After the success of its event in 2021, Construction Alliance North East (CAN) once again brought industry leaders and organisations together for a highly productive summit. The event, which was attended by over 60 people, focused on solutions to the sector’s current challenges.

The key issue raised at the event was the impact of the ongoing materials shortage. With the construction industry a main player in recovering the UK economy, demand for raw materials, such as cement, timber, and steel, has continued to grow. With suppliers struggling to meet the demand, it is predicted that the situation will only worsen in coming months without practical preparation now.

Stuart Miller, CAN committee member and Director at the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA NE), said: “Whilst there will perhaps be no ‘silver bullet’ to solve this crisis, CAN’s mission is to raise awareness of this issue and then for all parties to work collaboratively up and down the supply chain […] to seek creative practical and commercial solutions.”

Main and sub-contractors are feeling the impact most of all. The summit highlighted how they’re dealing with price increases thanks to global issues they can’t control, while clients are often protected by fixed-price contracts. Neil Pickip, a developer at Ask:PATRIZIA, emphasised that contractors are currently having great difficulty tying down suppliers to fixed prices. Steve Wheller of BAM Construct UK Limited, provided the National Contractors perspective, advising that collaborative working across the supply chain was the only way to tackle these very challenging demands.

Nick Boyle, Civils and Infrastructure Chairman of the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) and Commercial Director of Jewson Civils, outlined the causes of these issues, as well as the pressure it is putting upon the North East and the UK in general. Strategic Director of Economy, Innovation, and Growth at Gateshead Council, Peter Udal, also spoke as the summit. He suggested that to reduce the affect these issues have on the sector, collaboration with local authorities is crucial.

Ken Parkin, CAN Chair, said: “CAN were pleased that solutions were openly discussed at the summit and that client bodies recognised the problems contractors face. CAN looks forward to taking this forward with North-East local authorities and to working with them to flesh out pragmatic solutions.”

For more information on CAN, please visit our website https://www.constructionalliancenortheast.co.uk/ and fill in our contact form if you want to get in touch or have any questions.