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Wood for Germany’s construction sites is becoming scarce.  Real estate companies warn that urgently needed housing construction is threatened with a standstill. And carpenters and joiners are also groaning about the price of wood, and they even have to hoard the precious raw material.

“We have to expect delivery bottlenecks and waiting times of up to four months,” says master carpenter Christian Sturm. He now even has to buy in advance: “That even led to the toilet paper effect occurring and we literally hammered wood.”

Actually there is enough wood in Germany. But most of the wood went abroad, especially to the USA and China. Because the companies pay up to 60 percent more for wood from Germany.

“When wood goes to the USA or China, our carpenters, our joiners, the packaging industry, the furniture industry are missing it. That is why we will suffer very heavy losses in these value chains,” explains Michael Köhl from the Institute for World Forestry at the University of Hamburg.

But the coronavirus pandemic has also fueled the hunger for wood. Many hobby carpenters have used the time and stocked up on wood in the hardware stores.

German construction sites are threatened with a standstill due to a lack of building materials. Even medium-sized property developers and project developers sound the alarm, according to the association: Numerous construction projects threatened delays and downtime due to a lack of materials. According to the BFW Federal Association of Independent Real Estate and Housing Companies, this is shown by a survey among its around 1,600 member companies. Almost 90 percent of the answers indicate “significant bottlenecks in wood, insulation material and steel”. BFW President Andreas Ibel sees this as a further threat to affordable housing.

“We observe with concern that there is hardly any wood left,” said Ibel. “For wood, as well as for steel and insulation materials, the price trend only knows one direction – upwards. This trend must urgently be stopped before the construction sites come to a complete standstill.” In a BFW survey, a majority of those questioned stated that plastic pipes and plastics are also currently in short supply. The shortage endangers “new building projects and renovation work alike”, according to the BFW President.

Master carpenter Christian Sturm’s stock of wood still lasts four months. If the market continues like this, it will then have to put its employees on short-time work – despite full order books.

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