School Fencing St Mary Magdalene

17th June 2021

The Hot Topic – Navigating the Increasing Timber Prices with Alternatives?

“The cost of timber has gone up more than 80% in the past six months, according to the Construction Products Association.”

If you’re involved in the construction industry or just interested in the subject then you know the cost of building materials, particularly timber, has risen significantly over the past year. From COVID-19, BREXIT and the sudden rise in construction work due to both of those have seen a higher demand in projects and a shortage of essential materials… leading to skyrocketing prices that don’t show signs of decreasing anytime soon.

As mentioned there have been a number of factors that have contributed to the increasing prices including COVID-19, BREXIT and the growth of construction itself. Back in 2020, construction sites and projects were paused as the UK went into national lockdown due to the global pandemic. With this Sweden, which the UK’s biggest supplier of timber, saw increasing cases of COVID-19 which lead to workers having to self-isolate delaying lead times and creating a backlog of orders. This caused major disruptions within the industry in 2020, but with things starting to open up and the construction industry back to work, the prices still aren’t decreasing? A domino effect of disruption has caused issues way into 2021 and is forecast to last way into the summer. The reason why these issues are carrying into 2021 is because of the exponential growth the construction industry has received since being allowed to open back up and work again. This growth has subsequently put pressure on the already scarce building materials caused by COVID-19, causing high timber prices.

Improving client demand and contract awards on projects that had been put on hold earlier in the pandemic contributed to a steep upturn in new orders during March. The rate of expansion accelerated to its fastest since September 2014. So, with the construction industry booming and growing more than it has since 2014, how is the increasing building material, especially timber, affecting the sector? Due to the development of the industry recently, construction sites all over the country are in need of one thing, timber. With projects getting back to normal after major disruption, they have been calling for timber and plywood supplies in order to protect the sites they are working on with effective perimeter hoarding. However, suppliers still haven’t recovered from the previous year’s delays, meaning whatever timber that’s arriving in the UK has already been presold and isn’t available for purchasing. This is a major problem for sites that use timber/plywood hoarding when protecting the perimeters as they’re struggling to get hold of the materials which means postponing jobs until available. Also, timber hoarding isn’t a sustainable solution when materials are limited as it can’t be reused on other sites due to the nature of the product. This means once used, the industry is having to wait the extended lead times once more for a new project’s hoarding systems.

Is there a better option than timber hoarding when navigating these shortages at this time?

Well with timber prices equating to the same price as plastic, would it not be a better option to opt for an alternative hoarding system that isn’t going to be single use? FenceSafe Hoard is a great choice for those who want to reuse the system on other sites thanks to its robust composite recycled plastic panelling. Compared to timber hoarding it’s a completely sustainable solution allowing sites to stick with their net zero carbon promises whilst navigating out of these high prices for timber. With the ever-expanding growth of the construction industry, finding alternative solutions to the timber crisis is the only way to keep the momentum after the postponement back in 2020.

So, the question is; have these increased timber prices allowed for the construction industry to shift their focus from plywood hoarding to a more sustainable alternative in the long run?