Contractors Report Problems With Material Shortages

Published On
Oct 4, 2021

In a September 2021 report, Fixr conveyed that home building materials have increased in price over the past two years, forcing businesses and construction professionals to find ways to cope and deal with the resulting effects.

“A strong demand for housing during 2020 drove intense competition among buyers, which caused homes to fly off the market quickly and pushed prices higher,” according to the report.

In addition, many homeowners opted to renovate their homes because they either had spare time to carry out do-it-yourself remodeling projects or wanted to accommodate their new way of living, schooling and working.

In response to all these factors, a surge of builders flooded the building material market. This, coupled with shutdowns and labor shortages, resulted in significant increases in the building material prices.

The report noted the materials with the highest increases have been particleboard and fiberboard products (190.3% increase in price), plywood (139.89%), steel mill products (123.14%), lumber (121.08%) and copper wire and cable (101.05%).

 The report added that steel and copper are two materials with a long history of varying costs: “While their fluctuating costs have led some professionals to look at other materials to replace them, steel and copper are often preferred for things like steel framing and copper pipe by professionals and homeowners,” it said.

In response to these and other price increases, 66% of respondents to the survey (on which the report is based) noted that they have raised their prices accordingly, 23% are using alternative materials, 23% are finding ways to reduce waste material to get the most out of their materials, 18% are optimizing designs to use fewer materials and 17% are pre-ordering materials to lock in certain prices. (Respondents could provide more than one response, which is why the percentages total over 100%.)

Others are also seeing the impact of material shortages. In a Sept. 28 speech, Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo noted that the nation is seeing bottlenecks of home building materials, as well as supplier shortages for aluminum, electronics and more.  

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