Fears of product delays and growth of black market

The CIPHE has issued a warning about likely product shortages and the risk of using non-compliant alternatives. With a number of Britain’s container ports reporting congestion and delays as a result of the coronavirus and the added complication of Brexit, raw materials such as wood and steel are being held up, as are finished products manufactured overseas. The price of shipping has also risen sharply, meaning that suppliers are paying over the odds to get their products into the country.

CEO Kevin Wellman says: “I fear that Brexit will impact on the UK for quite some time. While we applaud the work manufacturers are doing to support the entire supply chain, it’s clear that the knock on effects of delays are severe. It is the installers and their customers who will lose out if products and materials cannot get to site on time.

“Many engineers have slipped through the net of government financial support during the pandemic. They will be facing the added frustration and financial pressure of jobs cancelled due to a lack of supplies and price hikes in line with the costs of shipping. With online marketplaces still not legally responsible for stopping dangerous products from being sold, the CIPHE is concerned the current situation will leave the floodgates open for counterfeit goods.

“We urge all engineers to be cautious if sourcing products and materials from unknown alternative providers. Non-compliant goods may not have been manufactured to recognised bona fide standards and are likely to be low quality. There is no doubt the black market in plumbing and heating parts has the potential to grow in the current climate, putting lives at risk and exposing installers to potential legal repercussions.”

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