Brickwork contractors facing mortar rationing

Brickwork contractors are warning projects could grind to a halt because of rationing of bulk mortar supplies in the face of deepening cement shortages.

Bulk mortar suppliers have been put on allocation by major cement suppliers limiting their ability to manufacture and supply.

One dry mortar supplier Remix temporarily stopped taking orders this week although it hopes to get back on track next week.

Another big industry supplier Euromix has written to customers warning of disruption to supplies.

Kevin Flahive, director of Watford firm Flahive Brickwork, said: “We started to see mortar silo refill lead times go from 4 days to 2 weeks.

“Now we’re are being told there is an issue with cement supplies and we could only be getting 60% of what we want.”

He added: “We’ve come very close to running out and another brickwork firm I know had to stop work last week.”

Eve Livett, Chief Executive Officer of the Association of Brickwork Contractors, said: “The majority of our 30 member contractors are experiencing problems with supply.

“If this continues it is going to scupper progress of works.

“It is vital that the wider industry be made aware of this so that a collaborative approach can be made with main contractors and their brickwork subcontractors.”

Supplier CPI Euromix’s managing director, Larry Dale said: “With immediate effect, our principal cement supplier has placed CPI and other customers on allocation, this will limit our ability to manufacture and supply mortar in certain locations.

“We will endeavour to provide the best service that we can, however these new production constraints will inevitably cause disruption in our ability to supply.

“We will provide the best information we can at the time of ordering in terms of indicative order call off times, we very much hope that this is a short-term issue but in any event is out of our control at this time.”

Mineral Products Association chief executive Nigel Jackson, speaking on behalf of cement suppliers, said that a mix of high demand, kiln shutdowns for maintenance and trouble finding hauliers was causing localised delays.

“Where demand exceeds supply capacity longer lead times may be expected.

“As production catches up it shouldn’t be long before supplies are back to normal depending on how long this surge in pent-up demand actually lasts and subject to transport availability.”

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