A worldwide shortage of timber is affecting the UK's scaffolding industry, causing dramatic price rises for crucial scaffolding boards. Several leading organisations from across the construction industry have expressed concern about the issue.
The Construction Leadership Council (CLC) was one of the first organisations to raise concerns about already-low and rapidly-dwindling stocks of European softwood which, among many other uses in the construction industry, is the raw material that is used to manufacture scaffolding boards in the UK.
The global timber shortage is being blamed on a number of factors, including 'faltering availability' and swiftly-rising raw material prices. Aggravating the issue are high levels of sustained growth in the construction industry in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Unusually high demand from the three largest global markets (Russia, China and the US) have contributed to the situation that is predicted to take 'months to stabilise and years to fully recover'.
Global demand is being fuelled by the US, which is purchasing 'record volumes' of timber as well as paying unusually-high prices to build houses with timber frames. China is buying much of Europe's supply and that of a number of other regions around the world. Furthermore, massive growth of Europe's DIY market has increased demand for timber, resulting in the skyrocketing prices.
According to figures published in independent scaffolding news magazine Scaffmag, scaffolding contractors are paying up to an average of £16 for a 13ft board, representing a massive increase of 50% as compared to last year. Further price increases are predicted in June and July 2021.
One UK supplier of scaffolding boards said: "The market is difficult to predict but indications are at the end of Q3 the prices will plateau out... but we don’t think we will ever see boards priced at £7 – £9 again."
These are turbulent times indeed for the UK's construction industry in general and the scaffolding industry in particular. Our customers can rest assured that Mitchell's Scaffolding will continue to provide our services with the most competitive pricing structure and that there will never be any compromise on quality or safety.
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