Enquiries and workload continue to increase but in a bid to remain competitive, most suppliers are expecting lead times to hold steady. Brian Moone of Mace reports


Demountable partitions
Suspended ceilings
Architectural metalwork


Structural steel frames
Cladding - natural materials
Cladding - metal panellised
Cladding - curtain walling systems
Roof finishes - asphalt/membrane
Roof finishes - profiled metal
Metal doors
Dry lining
General joinery
Raised floors
Decorative wall coverings
Internal stone floor and wall finishes
Soft floor finishes
Passenger lifts (non-standard)
Mechanical package
Electrical package
Security systems
Data and voice cabling
Hard landscaping
Logistics services
Facade cleaning equipment


Piling (rotary)
Piling (pre-cast)
Concrete works
Atrium roofs


Rotary piling following nine months of stability, lead times have reduced by two weeks to five weeks, which has mostly been due to improved site mobilisation times. Pre-cast piling has reduced by one week to four weeks, the first change since 2008.

Concrete works lead times have reduced by one week to seven weeks. Contractors are reporting that they are quieter than six months ago but enquiries have increased.

Structural steel frames lead times have been restated at 14 weeks following better information from the specialist contractors.

Cladding - natural material lead times have remained at 28 weeks since the beginning of 2011 with increased workload forecast. Cladding and metal panellised systems lead times have remained at 27 weeks since Q1 2010. Cladding - curtain walling systems lead times have remained at 43 weeks since the beginning of 2012.

Atrium roof lead times have reduced by one week to 26 weeks having previously remained stable at 27 weeks since Q2 2008. No further changes are forecast in the next six weeks. Asphalt/membrane roof finishes lead times have stabilised following the increase last quarter to six weeks. Profiled metal roof finish lead times have remained at 12 weeks since mid 2009.

Facade cleaning equipment lead times remain at 33 weeks; firms are busy but enquiries are declining.

Brickwork lead times have increased by one week to six weeks. This is due to an increase in lead times from the bricks manufacturers. Blockwork lead times remain at six weeks. However with increased workload and enquiries, companies are forecasting longer lead times in the next six months.

Drylining lead times remain stable at eight weeks, with no changes forecast. Demountable partitions lead times have increased by one week to seven weeks having previously remained level at six weeks since the end of 2009. General joinery lead times remain at 12 weeks. Specialist joinery lead time remains at 23 weeks.

Raised floors lead times remain static at six weeks with no change since 2007.

Suspended ceilings and architectural metalwork lead times have increased by four weeks to 16 weeks having remained static at 12 weeks for more than a year; enquiries and workload are rising.

Decorative wall covering lead times remain at four weeks, internal stone floor and wall finish remain at 24 weeks and soft floor finish at eight weeks.

Passenger lift - non-standard lead times remain at 26 weeks, and escalator lead times have been restated at 19 weeks based on better information from the specialist contractors. No change is forecast for the next 6 months.

Electrical package lead times have remained at 14 weeks since mid-2009. Contractors are busier with projects and enquiries.

Mechanical packages lead times remain at 16 weeks. Contractors are anticipating an increase next quarter as a result of increased enquiries and workload. The lead times for ductwork and sprinklers remain at eight weeks.

Security systems times have remained static at five weeks for over two years, despite an increase in workload and enquiries. Controls lead times stay at seven weeks, and IT infrastructure equipment at six weeks.

Data and voice cabling despite anticipating an increase this quarter, lead times have remained at 11 weeks with an increase forecast in the next six months.

Hard landscaping lead times remain at eight weeks. Contractors are busier now than in the past six months and forecast that it will continue.

Logistics services lead time remains at five weeks with no change in the next six months.

A number of contractors are beginning to report increases in workload. However, most contractors anticipate that over the next six months lead times will remain the same as they absorb capacity and keep times down to remain competitive.

Two trades, specialist bespoke joinery and mechanical services, report an increased burden on design input as a result of receiving less information at tender stage. Whereas mechanical services have been able to absorb this, specialist bespoke joinery lead times have increased by four weeks.

Data capture and analysis by Mace Business School. For more details on the article and contributors, please visit www.macebusinessschool.co.uk/foresite

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lead times new


There are the first signs, for many years, of movement in lead times within the supply chain. Contractors are generally reporting an increase in their current and future workload indicating that the market is improving. There are four packages that have reduced their lead times, these packages include bored and rotary piling, concrete works and atrium roofs. Fluctuation in the ground works packages seem to still be affected by the large London-based infrastructure projects. There also is evidence of companies reducing lead times to help secure some of the new work coming on line.

Three packages have increased their lead times, with a number of others anticipating increases. The brick and blockwork specialists are reporting increased lead times with the supply of materials, while this is reflected within the brick work lead times, the blockwork contractors have been able to contain it within their existing lead times. The demountable partition and architectural metalwork contractors are reporting good levels of workload which is increasing their lead times.