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Heating equipment, joinery, insulation, plasterboard, cladding … All construction materials have recorded a significant increase in prices since the start of the year. Metals and wood follow the same curve. A price fluctuation not unprecedented, but reinforced by the acceleration of the global economic recovery, driven by Asia. “During the first containment, many companies were shut down. They had not increased their prices when they resumed activity. This time, the increase in the price of raw materials is forcing them to review their prices, ”indicates the Confederation of Crafts and Small Building Enterprises (Capeb).

At the head of a construction company, Bidault, based in Saint-Donan (22), Trémeur Fraval estimates the increase in the cost of construction between 10 and 15%, since the spring. And professionals cannot imagine a lull before next summer. Suppliers are also announcing new increases as of March 1.

Up to 27.9% increase on copper

Faced with this situation, the Capeb wrote a few days ago to the Minister of the Economy, Bruno Le Maire, to alert him in particular to the skyrocketing prices of metals: “The price of copper has increased by 27.9 % in one year and nearly 10% in December alone, when the price of zinc rose 22.2% in one year ”. The price of insulated roofs, such as steel decks, has also jumped from 18 to 20%.

The situation is critical for construction companies who had not included these increases in their costing carried out, on average, six months before the start of work. “We have received our suppliers, but they say they can do nothing other than pass on the increase in the price of raw materials,” says Trémeur Fraval.

Threat of shortage on timber

Beyond the prices, the profession also fears the shortage. Particularly on wood, the price of which is expected to increase again by 6% on March 1, after an initial increase of 4 to 5% at the start of the year.

The consequence here again of strong global demand. And not just from China. The United States is also destabilizing the world market, already weakened by the fall in Scandinavian production, because of their needs. The consequence of Donald Trump’s decision to heavily tax Canadian timber, making European timber more competitive. The main fears, in terms of shortages, relate for the moment to lumber. “We are already encountering supply problems,” warns Robert Bernard. “Our stocks are low, but not at zero”, tempers Roland Tanguy, for the federation of building materials distributors. The deliveries of rails for the installation of plasterboard and copper are also done in droplets, according to the National Building Federation. Due to a lack of raw material, the construction and renovation sector could be forced into a slowdown in activity.

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