The rising cost of materials... and expectations

“New research conducted by the Federation of Master Builders has revealed that the majority of construction SMEs feel rising materials are putting the squeeze on their profits. Now the consumer is feeling the pinch.” [UK Construction Week, April 2018]

Rising costs

Over the last few months,  there has been a hike in the most common construction materials. Timber, insulation, lead, steel, slates and bricks have all shot up in the region of 6 – 15%! With Brexit looming and a housing shortage in the country, this points to more possible increases over the next year.

Most honest tradesmen and builders have low profit margins of 5-10% on the average sized project or new build. I have seen a lot of architects and clients grapple with unrealistic budgets for their projects. More importantly, I’m not sure that with today’s price hikes in materials and labour, that they will get their dream homes finished with the budgets they have in mind.

However, there are also hidden costs within a specification or set of plans that the client would never be made aware of.  Granite cills and ridiculously expensive wall ties are the most common cut and paste items in an architect’s spec. The number of things that the architect can slot into a specification without the client’s knowledge can be scary.

Plan ahead

So, today’s advice is for clients to really sit down and talk through every little detail on your plan. That goes for materials, plant hire, design, labour, tradesmen etc. If you are unsure of something, ask. Check it out and do your research on certain materials costs and alternative products. All of this will have a knock-on effect throughout every stage of your project. More intrinsic designs and costly materials are obviously more labour intensive and delicate to install. If the project hasn’t been costed properly and you are half way through the project, well let’s just say you could be in trouble!!