The rising costs of traditional building materials including handmade brick, hardwood and stone have driven a 3.4% annual increase in the reconstruction and repair costs of heritage properties.
The figures have been revealed by the UK’s leading insurer of Grade I listed buildings, Ecclesiastical, which has announced the provisional results of its buildings index for the first quarter of 2019.
The Ecclesiastical Heritage Building Cost Index (EHBCI), which is specifically designed to track the costs associated with the reconstruction and repair of Britain’s traditional properties, continues to track above the General Building Cost Index (GBCI) and the rate of inflation (currently 2.1%). The provisional results show that prices of traditional building materials increased by 1.2% in the first three months of 2019 compared to the previous quarter (Q4 2018).
Sourcing and sustaining supplies of traditional materials such as handmade bricks is essential for the maintenance and repair of historic buildings. The index is designed to reduce the risk of underinsurance for owners of traditional properties. These are typically properties built before 1920 using traditional methods.
INCREASING COSTS OF SOURCING CORRECT STONE AND GRANITE
The EHBCI shows that stone has seen the biggest price increase, with a 4.4% annual increase in price and 3.7% rise in the first quarter of this year. This reflects a continuing trend over the past 10 years of rising stone costs.
High demand for stone products is increasing prices as stone has returned to popularity in the construction sector. Many projects are incorporating stone features such as granite worktops, stone cladding to walls and stone paving. Major ongoing refurbishment projects such as the Palace of Westminster are also helping to drive demand for stone.
Faith Kitchen, heritage director at Ecclesiastical, said: “The EHBCI tracks the most common materials and skills needed to reinstate more traditional properties. Q1 in 2019 has seen a slight increase, largely due to rising costs of raw materials such as handmade brick, hardwood and stone products. Tracking these fluctuations means our customers can be more confident that they will have the right sum insured throughout the life of their policy with us.”
“In the past we have had to reopen a quarry to source the correct stone to rebuild a property or employ specialist restoration experts to work on some of the more intricate features, so you can see how not having the correct sum insured could really impact on the ability to reinstate the property.”