We’ve all heard about the labor and supply chain shortages that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought about. Many of us have gritted our teeth in frustration as yet another notification of delivery delays pushes back the arrival of our long-awaited appliance, new couch, or new tech gadget. We’ve seen prices for everything from chicken wings to lumber soar. But what is causing these supply chain shortages? Understanding the problem with the supply chain can help you anticipate delays and higher prices as you embark on your home remodeling or restoration journey.
What’s the problem with the supply chain?
We take for granted that when we need something we can go online or to the store and easily buy it. But when the world shut down at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, it created a ripple effect that continues to impact us, even today as the world shifts back into gear. What most people don’t realize is that the supply chain is a delicately balanced system designed to provide enough supply given the expected demand. But when people were not reporting to work or school, our demand for products and services shifted drastically. Why did toilet paper become so scarce? While panic-buying contributed significantly to the problem, the demand for consumer toilet paper increased by 40% overnight. People weren’t going to school or work for eight hours a day using commercial toilet paper, which is manufactured, packaged, and sold completely differently than consumer toilet paper. Demand shifted, and the supply was not capable of meeting this demand. With that shift in demand came the need for suppliers to recoup some of their losses and shift focus to meet the world’s new demand.
One big source of today’s supply chain woes stems from a shorting in shipping vessels that transport the world’s goods. At the beginning of the pandemic, several of these vessels were sent to demolition by shipping companies looking to recoup some of their financial losses. This rapid decline and then surge in consumer demand created shortages in cargo room for shipping goods around the world. Until ship manufacturers are able to rebuild the world’s shipping armada, it will take longer for products and supplies to get where they’re going, which will in turn create more shortages in the supply chain.
As our behaviors shifted at the start of the pandemic, our consumer habits shifted as well, putting added stress on some sectors that continues today. The lumber industry is a prime example of this. As people spent more time in their homes, they quickly began tackling projects they never had the time to get around to before. In many cases, this meant finishing basements, adding another bathroom, remodeling the kitchen, building a deck—all projects that require lumber. In addition to that, since the start of the pandemic new home construction has soared past projected expectations and previous years’ numbers. We began using lumber at exponential rates, and the lumber industry just couldn’t keep up, especially amid labor shortages that continue to plague nearly every industry.
If the issues created by a global shutdown weren’t enough, environment factors are also contributing the world’s supply chain issues. The unprecedented deep freeze Texas saw in February 2021 that shut down their electricity grids has created global plastics shortages, which have impacted nearly every industry across every sector. Look around your home, and you will be hard-pressed to find something that doesn’t contain plastic. The impact of this shortage is expected to continue through the year, if not longer.
What does all this mean for your remodeling or construction project?
Because the construction industry relies so heavily on products impacted by the supply chain shortage, your remodeling or construction project may be effected in several ways.
Projects will likely take longer than they typically would
Even without supply chain issues, orchestrating a construction project requires a special kind of knowledge and expertise to know how to time out a project to keep the process running smoothly. Add in juggling supply chain shortages, and this becomes even more difficult. Planning for building delays requires a skilled contractor who has extensive experience in the construction industry to know how to find the most reliable suppliers and how to keep a project running, even amid delays. Even with this expertise, your remodeling projects are likely to be delayed either by material or labor shortages.
Projects are likely to be more expensive
There’s not a whole lot we can do about the rising prices of building materials. When demand is high, the price of materials will increase to balance the supply. Suppliers do not anticipate the price of lumber coming down any time soon, and because most remodeling projects involve lumber, this will push construction costs up. Be sure to hire a contractor you can trust to supply quality materials, even amid shortages and price increases.
Selecting a trustworthy contractor has never been more important
Many unscrupulous contractors will bid on a project, promising completion dates that are miles ahead of their competitors, with the caveat that delays may be possible. They will get a 50% deposit on the remodeling project, complete demolition, and then disappear into the wind, never to be heard from again. Be sure to thoroughly vet any contractor you considering hiring, ensuring they have a proven history of completing high-quality projects. Check the Better Business Bureau for any negative reviews and request referrals as well as before/after photographs from any construction contractor you are considering.
Aapex Construction & Restoration is Your Trusted Restoration Contractor
Aapex Construction & Restoration is a locally owned and operated company that specializes in insurance and non-insurance restoration projects, both residential and commercial. With more than 20 years of experience in the construction industry, we pride ourselves on exceeding our clients’ expectations when it comes to quality, attention to detail, and customer service. Our goal is to assist you in every way possible, including acting as your advocate with the insurance company when needed. Contact us today for a consultation.