Building projects in Flintshire could be at risk due to rising material costs
Politicians have been told that building projects in Flintshire could be at risk due to the rising cost of materials.
Construction firms across the UK are dealing with an increase in the price of products such as steel, timber and cement.
It follows a shortage in materials and labourers driven by a high demand for building schemes as the industry recovers from the coronavirus crisis.
Flintshire Council has now warned it is likely to have a knock-on effect on key infrastructure projects being carried out in the county.
The local authority said it could lead to delays to a number of projects it has in the pipeline, such as new houses, schools and roads.
Neal Cockerton, chief officer for housing and assets, said it had been flagged as an area of concern on the council’s risk register.
Speaking at a virtual meeting of councillors held today (Thursday, 5 August), he said: “You’ll have seen some noise on TV and in the press about the ability to build things and the ability to get hold of raw materials like steel, timber and those sorts of things.
“We aren’t going to be able to skirt around those issues because we build things, we repair things and we maintain things.
“Whether that’s in housing in terms of repairs and refurbishment, or whether that’s in the context of new-build schools and new-build housing, they all require raw materials.
“Some of those raw materials aren’t arriving and some of those supply chains are being stressed because some of the labour doesn’t actually reside in this country anymore – it’s gone back to Europe.
“It will mean either schemes that we are working on will start to increase in cost, or we’ll have to take a view on whether we want to enter into a contract at this point in time.”
Mr Cockerton said some of the supply issues had been caused by container ships facing major congestion in the Pearl River Delta in China.
An outbreak of Covid-19 has partly been blamed for the problems at Yantain Port in eastern Shenzhan.
The council’s chief executive said projects which had already been agreed would not be impacted by the difficulties in finding building materials.
However, Colin Everett said some schemes due to be carried out next year could be hampered by the shortage.
He said: “This is a real big concern for us in terms of inflation costs to supply chains.
“I think there’s going to be a couple of months of real uncertainty as we look to see what governments and the Bank of England make of it.
“In the meantime, Neal’s assurance is quite important that current schemes are generally safe because they’re contracted.
“It’s things that we’re about to tender or things that we’re cost estimating, where clearly we’re working with providers who will be very risk averse because they don’t want to carry the full cost risk.”
Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).
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