Price increases jeopardize projects

Don Magruder For the Daily Commercial

The cost of home improvements has been rising of late.

The United States construction industry was overwhelmed in late summer with price increases caused from improved activity, a lack of supply, multi-month manufacturing shutdowns, and manufacturing plants struggling to increase capacity due to outbreaks of COVID-19 across the country.

Increases in plywood and sheathing neared 50 percent while many lumber items increased by 25 percent or more. Other building material items such as roofing, windows, doors and metal connectors incurred significant inflation and lead times stretched out by a multiple of weeks.  

The cost increases for lumber and building material items over the summer have been at record levels. In addition, the supply chain has not been this broken and disjointed since August 2005 — the period when Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast.

The sweeping magnitude and amount of these cost increases cannot be covered by suppliers, builders or project owners through cost cutting in other areas or shifting designs, because it is too much. The simple fact is that it is going to cost a lot more to build in September and October unless manufacturing plants can catch up and find some type of normalcy. 

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