The population of the UK is increasing significantly. Because of this there are consistent calls in political arenas to commit to building more houses. As a part of this the Scottish Government in Holyrood has announced that they plan on delivering 50,000 new affordable homes.
Large amounts of money has been put aside as funding which will be used to increase the building rate. The funding is also being used as an incentive for councils, housing associations and construction companies. It is hoped that the incentive will be enough to get more houses built even in today’s challenging economic environment.
Plans, targets and promises to increase building rates and boost the housing stock of the nation are well intended. However, it is important to note that there are a range of different factors that could disrupt these plans. It is becoming more and more apparent that the rising cost of building materials is having an impact on the volume and speed houses can be built. An investigation was carried out earlier this year which found that some of the essential materials required in the construction industry increased in cost by as much as 35% in the UK. These price increases can have a significant impact on a building project’s margins.
Some of these products, such as plasterboard, chipboard and loft insulation have seen their prices rise at the fastest rate in 25 years.
The Construction Products Association carried out The Construction Trade Survey in the final quarter of last year. The survey revealed that overall costs rose by 88% in the civil engineering sector, and 75% of main contractors have seen a rise in the cost of raw materials.
Coupled with the ongoing skills shortage in this area it would seem that the construction industry is facing a difficult time, with a range of different trade suppliers searching for alternatives to traditional product markets.