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The construction materials shortage has seen prices for all building work soar by 21.5% in December 2021 compared to the same month in the previous year and by 0.4% in December 2021 compared to the previous month, as stated in the latest Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s (BEIS) most recent Monthly Statistics of Building Materials and Components Commentary.  Many different building materials have been affected, with products such as fabricated structural steel, particle board, and concrete reinforcing bars seeing some of the greatest price increases in 2021.

Chart 1: Construction Material Price Indices UK, Monthly Statistics of Building Materials and Components, gov.uk, February 2022.

There are many factors affecting the ongoing price rise of building materials; the continuing pandemic, transportation issues, soaring energy prices, labour shortages, and changes in consumer shopping habits. The Office for National Statistics recently reported that between 29th November and 26th December 2021, 8.1% of construction firms reported costs had increased due to red tape associated with the end of the EU transition period, 13.7% reported additional transportation costs, 7.4% reported additional costs associated with supply chains, 1.2% reported additional costs associated with storage of goods and 14.4% reported extra costs in the process of goods and services imported.

How is the rise in cost for building materials affecting the rooflight sector?

The pandemic resulted in a demand surge for home improvement products which could not be foreseen. This, along with other factors, has resulted in the shortage of many products associated with the creation of rooflights. Architectural glass has not escaped these challenges, with many major glass manufacturers raising the prices of their glass products. The price of glass increased by 30% in 2021 after prices were raised by 10% on 3 occasions in February, June, and again in October.

Whilst the double and triple glass unit manufacturers are ready to make the glass, their stock comes from the global glass processors supplying float glass in various thicknesses. These top-level suppliers also rely on shipping containers which have also experienced a global shortage.

Aluminium, another key component of rooflights, has also gone up more than 58% at near-record highs, now at over +33% year-to-date, along with steel, the grade that is used in rooflight products, having seen a rise of around 100%.

What’s in store for 2022?

Delivery times lengthened significantly in 2021, and January 2022 began with many companies reporting severely constrained output, input costs rising faster than at any point in the decade prior to the pandemic, and Omicron causing fresh uncertainty, reports IHS Markit.

Going into 2022, companies reporting that output was constrained by shortages was running 3.5 times the long run average, which is lower than October, but still much higher than ever recorded. The average lengthening of supplier delivery times, although slightly easing, remained at a level far in excess of anything we have ever seen, resulting in a seller’s market. While December saw some welcome cooling of industrial price pressures as supply bottlenecks eased, the manufacturing sector is still seeing its input costs rise at a rate exceeding anything we have seen in over a decade. We can therefore expect to see supply challenges continuing to affect materials such as glass, aluminium, and steel in 2022, resulting in yet more unpreventable price increases.

How can you help prevent these challenges from effecting your rooflight project?

Make sure you give yourself as much time as possible when starting work on your rooflight project. Timing is everything, and of course you will want to avoid being left with a hole in your roof with nothing to fill it. Get in touch with us as soon as you can to discuss your rooflight needs, this will give us as much time as possible to ensure your rooflight is with you when you need it to be.

Be sure to remain up to date with the latest news on product shortages so you and your client understand why there may be long lead times and price increases. We are doing everything we can to lessen the effect these challenges are having on our customers.

To learn more about construction materials price increases, or to discuss a rooflight project you are working on, get in touch by calling us on 01379 658300 or submit an enquiry form, we’d be happy to help.