By Rory Murphy
Senior figures in the construction industry are warning that severe shortages of materials are causing delays and price hikes.
The Federation of Master Builders says members are struggling to secure key materials such as timber and cement.
And it is feared the problems are likely to last well into next year.
A global manufacturing slowdown caused by Covid and a shortage of HGV drivers are said to have created an “almost unprecedented” situation.
Joanna Crispell moved into her “forever home” in Twechar, East Dunbartonshire, earlier this year and knew it needed a new roof.
The work was expected to take two to three weeks but a shortage of slates, which come from Spain, mean she has now had scaffolding up for three months.
Ms Crispell told BBC Scotland : “It is hard to get in and out of the doors with the pram. I don’t know when it is going to be finished.
“We had no choice but to go for slate because of this round turret at the front and because it’s slate where all the delays have come from.”
Gordon Nelson, Scotland director of the Federation of Master Builders, said the pandemic had caused manufacturing delays and a backlog in ports around the world.
And in the UK alone he said there is a shortage of 15,000 HGV drivers this year compared with 2020.
At the same time, many people have built up savings during lockdown as they have been unable to go on foreign holidays.
Mr Nelson said demand for building work was far outstripping supply and added: “This situation is almost unprecedented.”
Pam Wilson, of Kevin Wilson joiners and building contractors, described the first few months of the pandemic as “horrific” and recalled how she thought she would lose everything.
But although the picture has improved since last spring, sourcing everything from screws and nails to plasterboard and cement is now taking much longer than normal for the Stirling-based firm.
She said: “Everybody is stuck in their houses and wants to improve it, which is great for our industry. It is amazing.
“But then we have got transport links and backlogs with factories being closed down. Everyone is in the same boat.”
And Ms Wilson urged consumers to be wary of being ripped off by firms who promise fast results in the current climate.
She added: “I really fear people are going to get let down and their hard-earned money will be wasted.”
Top picture: Work on a building site in the West End of Dumbarton. Picture by Bill Heaney