Roofing material shortages and how to avoid it

You may have noticed or overheard about the building materials shortage that has hit the UK recently. Perhaps you are waiting on some materials for a job you’re scheduled to do, and are unsure how long you are going to have to wait.

This blog aims to explain some of the causes for the current building materials shortage, what roofing materials are currently affected, how this may effect you, and what can be done to avoid getting stuck.

What is causing building materials shortage?

Demand – Since the first lockdown in March 2020, home improvements and renovation became wildly popular, with homeowners deciding to improve their homes with the money they’d usually spend on holidays and going out. This in turn caused a massive demand in building materials, which had a knock-on effect on manufacturers struggling to keep up with the sudden demand, which we are still seeing today.

Raw materials – Due to a massive global demand, there has been a mass global shortage of raw materials preventing production of many vital building products.

Brexit uncertainty – The CLC (The Construction Leadership Council)  have reported that roughly 60% of the UK’s building materials come from the EU, and despite trade deals easing, core suppliers across Europe have lengthened their supply lines as a result.

A reduction in labour – Many factors have effected labour in the building industry. In particular the UK settlement scheme saw many Eastern European construction workers and lorry drivers return to their respective countries ahead of its deadline date on June 30th. Not only that, but a large number of workers in the UK have been asked to self-isolate either after showing symptoms of COVID-19 after being in contact with someone who has tested positive, which has dramatically slowed down labour, production of materials as well as the transport of materials.

What roofing materials are most affected by the shortage?

Timber – Since March 2020 there has been a nationwide shortage of timber due to a high demand of wood products.

Roof Tiles – Roof tiles are experiencing longer lead times in production, with lead times for concrete tiles between 20-36 weeks, and lead times for clay tiles between 4-8 weeks from most manufacturers.

Cement – Many roofing products contain cement, such as concrete roof tiles, cement fibre slates as well as corrugated roofing sheets. The HS2 development has demanded high supply of cement meaning that manufacturers of these products are struggling to keep up with demand.

What effect is this shortage having?

Longer lead times – Longer lead times on product manufacture has resulted in longer lead times for professional roofers to complete projects which has had a knock-on effect on roofing projects such as new roofs and repairs.

Price increase – Prices on certain materials have had to increase due to the lengthening of lead times, which in turn has made it increasingly difficult for manufacturers and suppliers to build up their stock reserves. This means that roofers are having to increase their prices to purchase the right materials for the job.

When can we expect the shortage to end and what can be done?

It’s hard to anticipate when the shortages will end, with a bottle neck of demand pushing lead times further and further back. With so much uncertainty, we recommend that you:

Plan ahead – If you have a roofing project on the horizon for a client, plan as far in advance as possible to avoid any unnecessary price hikes.

Keep in touch with merchants – Keep close to a reliable roofing materials merchant, and if possible, pre-order materials as early as possible to ensure they can order and reserve them in stock ready for your upcoming project. Here at Bromsgrove Roofing Supplies ltd, we are more than happy to reserve stock for you for an upcoming date.

Consider reclaimed materials – If you have a longer than expected lead time on new roofing materials such as tiles and slates, consider discussing with your client the option of using reclaimed materials if possible. Read our blog on Reclaimed Roofing Materials and how they can benefit your client’s project.

How can we help?

Here at Bromsgrove Roofing Supplies ltd, we can provide a free no obligation quotation for all roofing materials, even the ones that are hard to get hold of! Contact us today to see how we can help you.

Tel: 01527 864944


Or drop us a message on Facebook!