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Why the Current UK Brick Shortage Affects Small Builders More Than Large Developers

Building firms throughout the UK are being forced to wait over a year for bricks, according to new research which also shows a huge price increase, with the added cost often being shouldered by consumers.

The study that the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) carried out on small and medium-sized building companies indicate that bricks are the material in the shortest supply and with the longest wait time.

Companies reported waiting up to six months for roof tiles and over a year for bricks.

Brick shortage

According to the FMB, the brick shortage was due to an increased cost of the raw materials used to make bricks. Other factors included high demand in a strong international market and the reduced value of the sterling.

The builders targeted by the study are at a disadvantage to larger companies that are able to stockpile materials and reduce the impact of the brick shortage.

Supply problems have also caused the costs of building materials to go up. Brick prices have increased by 9% on average while roof tiles and timber have gone up by 8% and insulation is now 16% more expensive.

Structural Defects Insurance

Over half of the firms surveyed said that higher prices for building materials were crushing their margins and 56% said that the higher costs had to be passed on to customers.

FMB Chief Executive Brian Berry said that higher material prices is not just a problem for UK construction firms. Homeowners were also affected because half of all firms were compelled to pass these increases on to their clients, meaning that building projects are becoming more costly.

Mr. Berry said that the FMB was calling on builders merchants to provide as much advance warning as possible of upcoming price increases or wait times for materials, so that firms can alert their customers and plan ahead. The FMB is also advising builders to quote job prices and prepare contracts with these price rises in mind.

He explained that what the industry doesn’t want is for the number of small and medium-sized building companies reporting losses on projects to increase as the result could be firms going to the wall. If high numbers of construction companies collapse, the knock-down effect in the wider economy could be catastrophic.

Specialists in Construction Insurance


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