Aug 04, 2014

Five ways timber systems can help you break through the brick ceiling

There is still a shortage in the supply of bricks across the UK. The most recent Markit/CIPS Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index suggested the lack of bricks, among other supply chain factors, is holding back the pace of growth in construction. The economic research company referred to it as a “brick ceiling” facing the industry.

That’s a big challenge at a time when the need for new housing is in sharp focus. And after years of a sluggish housing market, many builders are now working hard to keep pace with the increase in consumer demand.

The suppressed market during the recession meant brick production fell significantly, which has created a serious shortage as growth in the housing market has taken hold.

That’s pushing up the price of bricks, and could impact on future build programmes.

To make the most of the upturn, housebuilders can look at alternatives that will increase their speed of build and will have the added benefit of cutting on-site costs.

Here are the main ways timber systems can help housebuilders break through the brick ceiling:

1. Shorter lead times – Timber systems are manufactured in our factories in the UK, meaning they’re ready to be delivered on-site faster and call-off times are reduced.

2. Capacity – Across the timber frame market, there is only currently approximately 60 per cent utilisation of capacity, which leaves some room for manoeuvre. We manufacture 10,000 timber system units per year, and our secure, sustainable supply chain and scalable factory facilities means we can react quickly to market demand.

3. Speed of build – Homes constructed with timber systems typically take nine weeks to build from slab. That compares with 12-16 when using masonry, representing a significant improvement in speed of build. The use of offsite construction is crucial in this regard meaning multiple trades can work simultaneously.

4. Cash cycle – Using timber systems means cash cycle can be improved as contractors are able to realise a quicker return on capital outlay. Faster speed of build means a quicker turnaround on your initial spend, freeing up cash for ongoing development.

5. Cost certainty –We provide an initial assessment at tender stage for all projects over 600m2, with associated costs.

In short, the availability of timber, the capacity in the market to meet housebuilder demand, and the speed at which homes constructed from timber systems can be erected, means that the limited supply of bricks needn’t cause undue project delay.

Get in touch now to find out what timber systems could do for your project.

Homes For Scotland Home Builders Federation National House-Building Council Royal Institute of British Architects Structural Timber Association Timber Research and Development Association Constructionline British Board of Agrement Wood Campus Build Off Site Building Research Establishment WOOD FOR GOOD

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