Shortages persist for electrotechnical products, says CLC

Softening demand in the construction sector is causing product price inflation to slow, dropping from 25% to around 17% according to the Construction Leadership Council (CLC). 

The industry body also reported that product availability was at its best in two years across all regions of the UK, both in the range and volume of products and delivery times. 

The moderation in product price inflation in construction comes in the same week that the Office for National Statistics revealed that annual consumer price inflation has once again hit double figures. 

Despite the positive news for the industry, the CLC warned that concerns still remain over inflation tied to energy costs for manufacturers of energy intensive products such as bricks, blocks, glass, steel, cement and ceramics, with some suppliers already announcing price increases for 2023. 


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Supplies have improved to their best levels in two years

In a statement, John Newcomb and Peter Caplehorn, co-chairs of the CLC product availability working group, said all regions were reporting “the best product availability in two years” but warned of continuing issues in the supply of semiconductors was impacting the availability of electro-technical products. 

“With rising interest in products related to energy saving, renewable energy production, storage and heating, there are further concerns over both availability and price escalation for electrotechnical products that may impact both the construction and facilities management sectors,” the pair said. 

Availability bricks and aircrete blocks has improved, though long delivery times remain for the latter, and early ordering is recommended. 

Timber is readily available and prices are falling, though there remain gaps in speciality markets such as birch plywood, due to sanctions against Russia. 

The CLC warned that cheap birch plywood coming from China and Vietnam – where there are no birch forests – are likely sourced from Russia.  And it said there is plenty of stock of steel, although rebar prices are rising on the back of increased energy costs.