This time of year brings the joys of planning construction operations around inclement — and unpredictable — weather. 

But recent commentary from the Builders Merchants Federation suggests a perfect storm is brewing on the horizon and is on its way.

With reports of roofing products not being available until August 2021, the industry is facing a continued knock-on effect from last year's lockdown. 

Increased shipping costs, congestion problems, shortages of empty containers are all leading to predicted shortages of construction materials. If you add to that a spillover effect from factories being closed (globally) from April and May 2020 due to coronavirus restrictions, and top it off with the implications of Brexit, then we have the makings of a perfect storm.

All of this at a time when many builders' merchants and DIY stores have reported a sales bonanza as people spent lockdown renovating their homes (Kingfisher — which owns B&Q — has reported sales up by 17%). Demand is (apparently) already outstripping supply for products ranging from roof tiles to screws.

And all before we start factoring in the impact of the current lockdown. While undoubtedly creating opportunities for UK-based manufacturers and suppliers, the industry depends on access to goods from around the world to keep running. 

Construction — and, in particular, housebuilding — has been one of the rays of light in economic snapshots from 2020. Considering the sector is critical to the UK's economic well-being, is it time then for a more sector-based approach to business support to weather this perfect storm?