Spike in home building rates lead to shortage of bricks
Concerns have been raised about shortages of bricks and bricklayers after the rate of house building has picked up at the fastest pace for more than a decade last month.
The reviving building activity and strong order books have meant the UK construction sector has been able to add jobs at a rapid pace. However this has also seen builders’ costs rise as subcontractors were able to hike their rates up. Consequently to the rise in house building there is also a concern that building materials are running out, meaning the prices of key building materials have risen sharply.
The recent picture of the building industry has been a positive one, with work having increased dramatically over the last decade. However, with demand being so great it encourages businesses and contractors to up there prices.
Chris Williamson, chief economist at survey compilers Markit says, “The recent surveys that have been conducted have shown some stark warnings in relation to inflation. Rates charged by subcontractors are rising at a near-record pace and prices paid for construction materials are also increasing sharply,” said Williamson. “Dwindling availability of construction materials, especially bricks, is feeding through to higher prices in many cases.”
However, brick manufacturers countered that “bricks have always been available” and production is running ahead of new house building projects. The Brick Development Association have insisted that materials are not in short supply “There are over 1,500 brick types in the UK, some types may have been in short supply in the short term, but this has not been the case with the more expensive bricks which have always been readily available,” said the group’s chief executive Simon Hay..
The government seized on the construction survey as evidence the sector was “bouncing back” after the housing crash that “led to the loss of a quarter of a million construction jobs”.
Through the Help to Buy scheme there are almost 40,000 households which have now been able to become homeowners. This is of the highest level since 2007. These figures are sure to mean houses will continue to be built at this rapid rate.