Mace keeps tabs on the lead times of 38 works packages, while on pages 56-59 Gardiner & Theobald digs deep for information on archaeological consultants. compiled by Mace and Gardiner & Theobald
Delivery times for seven sectors have fallen and six risen since the last article (2 June). There are no easily identifiable trends, but the most significant movements were in the services sectors. Many services companies say they have stable supply chains that enable them to maintain steady lead-ins, yet there are often fluctuations month to month.

The average lead time for steel frames↓ , which increased by a week in the last analysis, fell by a week to a more typical 10 weeks as firms' design offices grew quieter. Curtain walling ↑ supply times lengthened by a week to 20. The period for production of shop drawings and approval increased by more than this, but it was offset by a fall in the procurement period.

The lead time for atrium roofs ↑ rose by a week to 29. Suppliers are struggling to keep to delivery dates as work leaves the design office, and the pressure on procurement periods may drive up prices over the next few months.

Companies providing membrane roofing ↓ are getting fewer enquiries than six months ago, so lead times have fallen to six weeks. Materials are readily available and, even though skilled installers are in short supply, no problems are expected in dealing with the projected workload over the next six months. There was no change in the lead-in for profiled metal roofing → at 11 weeks. Coated aluminium products have extended lead times to two weeks compared with one to one-and-a-half previously. Corus has said that it is reducing supply slightly, which may affect prices or bring more foreign products on to the British market.

Deliveries for metal windows ↓ fell by one week to 14, as design offices returned to normal after the blip reported last time.

Drylining ↑ materials are widely available, although companies say procurement periods have slightly increased, giving an overall supply time of 10 weeks. The period may have extended because of extra negotiation over prices following rises.

Demountable partitions ↑ lead times lengthened by two weeks to 10. This is because procurement of materials is more difficult during the summer. Sprinklers↓ saw a two-week fall in manufacturing time, giving an overall delivery period of 10 weeks. Boiler rooms ↑ now require an extra three weeks to supply, following increases in design, procurement and manufacturing periods. These increases are partly because of summer factory shutdowns.

A typical 100 kVa uninterruptible power supply system ↓ now takes only eight weeks to supply, having fallen by two. However, the sector is busy and shortages of batteries and microprocessors are expected to affect lead times in the next few months.

It now takes only 15 weeks to provide controls ↓ to site, following a three-week fall. The required design time has reduced following a slowdown in the flow of enquiries.

Made-to-measure office furniture ↑ increased by one week to nine as design offices struggled to cope with orders. The companies expect manufacturing periods to fall by the next Lead times analysis as the installation of new machinery will make them more efficient.

The recent problems of labour shortages across all sectors appear to be subsiding. Although companies report that it is still an issue, they are finding that workloads are falling slightly, making labour shortages less of a concern. Materials in the building fabric trades appear generally to be available. There may be some changes in lead times after the summer shutdowns have taken place.

Lead times

Going up ↑ Curtain walling ↑ Atrium roofs ↑ Drylining, plaster and screeds ↑ Demountable partitions ↑ Boiler rooms ↑ Made-to-measure furniture ↓Going down ↓ Steel frames ↓ Roof membranes ↓ Metal windows ↓ Wall coverings ↓ Sprinklers ↓ Uninterruptible power supply ↓ Controls