The Current State of the Construction Industry

The recent news that the construction industry is facing significant issues with supply and demand for both building materials and skilled labour comes as no surprise to Retain Limited founder and director, Jamie Gibbs.

Gibbs founded Retain back in 2008 and has experienced sustainable growth throughout this time but these well documented issues have proved to be a real challenge for the day to day running of his company.

“What we are currently witnessing across the construction industry is predominantly a knock-on effect from the problems facing the logistics industry.” Gibbs said.

“The logistics industry was already struggling to meet demands after the Brexit fall-out and the COVID-19 pandemic has added further disruption with ongoing sea and road freight issues.

“This has resulted in much higher costs for building materials across the board and this has made managing our supplies and projects even harder. I believe this is more extreme for smaller companies who rely on regular stock deliveries at builders’ merchants which simply isn’t there at the moment.

“The larger construction companies that have greater purchasing power are able to bulk buy and stockpile the materials they need which is at a detriment to everyone else who is trying to finish an existing project or even start a new one.

“It’s a classic economic example of demand exceeding supply where prices go through the roof as we’ve previously experienced in other industries such as farming and more recently housing.”

It has recently been reported by Glenigan (for the National Federation of Roofing Contractors) that the second quarter of the year continued to follow suit as the first with sustained growth in workloads and new projects given the green light by local planning authorities.

Many industrial and commercial roofing contractors, including Retain, have also reported difficulties in recruiting skilled labour to physically get on site and do the work they have on their books.

Throw in the supplies shortage and the rising cost of materials and there is growing pressure on companies operating in the construction industry to complete projects on time which will add further delay to the sectors recovery since the pandemic hit our shores some 18 months ago.

Gibbs added: “If these shortage problems aren’t addressed and resolved soon it will only result in a further squeeze on the everyday costs and margins for roofing contractors which makes it difficult to plan ahead with confidence.”

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