11 October 2021
The combination of strong demand and limited supplies of some equipment means that customers have to respond quickly when stocks become available.
That’s certainly the experience of Karen Allen, director of Cabin Solutions Ltd, which she founded a year ago to source and supply site containers, offices and accommodation units throughout the north east of England.
“Bread-and-butter items like 20ft containers are particularly fast-moving,” she says. “Customers frequently express interest in a unit but can’t act fast enough to get their internal approval and paperwork sorted when it becomes available. By the time they do so, it’s gone and we start the process again.”
Karen believes that many buyers have had to adapt to this and take a more forward-looking approach as a result.
One sector that seems to have planned ahead was education. Local schools ordered a lot of 20ft containers for storage purposes so that they could be delivered during the quieter summer holiday period.
“There is also strong demand from housebuilders, demolition firms and contractors for containers, offices, canteens, toilet blocks and associated items like stairways and water tanks,” says Karen, who previously worked in the sales department of a national hirer.
Like some other suppliers of construction equipment recently, Karen is half-expecting a brief return to something more like normal demand levels towards the end of the year. As reported earlier on the blog, some contractors have postponed projects owing to the inflated costs of materials and labour.
If so, however, demand might well pick up again in the New Year. Before then, if the Government has to bring in its Plan B for Covid-19 containment over the winter (Plan A being the vaccine booster campaign), there could be a return to stronger advocacy of social distancing and other measures.
And if so, the need for more on-site office and welfare facilities could be even stronger.