Shortages, delays challenge construction materials suppliers: MSL memo

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

COVID-19-related supply chain issues are causing serious challenges for building supplies retailers and clients, as indicated by a memo sent on Monday by Ottawa-based Merkley Supply Ltd. (MSL) general manager Jeremy Raciot to the company’s customers.

“”I would like to take a moment to address shortages and manufacturing issues of products in the North American construction industry,” he wrote. “There are many contributing factors to this current situation including COVID outbreaks in manufacturing facilities, labour shortages and a global shortage of shipping containers. This creates the perfect storm of heightened demand and hampered supply that the construction industry must navigate through.”

In his memo, Raciot outlined some specific manufacturers’ notes.  MSL’s primary market is with brick and masonry contractors, but it serves a variety of other building supply markets.

  • Meridian Brick– Meridian brick has suspended the fall run of all Ontario and Quebec size brick and will focus on Max size brick. “Merkley Supply has secured and continues to source as much Ontario and Quebec size brick as we can for our customers.”
  • Arriscraft – Arriscraft has extended lead times, they can now be six to 12 weeks on all new orders and has suspended production on certain products including Citadel 3” face height, all custom colour products and more.
  • Roxul – Rockwool is at 200+ days of lead time on new orders.

“Throughout the COVID pandemic, the Merkley Supply sales force has been proactive, contacting our customers of the looming possibility of shortages and price increases as we learn of them,” he wrote.

“As a supplier we have been working tirelessly to lead our customers through these difficult times but we need your help. Please inform your customers and colleagues of the reality we face; we all need to remain proactive to keep job sites running efficiently.”
Raciot concluded his memo with these observations:

“COVID has created a truly unprecedented situation; without proper direction and sufficient notice Merkley Supply may not be able to deliver the level of comprehensive customer service you all have come to expect. Please be patient with our staff, I can assure you they are making every effort to meet your needs by maneuvering through the challenges that face us.”

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