Travis Perkins warns of price rises amid shortage of raw materials

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A man sawing timberImage source, Getty Images

The UK's biggest builders' merchant has warned customers of "considerable" cost increases to raw materials amid an industry-wide shortage.

As first reported by the Times, Travis Perkins says the price of bagged cement will rise by 15%, chipboard by 10% and paint by 5% from Tuesday.

It comes as industry groups warn electrical components, timber and steel are also in short supply.

They blame surging demand as lockdown eases, as well as supply chain issues.

Travis Perkins has been informing customers in its stores, websites and by email of the price rises.

It said it had seen demand across the board - from consumers doing more DIY projects, to demand from big infrastructure projects such as HS2.

'Inflationary pressure'

It said the increases could affect its other brands which include Keyline and BSS.

A spokesman said: "In instances where we have seen some challenges posed by global demand for raw materials or inflationary pressures, we continue to work closely with our suppliers and partners to minimise price increases where possible, whilst also ensuring healthy stock availability for all of our customers."

The Office for National Statistics has projected a rise of 7-8% in material prices this year, with increases for certain materials, such as timber, expected to more than double.

The supply problems stem from a number of factors. Construction industry projects have surged since lockdown began easing which has led to skyrocketing demand for already scarce materials.

There are also issues hitting specific products, such as the warmer winter affecting timber production in Scandinavia while the cold winter weather in Texas affected the production of chemicals, plastics and polymer.

There has also been a sharp rise in shipping costs amid the pandemic.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Travis Perkins is the UK's biggest builder's merchant

The Federation of Master Builders said that some building firms may have to delay projects and others could be forced to close as a result.

"Small, local builders are being hit hardest by material shortages and price rises," chief executive Brian Berry told the BBC last week.

"My members are experiencing price rises of 10-15% across the board, rising to 50% on timber and 30% on cement."

Trade group the Construction Leadership Council said it saw material shortages lasting for the foreseeable future.

Roland Glancy, managing director of design service Peek Home, advised people to delay home improvement projects until autumn.

"The last thing you want is to knock through a wall and then struggle to get hold of a bag of plaster to complete your vision, leaving you living in a building site, just when we should be enjoying our new freedoms," he said.