NEWS & UPDATES
A message from KBM (COVID-19)
OUR LATEST UPDATE
We remain open on shortened hours of Monday to Friday 7.30 - 12 Noon and 1pm - 5pm
Please place your orders online for delivery or collection. If you wish to collect we will contact you to arrange a mutually convenient time to call at our premises. You should report to the trade counter on arrival and social distance etiquette should be followed at all times while on our premises.
Customer message - Our industry is facing huge challenges currently.
I have been doing this job for more years than I care to remember and I have never known anything even remotely like this.
Demand is massively outstripping product supply across a huge range of products now UK Wide and sadly this situation appears to be getting worse on a daily basis.
The Pandemic, Brexit, Shipping Container costs, huge infrastructure projects taking place as the world opens back up after Covid (in the UK, America and the Far East especially) have created a perfect storm.
Any product that comes into the UK in a shipping container has seen the price of the container rise by about ten fold in recent months. Polymers , Steel and Cement shortages have made the issues far worse.
Manufacturers are finding it harder and harder to source the raw materials required to produce product to meet demand and this all leads to prices rising at short notice and products going onto strict allocation for merchants.
We are all in the same boat.
All fixed price contracts have been ripped up by manufacturers this year , they just quote “force majeure” and even the national housebuilders are having to pay the price increases or they simply will not get product.
Rest assured of two things though :
We are members of one of the largest independent buying groups in the UK (NBG) and as such our buying group continues to fight very hard to ensure we do get supply of product and that any price increases are mitigated as much as possible.
This does not mean we have all products in stock at all times currently, but it does mean that as product becomes available we are given our share.
Secondly, we don’t like price increases any more than our customers but we will ALWAYS only pass on price increases at the exact same percentage our buying group negotiates, we never use it as an opportunity to try and make more profit.
Many products are now experiencing extended lead times from the manufacturers , this even includes things like basic “shop items” as well as all the most popular commodity items – timber, sheet materials, cement, blocks, insulation, lintels , roof tiles etc.
Please bear this all in mind when pricing projects going forward as we would politely suggest you may want to check up to date prices and availability at the outset as some items may have lead times stretching into weeks or in the case of roof tiles for example, sometimes months.
I include a very brief overview below by major product group – this list is of course not complete and the goal posts are moving all the time but I thought it might help a little.
Where items have extended lead times this does not mean we do not have stock as we have forward orders placed and arriving all the time but it does show the extent of the issues we all now face.
Timber and Sheet Materials
Timber prices have rocketed in recent months. Both imported and Homegrown timber are affected. Graded C16 / 24 and also unseasoned timber (Sawn Treated items) and
fencing are all in short supply and forward contracts prices from importers and homegrown mills are moving upwards monthly.
We do have supply coming through all the time of the popular items and have forward contracts placed but it is extremely challenging to ensure we have enough stock.
Graded timber prices have risen by as much as 80% in the last few months and price increases still coming through monthly as demand continues for the products at record levels in the UK and worldwide.
China , Japan and America are outbidding the UK on imported timber contracts prices all the time, further pushing the price point of landed stock in the UK upwards.
Sheet materials (Plywood, OSB, Chipboard Flooring, MDF) are all on strict allocation throughout the UK – The price of imported far Eastern Plywood has risen by 60 – 80% in recent months.
Items like OSB, Chipboard Flooring and MDF prices have also rocketed – OSB for example IS now costing the best part of double what it was twelve months ago.
We do have reasonable stocks of most of these items but it remains very challenging.
Machined Timber (Redwood Dressed) and Primed MDF (Skirtings, Facing Etc) are now seeing massive price hikes coming through from all manufacturers ,
with price increases of anywhere between 30 – 50% due over the next couple of months.
Items used for making garden sheds and garden offices are in particular shortage (weatherboards, log lap, claddings etc) – some mills have actually stopped taking any more forward orders presently.
Redwood decking prices will have almost doubled by the end of the summer.
Cement and Cement Based Products – Blocks, Lintels, Roof Tiles, Kerbs, Standard Grey Slabs
There is now a critical shortage of cement UK wide, both on bagged and also bulk powder.
Concrete block manufacturers are finding it harder to get enough bulk powder to satisfy demand.
Blocks are moving near to going on allocation accordingly and price increases of around 15% are now being implemented from the block manufacturers.
Some block manufacturers are not accepting any new orders for new sites presently.
Concrete Lintels are now on lead times of up to 8 weeks from date of order and fixed price contracts have been ripped up by the manufacturers, price increases of between 8-10% currently.
Readymix Concrete is now being quoted at about two weeks or more ahead and prices again up by around 15% or more.
Some readymix companies are now only taking orders for lower strength concrete to preserve cement stocks.
Concrete Roof Tiles continue to be in very short supply with lead times on new orders of anything between 6 – 32 weeks depending on the product.
Standard Grey concrete slabs, edgings and Kerbs are on extended lead times now as well with price increases of circa 10-12% imminent.
Rigid Insulation Products – Foil Faced, Bitumen Faced Roof Boards.
Strict UK wide allocation.
We do have reasonable allocation and have product arriving continually but there have already been two or three price increases this year from the manufacturers with more to follow.
(Celotex, Quinn, Kingspan, Ecotherm, Ballytherm, etc)
Decorative Landscaping Products – Sandstone, Porcelain, Textured and Riven Paving
Demand outstripping supply ten fold in the UK. Most products are imported in containers into the UK. Shipping costs pushing prices up at the docks by anything up to 30% or more on forward orders and extended lead times.
Again we have stock arriving all the time from forward orders placed.
Massive demand across the UK and extended lead times on new orders, especially on imported products.
Again we have composite decking forward orders arriving all the time but on new orders we place the lead time is anything up to 3-4 months presently.
Shop Items – Collated and Drywall Screws, Silicones, Nails, Builders Metalwork. Building chemicals
Raw steel prices have risen hugely.
UK wide shortage of Polymers used to make silicones.
Many popular items like collated nails, drywall screws etc are ion very short supply and prices rising. Silicone based products are on allocation from many manufacturers.
Prices on wall ties, wall starters etc have risen by anything between 15-25% this year so far with more increases likely as steel prices continue to rise.
Building chemicals and glues prices are also seeing shortages and price increases.
Again we have plenty forward orders in for these items but we do have gaps in some commodity lines at times.
Plasterboard and accessories , Metal Stud and Plaster
We have just had notification today that Plasterboard is going back onto strict allocation with immediate effect. It only came off allocation a few weeks ago.
Plasters remains in short supply and metal stud prices are rising steadily , same as all other steel products.
We do have an allocation so stock will continue to come through, but supply volumes may well have to be restricted.
Plastic products – Underground Drainage, Rainwater Goods – anything made of plastic
Polymer shortage creating challenges for the manufacturers, Lead times extending out to 10-15 working days on new orders.
There was an industry wide price increase in March of around 7-8% and now further increases of 10-12% coming in imminently.
The above list is not exhaustive I am afraid, its just an overview.
The bottom line is that virtually all products are now having challenges either through prices rising or by product shortages (or both)
Here is just one of many articles online highlighting the industry challenges we all now face, this one from the BBC yesterday.
Our job as a merchant is to do everything we possibly can to ensure we have product for our customers and to also ensure price increases are mitigated as much as we possibly can.
Please be rest assured we are working tirelessly every single day to ensure this happens but please be prepared for having to wait longer than normal for some products and forward plan where you can.
Hopefully this madness settles down sooner rather than later but for now we really do appreciate your valued business and we will try our very best at all times to assist.
OUR LATEST UPDATE
We remain open on shortened hours of Monday to Friday 7.30 - 12 Noon and 1pm - 5pm
Please place your orders for delivery or collection. If you wish to collect we will contact you to arrange a mutually convenient time to call at our premises. You should report to the trade counter on arrival and social distance etiquette should be followed at all times while on our premises.
Our latest update
Our top priority is the health and safety of our colleagues and the communities we work in.
In making decisions, we are also taking account of other important needs including supporting the nationwide response to the Covid-19 crisis, protecting livelihoods and supporting customers.
Throughout the UK lockdown the UK Government has supported the need to keep construction and the supply chain that supports it going, provided this can be done safely, following the health advice. Over the last five weeks, since our temporary shut-down, we’ve seen a significant shift in the wants and needs of our customers, many contacting us, asking that we support them in allowing them to continue to build.
From Monday 4th May we’ll begin a phased reopening of our branches, offering a delivery service from Keith branch initially and progressing to a ‘managed collection’ service over the coming weeks. During this time, we will be carefully monitoring the number of orders we process, as well as our operations to ensure we operate safely. We ask you to be patient with us, as we adapt and introduce our new ways of working, as well as respect the measures we have put in place to ensure the safety of our colleagues and customers.
We will continue to supply building materials for those critical health and society projects, and will now start to extend our services to trade customers across the construction and building industry where there is demand and product supply and only when we are able to do so safely.
We have redesigned our services for collection and delivery of building materials and introduced the following new measures, taking into account the Government and Industry advice and guidance for social distancing and hygiene:
- We will always contact you before delivery to make sure that your circumstances haven’t changed and that the site is safe to deliver to
- All deliveries will be kerbside only and must be done within social distancing guidelines
- Any goods that would originally be determined as a two-person lift will instead be on a pallet and offloaded to the kerbside
- All of your paperwork will be taped to pallets / goods on your delivery
- No signatures will be required, our drivers will print your name and will take a photo of the offloaded delivery (unless permission is refused) and the delivery ticket will be emailed to you where we have your details
- Call us and arrange a collection in advance, this will save you time and guarantee collection
- Our branch gates will be closed all of the time; a colleague will let you in when it is safe to do so
- We will direct you to a parking area while your order is prepared / brought to the loading area
- Goods will be brought to you and you will be directed where to load
- Please remain in your vehicle at all times, whilst on site unless told it is safe to load your vehicle
- We prefer not to handle any cash therefore we ask that all payments be made by card unless a trade account is held
- Clear signage indicating safe distancing and hygiene rules
- No access for customers to trade counter or warehouse areas
- Limiting access to each external area
- Dedicated hand sanitiser stations
- Social distancing measures in office areas
- Detailed instructions on how to maintain cleanliness and hygiene standards
From 4th may the following process should be taken for orders:
- Email your local branch with your order.
- Your branch will confirm the services available at that branch e.g. delivery service, managed collection service
Our absolute priority remains the safety of our colleagues, customers and the communities in which we serve. We will only be operating if our colleagues feel they can do so within the guidelines, they are empowered to make personal decisions to ensure safety is not compromised and we ask you respect and adhere to these new processes.
We would like to thank our customers, colleagues and business partners for their support and patience through these very difficult times.