Beesley & Fildes partner with GCS Associates on Recruitment Process Outsourcing Solution

Beesley & Fildes are experts in building materials across a wide variety of trades, including construction, civil engineering, landscaping, joinery, plumbing & heating, kitchens and bathrooms and roofing.

Beesley & Fildes pride themselves on having the knowledge and experience to advise on product choices, whilst their product specialists ensure they consistently offer the widest range of quality building products at competitive prices.

Since the first branch was established by Robert Beesley in Prescot in 1820, they have remained a family business. With 11 branches, Beesley continues to offer the service you’d expect from a local builder’s merchant but with the added capabilities of a regional network.

Aims & Objectives

Beesley & Fildes were looking for a Recruitment Process Outsourced (RPO) Solution to achieve the following;

• Streamline and improve recruitment service to best in class
• Manage all admin and process in regard to talent attraction and internal staff engagement
• Recruitment of all roles across the business including external and internal requirements
• Manage overall talent acquisition strategy
• On demand candidate attraction including Talent Pipelining and Talent Mapping with the aim of building a medium / long talent pool
• Candidate engagement, interviews and onboarding.

Recruitment Fulfilment

GCS Associates facilitated a complete refresh of the recruitment processes at Beesley & Fildes with great success. By placing a dedicated Talent Acquisition Partner onsite at the Beesley HQ, this meant a dedicated recruitment resource was now available to create consistent and streamlined processes. Within 6 months, 88% of hires resulted from direct sourcing meaning not only more engaged candidates, but considerable cost savings for Beesley & Fildes.

Other recruitment activities fulfilled were

– Internal & external role advertising & interview processes developed
– Internal talent database created
– Candidate management and onboarding processes implemented
– Companywide salary bench marketing review

“Overall, the changing of the process from start to finish has been extremely successful, with superb results in terms of critical vacancies filled. Retention rates are exactly where they now should be. I personally think that’s a true reflection of the benefits of an RPO, not only does it save time and money but the long-term benefits around processes and improved retention rates are a great indication of success.”

Liam Tolan
Onsite Talent Acquisition Manager

“The level of work from GCS Associates has been outstanding, and the recruitment support covered everything we needed including providing an on-site Talent Acquisition Partner to work with us on our resourcing strategy and to build relationships with internal hiring managers. The feedback from our Hiring Managers was very positive and we’ve managed to fill some critical and hard to fill roles very quickly, which has saved us considerable time and money.

The GCS team are approachable, engaging and extremely knowledgeable which landed very well with our business. I highly recommend GCS Associates as a recruitment partner & RPO as a recruitment solution”

James Beesley
Commercial Director, Beesley and Fildes

Key results:
60 roles filled in 6 months across the full range of disciplines such as Trade Counter, Internal & External Sales, Accounting, Admin and Yard staff.

  • Average Candidate Submission Time: 2 days
  • 95% of candidates submitted requested for interview
  • 95% of recruitment campaigns led to offer

“Providing a Recruitment Process Outsourced solution for Beesley has not only taken away the day-to-day admin of recruitment but has significantly sped up the recruitment process, improved recruiting standards and saved money for Beesley on recruitment costs. By recruiting in the Beesley brand, we have also increased brand awareness & engagement with candidates which has really helped with retention. Working with Beesley and Fildes has been genuinely a pleasure. Beesley is a business with real ambition and appetite to embrace change and we’re proud to be part of that.”

Michael Parry
Managing Director, GCS Associates

What we do
GCS Associates are specialist consultancy providing talent acquisition and staffing solutions to the building materials, construction, technical & engineering sectors.

With over 15 years’ experience partnering with a wide range of businesses from FTSE 100s to SME’s & smaller independent businesses – we simply provide the right talent to the best organisations.

At GCS Associates, we work with our clients to find the best recruitment solution for them. If you’d like any advice on recruitment or retention strategy, please get in touch.

t:  0161 660 2548

Is Your Recruitment Strategy Rubbish?

Mine was.

Whenever I worked in a hiring role within the Builders Merchant industry, my strategy (and many others) was to do things as cheap as possible, and I normally exhausted a familiar list as per below:

  • Who do I know I can approach?
  • Who do my colleagues/customers know that we can approach?
  • Who is at a competitor we can try to tempt to join us?
  • Let’s place the cheapest advert on social media & some Job Boards and get the world and their dog to share it in the hope we get a good candidate respond!

I went through the above steps, in this order, and then would hire ‘the best’ from the talent pool that we had (or hadn’t) amassed – pretty poor really and was basically anything to avoid paying a recruitment fee. However, this is still the strategy of many.

Now that I work at a recruitment business of course I am going to bang on in this post and sell you the benefits of using an agency like GCS Associates. However, having been both sides of the fence in this narrow sector I have since learnt some key points…..

What I didn’t realise is recruiting the best talent is a full-time job that involves processes, technology, and experience. When I was a Branch Manager/Area Sales Manager etc. I didn’t have all my time to commit to recruitment. I had my full-time job already, so I tried my best to do both and normally the recruitment suffered. Also, just because someone with a good CV applies/responds to your advert doesn’t mean they are best suited to your role/business – there needs to be an alignment for both client and candidate.

So, what is the solution? 

Work with true, proven, experienced sector specialists who can help you and take this problem away and present you with quality solutions.

It won’t cost you money, it will MAKE you money by hiring the best talent in less time who add value, not to mention all the other benefits having the industries best talent working for you will bring.

GCS Associates are true sector specialists, not just because I say so – they are, that is why I chose to join them. Having worked within the industry ourselves for decades we are best placed to source the best talent, we can also offer so much more than just fee based, contingency recruitment with many tailored service options available to benefit and suit your business needs.

If I had my time again in the Builders Merchant sector, I would have partnered with a specialist agency from the start.

About GCS Associates

From 2 UK offices in the North-West and Midlands, GCS Associates provide specialist recruitment services to the Construction Supply, Manufacturing, Builders Merchant & Hire Sectors. With over 15 years’ experience partnering with a wide range of businesses from FTSE 100s to SME’s & smaller independent businesses – put simply, we provide the right talent to the best organisations.

At GCS Associates, we work with our clients to find the best recruitment solution for them. If you’d like any advice on recruitment or retention strategy, please get in touch with Andy.

t:  0161 660 2548

How to Attract the Best Talent in a Candidate Driven Market

According to Indeed the number of job vacancies across Builders Merchants in the UK is at an all-time high with over 2000 jobs advertised this month alone. This is an increased of 20% Y0Y.

With businesses across all sectors struggling to fill roles, it is certainly now a candidate driven market. Over 50% of businesses reporting a shortage of workers say they are struggling to meet their talent demands due to not only skills/ experience gap but also due to problems with candidate expectations. With benefits like home working, bonuses, flexible working, and higher salaries constantly being discussed, how can businesses ensure they are attracting the right people into their organisation?

Why is it a candidate driven market?

The construction and merchant sectors were one of the few areas of industry which didn’t shut down completely over the COVID-19 lockdowns. It wasn’t exactly business as usual but organisations took this time to digitalise and relook at their strategy. And due to increased spend on construction supplies, our sectors thrived.

However, candidate expectations have also changed. Talented candidates are now seeking better benefits, flexible working, and greater work-life balance. In conclusion, candidates are refusing to go back to long commutes, long days, poor benefits packages, and unclear routes of progression. Businesses haven’t caught up yet that the old processes, benefit packages and not having the ability to adapt to candidate expectation isn’t going to cut it if they want to attract AND retain the talent which will drive their business growth.

How to make your business more attractive to candidates?

To succeed in meeting talent demands in a candidate-short market, employers must concentrate on developing strategies for both attracting and retaining talented employees.

Here are five ways to make your business more attractive to candidates and fulfill changing employee expectations.

1. Review your hiring processes

Hiring processes that may have worked effectively in the past may not be sufficient for today’s market. Revamp your job postings with clear and concise job titles and realistic requirements and expectations. Ensure application forms are simple and easy to fill out and consider removing unnecessary tests and evaluations. Above all, communicate with candidates, respond and schedule interviews quickly.

2. Offer the benefits that employees really want

Employee expectations are changing. Whilst salary remains important, candidates are increasingly seeking other benefits alongside pay. Remote and flexible working practices, health and well-being programmes and subsidised childcare are all popular and can make you stand out as an employer of choice. Employees are more productive and engaged when they are happy. Research what your competitors are offering and put together an attractive package that can persuade talented candidates to apply to you over them.

3. Build a positive and inclusive company culture and tell people about it

Your company culture and employer brand should showcase your values across all your public-facing channels. 68% of millennial’s visit an employer’s social media channels to evaluate their brand, check out their blog, their careers page and are interested in what current and previous employees have to say. Today’s candidates put time into researching the companies they work for and 86% use reviews and ratings on sites like Glass-door to judge a company’s reputation among employees. Utilise testimonials from current employees to articulate to potential candidates that you offer a positive, inclusive, and fulfilling place to work.

4. Invest in your people

Training and development opportunities are critical for attracting and retaining talent. According to a recent survey by CIPD, 59% of millennial’s think that development opportunities are important when deciding to work for a company and a staggering 94% would stay at a company longer if it invested in their learning and development. Ensure you have a robust onboarding process and that you clearly define paths to advancement for new starters. Launch training and mentoring schemes to upskill employees in the skills they’ll need for the future and encourage continuous learning as part of your workplace culture.

5. Invest in Employer Branding

It can be challenging, but developing a smart, forward thinking employer brand will not only attract and engage potential employees but motivate and retain current employees too. These days it’s not enough to just invest in marketing products and services, developing a robust employer brand will put your ahead of the competition and make your business really stand out to potential employees.

About GCS Associates

From 2 UK offices in the North-West and Midlands, GCS Associates provide specialist recruitment services to the Construction Supply, Manufacturing, Builders Merchant & Hire Sectors. With over 15 years’ experience partnering with a wide range of businesses from FTSE 100s to SME’s & smaller independent businesses – put simply, we provide the right talent to the best organisations.

At GCS Associates, we work with our clients to find the best recruitment solution for them. If you’d like any advice on recruitment or retention strategy, please get in touch.

t:  0161 660 2548

GCS Associates Shortlisted For Two Prestigious Recruiter Awards

We’re thrilled to announce that we have been shortlisted for two prestigious UK Recruiter Awards in the Best Candidate Care and UK Recruitment Agency of the Year (under 19 employees) categories.

Established in 2002, the Recruiter Awards gala is the UK’s largest event for the entire recruitment community recognising outstanding achievements by agencies and in-house recruiters.

Managing Director, Michael Parry said, “It’s always a great feeling to be shortlisted for awards, particularly national ones such as the Recruiter Awards where there were nearly 6,000 submissions.  To be shortlisted in the category of Best UK Agency (across all sectors), is massive accomplishment as it’s such a crowded and competitive space. And to be competing at the same level as some of the corporate recruitment giants in the 2nd category for Best Candidate Care, I feel, is something the entire team should be very proud of”

Michael continued, “GCS has gone from strength to strength in the past year, diversifying its client & candidates services to include Employer Branding, RPO and Training. Our biggest achievement was completing the GCS Pledge, where we helped those who had lost their jobs due to COVID-19 back into employment, completely free of charge.

I’m incredibly proud of everything we’ve achieved so far and win or lose on the night, we’ll be celebrating regardless – proud to represent not only the recruitment sector but the sectors in which we specialise in! The Recruiter Awards are a fantastic opportunity for us to toast all the hard work, commitment, and determination which everyone; employees, clients, candidates included has put in to get us where we are today.”


A glittering awards ceremony to announce and celebrate this year’s Recruiter Awards winners will take place on 29th September at JW Marriott Grosvenor House in London. Congratulations to all those involved at GCS Associates, and good luck to those shortlisted!

About GCS Associates

From 2 UK offices in the North-West and Midlands, GCS Associates provide specialist recruitment services to the Construction Supply, Manufacturing, Builders Merchant & Hire Sectors. With over 15 years’ experience partnering with a wide range of businesses from FTSE 100s to SME’s & smaller independent businesses – put simply, we provide the right talent to the best organisations.

At GCS Associates, we work with our clients to find the best recruitment solution for them. If you’d like any advice on recruitment or retention strategy, please get in touch.

t:  0161 660 2548

GCS Associates sponsor Builders Merchant Awards 2022

We’re thrilled to announce that we are sponsoring the Builders Merchant Awards 2022!

Taking place at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge on Friday 25 November 2022, the 21st Awards ceremony promises to be another spectacular occasion for the 800 plus in attendance.

During the past two decades, the Builders’ Merchants Awards have built up an unrivaled reputation for recognising the great and good across the builders’ merchant sector.

The Awards offer the perfect opportunity to acknowledge the amazing people, teams, projects and innovations that have helped our industry grow the economy and helped community safety and sustainability.

The Builders Merchant Awards comments:

“The Builders’ Merchants Awards would also not be the success they are without the unwavering support of our sponsors, who strive to ensure individuals and companies across the industry are recognised for their efforts as they go about their work on a daily basis.”

We’re very proud to support these prestigious awards – supporting a sector we’ve recruited into for the past 15 years.

Managing Director at GCS Associates, Michael Parry said,
“The BMF and many of our clients supported the GCS Pledge, where we helped those who had lost their jobs due to COVID-19 back into employment, so we’re pleased support them by sponsoring this fantastic awards ceremony – celebrating the best of our sector.

It’s exciting time for the Builders Merchant industry with real change happening in terms of diversification, digitalisation, and sustainability. Many of our clients have accomplished phenomenal change since COVID-19 so we can’t wait to hear about the achievements from the businesses who enter the awards.”

The Builders Merchant Awards are a fantastic opportunity for us to toast all the hard work, commitment, and determination which everyone within the sector has put in to ensure the Builders Merchant sector has flourished over the past few years”

How to Enter
As for the categories themselves, as always no business or initiative is too large or too small to make a difference and we have a wide range of Awards that demonstrate the depth and breadth of the builders’ merchant sector.

So please send in your nominations and give us the opportunity to let the nation know exactly how you have changed the world for the better. Online entry is now open, and all entries must be received no later than 11.55pm on Friday 26th August 2022.

For further details, visit the website: or download the launch brochure.

Good luck to all the entrants and look forward to celebrating your fantastic achievements at the awards ceremony.

At GCS Associates, we work with our clients to find the best recruitment solution for them. If you’d like any advice on recruitment or retention strategy, please get in touch.

t:  0161 660 2548

PaintWell Partner with GCS Associates for Branch Expansion Project

About PaintWell
PaintWell are the UK’s leading supplier of trade quality decorating and painting supplies. With over 80 years of combined experience under our former names of Bromborough Paints and Trade1st, PaintWell brings you a huge range of trade-quality paints and painting accessories from all the major brands. PaintWell is a one-stop shop for painting and decorating supplies and currently has over 20 branches in the UK.

About GCS Associates
GCS Associates are specialist consultancy providing talent acquisition and staffing solutions to the building materials, construction, technical & engineering sectors. With over 15 years’ experience partnering with a wide range of businesses from FTSE 100s to SME’s & smaller independent businesses – we simply provide the right talent to the best organisations.

PaintWell (formerly Bromborough Paints) is on a huge growth trajectory with plans to open a substantial number branches over the next 2-3 years. In 2021, we began a recruitment partnership with PaintWell with the aim to provide the extra support needed to recruit key personnel for their branch expansion plans.

Dan Peacock, Commercial Director at PaintWell Comments; “We engaged with GCS on a retained basis through a Managed Service Agreement, to primarily oversee the recruitment and talent attraction for our extensive branch opening project, as well as handling other recruitment projects. 

They have been responsive, communicative, and effective, taking the time to understand our business and sector.  There is a lot going on within our business right now and it is great to know GCS are here to handle all things recruitment.”

In that time GCS have recruited a number of critical roles for PaintWell, have streamlined their recruitment processes & are producing key assets which will future proof PaintWells recruitment strategy.

Michael Parry, Managing Director, GCS Associates comments; “PaintWell are a fantastic business, and we are proud to partner with them to help them scale up during their expansion. Working together on a Recruitment Process Outsourced (RPO) basis has meant we’ve been able to allocate significant resource to ensure they the right people in place to open new branches.

We’re also supporting for the future by creating a new careers website, candidate packs and video to help attract new talent into the business.”

At GCS Associates, we work with our clients to find the best recruitment solution for them. If you’d like any advice on recruitment or retention strategy, please get in touch.

t:  0161 660 2548

Don’t let Job Hunting Affect your Mental Health

Job hunting is hard, full of uncertainty and, on occasion, rejection. Whether you’re looking to leave a current position, are a student straight out of university or college, or have been unemployed for a while, – job hunting can take its toll and have a huge impact on your life and mental health.

If you have been rejected from a job or you haven’t heard back from your application, it’s not unusual but it is frustrating. It really should be expected and dealt with as a learning curve rather than taken too personally. “If you’ve previously got every job you’ve ever gone for, you’ve not necessarily ever had to up your game. And if you’re now struggling with getting through the recruitment process, maybe it’s time to up your game.

Failure is actually a learning process, and it’s the same with rejection. See it as an opportunity to change, improve and learn.

So, instead of looking at job searching as an ominous, uncertain journey, it’s important to view it as a window of opportunity which can open new doors to a life which better suits you.

Here’s some tips on how to improve your job hunting:

1: Accept that Rejection is Normal.

To put yourself out there means opening yourself up to criticism and rejection, two things which can take a huge toll on your mental health, negatively reshaping your perception of job hunting. Essentially, you’re opening yourself up to scrutiny.

But in order to get anywhere in your job hunt, it’s important to firstly accept that rejection is normal; as we progress in our careers impressing employers can become more challenging, as they may have a considerable wish list of knowledge and specific experience they are looking for.

2: Take Control

Multiple job rejections does not mean that all hope is lost. There are certain things out of your control in job searching – such as necessary experience or the number of people applying for a vacancy BUT there are other elements that you can control.

Do your research, upskill and most of all, keep confidence in yourself and your abilities.

3: Quality over Quantity.

Overapplying when you’re desperately looking for a new role is one of the number one traps a lot of us fall into.

It could mean your applications are not as strong as they could be, potentially costing you a job. Cut down the number of applications you send out, focus instead on just the jobs you really want and doing those applications to a much higher standard, personalising them to fit each company and job role. This might involve writing a much more bespoke cover letter or tailoring your CV but it will pay off.

4: Make sure that the job is right for you.

When you’re adamant to jump into a new role, it’s important to make sure that the transition is right for you. A lot of job searchers will not double check that they have the necessary experience or might rush applications without realising the job they’ve applied for isn’t what they want or are suitable for. Read job descriptions carefully and don’t just tick ‘apply’ to every job that comes up on a website or jobboard with your preferred job title.

People’s mental health can suffer as a result of taking a job without doing their research and thinking it through enough, finding themselves in the wrong environment, or in a position they’re not too keen on, then struggling in the workplace as a result.

Taking time to reflect on your next career move and giving yourself the best chance by creating fewer, but more impactful applications gives you the power to decide what’s best for you. You must always remember that you have skills, you are employable, and just because you didn’t get the job you’d hoped for the first time around, doesn’t mean you should give up.

At GCS Associates, we work with our candidates to find the right job for them, in regard to both skills & culture fit – if you’d like any advice on your job search, please get in touch.

t:  0161 660 2548

How Outsourcing Recruitment can ease the pain of fast business growth and help with Retention

The Covid-19 pandemic disrupted business and labour markets at an unprecedented level. From January to March 2021, when most of the restrictions were still in place, the UK unemployment rate was 4.8%, more than at the start of the pandemic, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). 

Fortunately, the easing of restrictions since then coupled with the vaccination roll-out saw economies start to reopen, leading to a surge in hiring as companies got to work restoring their operations to pre-pandemic levels.

Such a dramatic rise in recruitment activity meant businesses had to rapidly adjust to ensure they were equipped to launch and manage large-scale hiring initiatives and go head-to-head with other companies to find the right candidates. In this article, we explore the role of recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) in easing the burden on internal talent acquisition teams and why leaders are increasingly relying on this solution to overcome the challenges associated with accelerated business growth.

RPOs have access to high-quality candidates

Expertise across sourcing, recruitment process design, recruitment technology, employer branding and reporting means RPOs are in the ideal position to attract, source and assess quality talent for every role. During a period of heightened upturn, time is of the essence. RPOs can access suitable candidates and apply rigorous assessment and selection methodologies quickly, so organisations are presented with the best talent ahead of their competitors.

RPOs boost employer brand and candidate experience 

Candidates are looking for much more from employers than high salaries and perks. The pandemic highlighted the importance of being treated well, respected and supported, both as a candidate and as an employee.

This renewed focus coupled with a candidate-driven market means hiring practices are under scrutiny. Put a foot wrong at any stage of the recruitment process, and companies risk losing key talent to their competitors. Candidates are looking for flexibility, a seamless and fast process, clear communication, solid values, and a workplace culture they can get behind.

Through hands-on management of all aspects of the recruitment process – from expertly crafted job descriptions to interview feedback – and real-time insights into what goes into an exceptional Employer Value Proposition (EVP), RPOs ensure businesses stand out for all of the right reasons and that candidates are confident in their decision to join an organisation.

RPOs provide complete flexibility

Market upturns don’t last forever. They require an intense period of activity, which will eventually scale back. The pandemic highlighted the requirement for businesses to be agile enough to deal with market fluctuations, and RPOs are designed with this in mind.

RPOs can be scaled back or redirected to focus on another area of talent acquisition within a business or simply change focus to retention and talent pipelining. One of the key reasons why organisations engage RPOs in 2022 is that they adapt to the reality of fluctuating recruitment needs without compromising on service, speed or quality.

RPOs save companies money 

A period of upturn means a sharp rise in activity, which, for many businesses, means spending more money to manage it. When it comes to engaging an RPO provider, the opposite is true. They are able to eliminate lengthy hiring processes, the money spent on job board posting and time spent screening – all of which can add up to a costly internal recruitment process.

Additionally, RPOs help to minimise the indirect costs of recruitment, such as those associated with poor quality hires, lengthy vacancy periods and high employee turnover. By streamlining everything for businesses, RPO providers deliver significant cost savings while ensuring they hire better and faster.

GCS Associates have provided flexible recruitment solutions, including Recruitment Process Outsourcing, for over 15 years. Our teams have sector experience and are true experts across our specialist sectors. Contact us if you are looking for a recruitment solution which will not only save time and money, but will also enhance your employer brand and help improve retention.


t:  0161 660 2548

Meet The Team: Chris Whitlock, Executive Consultant, GCS Associates

Tell us about your career so far?
I have spent almost all my career in Timber and Building Materials. I joined Malden Timber in 1984 as a graduate trainee, then spent 14 years with Travis Perkins, followed by 13 years with Saint-Gobain where I held two Managing Director roles.

I then spent two years as a freelance operator including an enjoyable year in the global Telecoms industry with Colt – which was my one excursion away from Builders Merchants! I then spent happy three years at Harlow Timber as Managing Director.

I have spent much of the last three years as a freelance operational contractor, specialising in relocating businesses and opening new branches in the wider materials industry. I also work as an Executive Consultant for GCS Associates.

Why did you join GCS?
I was introduced to GCS through a mutual acquaintance in 2020. My involvement with GCS grew through many discussions with Mike Parry about the market, clients, and candidates until, ultimately, it made sense for me to become a member of the team.

What’s your job/ responsibilities/ specialist sectors at GCS?
I assist the GCS senior team with governance and growth planning, and with client and candidate relations. I usually spend a day or two a month at both our Altrincham and Loughborough offices.

What are you working on at the moment?
I am working on management recruitment for a materials supplier’s new branch programme – strictly confidential, at the moment!

What’s the market expectation at the moment?
Building materials has experienced a double boom in the last year – both in terms of volumes as home improvement spend has rocketed, and in value as material cost have soared across the board. This has led to a very active recruitment market, and an extremely busy GCS recruitment team!

Chris Whitlock, Executive Consultant

Tell me about how you help clients/ candidates?
I engage with both clients and candidates- many of whom I have worked with in some capacity, at some point. I assess opportunities and partnerships for both sides.

Anything else to share about yourself?
I grew up and still live in Leicestershire – stunning countryside, a great city, and one of Britain’s best kept secrets! I have two fantastic grown-up children and a very supportive wife who continues to enjoy her long career in Marketing and who generally despairs of me not having a marketing bone in me!


t: 0161 660 2548

Labour and Product Shortages putting Pressure on Construction Industry

This month has been a tale of two halves. With merchant’s value sales up 79.6% in May 2021 compared to May 2020 according to the BMBI report, & plumbing & heating sales doubling in May, sales and demand in the sector is certainly looking positive.

We have recruited into the Construction Supplies Sector for over 15 years, and right now we are seeing unprecedented demand for talent and people looking for new roles. It’s an exciting time for the sector and people looking to advance in their careers.

However, labour and product shortages are putting pressure on the construction industry. With the unprecedented demand for building products which has been reported throughout the year and now a lack of labour, partly due to employees having to self-isolate when being ‘pinged’ by the NHS test and trace app, is a rising concern.

John Newcomb, CEO, Builders Merchant Federation commented in the Builders Merchant News

“The basic trends of the last six months remain, with global demand far more than supply leading to product shortages, rapid and sustained price inflation, long lead times and uncertainty regarding deliveries. It is also clear that the global shipping industry is far from recovered from the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic, with congested shipping routes, container cancellations and higher costs still evident.

The products most affected are those used in housebuilding and domestic repair maintenance and improvement, including roofing products, timber, insulation, landscaping products, blocks, sealants/PVA, PIR Insulation, kitchen carcassing and products that use plastic, for example drainage, some windows and bagged cement.”

Newcomb added: “The supply chain is extremely stretched on all fronts but our members are pulling out the stops to keep supplies in branches and deliveries out to customers in very challenging circumstances.”

With the expectation supply shortages will continue due to the on-going uncertainty, the other pressure on businesses is the labour shortage exasperated by the ‘pingdemic’

Frank Elkins, Group Chief Operating Officer for Travis Perkins, said “We are disappointed that our colleagues have not been included on the list of workers that can be made exempt from full self-isolation if they are alerted by NHS test and trace.

“Having worked hard to put in place measures that safeguard our staff while they have played such a vital role in helping to maintain essential services that are so crucial to keeping us all dry, warm, safe and secure, we urge the Government to look again at the broader construction supply chain and its importance to the country at large.”

In addition Martyn Coffey, Chief Executive Officer for Marshalls, said: “After the challenges in 2020, no one could have accurately predicted the shape of demand in 2021. This demand continues to grow and the effects of Covid the ‘self-isolation’ practices are now beginning to bite within the Marshalls business.

“Health and Safety has always been our number one consideration throughout this pandemic. We have gone above and beyond government guidelines to keep our people safe.”

Businesses reported that on average 15% of their workforce were pinged last week and had to self-isolate leaving business leaders with an inability to plan for cover for these workers. A sector already pained by labour shortages, business leaders are seriously pushing for the Construction and Building Supplies sectors to be deemed ‘essential’ so double vaccinated workers who are ‘pinged’ by the NHS Test and Trace app won’t need to self-isolate. Hopefully, the changes to the isolation rules this month but improve the labour shortages.

Need more talented people in your business? We can help.

t: 0161 660 2548