Travis Perkins Chief Operating Officer, Frank Elkins, has warned that around 40% of the group's branches are experiencing shortages.

This comes following reports last week that three major cement producers were struggingly to respond to demand for their products

Erkins is reported to have said: "At present 207 of our 550 branches don’t have enough cement to supply all our customers needs.

"There is also not enough plasterboard being made due to a shortage of paper needed to line the boards and aggregate supplies are a concern.

"This is unprecedented in my 30 years in the industry. I have never known a time where we have so many product shortages at one particular time."

He also predicted no let down in the shortages this year. 

At the same time, in an interview with Construction News, Elkins recommended businesses give the builders' merchant as much notice as they could about their future requirements.

“The best thing you can do is plan forward,” he urged. “If you can give us good advance warning in terms of the products and materials you require, then we can plan and make sure we secure that material for you. If somebody rocks up and wants a pallet of cement today, that’s going to be quite challenging. But if I’ve got two or three weeks’ notice, I can definitely plan for that.”

In the last few weeks, the company raised prices across a number of the products it offers, passing down to customers higher costs from the supply chain. In particular the price of bagged cement went up by 15% , while chipboard went up 10% and paint by 5%. Further raises are expected. 

“We’ve been really proactive in trying to communicate with our customers that these price increases are coming, and working with suppliers as much as we can to minimise price increases and the effect of that on our customer base,” Elkins said.