Material supply issues stabilise, as land banking claims debunked

Material supply issues ease slightly, as skilled labour costs rise

The latest monthly supply chain update from the Construction Leadership Council was published this week, and made for slightly optimistic reading, with the group reporting stabilisation in lead-in times in some product areas. Meanwhile, the latest Builders Merchant Building Index showed that daily takings in July 2021 were 25.5% higher than in July 2020.

However, concerns remain over increased delays in some areas, such as bricks, blocks and concrete roof tiles, with the shortage in lorry drivers adding to the challenge. The overall message? The supply chain is just about managing, but we are not out of the woods yet.

The cost of skilled labour also increased by 2.8% in August, according to Hudson Contract, with rises seen across all regions of England and Wales for the second consecutive month. The East Midlands saw the greatest increase, with labour costs hitting an all-time high of £1,022 per week.

Land banking myth debunked, amidst £300m boost for SMEs

A report published this week by planning consultancy Lichfield, commissioned by the Home Builders Federation, found – somewhat unsurprisingly – that housebuilders are not guilty of land banking, as is often claimed.

The finger of blame was instead pointed – again, unsurprisingly – at the planning process, with “complexities and risks” contributing to delays in converting land into homes. Lichfield also calculated that 35% to 50% of homes granted permission would be completed within five years.

In a boost for small and medium size housebuilders, Housing Growth Partnership this week announced a further £300m to support projects and allow smaller businesses to grow.

The fund will favour developments with a focus on sustainiability and modern methods of construction, with some of the funds going towards the new Regional Growth Initiative, which offers partnerships to some housebuilders to “further their growth and development”.

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