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Shortage of Aerated Blocks & Materials: How To Navigate

Have you got a new building project coming up?

To navigate the shortage of aerated blocks and materials, plan ahead to avoid delaysand rising prices due to PFA scarcity, and explore alternative options. 

The continued shortages in the UK means you need to think months ahead, not weeks.

We first began letting you know about the UK’s brick shortage back in summer 2014, and again in 2015, but we’re surprised to see that shortages of many key building materials are still causing problems for the building industry over two years later.

Here we are in late 2016, looking at a three-month lead time for larger orders of aerated blocks, when this would typically take just two to three days from order to delivery.

The knock-on effect of the shortage is:

·        You need to plan and order bricks and blocks way in advance of your build

·        Prices are rising, large price hikes in early 2017 of more than 15%

·        You may need to look at alternative options





Aerated blocks: the Holy Grail of the building world? 





Why is it happening?

In a nutshell, there’s a shortage of one of the component parts of aerated blocks – pulverated fuel ash (PFA) – which is a by-product of coal-fired power stations. It’s an essential ingredient of the blocks, giving them their thermal insulation properties, and so is difficult to replicate. Builders who are used to using these clever, lightweight blocks will find it difficult to replace them with something that does the same, high quality job.

Worryingly we’re also seeing a shortage of aggregate blocks, walling and roof tiles. PIR insulation has been in short supply too, but that’s a temporary problem that should be hopefully rectified by mid-January 2017.


Are the big house building companies stockpiling blocks?

We’ve heard rumours that this is happening, but we can’t be sure. You can understand why they would though; a delay in starting a large building project could be very expensive indeed.

What’s the best thing to do now?

The last thing you want is to find out that you can’t start your build on time because you don’t have any blocks or bricks! And you don’t need to be calling around building suppliers at the last minute, trying to find everything you need, or to work out what you’re going to use instead.

If you’re planning to begin a new build in the New Year, you need to be ordering your supplies now. Planning ahead a little could save you time and money by ensuring you have everything you need to begin your build on time.


If you’d like us to help you to source your blocks and bricks for your next project, give us a call and we’ll let you know how soon we can deliver them to you. Visit our Blocks and Bricks pages to see our range.

Whatever you need, call us on 01274 602367 or email us at sales@buildershoponline.co.uk.