It’s not every day that the supply chain winds up as a trending topic on Twitter. But, these are not ordinary times. COVID-19 made nearly immediate and massive changes to the ways we spend money—and those changes have put significant pressure on the global supply chain.
Combine the aftershocks of COVID-19 disruptions with the war in Ukraine and “The Great Resignation” that has seen a sharp decline in the skilled-trade workforce—and you’ve got significant challenges affecting industries worldwide.
While the human toll of the pandemic and the war far outweighs any material cost, the ripple effect of these global disruptions is hitting nearly every industry. If you’re planning a home remodeling project, you’ll need to consider the ways that the current supply chain and labor shortage issues might impact your plans.
What Does the Supply Chain Have to Do with Your Home?
When you think of remodeling your home, you’ve got the finished product in mind: the gorgeous new kitchen with pale quartz countertops and flush-inset cabinets. But to bring that vision to life, your contractor is thinking about access to supplies and products, plus staffing a team of skilled workers.
The supply chain affects every building material needed for your project. Think windows, cabinets, tile, lumber, insulation—every material down to the screws needed to mount your new cabinets. Currently, demand is outstripping supply, driving prices higher and making materials more difficult to source.
On top of higher prices and material shortages, struggles in the shipping industry are also complicating matters. Many suppliers are finding it difficult to ship materials from overseas due to a lack of cargo space and available port space to unload materials for transportation.
The Great Resignation and What It Means for Your Project
Not only are materials and supplies scarce, but the so-called “Great Resignation,” which began during the pandemic, has had a significant impact on the construction industry. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that nearly 8 million skilled-labor jobs were lost during the pandemic.
But the shrinking skilled-trade workforce didn’t begin during the pandemic—the crisis has been building for decades. From a shift in public education prioritizing college over trade schools, to the baby boomers hitting retirement age, to the Great Recession, there’s an array of factors that have contributed to the shortage of skilled trade workers. This means your contractor has access to fewer and fewer available electricians, carpenters, roofers, plumbers, and other skilled workers needed to complete your renovation project.
Let’s Get Specific: How Could This Affect Your Project?
The situation might look bleak if you’re looking to start a home remodeling project. But it’s not all doom and gloom: there are ways you can prepare for your remodel with these challenges and shortages in mind.
The first step is to understand the ways supply chain disruptions and labor shortages might affect your project. Here are four things to keep in mind:
- Your project might take longer than originally anticipated. Depending on the flexibility of your timeline, you might need to choose different materials or finishes based on what’s available and what’s on backorder.
- On-site construction might pause for periods of time. Your contractor might have to stop and start on-site work based on labor availability.
- You might have to pay premiums for certain materials and finishes. Rising costs are passed down through the supply chain: think more expensive gas, shipping, oil, plastic, lumber, metals, and more.
- The housing boom might cause delays too. The real estate market is hot right now. And because consumer demand is outpacing the housing supply, home builders and remodelers are competing for similar material and labor resources.
Steps You Can Take to Stay Ahead of the Challenges
The keys to navigating supply chain and labor shortage issues are being flexible and planning as far in advance as possible. You want to book your spot as soon as possible, in the event that a contractor may not be able to begin your project for another year (or even two). Plus, booking early gives you ample time to plan.
Keep an open mind about your material and finish options. If you’ve got second and third choices lined up, your project won’t be derailed if your first choice is unavailable (or significantly backordered). For example, if your first choice is brushed nickel cabinet knobs, consider stainless steel as a backup option.
With contractors in high demand, it may be tempting to hire someone who offers a fast turnaround or a lower price. But it’s imperative that you work with a reputable contractor to make sure that the labor and materials are of good quality. Saving on costs upfront to prioritize speed could lead to project headaches and additional costs down the road.
Pro tip: engage early! If possible, start talks with your contractor of choice at least six months to a year before you want your project to start. This will help your contractor coordinate with any project partners and make sure all products and materials are on hand as soon as work begins.
The Tilghman Builders Difference
At Tilghman Builders, we’re committed to quality work that stands the test of time. We’ve been helping homeowners make their dreams a reality for more than 40 years. We work with you from start to finish to make sure every aspect of your project comes to life exactly as you envision it.
Our experienced team works closely with you to make sure you’re informed of potential shortages or backorders. You’ll know exactly what’s happening with your project every step of the way. And we can help advise you about ways you can pivot if a supply chain hiccup affects your project. Our unique design-build process allows you to work with our designers to make informed decisions on every detail based on availability, cost, durability, and other factors.
We don’t believe in skimping on what matters—we treat your home like it was our own. We work to employ a strong team of workers we thoroughly trust. We ensure that the work done on your project is not only up to code but will last a lifetime.
If you’re considering a home renovation, have questions about how the supply chain disruptions could affect your project, or are ready to get started designing your dream home, reach out today for a free consultation and to learn more about the Tilghman Builders experience and team.