Builders have blamed HS2 for hoovering up key construction supplies before ordinary customers can get to them, resulting in industry-wide concrete shortages and rising prices.
The UK’s flagship rail project is exacerbating global supply chain issues caused by a HGV driver shortage and international shipping delays, construction firms have warned.
As a results, builders working on thousands of projects from home renovations to major developments risk having their completion time and budget jeopardised.
Ian Anfield, managing director of Hudson Contract, which provides services to more than 2,500 construction firms, told the Telegraph that ordinary building firms are unable to compete with the megaproject’s orders.
“Big schemes like HS2 put in massive orders and agree their prices well in advance, which means the suppliers are committed, whereas your typical local builder is used to just ringing up his supplier on the day,” he told the Telegraph.
“Lots of our clients have been complaining about getting hold of things now for months and they say HS2 is the big issue.
One construction boss said he is facing a wait of between four and six weeks for key building materials, and had been told by his supplier that the amount it was sending to HS2 had made it hard to keep up with demand from elsewhere.
But John Newcomb, chief executive of the British Merchants Foundation (BMF), denied HS2 was responsible for the shortage, and told the Telegraph: “The problems we are seeing are more down to the supply chain crisis, so I do not think HS2 and other big projects are affecting availability.”
A government task force comprising the BMF and the Construction Products Association (CPA) has been set up with megaprojects HS2 and Hinkley nuclear plant to monitor the supply situation.
Both the BMF and CPA have warned members that a double-digit price hike for many building materials lies ahead over the next few months, as manufacturers offset costs that trickle down from the ongoing energy crisis.