Building crisis looms as dwindling supplies bring sites grinding to a halt

Shortages, delays and soaring prices caused by Brexit, Covid and the Suez blockage are holding up projects across the nation

By tradition, the wits of every construction apprentice are tested with two errands early on in their career: to ask the foreman first for some tartan paint and then a long weight.

The joke is ringing even more hollow than usual on building sites across the UK, where firms needing essential building supplies are facing some very, very long waits. The British building industry is in the midst of a supply crisis. From roof tiles to steel, timber to insulation, paint to kitchen sinks, products are scarce – and when they can be found, they’re expensive.

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