Construction boss Gareth Lewis warns of crippling price rises

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Head of construction at firm behind rebuilding of London’s Battersea Power Station warns that industry is facing ‘unprecedented’ inflation

The head of construction at the firm behind the rebuilding of London’s Battersea Power Station has warned that the industry is facing ‘unprecedented’ inflation. 

Gareth Lewis, chief executive of construction at Mace Group, said that despite having gone through three recessions he had seen ‘nothing like’ the soaring costs hitting the industry as it grapples with the fallout from the pandemic and the war in Ukraine.

‘Steel prices have been horrendous,’ he said in an interview with Building magazine. The cost of steel has doubled since February. 

Unprecedented: Gareth Lewis of Mace Group said that despite having gone through three recessions he had seen ‘nothing like’ the soaring costs hitting the industry

The chief executive added that, while the steel market may calm down in the coming weeks, he was less optimistic about when inflation would begin to subside.

‘It’s going to be with us for the next six to 12 months,’ he said.

Lewis said the scale of price hikes means many clients are being forced to re-evaluate budgets or wait until the volatility has passed. 

That means mid-sized projects could be delayed by at least three months while larger jobs are pushed back by six months or more. 

Lewis said Mace is becoming ‘a lot more selective’ about the projects it is taking on as a result. 

Based in London, the company employs more than 5,800 people across the world. 

The firm’s previous major construction projects have included The Shard skyscraper and the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. 

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