What You Need to Know About the Construction Material Shortage
The construction and roofing material shortage could affect your project in a few different ways.
If you’ve been planning and coordinating any kind of construction project (large or small), you’ve probably run into some challenging surprises. Construction material shortages, higher material costs, labor shortages, and more have been the bane of any general contractor’s existence. Since traveling has been a bit harder over the past two years, homeowners and property owners have decided to use their vacation money for home and building improvements instead. This rise in demand has added even more complexity and difficulty to the mix. With all of that said, here is some information that you might find helpful as you navigate through your construction project.
Planning ahead and scheduling projects out can help everyone.
Since it’s so hard to find materials, it could be beneficial to re-examine the overall project schedule and ask how flexible the timeline can be. For general contractors, that is a good question for the client. For homeowners, property owners, property managers, and facilities managers—it’s a good question for themselves. With the construction material shortage, project timelines are running long (whether we like it or not). Planning ahead for this and setting proper expectations for yourself (and your clients) is the key to navigating these wild times.
The construction material shortage is making it hard for contractors to honor estimates for more than 2 weeks.
The construction industry has seen a whirlwind of changes. EVERYTHING has a higher price tag attached to it when demand is up and supply is low. Basic economics will tell us that a material shortage quickly equals a significant price increase—and this holds true for steel, wood, windows, and everything in between. This is why we shouldn’t expect our contractors and material suppliers to honor older cost estimations. For contractors, you can set expectations by adding a very prominent expiration date to your project estimates. For homeowners, property owners, and property managers: you have to make a decision if the price can work for your budget. If not, you might be looking at a different timeline for your project.
Basically, don’t be surprised if that estimate from Spring of 2020 cannot be honored today. Be sure to go into your project with an open mind and some flexibility. If that’s not possible, your best bet is to watch material pricing and strike when the iron is hot. There is more about that below! No one person controls material pricing, and when there is a construction and roofing material shortage going on it’s important to remember that pricing CAN change daily.
The labor shortage is also a contributing factor to longer project timelines.
Labor in the United States has been on a very interesting ride since the onset of the global pandemic. Plants closed down, non-essential businesses halted work, and millions of people were either laid off or furloughed. Once everything started opening back up, a lot of business owners and business leaders were having a hard time finding people to fill positions. The construction and roofing industries were (and are) no exception. With project demand spiking, the need for more workers increased as well. The challenge of growing to meet that demand has been another hurdle for anyone trying to plan and coordinate construction projects, and this is still an issue today.
Being flexible, patient, communicative, and curious can only help.
Setting really strong expectations is likely the best advice anyone can give right now. It’s very hard to predict when the material pricing and supply bubbles will burst, and concerns about overpaying for projects are extremely understandable. As a property owner, homeowner, or project manager, make sure to ask a lot of questions—and watch material prices regularly until you think it’s a good time to strike. Try to learn what you can about your supplier’s stock, delivery times, and make sure you have a safe place to store materials (just in case the labor shortage moves the project start date out).
Do you have any questions for the Front Range Roofing Systems team?
Our team is more than happy to discuss your future project with you. We are known for building authentic relationships with our customers that are built on trust. We have been navigating the effects of the pandemic with our clients for some time now, and we are setting very realistic expectations that we know we can honor. Get a project quote from us today!