Housebuilding upturn sparks shortage of blocks

Published:  10 July, 2013

Construction is being hit by a shortage of aerated and lightweight blocks, with delivery times of up to three months currently being quoted by manufacturers, the Enquirer website has reported.

An upturn in the private housing market has sparked the shortage, leaving builders desperate for supplies. A Hanson spokesman told the Enquirer: “There has been a big surge in demand for Thermalite aircrete blocks over the last few months, fuelled principally by an upturn in private-sector housebuilding.

“We have been asking our customers to place orders four weeks in advance, but have had to push that out to eight to10 weeks as demand has picked up. This is not just a problem for us – the entire industry is under pressure from this welcome but unexpected hike in demand, after five years of volume decline and production cut-backs.”

Hanson may increase production to meet demand. The spokesman said: “To cope with the upturn, we are reviewing our production capacity and also looking closely at our forward-order books to ensure our customers plan ahead and do not over-order or stock-pile blocks to the detriment of others.

“It’s a difficult balancing act, but our aim is to prioritise our loyal customer base, keep them supplied with their immediate needs and ensure they remain fully informed and aware of the situation as it develops.”

Richard Cross, branch manager at merchant Civils & Lintels, remarked: “It is a pretty amazing juggling act at the moment, keeping all our various sites supplied.”

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