There is no shortage of issues plaguing the construction industry all across the nation; from labor shortages, to supply chain problems, and manufacturing delays. While most of the concerns stem from the pandemic which has now died down, the construction industry is still feeling its effects now. If you are planning to start a construction project such as building a new home or remodeling one with an addition or accessory dwelling unit, be prepared for some delays. There is a lot of builders and contractors can do to help alleviate the stress of lengthy timelines but you as a homeowner or client should be prepared to understand where supply weaknesses are currently in the construction industry.
Here are the top 5 items that might be causing delays in your construction projects:
The labor force for the construction industry has seen a sort of a one-two punch. One, back in 2008 when the housing collapse happened, the construction industry saw an exodus of skilled laborers and craftspeople. This also caused an issue in the future generations of would-be workers straining the potential hiring pools. Two, the pandemic happened, and that caused a lot of contractors to re-evaluate their business models and some even had to lay off their workers while waiting out COVID. In short, getting a contractor to quote a job and schedule work will likely require months in advance.
Roof Trusses and Floor Trusses
Lumber plants and production companies are have strained to the lumber price volatility and continued supply chain issues. Locally, Denver has been seeing lead times for truss delivery around 8-12 weeks. Interestingly, since the housing collapse truss plants have had a hard time coming back into full operation. With the addition of the pandemic recently, a perfect storm of demand, low supply, restricted supply chains, limited production has all culminated into an exceedingly long process. Some sites are quoting that most plants are out in production 8 to 12 months!
Windows are seemingly another issue when it comes to supply chain and production. Worldwide, the demand for metal and glass has made the window fabrication industry struggle. Add in the labor shortages from the fallout of the pandemic and window fabrication companies are extending out lead times. By now, we can see a familiar pattern for many divisions within the industry.
Typically, this building material was
The upcoming American infrastructure bill will have a large impact on obtaining concrete blocks for construction. No one disagrees that America needs to repair and rebuild our current infrastructure, but with the initiative, concrete production plants will be inundated. Typically, builders could receive block deliveries the next day, here in Denver the lead time is about 3-4 days out. There is now concern with the added demand that builders will see even longer lead times for concrete blocks and related products.
Finally, any building supply items made with steel will also see delay issues. Just like concrete, the American infrastructure bill will put undue pressure on the steel markets which have already been suffering for over 3 years from tariffs and growing world demands.
Items from pocket door hardware to steel studs will become higher-priced with spot shortages. For example, foundation wire mesh has more than tripled in price over the last couple of years, and currently, there is virtually no availability in the open market.
Lead times and prices are surging, and steel which is used to start many projects could become even more scarce as the year proceeds.
What does this mean for your project?
While it is unfortunate, these factors will play a major role in your future projects for the next year and on. Hopefully, these issues will resolve within 2022 but many market analysts claim things will not stabilize until 2023. The housing backlog and demand increases are putting Colorado construction in a very interesting position.
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