‘Massive shortage’ leaves DIY fans and builders angry at rising material prices


Plaster bags are sold for up to £ 50 on eBay and Facebook – seven times more than the regular price.The construction industry is facing a “massive shortage” caused by the coronavirus lockout, reports the MEN.

A shortage of plaster has hit construction companies and traders across the country.

A DIY push across the UK is believed to have contributed to demand.

A seller on Facebook Marketplace offered 20 kg bags of Polish Gipsar Plus plaster for £ 50, while on eBay another person advertised 25 kg bags of Thistle Multi-Finish for £ 49.95.

Several other sellers offer individual bags for £ 20-25, when they would normally be on sale for around £ 7.

A building supplier told the Manchester Evening News, “Everyone has a hard time grabbing it.

“Everyone is on benefits.

“We receive 20 pallets every six weeks of British Gypsum [the UK’s main manufacturer of plaster] – normally, we received this every two weeks.

Plaster bags generally sell for around £ 7

“But everyone is in the same boat, from small independent suppliers like us to big boys like B&Q and Travis Perkins.

“We can get it from abroad, from Saudi Arabia, France and Ireland, but it’s not as good as British gypsum. It’s harder to work with and it doesn’t give as good a finish, so plasterers just don’t work with that.

“We take care of our regular customers and trade.

“We also provided work in hospitals in Bolton and Manchester. We continued to negotiate throughout the foreclosure, primarily so that we could continue to supply hospitals.

“Every day, 20 people have to call to ask for plaster. We are putting all of the bodies on a waiting list, but that is now five sheets of A4 paper and there have been people there for two and a half months.

“There is just a massive shortage and we cannot sell it to everyone. ”

Last week, Mark Roberts, a building supplier, said he had struggled to get his hands on plaster since the UK was locked out.

A queue to buy plaster at B&Q in Bolton
A queue to buy plaster at B&Q in Bolton

He said, “It was a nightmare. Everyone asks for it. It’s like gold dust.

“People whip him for ridiculous prices. A friend of mine paid £ 20 for a bag. It is usually £ 7. ”

John Newcomb, CEO of the Builders Merchants Federation, told the Manchester Evening News that the shortage should be resolved in the coming weeks.

He said: “The latest information shows that plaster continues to be difficult in terms of supply.

“There are several reasons for this.

“We pushed back the demand due to the closure of manufacturers and many traders in April following the government’s announcement to stay home. The plaster available was a priority for essential projects, in particular the NHS.

“We have also seen more DIYers / consumers on leave renovating too.

Plaster bags are sold for £ 50 on Facebook Marketplace
Plaster bags are sold for £ 50 on Facebook Marketplace

“Finally, there was an increase in the number of contractors returning to work and trying to finish the plastering work over the summer.

“However, with the manufacturing in place now at a high yield, the situation is improving and will be resolved in the coming weeks. ”

In a statement last week, British Gypsum general manager Matt Pullen said its plaster factories were operating at “maximum capacity”.

He added: “We delivered 130 more plaster trucks to the market in June compared to the same month last year and our weekly supply is now higher than when we closed in late March on the advice of the government.

“We will continue at these increased levels until demand and supply are again balanced.

“We send more than 400 commercial shipments of product every day to our regular DIY dealers, distributors and resellers across the UK based on their allocation volumes.

“We recognize, however, that not all of our customers can still get products from their regular resellers when it is needed.

“All of our British Gypsum colleagues are committed to meeting this ongoing demand and to helping our DIY dealers, distributors and resellers to replenish their stocks.

“We will continue our allocation process for plasterboard and plaster, to ensure a fair supply of available products until we are satisfied that the supply meets the continuing demand. “


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