10 Nov 2021
New research by Tyfu Tai Cymru (part of CIH Cymru) has shone a light on supply chain pressures impacting how providers of social and affordable housing deliver on their commitments to build new homes and improve, maintain and ensure the safety of existing homes.
Drawing on the expertise, experience and insight of professionals working in the sector the survey findings reflect the stark nature of some of the supply chain issues being faced. The survey, which heard from 31 organisations, found that:
Responding to these pressures the report found that organisations are changing how they work in a variety of ways. Including delaying some major work, increasing lead-in times and revising contract conditions with suppliers.
“My personal role is focussed on the building of new homes and I have been involved in this for over 30 years and I have never witnessed anything as concerning as the current situation on an already limited and stretched supply chain.” – Survey respondent
For the Welsh Government the report’s recommendations include having a more planned approach to understanding supply chain challenges facing the sector, reviewing grant funding flexibility to account for cost increases and supporting SMEs with cash-flow to ensure companies serving the sector remain sustainable during times of economic uncertainty.
For the sector the report suggests reviewing staff skills to identify where up-skilling some roles could reduce reliance on supply chains, approaching procurement of goods and services as coalitions and engaging tenants at an early stage to communicate the challenges being faced and use their expertise to inform each organisation’s approach.
Catherine May | Tyfu Tai Cymru manager, CIH Cymru
Whilst we’ve strongly welcomed the clear vision set out by the Welsh Government to deliver 20,000 low carbon social homes, and significantly improve the efficiency of existing homes we can’t ignore the tension between that vision and the realities of the operating environment many providers of social and affordable housing are facing. These pressures aren’t going to subside overnight, whilst the sector must continue to adapt to these challenges, so too must the Welsh Government seek to get ahead of these issues and create a focussed plan so that we increasingly find ourselves on a stronger footing to meet our shared ambition for housing in Wales.
Helen White | Chief Executive, Taff Housing Association
Without doubt supply chain challenges leading to higher prices and delays could severely hinder our ability to deliver the future homes we so badly need. Global events have created a perfect storm, we need to think creatively and work collaboratively with our partners in government and the private sector if we are to minimise the impact on future and existing tenants. The findings of this report back up all the anecdotal evidence, pressures on the supply chain are making a significant impact in the form of delays, shortages of labour and materials, higher costs and planning challenges.