Bricks And Mortar But Lack Of Bricks!
The British housing market received what was termed as the biggest boost when the conservative party politician George Gideon Oliver Osborne announced his Help to Buy scheme 16 a while ago. This came after Margaret Thatcher gave rights to council tenant to own homes and this is what Mr Osborne referred to as a great support for all
Though the boost was one of the most important in the building and construction industry, Mr Osborne probably did not factor in one of the most important elements in this industry. Recently there has been a rather astonishing shortage of one of the most basic materials in construction which is the building bricks. Lack of bricks has hit construction in major cities and the surrounding areas in the UK. To find out more information about the topic click here.
Information collected from builders who are mostly involved in brick and mortar construction has indicated that there is a serious lack of this important material with builders outside the capital claiming that they have been told to wait for up to a year for the bricks to be available. The stocks of one of largest brick manufacturer have hit their lowest according to the boss of Michelmersh Brick, a large listed manufacturer.
On the other hand, the imports have gone up 60%. This is a sign that the industry is in great need of bricks and the increase is just an effort aimed at filling in the gap created by the internal shortage. A managing director in one of the largest supplies in Scotland Calcum Currie has indicated that Britain is becoming a bricks-haves and have-nots nation.
Mr Currie further added that the shortage becomes worse especially towards the North. Most of the manufacturers have already closed the order books and are no longer taking new orders for the year. In most cases, the national house builders are taking the lion’s share of the building materials while the social housing markets are being
starved of these important basic building products.
What are businesses doing about the shortage of bricks:
There are claims that national housebuilders which have a high-volume nature have clouts that they are using in buying the bricks that are left. For this reason, the other players without the power to do this are pushed towards the import option. This has greatly affected the house developers that work on a smaller scale and contractors building shopping centres, social housing, schools and hospitals have not been spared.
There are different reasons behind the brick shortage. One of the main reasons is the fact that there was much brickwork closed during the recession. The demand, for houses, went down and this resulted in the free fall of the housing market. Technically, this resulted in the reduced demand for building materials leading to the closure of the brickwork.
Another reason behind the shortage is the closure of kilns. There were tougher EU limits and regulations on the emission of Sulphur Dioxide introduced. These regulations saw the closure Stewartby ovens which are quite historic in Bedfordshire and played a major part in the supply of bricks. The manufacturers were further struck by the recession and they ended up closing or selling as a result of the escalated energy costs.
A lot of professionals have more than once found themselves a few thousand bricks short when dealing with building projects. They are forced to hunt for the extra bricks which mostly are acquired through importation. Experts in the industry have pointed fingers to the panic which results in people buying the materials just to stockpile the products.
Hope has however been seen in the increase in the number of kilns. This has greatly improved the number of bricks being produced internally. This has partly addressed the shortage in the first quarter of 2014 and things are expected to be better in the second half of the year. But since the numbers had gone too low, there is a possibility that the shortage will be around for a while before the market balances out in terms of the demand and supply of this important commodity. Are you wanting to find out how this will affect the environment click here!
The economics director at Construction Products Association, Dr Noble Francis has claimed that brick manufacturers have managed to handle the increase in demand quite well. This is according to the 39% increase in brick demand this year in April as compared to the same time the previous year. He added that builders, during the recession had got used to getting bricks any time they wanted and in any quantity. They, therefore, need time to adjust to the fact that there are a shortage and the levels of supply which are yet to hit the same levels they were at prior to the recession.
Dr Noble has however said that the media has had a difficult time in explaining the situation and the rumours doing rounds in the construction industry. He stated that what the UK is experiencing is not a brick shortage but rather the reaction of the market to the imbalance created by the recession where the supply was higher than the demand. When the recession was over, the supply had gone down to meet the low demand levels and the sudden increase in demand created what is perceived as the current shortage.
The supply of any material including building bricks is dependent on the existing demand and when the demand is low, the supply is forced to go down to control the prices and prevent wastage. This is exactly what happened during the recession. The problem is that during this period, a lot of sources of bricks were closed down permanently which explains the slow movement of supply to prepossession levels.
A different perception is that there is a general shortage of building materials which is created by the significant increase in house building activities which have seen a 25% rise ever since Help to Buy was increased. The combination of the effect of the recession and the increase in building activities is a major contributor to the reduced supply of bricks. It is expected that the housing market will experience this shortage for a while as long as the status quo in the supply and demand is maintained.