That’s according to a study, sponsored by Close Brothers Property Finance and Travis Perkins and organised by the Home Builders Federation (HBF), which found that the number of SME builders reporting problems with the supply and cost of materials had jumped from 20 per cent a year ago to 78 per cent today.
Some 94 per cent said delays in securing planning permission of discharging conditions were proving a major barrier to their work, a rise from 83 per cent when the survey was run last year.
The resources of local authority planning departments is also causing issues with nine out of 10 builders citing it as a major barrier, up from 73 per cent last time, while the proportion of builders pointing to issues in securing sufficient labour has grown to more than six out of 10.
Stewart Baseley, executive chairman of the HBF said that recent years had seen a collapse in the numbers of SME builders, and pointed to the “considerable challenges” the sector faces.
He added: “Every single SME I speak to is suffering badly from delays to the planning process; they are literally having to put their businesses on hold while local authorities delay the start of construction as their planning departments don’t have adequate capacity to process applications effectively.
“Allied to concerns on materials and staff, planning delays threatens the demise of even more SME builders.”