Retailers hit by building supply shortages

by | Apr 22, 2021

An international shortage of building products, including timber and steel, are just some of many products Australian retailers are now struggling to source as a result of current shipping delays, according to a recent report by The Standard.

While industry groups now say it is part of an Australia-wide problem that has been partly prompted by HomeBuilder stimulus measures, retailers are now encouraging customers to order products well ahead of time.

Bendigo Timber Co-owner Peter Norman, said in that report, that while most products were still available, it was wise for customers to order months in advance because products are no longer stock piled

Key products currently affected by the shortages included framing, laminated veneer lumber and beams, he said, however it seems the whole industry was in the same position.

“We are still busy and we are still supplying, but we are just having to let everyone know they cannot just rock in off the street and pick up [everything] they need. Things will eventually right themselves … but it is just a matter of time,” Mr Norman said in The Standard report.

Managing Director of Fitzpatrick’s Home, Timber and Hardware, in Bendigo, Victoria, Shane Fitzpatrick said that timber framing was the main issue, affecting suppliers across Australia and more broadly.

“There is such a big demand for it … because of the first homeowner’s scheme and everything, it has put a lot of people under pressure to supply and build,” he said in the report.

While Mr Fitzpatrick’s store had sourced locally manufactured products easily, imported components were much harder to source.

Wholesale Manager of Bendigo’s Abbott Supply, Jill Woodman, also said in the report that the business had experienced a few supply issues, but they were mainly sorting themselves out, and the Suez Canal crisis had probably added to the issue.

Master Builders Victoria Chief Executive, Rebecca Casson, also said members were reporting significant shortages of key building materials, particularly timber and steel.

She said in the report that HomeBuilder had been great for the industry, but some builders were getting pressure from clients because of the shortage, while the supply shortages were largely to do with supply and demand across the globe.

By Christine Bannister.