Whilst three-quarters of building materials are made in the UK the industry needs access to goods from around the world. Coronavirus restrictions are slowing the influx and increasing the price of building materials leading to demand outstripping supply.
Builders’ merchants have enjoyed an unprecedent increase in growth of more than 10% over the past year as people spent lockdowns renovating and refurbishing their homes but the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) have warned that if the problems were not resolved it could “have an impact on the number of houses that we are able to build in the UK” as well as cause delays to smaller projects, such as extensions and loft conversions.
Whether you are refurbishing your property or are a commercial developer, you need to take care to ensure that your legal contracts make clear who bears the liability of potential price increases or delays to the project caused by slow access to materials.
JCT building contracts allow a Contractor to request an extension of time or claim direct loss and/or expense as a result of the progress of the works being materially affected by relevant events or matters. But careful consideration needs to be used when assessing whether access to materials constitutes either.
A growing shortage of key construction materials could delay housebuilding this year as builders fight for fresh supplies against a backdrop of coronavirus-related challenges and price increases.