Materials shortages causing site shutdowns
Building sites are shutting down because they are struggling to obtain the materials they need, even though the construction minister has said they should stay open.
That’s according to the chief executive of the National Federation of Builders, Richard Beresford, who warned that a combination of factors including reduced productivity to ensure on-site social distancing, materials shortage and public opinion, was making it hard for the industry to operate.
Beresford said: “Members are reporting that they are unable to get materials and deliveries from builder’s merchants, many of which have closed after struggling to get hold of stock. This a major concern, as it will cause breaches of contract, permanent supply chain loss and ongoing costs, without revenue to pay for them.
“Remobilising sites is expensive, as is mothballing them, which is why so many businesses want to continue operating but with lower productivity to ensure social distancing.”
Beresford’s comments came as construction minister Nadhim Zahawi made a urged the public not to criticise businesses for following the rules in an article in the Daily Telegraph.
Zahawi said: “There will always be some work that cannot be done from home, whether it is construction or packing boxes in an Amazon warehouse – but we still need houses built and for deliveries to be made. If the scientific view changes, and all of this work becomes too high a risk, the Government will update its advice. But until then businesses should not be criticised for following the rules.
“We cannot allow those who hate the private sector to use this crisis as an excuse to pile unfair criticism on them. We should stand up for those that are correctly following the rules. They are the same companies we will need to help fund our recovery when we finally get through this.”
But Beresford called for further clarity from government on the issue. He said: “Employers are putting staff first, not just on site but in ensuring they have a job to come back to. We desperately need the government to come out and talk about specific industries like construction, otherwise businesses will be forced to close, perhaps for good.”