Don’t fence me in!!!

Lafarge Tarmac’s Dr Bill has his say on the shortage of fencing materials

The weather over the last few months has been very wet as we all know, but it has also been very windy. As would be expected, prolonged windy weather takes its toll on garden fences. A couple of panels in my back garden were blown over, although my neighbour has now replaced the entire fence (Thanks Harvey!). But it would appear that we have been some of the lucky ones.

A recent story in the press has highlighted that there is now a national shortage of fencing materials and stories of panic buying. A combination of a resurgent housing market and the high winds across much of the country has lead to a huge increase in demand, and producers are struggling to keep up with market needs. There are even stories of fence rustling from people’s gardens.

On one hand, this situation reflects the well documented increase in house building (albeit compounded by the impact of our ever changing weather), but on the other hand it presents a problem to Builders Merchants.

There is obviously a high demand for fencing materials and with Easter on the horizon, it is only going to increase. So how does the merchant guarantee supplies? Some producers of fencing panels have taken on extra workers to help to ease the situation, this is again good news. Hopefully, the amount of stock needed to satisfy the repairs to storm damaged fences will gradually reduce as the replacements are completed. This should then free up more material for new fencing contracts.

From the fencing perspective, the last thing we need is a return to the wet and windy conditions seen earlier in the year, at least until stocks have been allowed to grow. Although the main issue seems to be the shortage of fence panels, other items need to be stocked alongside them. Being from the cement industry, I have, of course, to mention the concrete needed to fix new posts in the ground. These can either be conventional concrete (either pre-bagged or site-mixed) or increasingly, the specialist super fast setting packed products.

When it comes to the building materials trade it always seems to be ‘feast or famine’, plus ça change!

About Guest Blogger - Bill Price

Bill Price is National Commercial Technical Manager at Tarmac’s Cement business

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