The UK is facing a six-month shortage in its timber supply, according to the Timber Trade Federation

UK disruption caused by Covid-19, combined with huge domestic demand for timber during lockdown, has already affected its availability.

And now the Timber Trade Federation says strain on the supply of timber will continue until at least the second quarter of 2021, according to the AJ’s sister title Construction News.

A sharp increase in the number of coronavirus cases in Sweden, the biggest exporter of timber to the UK, have seen delivery crews having to self-isolate, adding to an already strained situation. Companies are being advised to plan well in advance if they require timber for projects.

Timber Trade Federation chief executive David Hopkins said: ‘It is understandable that many customers should be surprised by, and angry about, the new reality we are facing together. The reported price inflation has also made it difficult for some manufacturers to accurately price projects for customers.

‘We would like to reassure the wider sector that volume supplies are available, though on much longer lead times than we have all been used to. This situation will be with us well into 2021 so we advise contacting your suppliers to discuss meeting your needs for the year ahead.

‘The challenge going forward will be to achieve the balanced product mix needed by the market, a factor which may be further complicated by the haulage demands and new customs and plant health procedures engendered by Brexit.’

As negotiations between the UK government and the European Union continue, with the possibility of a ‘no-deal’ outcome still on the table, other industry figures have also warned about the impact on construction.

Turner & Townsend UK managing director of cost management Paul Connolly said: ‘The upcoming end to the Brexit transition period with Covid-19 related restrictions still in place in the UK and around the world, leaves significant uncertainty left to be navigated as we move into 2021.

‘Clients must act quickly now to ensure that impacts to continuity are mitigated. This will require an in-depth assessment of existing risk management plans and continued close collaboration with every level of the supply chain.’

James Talman , chief executive of the National Federation of Roofing Contractors said: ‘We have serious concerns that a lack of preparation on the part of the government could have a major impact on industry being able to bring in products and raw materials critical to UK infrastructure and housebuilding.

He called for more support from government in the event of a no-deal Brexit including a deferral of the introduction of any tariffs and an extension to the transitional arrangements on the move of goods.

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