Piling firm Aarsleff has called on main contractors and clients to factor in longer lead times to avoid project delays.
As the construction recovery gathers pace, lead times are coming under strain, according to Chris Primett, Aarsleff’s UK managing director.
He said: “While it is great to see signs of recovery within the construction sector, the demand this presents on a finite pool of resources, positions occupied by the specialist contractor such as piling, is considerable. The ability to adapt to the rate of contracts available is not an easy one and has the potential to ultimately present itself on-site.”
Primett pointed to lead times for many construction materials also being stretched, with some block manufacturers quoting lead times of four months and longer, and said there could be “swings in the price of construction products and services as a consequence of supply and demand”.
He added: “As well as a better appreciation by Tier 1 contractors and clients that longer lead times may be needed, there must also be a better understanding of the effects moving previously programmed start dates can have on a specialist contractor, as this might have quite a significant impact, especially for any follow-on-projects that may have been committed to. Piling, as the work of specialist contractors, has always been considered a long lead-time element and where these appear on the construction time-scale or pathway, they should be given due consideration and scheduling so that any delays do not to impact on the entire project.
“It is important that specialist contractors clearly identify lead times and communicate these to clients from the outset of discussions. This will allow projects to be planned better, with works scheduled and front-end elements like piling and ground works may even benefit from early contract placement to protect the entire project and remove them as the rate limiting step for future works on the construction pathway.”