Architects are facing ever-increasing building material prices with half of small builders saying that increasing costs have squeezed their margins, according to a new survey
Research carried out by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) found that over 50 per cent of small and medium enterprises say they are having to pass price increases on to consumers.
The survey identified the highest materials jump being in insulation costs (up 16 per cent) with bricks rising 9 per cent, timber, roof tiles and slate up 8 per cent, and windows up 7 per cent.
FMB chief executive Brian Berry said: ‘Material prices have rocketed over the past year. The reason for this could include the impact of the depreciation of sterling following the EU referendum still feeding through. High demand due to buoyant international markets could also be contributing to price increases.’
In addition, the survey found increasing shortages of materials.
Bricks are in shortest supply with the longest reported wait time being more than one year, while roof tile wait times can be up to six months.
A third of firms (30 per cent) have recommended that clients use alternative materials or products to those originally specified, up from one in ten in July 2017.
Baobab Developments director Paul Templeton told the AJ he was alarmed by the rise in material costs.
‘Our margins are being throttled,’ he said, ‘and it can be a struggle to communicate this to our designers, who remain, as ever, reluctant to undertake any value engineering.
Our margins are being throttled and it doesn’t seem to be abating
‘While this does require an element of creativity in our decision-making – whether it is the choice of a material or perhaps even a building methodology – this shift is obviously unwelcome and doesn’t seem to be abating.
‘With the uncertain horizon of Brexit and global instability in general, it demands caution from developers such as myself and the big concern is how to avoid that impacting on the quality of the design and product.’
Gus Zogolovich, chief executive of Unboxed Homes, said: ‘We have certainly seen price rises on most materials.
‘It comes at a time when house prices are also coming down and the danger is that some marginal projects will become unviable and we will see a reduction in the delivery of new homes that we so desperately need.
‘We have had to downgrade specification on some items as we are under pressure on our sales prices and cannot pass on the rise in prices to our customers.’
Lisa Raynes, founder of architectural practice Pride Road, said: ‘This is yet another reason why it’s so important for homeowners to engage with a qualified architect – someone who has the knowledge and expertise to work with a budget in mind and talk through different options, including ways to the make the most effective use of space and clever use of different materials.’