With workload and enquiries remaining level, lead times stayed steady for all except two packages – both were driven higher by pressure on design and manufacturing resources. However, worries hover about the coming effect of Brexit on labour and imported materials

01 / Going up

▲ Passenger lift – non-standard 
▲ Mechanical package

02 / Staying level

▶ Rotary piling
▶ Piling (pre-cast)
▶ Concrete works
Structural steel frames
▶ Cladding – natural materials
▶ Cladding – metal panellised
▶ Cladding – curtain walling systems
▶ Atrium roofs
▶ Roof finishes – asphalt/membrane 
▶ Roof finishes – profiled metal
▶ Facade cleaning equipment
▶ Brickwork
▶ Blockwork
Drylining
▶ Demountable partitions
▶ General joinery
▶ Raised floors
▶ Suspended ceilings
▶ Architectural metalwork
▶ Decorative wall coverings
▶ Internal stone floor and wall finishes
▶ Soft floor finishes
▶ Escalators
▶ Electrical package
▶ Ductwork
▶ Sprinklers
▶ Security systems
▶ Controls
▶ IT infrastructure equipment
▶ Data and voice cabling
▶ Fire detection and voice alarm systems
▶ Hard landscaping
▶ Logistics services

03 / Lead times summary

Rotary piling ▶ lead times remain at eight weeks for the second quarter in succession, with no change in demand expected in the next six months. Precast piling ▶ lead times stay steady at four weeks; no change is anticipated as workload and enquiry levels are set to stay the same. Concrete works ▶ lead times remain at 10 weeks, with enquiry levels static. There are concerns about Brexit affecting labour availability, but contractors do not anticipate this will alter lead times in the next six months. Structural steel frames ▶ lead times stay steady at 15 weeks after a period of fluctuation and are forecast to remain consistent over the next six months. 

Cladding – natural materials ▶ lead times remain at 39 weeks, with workload and enquiries at a consistent level and no change in lead times forecast this year. Cladding – metal panellised ▶ lead times remain at 50 weeks with some firms reporting increased workload and enquiries which could lead to longer lead times in the next six months. Cladding – curtain walling system ▶ lead times remain at 60 weeks; although firms are busier with signs of enquiries on the increase they do not anticipate lead times changing in the next six months. 

Atrium roof ▶ lead times remain at 31 weeks with no changes reported. Roof finishes – asphalt/membrane ▶ lead times remain at seven weeks. With enquiries and workload consistent, no change in lead times is expected in the next six months. Roof finish – profiled metal ▶ lead times also stay steady, at 15 weeks. 

Facade cleaning equipment ▶ lead times remain at 33 weeks; contractors continue to be busier with more enquiries than six months ago but they do not anticipate any change over the next six months.

Brickwork ▶ lead times stay at 11 weeks; workload and enquiries remain steady so no change in lead times is forecast. Blockwork ▶ lead times remain at seven weeks, with no rise anticipated in the next six months. Drylining ▶ lead times remain at 13 weeks after a small rise last quarter. Workload remains higher, but enquiry levels have levelled off. A shortage of skilled dryliners and glass reinforced gypsum specialists is reported.

Demountable partitions ▶ lead times remain at 11 weeks; despite higher workload and enquiries, no rise is forecast in the next six months. General joinery ▶ lead times remains at 16 weeks with no change forecast. Specialist joinery ▶ lead times stay level at 25 weeks following the last quarter’s one-week increase due to increases in workload and enquiries, but companies anticipate further increases in the next six months.

Raised floors ▶ lead times stay at six weeks despite a reduction in workload and enquiry levels, while suspended ceilings ▶ lead times remain at 13 weeks. 

Architectural metalwork ▶ lead times remain at 15 weeks; workload and enquiries have stabilised and no change is expected in the next six months. Decorative wall coverings ▶ lead times stay at four weeks with no change likely. Internal stone floor and wall finishes  lead time remains at 34 weeks, with no change forecast. Soft floor finishes ▶ lead times remain at 11 weeks. No changes are anticipated as workload and enquiries remain static and materials have good availability.

Passenger lifts – non-standard ▲ lead times continue to rise with an additional seven weeks for design and manufacture taking them to 40 weeks, but no further rises are expected in the next six months. Escalators ▶ lead times remain at 19 with no change reported.

Electrical package ▶ lead times remain at 20 weeks, with no change expected. Mechanical package ▲ lead times have risen two weeks to 25 weeks, due to design and manufacture of mechanical equipment. Availability of skilled labour remains an issue, but companies do not anticipate lead times changing in the next six months. Ductwork ▶  lead times remains at eight weeks, as do sprinklers ▶ lead times; with workload consistent there are no forecast increases over the next six months.

Security systems ▶ lead times remain at six weeks with potential for increase over the next six months due to Christmas holiday impact on supplies. Controls  ▶ lead times remain at nine weeks, but are forecast to fall as enquiries and workload are down. IT infrastructure equipment ▶ lead times remain at 10 weeks. Data and voice cabling ▶ lead times remain at 13 weeks with no changes forecast. Fire detection and voice alarm systems ▶ lead times remains at five weeks: the previously reported slowdown in workload has stabilised and enquiries remain steady so no change is forecast over the next six months. Hard landscaping ▶ lead times remain at 15 weeks. Logistics services  lead times ▶ remains at five weeks, with no change forecast.

Only two packages are fluctuating, with increases for the second quarter in a row for mechanical packages and non-standard passenger lifts: for both, pressure on design and manufacturing resources are reported as the reason. Uncertainty over the impact of Brexit on labour and imported materials remains a concern but across most packages workload and enquiries remain steady.

Lead times July - Sept 2018

Data capture and analysis by Mace Business School. For more details on the article and the contributors please visit .