Updated: Jul 15, 2021
The pandemic and Brexit have led to various shortages in the industry. From labour to raw materials, the construction industry is struggling to find the right resources for their projects. With demand higher than supply in the market, the industry is facing higher inflation and delays. In this event we talk to Ciara Walker, Construction Economist at Core Five, David Longbottom, Director and Founder of Construction Automation, Karen Jones, Residential Development Manager at Kingspan Insulation, Lee Goodenough, Sales and Commercial Director at Sapphire Balconies, Richard McMullan from MyDek and Tim Hall, Consultant at Total Flow, about overcoming shortages in the market. Here are some key takeaways from the event:
Labour Shortage in the Industry
The industry has been seeing a steady decline in the number of available European labourers since 2016. But with Brexit and the pandemic, this shortage has accelerated and has reached a critical point. European labourers who were unable to find work due to the lockdowns were forced to return home, leaving a significant gap in the market. Besides that, with the pandemic restricting the number of labourers on site, there is less opportunity for skilled seniors to pass on their knowledge to their juniors, resulting in major loss of knowledge in the industry. There is a strong need for innovation to deal with these labour shortages. While some sectors have not yet faced the problems related to labour shortages, others are seeing an increase in the cost of labour due to major shortages. Covid has also pushed contractors to innovate and get more done on site with fewer labourers. It will be interesting to see how this situation evolves in the future.
Increases in Cost of Raw Materials
After the lockdowns, the industry has bounced right back at a faster pace than predicted. However, the raw material supply chain has not been able to keep up for various reasons. This has caused a crunch between the demand and supply of various raw materials in the industry, leading to major hikes in costs. Especially for raw materials like steel and aluminium, supply is lower than demand and the industry predicts that these shortages may continue until the end of the year. The price pressure is expected to dissipate by early next year. Until then, the industry needs to innovate and find alternatives to save on costs.
Super Deduction Policy and the Construction Industry
The Super Deduction Policy is an initiative by the government to help companies get back on their feet after Covid. Under this initiative, companies can offset their capital investment against tax payable. It is a great initiative for companies that would like to innovate, invest and grow as this Policy makes it cheaper to invest now due to the tax break. This can change the way the industry works and pave the way from traditional to modern methods of construction.
Modern Methods of Construction
With the current and predicted labour shortages in the industry and the need to have fewer people on site due to the pandemic, the demand for modern methods of construction in the industry is growing. Switching to modular construction options can help prevent delays due to shortages and help keep costs low. With the labour shortage problem causing major concern in the industry, modular construction can offer the right solution as it reduces the number of labourers required onsite. With the benefit of the Super Deduction Policy, it is also the perfect time for companies that want to innovate and set up factories as the tax break can reduce capital costs.
Learn more about how to overcome shortages from some of industry experts by watching the replay of the event here: