SMEs ‘finding ways round’ material shortages

SMEs ‘finding ways round’ material shortages

Construction SMEs are finding solutions to address material shortages, despite the widespread effect they have had on the industry over the past year, according to Construction News.

More than seven in 10 respondents to a survey of tradespeople 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 by Travis Perkins, with 79 per cent employing up to three people.

The survey, of 1,446 people called the Repair, Maintenance and Improvement Index, found one in three respondents said the materials shortage was the biggest problem they faced, but also that “UK tradespeople are finding ways of working around the challenges posed by the global shortages of key building materials”, with nearly half saying they had avoided the full impact of the crisis by seeking alternative brands or products.

Material shortages, which have hit building across the UK since late last year, had little or no impact on business in the last two months, according to more than six in 10 respondents.

Looking ahead, 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 of those surveyed said they expect their workloads to stay the same over the same period. Last week, experts warned material and labour shortages were “starting to bite”, after the latest ONS data showed construction output falling for the third month in a row in June. For the second and third of those months, activity in the previously booming repair and maintenance sector has fallen.

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