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Brexit pushing up prices of materials, warns builders' chief

A third of small building firms say that soaring material prices are squeezing their margins and almost a quarter have had to pass these price increases onto consumers, according to the latest research by the Federation of Master Builders.

Small and medium sized construction firms have reported a range of material price increases since the depreciation of Sterling following the EU referendum in June 2016. 

Small building firms were asked which materials have increased the most and the results were as follows: Timber; Insulation; Bricks; Blocks; Windows; Plasterboard; Slate; Boilers and Radiators; and Porcelain products.

One third of these construction companies report that SMEs have had their margins squeezed and almost one quarter have been forced to pass material price increases onto their clients, making projects more expensive for consumers.

More than one in 10 builders report making losses on their building projects due to material price increases.

“A third of builders report that these price increases are eating into their already razor-thin margins – and this on top of increased wages and salaries stemming from long-term construction skills shortages. Building projects now cost significantly more than they did this time last year. What with stagnant wages and price inflation across the economy, consumers are feeling the pinch and it might be that they decide not to commission that loft conversion or extension after all” admits Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB.

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