For the first time since the construction boom began, lead times seem to be returning to normal, says Brian Moone of Mace.

01 Going up

  • Structural steel frame
  • Curtain walling
  • Brickwork
  • Blockwork

02 Staying level

  • Concrete works
  • reconstructed stone cladding
  • Natural material cladding
  • Metal panel cladding
  • Atrium roofs
  • Asphalt and membrane roofs
  • Facade cleaning equipment
  • Metal doors
  • Demountable partitions
  • General joinery
  • Raised floors
  • Ceilings
  • Architectural metalwork
  • Decorative wall covering
  • Internal stone floor and wall finish
  • Soft floor finishes
  • Escalator
  • Electrical suppliers
  • Mechanical suppliers
  • Ductwork

03 Going down

  • Pre-cast piling
  • Rotary piling
  • Profiled metal roof finish
  • Drylining
  • Specialist joinery
  • Suspended ceilings
  • Non-standard passenger lifts
  • Controls specialists

04 Lead times summary

Both pre-cast and rotary piling reported a reduction in lead times – to seven weeks for rotary and five weeks for pre-cast piling. Despite this drop, they continue to forecast a busier period coming up.

Concrete w orks remained at 10 weeks. Structural steel frame rose by one week to 15 weeks, although the supply of materials remained volatile. Lead times are longer for complex projects.

For reconstructed stone and natural material cladding lead times remain at 26 and 29 weeks respectively.

The lead time for curtain walling rose to 49 weeks, following a brief stabilisation last quarter. Availability of aluminium and glass was identified as a problem.

Atrium roofs stayed at 25 weeks. The rise forecast last quarter has not materialised. Views on future workload are mixed.

The fall in profiled metal roof finish last quarter continued by a further three weeks to 13, which seems to indicate a stabilisation of the sharp increase reported six months ago.

Lead times for Asphalt and membrane roof finish remained at 10 weeks, but are forecast to increase next quarter.

The high lead time of 35 weeks for facade cleaning equipment remained for the third quarter. This is being exacerbated by the increasing complexity of projects.

Lead times for brickwork and blockwork both rose to 10 weeks. A significant change is not anticipated for either over the next quarter.

Drylining reduced to eight weeks, with no rise forecast for the next quarter.

Demountable partitions remained at eight weeks, as order books remain constant.

General joinery remains at 11 weeks following last quarter’s drop of one week, while specialist joinery decreased by one week to 15 weeks. Both markets are forecast to get busier in the next quarter.

The lead time for raised floors remained at six weeks. There has been no change in this for the past year but there may be an increase in the next quarter.

The lead time for suspended ceilings dropped by a week to 15.

Architectural metalwork remained at 12 weeks for the third quarter.

Decorative wall covering The average lead-in of suppliers has remained at four weeks for the past 18 months. The order books for the next quarter are forecast to remain steady.

Internal stone floor and wall finish lead times have levelled off at 22 weeks following steady increases over the past few quarters.

Soft floor finish remained at seven weeks.

Non-standard passenger lifts reduced by eight weeks to 31 weeks, but this is predicted to rise again next quarter.

Escalator lead times levelled off at 24.

Electrical suppliers and Mechanical suppliers remain static and reported 23 and 20 weeks lead times respectively.

Ductwork remained at seven weeks.

Controls specialists reported increased capacity, so lead times fell by five weeks to eight weeks. This is forecast to remain.

Boiler rooms , and M&E plant and equipment including air conditioning, VAV units, uninterruptible power supplies, switch gear, generators, data and voice cabling and sprinklers continues to remain unchanged from the previous report

For the first time since the industry began its current boom, there are signs that the specialist contractors are beginning to return to more typical lead times, with eight of the packages in the survey reducing their lead times. Only four of the packages reported an increase. Some of this is owed to the number of major projects being deferred or delayed.

Specialists can look forward to the influx of work filtering through to their elements.

Data capture and analysis by Mace Business School, part of the Mace Group. For more details on the article and the contributors please visit