and May forced people to think about how their homes functioned for them, with FMB members now saying that many are keen to see if a home office can be installed or if they can enhance their outdoor spaces to give them somewhere to retreat to.

The pandemic is, of course, still having a significant impact on SMEs in the industry, with 74 per cent saying that covid-19 is constraining their current output, while 70 per cent expect this to continue to be the case over the next 12 months.

With Brexit just around the corner, the sector is also now thinking about what kind of impact this will have on the supply of materials, with many important building products – such as timber – brought in from the EU.

Chief executive of the FMB Brian Berry said: “A busy summer of home upgrades has been a welcome boost for the building industry but growing concerns about the strength of the economy might affect consumer confidence. The latest State of Trade data from the FMB shows that four in five builders are predicting material costs to increase in the months ahead. 

“Given growing Brexit concerns it will be important that the government works with the industry to ensure that supply chains aren’t disrupted. Any future delays and increase in costs would impact on the scope for the industry to ‘build, build, build’ our way to recovery.”

The government has now revealed plans to hold an online discussion, explaining how to import and export goods from the EU, as well as hiring workers – due to take place on October 28th.

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