The combination of lockdowns, stay-at-home orders and the lack of travel has provided Brits with an increased appreciation for the comfort of their living spaces. Previously, in our blog, we discussed the 59% of Brits that intend to undertake home improvements in 2021. The average expected spend per household is £6,531.

People have repurposed their entertainment and travel budgets towards home improvement. According to the Federation of Master Builders, the first three months of 2021 saw the fastest increase in building enquiries in over a decade. This represents an opportunity for our industry to achieve growth at a time when many sectors are struggling. Unfortunately, the introduction of vaccines and subsequent reopening of the world have resulted in a hitch to our COVID bounceback.


Material Shortages Expected Through Summer 2021


The shortage of raw materials began with the worldwide shutdowns of resource industries. With the forestry industry at a standstill, timber could not be provided to produce lumber for building. The same held when mining companies turned off their equipment. Iron and carbon were not available to steel makers.

We are happy to see parts of the world return to pre-pandemic normalcy. Vaccines mean societies and industries are reopening. Governments are funnelling stimulus funds into economies to speed up recovery, but material inventories have not recovered enough to keep up with demand.


What to Expect in the Coming Months


Installers will need to navigate two obstacles when planning projects.




John Newcomb, chief executive of the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF), and Peter Caplehorn, chief executive of the Construction Products Association (CPA), have been clear to expect lengthened lead times on material orders. Stock levels need time to rebuild to meet current demands.

The influx of stimulus funding has resulted in a supply chain that has been pre-sold and oversold. Materials needed for our industry, such as resins, glass and steel, are among those in the shortest supply. Be prepared for lead times of 6-8 weeks for roof tiles or 2-6 months for timber.

Cost Crunch


When supply is lower than demand, the prices for the supply will go up. In the latest State of Trade Survey from the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), 82% of its members indicate they have seen price increases on materials. There has been a 7.4% year-over-year increase in prices for home maintenance and repairs.

What Installer Can Do in the Face of Supply Shortages


You can take a few simple steps to navigate this global supply challenge and still keep your customers happy.

Plan Ahead


Plan for the worst and hope for the best. Work with customers to plan as far in advance as possible. This will be key to the best probability in avoiding surprise supply disruptions or price increases.

Increase Communication with Customers


Get friendly with your customer. Work closely to ensure there is no miscommunication around requirements and expectations. Provide regular updates and discuss contingency plans in case they are needed.

Honesty Is the Best Policy


Acknowledge the elephant in the room. There is a global supply problem. Be transparent regarding the potential for delays and price increases even after the quote has been approved.

The NECS Team Is Here to Help


The NECS team is poised to work with you to mitigate as much of the inconvenience of supply shortages as we can. We have been listening and working with our customers since 2007. We are dedicated to continuing to deliver trust, reliability, accuracy and honesty as we navigate the COVID bounceback together. Reach out to our team today to learn how we can help.

0191 414 2901