Data from Markit/CIPS UK Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) indicates that a continued strong recovery in UK construction output is leading to rising specialist contractor prices and lengthening delivery times.

Specialist contractor work picked up sharply and at the fastest rate since the survey began in April 1997. This in turn contributed to a survey-record drop in specialist contractor availability and a much steeper increase in rates charged by specialist contractors.

Growing pressure means that delivery times from suppliers are lengthening and PMI says that construction firms are reporting that low stocks and capacity pressures had resulted in worsening supplier performance.

Commenting on the report, David Noble, group chief executive officer at the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply, said: “August saw a record reduction in the availability of specialist contractors and a record rise in the rates charged. The sector is struggling to find enough skilled tradesmen to keep pace with new work and the labour market will continue to put pressure on costs until the next wave of apprentices begins to enter the jobs market. Indeed, across the supply chain, delivery times have seen the sharpest rise since the survey began, with input prices growing at the fastest rate since July 2011.”