Speed of batten delivery overtakes cost as primary concern for roofers and merchants

The speed at which suppliers can get graded timber batten to site appears to be overtaking cost as the primary concern for roofing contractors and merchants.

That’s the surprising finding of a recent promotional campaign run by SR Timber, a north Nottinghamshire-based company that is an importer of specialised timber products and the UK’s largest importer of roofing batten, including its flagship Premium Gold.

The company ran a promotion this spring with some great prices on its 25x38mm and 25x50mm BS-graded batten, knowing full well that roofing contractors need to get absolutely the best prices, so they were still expecting to negotiate. However, what trading director Shaun Revill and the team didn’t expect was that the urgency at which customers wanted materials on site superseded cost.

“In a lot of cases, the first question that we got asked when we spoke to customers about the offers was ‘how quickly can you get it to us?’ – this isn’t normal,” said Shaun.

“Yes, of course cost is a big issue to customers, but it clearly indicates that the supply of materials is arguably just as important at the moment – which we can only surmise as meaning that contractors are working flat out on jobs.

“This is the best barometer we have to highlight that despite some of the media scare stories, the construction industry is still very busy building new houses.”

SR Timber says that it can typically get roofing batten materials delivered to most places in the UK between 48 and 72 hours after an order is placed, either as a full or part load.

Shaun added: “We are able to supply batten so quickly because we have complete control of our supply chain – from the forests of the Baltics, to a dedicated sawmill, to shipping and space at four ports around the UK. 

“We are bringing ships in every week with batten, so we are able to maintain a supply to meet the demands of our customers and maintain our stock levels – so that we can still respond in the event of an unprecedented surge in demand.”

Reflecting on the promotion, which has now finished, Shaun said: “Any opportunity to connect with merchants always gives us plenty of fresh insight into the marketplace, and this is vital to help us to keep our finger firmly on the pulse so that we maintain our position as the UK’s largest importer of roofing batten.”