Shortages of raw materials and skilled labour are on the rise in the industry. Brexit, followed by the Covid-19 pandemic, have fuelled these shortages further. With growing demand and limited supplies in the market, prices of raw materials and labour have reached an unprecedented high. These rising costs have caused concern throughout the industry and have also in many cases led to further delays. In this event, we speak to industry experts on the subject of overcoming shortages and ask them for their views on the matter, along with tips to reduce costs in such times. Here are some of the highlights from the conversation:
Balancing Standardisation with Creativity
A great way for construction companies to reduce costs in such circumstances is by reducing the wastage of raw materials. Standardisation allows for prior thought and planning and can help reduce wastage. Advance planning can also help determine what materials will be needed and which ones can be replaced with substitute materials that are readily available in the market. Companies that are successful at standardising their processes and parts of their design without compromising on creativity will be able to drive down their cost of raw materials.
Additionally, the feedback that companies can receive through such standardisation methods can be used to create the right size of panels, reducing the effort and labour on site.
Best ways to combat the material shortages
With the shortages expected to last until the end of this year and even into early next year, construction companies need to think of innovative solutions to work around it. Companies need to create designs that are adaptable so that materials can be substituted in order to reduce costs and delays caused by shortages. Companies should also keep their procurement options open and work closely with the supply chain to understand the risks better. This will help them find solutions to problems early on.
Companies should also get into the habit of forward planning as those who plan ahead get priority. This is not currently the norm in the industry, but those companies that have managed to plan in advance will be able to arrange for the materials in time and avoid delays and an increase in costs. Such planning can also give the companies enough time to search for material or supplier substitutes and prepare them better for future risks. Companies can also try to lock in prices in advance so that they are not faced with further price hikes.
After Brexit, the construction industry has seen a severe shortage of labour as a lot of skilled and unskilled European workers have moved back home due to the lack of jobs during the pandemic. To combat this skill shortage in the industry, companies need to work together to make construction an interesting career option for the younger generation. Introducing more automation and offsite construction methods will surely help to engage the interest of the younger generation, as working through bad weather conditions does not appeal to this age group. Additionally, companies should have clear career-path mapping so they can understand the opportunities for progress in the industry. Introducing better regulations and creating kinder work conditions will also help to bring in more younger people into the industry.
Learn more about what Ciara Walker, Construction Economist at Core Five, David Longbottom, Director and Founder of Construction Automation, Karen Jones, Residential Development Manager at Kingsley Insulation, Lee Goodenough, Sales and Commercial Director at Sapphire Balconies, Richard McMullan from MyDek and Tim Hall, Consultant at Total Flow have to say about overcoming shortages in the market. Watch the recording of the full event here: