Lack of Building Supplies and Materials Could Hit UK Sports Facility Projects

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Raising the standards for sports facility projects

We are the recognised trade association for the sports and play construction industry in the UK. All of our members go through a strict checking process:

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There is growing concern in the construction industry that certain building materials could be running short in the UK. This could, potentially, lead to delays in some projects – including those involving sports and play facilities.

SAPCA has joined the likes of the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) and the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) in highlighting the issue, which has already affected the availability and cost of a range of products and materials that are essential to construction projects.

For example, prices for plastics, man-made polymers and resins have been rising rapidly over the past few months, while cement, some electrical components, timber, steel and paints are all in short supply.

The growing volatility in the supply of various products within the sector is caused by a “perfect storm” of factors and issues, which are coming together to exacerbate the situation. Some of these factors are UK-specific – such as effects of Brexit and the rapid picking up of the UK construction sector in recent months – while others are the result of global markets and conditions.

The CLC now projects that the strong demand for materials in the UK will continue over the next six months. In a statement, the CLC predicts that the “unprecedented levels of demand”, both in the UK and globally, is set to continue for the foreseeable future, placing the “importance of forward planning and communication front and centre”.

Like other areas of the sector, the sports and play construction industry will be affected by the issue.

In addition to facing the same issues as building contractors and companies in other sectors, there are specific concerns relating to certain aspects of sports and play construction. These include the manufacturing processes of some synthetic playing surfaces – and therefore their availability and cost – being likely affected by increased oil prices and the reduced availability of oil-derived chemicals essential to the production of sports and play surfaces (including synthetic turf and polymerics).

These disruptions and issues come at a time when sports facilities are reopening and the sports and play construction industry is experiencing an increase in demand. Many SAPCA members report that they are anticipating a particularly busy year ahead.

While there may be little that our industry can do to influence any of these economy-wide factors, SAPCA members will certainly do their best to mitigate any disruption. Contractors will always seek to secure the supply of products and materials for contracts that they have been awarded as early as possible. However, in many cases these will of course be supplied on a “first come, first served” basis.

SAPCA CEO Chris Trickey said: “All those involved in the development of sports and play facilities may find it helpful to take this situation into consideration when planning and managing their projects this year.

“For example, contractors and suppliers may be forced to review the periods of time that they are able to hold prices when giving quotations, and the timescales for project delivery may also be affected.

“SAPCA will continue to monitor the situation closely during the weeks and months ahead.”

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