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  • Writer's pictureNíall Hedderman

Post Lockdown Workload

Since lockdown eased earlier this year the volume of work in the Edinburgh construction industry is as high as I have ever seen it. This has been caused by a combination of factors;

- Low interest rates, making borrowing against a property relatively affordable.

- High property prices, making further investment in property appear like a good idea.

- Progressively higher Stamp Duty which affects those high value homes, making it more sensible to improve rather than move. 

- Professionals getting a taste for home working and wishing to alter their homes to facilitate this.

- A backlog of incomplete projects from 2020 which are still taking up contractors time. 

- BREXIT has lead to supply chain issues, taking far longer than usual to source a wide range of products and materials from the EU. 

This has some unfortunate, but unavoidable, conclusions;

- Inflation in the construction industry is running very high, anecdotally about 15% above last years prices.

- The best contractors are now booked 9 - 12 months in advance, and it’s getting worse.

- Suppliers timescales are getting longer, particularly for items sourced internationally. - Among other things, this affects aluminium windows, insulation, structural softwood and even screws. 

- Professionals are now turning down work, to avoid overwhelming their staff. 

- Edinburgh Council Planning and Building Standards departments can’t turn down new applications and have little ability to hire new staff. This has lead to delays in processing applications. 

The main impact on my own business has been workload. I typically take on 8 -10 projects per year. I am now getting about one enquiry per day! 

I’ve now introduced a hard cut off for new projects at a minimum construction cost of £100k. I don’t like doing this but I don’t have any choice at the moment. 

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