Chaos for homeowners and homebuilders as materials shortage hits the East

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Construction businesses in the East are facing a double-whammy of material shortages and rising costs as the supply chain crisis worsens.

Output has slipped for the fifth month in a row causing spiralling costs for builders - with some construction companies forced to pay up to 25% more for key materials.

Building materials have risen in price by nearly 25 percent across the board in just a year. Credit: ITV Anglia

The Coulson Building Group in Cambridge is one of the regions biggest construction companies, working on projects across East Anglia for 135 years.

Their materials costs have risen in price by nearly a quarter across the board in just a year and that's not the only difficulty they are facing.

Bricklayers are experiencing shortages too Credit: ITV Anglia

In Wicklewood near Wymondham in Norfolk brickie Darcie Richards is trying to make sense of it all.

She said: "Customer for this job had to order the material six months in advance to build one house and if the materials aren't there then we can't start our job or if they run out of bricks and blocks or any materials that we use the suppliers just don't have them on standby anymore so that can hold our job up for weeks and we could be without work."

Her boss Phil Ley blames the big players for stockpiling:

"They've bought everything up and they've stockpiled it so as they don't run out but that leaves the small builder who wants 500 bricks there's none left or he wants 200 blocks to finish a job there's done left in the yard because they're all been bought up by bigger players."

Young apprentices will be vital to future projects Credit: ITV Anglia

Hoping to help resolve the shortage of labour are the students at Cambridge Regional College studying to become electricians or carpenters.

The current major skills shortage could be good for them when they qualify with some companies currently paying two, even three hundred, pounds a day.

Student Maisie Hawkins said: It's very hands on, it's very involved, it's not something where you necessarily lose the skill. It's very easy to find a job. It's just a forever job really."

Many education leaders have been arguing for years that more teenagers should go onto vocational courses but it's acknowledged that there are no quick fixes to current problems.