Rising development materials prices impacting contractors, owners

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Timber prices rise when there is high demand and low employment

Building communities have lost thousands of employees in the past few months and now more a lumber shortage. Steve Kiggins studies how these issues can drive up consumer costs and delay construction time with a ripple effect across Puget Sound.

Since the pandemic, timber prices have skyrocketed, and in some cases by almost 400 percent. The supply side has had an impact on prices and waves across the construction industry.

Contractor Ryan Babbit says his construction company had to get creative to meet clients’ goals as raw materials become more expensive.

“The prices we quoted last year are no longer tenable this year,” said Babbit.

According to Babbit, some of its customers are also scaling down the scope of their remodeling or waiting for prices to fall.

The city of Cosmopolis in Grays Harbor County also felt the pinch of rising building material costs. Voters approved a new municipal community building. It would have created a new home for the police as the department is currently housed in a facility that cannot meet their needs.

“It’s kind of like a trailer donated by Weyerhaeuser,” said Cosmopolis Mayor Kyle Pauley.

Soaring costs temporarily forced the city to expose build that. Babbit says the client was flexible for the Steilacoom project, but saw rising material costs ruin some clients’ plans for their dream home.

Another crisis that threatens the industry in the future will replace the number of retired older skilled workers, according to Babbit, as younger craftsmen are not looking for work in construction.

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