UK homeowners face higher bills for renovation work as builders grapple with soaring material costs and shortages of essentials ranging from concrete and timber to taps and roof tiles in a booming housing market.
“It is a bit like going to Sainsbury’s and them not having any bread, milk or eggs in,” said Paul Bence, the managing director of builders merchants Bence, of the runaway demand for supplies that is emptying shelves. “Cement is our bread and butter and we would normally keep a good 10 days stock. We would not operate a ‘just-in-time’ model … but that’s effectively where we are right now.”
The overheating market for building materials has triggered widespread price increases of more than 10%, said Bence. He said the sharp rise meant builders, who price jobs months in advance, were in the difficult position of having to go back to customers and say: “I’ve got to increase the price of your job.”