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Collaboration is vital

Collaboration is vital to overcome ‘unprecedented’ state of construction, says bosses of a Suffolk construction firm, “contractors, suppliers and clients must work together to overcome challenges facing the industry.”

Directors of SEH French, Paul Rodwell and Simon Girling, have described the current state of the industry as unprecedented as we enter the second half of 2022.

The coronavirus pandemic, Brexit and a shortage in supplies saw prices soar over the last two years. While it was hoped things would be stable by now, the cost-of-living crisis and war in Ukraine have only prolonged the issue.

Mr Girling said: “Construction companies, suppliers and clients are having to deal with a pricing lottery with every project. The price of materials can change overnight without warning.

“The situation facing the construction industry is unprecedented, but we are managing well by working together, and I’m confident others can too.

“If contractors work closely with their suppliers and their clients, having realistic conversations, we can communicate and work around fluctuating prices. This can help avoid the need for contractors to up their prices significantly to accommodate a change in material costs, therefore potentially saving clients’ money.

“By not working together it could risk projects being delayed and companies, across all areas of the sector, facing more challenges.”

Steel, cement and glass prices have increased by more than 10% since January according to the Construction Leadership Council, in addition to an average 20% increase in material costs in 2021 according to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Many contractors are factoring in additional costs to reflect the ever-shifting material prices, instead of offering their normal fixed prices for tenders, to remove risks surrounding projects.

Mr Rodwell said: “Throughout the uncertainty, SEH French have remained upfront with clients and suppliers, ensuring we are all on the same page and working in the best interest of everyone.

“We are thankful clients have been understanding of the ever-changing material costs. It shows us that working together, being upfront and communicating, is the right approach – and it always has been.

“After all, we are all in this together.”

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