Ian Hughes, Associate Construction Director and Gareth Hart, Associate Commercial Director, reflects on the challenges their divisions have faced this year from the triple blows of Covid, supply chain issues and rising costs.
“Prices of core materials have skyrocketed in the last year” according to Gareth. “The effects have been many and varied, but materials like timber have increased in cost by 40%, steel we’ve seen rises of around 30% and plastic and cement-based products are costing us on average about 10% more than they did 18 months ago. Obtaining materials has also been very challenging. All the basic building products have been in restricted supply and only by shopping around, being nimble with purchases and flexible on specification have we been able to maintain continuity. We haven’t yet had to resort to significant stockpiling of materials which I know some of the larger housebuilders are doing. At the moment we are absorbing price increases as, generally, house price inflation is outstripping build cost inflation, but it remains to be seen whether those effects will continue into 2022 & beyond.”
Gareth continues: “As I look back over recent months, I’m particularly proud that given all these challenges we’ve not yet been forced to cease construction on any of our sites through lack of materials or labour. There have been one or two occasions where we have come extremely close, but through having a dedicated, experienced and professional team, along with good supply chain relationships, we have prevailed.”
Ian is equally as proud of all the site teams, who have adapted exceptionally well to managing the risk of Covid, just as they successfully manage all Health & Safety risks. “In terms of CMLs, this year is on course to be the best we have ever done as a company and that’s phenomenal when you consider all we’ve had to contend with on site. We’ve had to maintain flexibility at every turn and readjust when problems arise. Will Hobbs, Pete Shute and Rob Davenport also deserve a particular mention, as they have had the headache of lead times doubling on some materials.”
Ian continues: “We’re on track to complete around 230 homes this year, which is fantastic. It’s been an extraordinary year, but I would very much like it to get back to somewhere near normal next year please!”.