Construction SMEs are finding solutions to address material shortages, despite the widespread effect they have had on the industry over the past year, a survey has found. More than seven in 10 respondents to the survey, conducted by Travis Perkins PLC, said they were using one or more suppliers to cope with the widespread material shortages, while 41 per cent said they were planning ahead and buying more materials earlier to compensate for the difficulties. SMEs made up the majority of those surveyed.
The survey also found that one in three respondents said the materials shortage was the biggest problem they faced, but nearly half said they had avoided the full impact of the crisis by seeking alternative brands or products. In the future, 56 per cent said they expect their workloads to increase over the next two months, partly due to the government’s easing of restrictions imposed due to the pandemic. Around four in 10 said they expect their workloads to stay the same over the same period.
“It is clear that material shortages are having a significant impact in the form of planning challenges, delays to existing projects and new project starts,” Nick Roberts, chief executive at Travis Perkins, said. “Customers are rising brilliantly to this challenge by proactively managing and working around these issues by planning further ahead and finding alternative solutions, such as trying new products and working more collaboratively.”
The UK has struggled with material shortages since last year, as some production slowed due to lockdowns and manufacturing plants closed.