Ever since the UK went into lockdown, it wasn’t just self-raising flour and loo roll that joined the most-wanted list of products, it was plaster. Yup – plaster and plasterboard became the new gold dust, along with other construction materials such as cement and bricks.
The closure of builders’ merchants and manufacturing stoppages led to widespread material shortages across the industry, and delays in delivery. Like most construction firms up and down the country – we kept going. We were part-way through projects and keen to get them finished. So, we made the decision to take a proactive approach. We went back to our planning schedules, looked at what materials we needed along with the quantities; created a four-month buffer to deal with the crisis to stay ahead of the game and to safeguard our commitments for the future. In some cases we stockpiled material in our yard or kept them with our merchants.
But those buffers are exactly that, buffers – and they won’t last forever.
There was another reason we explored pre-ordering and bringing in all our orders by about four months, for projects we were committed to. With Enrok, the price is the price – it’s one of our key values. And so, just in case the coronavirus situation continued to worsen, by ordering what we absolutely needed, we knew we were buying at standard current prices, rather than possible inflated future prices. So it’s not only about safeguarding our commitments to get projects finished, it’s about safeguarding the price promise we made to our clients.
Coronavirus has undoubtedly brought with it many-many challenges – and for everyone working in construction, it happened to include a shortage of essential building materials. Good news though – these problems are unlikely to be permanent. It’s just as well, because construction firms will always want plaster, because people will always want homes, in the same way that a baker will always want flour, because people will always want cakes – and that includes us!
At Enrok Construction, we design and build multi-house sites and homes for leading property developers and private clients. To find out more about us, or to look at some of our previous projects, please go to enrok.co.uk