Brick shortage damaging house building

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A new report has revealed the shortage of bricks is having a detrimental impact on the ability of the construction sector to build new homes…

A study has revealed the shortage of bricks is leading to an increase in house prices and making the housebuilding process difficult.

The study from the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA), compiled by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), warned a delay in brick orders was slowing down building.

To keep pace with the demand for homes the industry needs to have 1.4 billion bricks. This is the equivalent of 740 Big Bens. However, last year more than 60 per cent of small and medium-sized construction firms said they had waited two months for new brick orders.

The vote to leave the EU is also expected to have wider ramifications on the ability to deliver more bricks, with 85 per cent of imported clay and cement bricks coming from the EU.

Mark Hayward, managing director of the NAEA, said the shortage of bricks was having a significant impact on the sector.

“We’re concerned that the impact of the EU referendum means this problem could get worse as we rely on the import of brick components from the EU and of course many of our skilled labourers come from there too.”

The report also warned that leaving the EU was likely to have an impact on the recruitment of workers and exacerbate the skills shortage further.

Steve Hearty, head of apprenticeships at the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), said: “While construction apprenticeships are at a six-year high, more needs to be done to address skills shortages, particularly in housebuilding.

“Although we don’t yet know what impact Brexit will have, by investing in skills based on the best evidence, we can help solve skills issues in housebuilding.”

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