Builders cite dire scarcity of many supplies | Charlotte Solar


The Charlotte DeSoto Building Industry Association raised the alarm on Wednesday that building materials are at their lowest since the industry started tracking the problem.

According to a May 2021 survey by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), over 90% of home builders buying the product in question reported shortages in lumber, oriented boards (particle board) and appliances.

Exactly 90% reported a lack of plywood and 87% a lack of windows and doors.

The shortage has affected our area builders.

Construction bottlenecks

The materials needed to build and / or renovate a home are scarce and the situation has worsened.

Stephen Fero, owner of Fero Construction Inc. said, “It certainly takes longer to get materials like wood and windows.”

In addition, the bottlenecks have pushed prices up.

“Wood prices have increased 350% to 400%,” he said. “Plywood recently cost $ 60 a sheet; last year it was $ 15 to $ 17 a sheet. “

He said the prices of other materials have also increased. Concrete blocks are currently in short supply, as are paving stones for the driveway. Perhaps the biggest problem is getting windows, as “any vinyl-related” material is hard to come by because of the resins used.

When the pandemic closed factories, production stopped, but those seeking shelter at home decided to do home renovations, Fero explained. Additionally, the southwest Florida market is in the midst of a boom, and new home construction is at one of its highest levels in decades.

While the construction period lasted an average of nine months, the construction period was extended by months due to the shortage of supply.

Fero said some builders were “putting people in queues” telling customers that their homes would not be operational in six months, for example.

Others “have too many jobs and nowhere to go” while still others in the industry “impose a sales moratorium”.

He said while building materials come from places like Canada and South America, the construction wood and inner frames are southern yellow pine, which is native to northern Florida and Georgia. Plywood comes from Georgia Pacific and Block is produced locally.

“We try to use what we can on site,” said Fero.

Since many houses are being built and renovated, they all vie for the same building materials.

Building material

There is a dramatic difference between building material inventories in May 2021 and June 2020.

Anthony Farhat, owner and president of PGI Homes based in Punta Gorda, said, “There is no doubt that there are a multitude of new bottlenecks on a weekly and even daily basis.”

He said the supply problem was a hurdle in the market and causing delays.

He said the problem is being exacerbated “by the high demand from people wanting to live in southwest Florida.”

To make matters worse, price changes affect builders because they let their customers sign a contract with a fixed price. If the material prices suddenly change, the costs would have to be covered by the construction company, Farhat said.

“Apart from that, I’d rather have these problems than in 2008, when nobody wanted to build a house.”

Farhat realized that some might want to steal materials, such as B. two by four that would be stored on site and said he had installed 24-hour video and audio surveillance equipment.

“My company had no thefts; we try to stand in front of it, ”he explained.

Like Fero, Farhat identified wood, concrete blocks, and windows as hard-to-find items, in addition to appliances like stoves.

He said compared to “before Covid compared to today, construction now takes 20% and prices are 20% higher”.

Another custom home builder, TJ Thornberry, owner of Thornberry Custom Homes in Punta Gorda, said his company has had material shortages “since the beginning of the year”.

“We keep tracking information from suppliers, suppliers and subcontractors,” he added. “The costs have also increased,” he says.

“The problem is, we can’t foresee everything,” Thornberry said.

He said there must be a lead time when ordering, but not everything can be ordered weeks and weeks in advance, and by that point costs may have increased and availability may take longer than expected.

Thornberry said bottlenecks and long waits go beyond building materials. “From mills to transports to wholesalers and retailers” there are delays and bottlenecks everywhere.

“Communication with customers is key,” he said.

Customers will be kept informed of the progress of their new home, Thornberry said. He’s going to give them updates on the schedules, but he said “some things are popping up out of nowhere” such as shortages of certain materials.

“Housing demand, housing shortages, long waiting times and interruptions in the supply chain” all contribute to the problem.

But the good side, Thornberry said, is that for custom home customers “are informed customers; they read the news and they understand. “