Finishes and interior contractors are battling with rising prices and they’re braced for more to come. This month metal prices rise by as much as 18 per cent after a series of price rises from manufacturers because of the global increase in the price of steel, aluminium and wood combined with a fall in the value of the pound.

John Atkin, managing director of Bisley, the manufacturer of steel storage systems, said: “Steel costs have increased in the UK by over 60 per cent since the start of 2016, which is extremely difficult to recover in full from our existing customers. Unless steel reduces dramatically in the second half of the year, and the current forecast do not indicate that this is likely, we shall have to increase our sales prices once again.”

Neil Ash, managing director of Siniat, said on steel prices: “Recent price increases on drywall profiles are linked to a rise in the global cost of steel. Whilst the steel market has remained relatively stable over the last four years, we are beginning to see a more volatile situation as steel producers globally seek to increase prices. As a business, we always endeavour to mitigate the effects of these increases on our customers.”

Paul Chandler, head of marketing at Knauf UK and Ireland, said: “We are continuously exposed to fluctuating energy, freight and raw materials costs, whilst in addition we are subjected to variable levels of demand and its compounding effect upon our production capacities.

“Our continuous focus on process improvement and manufacturing/service efficiencies enables us to absorb certain cost increases; however, we must pass some of these inflationary pressures on to our customers in the form of periodic price increases.”

At British Gypsum, Fiona Bashford, head of marketing communications, said: “we are unable to comment on any price arrangements we have with our customers.”

Mike Tapper, managing director at Tapper Interiors, said: “All manufacturers appear to be using these times of uncertainty to put up their prices as they have been unable to do so for some time. Subcontractors can do nothing other than add it to their rates and, ultimately, customers will have the last say as to whether they will pay for it.”

Rising prices do not seem to be hampering activity and the growing demand for drywall systems has seen drywall manufacturers introduce allocations. An industry insider told SpecFinish that they were concerned that the shortage appears to have come about by a small increase in demand, asking: “What will ever happen if we get a serious upturn?”