The latest lead times may not look like much has altered, but the current increase in order books will change all that, says Paul Dalton of Mace.

Piling (UP) lead times have increased one week to seven weeks while precast piling (LEVEL) lead times have stayed at six weeks. All contributors confirm they are now very busy with projects and availability of plant is the overriding factor for any increase, rather than materials or design.

As forecasted in the previous report, lead times for concrete works (UP) have increased one week to six weeks with all suppliers reporting strong order books at the start of 2006.

The average lead time for structural steelwork (UP) has risen one week to 13 weeks, the first increase since the start of 2005. Suppliers have reported an increased number of orders in both the public and private sectors.

Reconstituted stone cladding (DOWN) fell one week to 27 weeks overall, whereas Natural stone cladding (UP) increased two weeks to 27 weeks, with suppliers reporting a number of contracts involving complex facade designs necessitating additional detailing time.

Curtain walling (LEVEL) was maintained at 18 weeks after last quarter’s fall, with previously reported issues over glass supply being resolved.

Lead times for atrium roofing (UP) are back up to 28 weeks with suppliers reporting strong order books for the second half of 2006 and into 2007.

Lead times for membrane roofing (LEVEL) and profiled roofing (LEVEL) stayed at nine and 14 weeks respectively although suppliers noted an increase in enquiries that could impact next time.

Lead times for facade cleaning equipment (LEVEL) have stayed at 25 weeks, and the lead time for metal windows : has also been maintained, at 15 weeks.

Brickwork and blockwork (LEVEL) lead times are unchanged at four weeks. However one supplier reported an increase in commercial enquiries that may affect next quarter’s figures.

Drylining (LEVEL) stayed at nine weeks, with suppliers saying they could call on both local and foreign labour to maintain lead times.

Lead times for demountable partitions (DOWN) reduced one week to nine weeks with suppliers reporting spare capacity at the start of 2006.

General joinery (DOWN) reduced by one week in the period to 11 weeks overall, although suppliers expect lead times to increase to normal levels in the second part of 2006.

Specialist joinery (LEVEL) lead times have been maintained at 17 weeks although procurement of specialist materials is placing pressure on their ability to maintain the overall duration.

Raised floors (LEVEL) are unchanged at six weeks - however, an increase is anticipated in the second half of 2006 because of a number of large commercial enquiries.

Suspended ceilings (LEVEL) lead times have been maintained at 16 weeks, with any pressure being reduced through good labour availability.

Architectural metalwork (LEVEL) suppliers have maintained lead times at 13 weeks, mainly because of suppliers using their own supply chain to provide material and labour, rather than materials only.

Decorating (LEVEL) lead times are unchanged at five weeks overall.

Lead times for internal stone finishes (LEVEL) have been maintained at 16 weeks overall after last quarter’s decrease.

Non standard lifts (LEVEL) are still at 41 weeks overall with no noticeable variance for a number of reports. However, suppliers report strong order books that may increase lead times.

As forecasted in the previous report, Ductwork (DOWN) lead times have reduced one week to 10 weeks overall.

Lead times for sprinkler installations (UP) have stayed at eight weeks.

The average lead for electrical packages (LEVEL) has been maintained at 13 weeks average, with variances across specific elements such as luminaires at six to eight weeks, switchgear at eight to 10 weeks, generators at 11 to 14 weeks and transformers at 12 to 16 weeks.

The lead time for the IT infrastructure equipment (LEVEL) package has stayed at seven weeks, although the lead time for data and voice cabling (DOWN) has reduced, now also at seven weeks.

Several areas of the supply chain have advised that order books for 2006 are strong. Many believe the recommencement of several large commercial schemes and the increased number of public sector projects will result in an increase in lead times during 2006.

Going up

Concrete works
Structural steelwork
Natural stone cladding

Staying level

Precast piling
Curtain walling
Membrane and profiled roofing
Metal windows
Facade cleaning equipment
Brickwork and blockwork
Specialist joinery
Raised floors and suspended ceilings
Architectural metalwork
Sprinkler installations
Electrical packages

Going down

Reconstituted stone cladding
General joinery
Demountable partitions