If you are thinking of starting a home remodel, addition or new home construction project, you may be wondering how supply chain issues may affect your project. Our project management team got together and discussed what would be helpful for homeowners to know. This article is a result of that conversation.
Since the pandemic, there have been building supply chain issues. Is that still the case?
Unfortunately, shortages and delays continue. In recent months, some ordering has definitely seen improvements, such as lumber supply issues or glass for showers. But improvements are not universal.
When do you expect supply chain issues to end, back to pre-pandemic?
It’s anyone’s guess. We don’t see it normalizing into the foreseeable future. Supply chain experts agree that these issues will persist for years, including longer lead times. We recognize the need for us to remain vigilant and assume that anything could be in shortage at any given time.
For home building, what are some common supply chain issues at the moment?
Materials shortages and delays can feel surprisingly random, and we’ve been noticing that it can change. Here are some products that currently have delays, and again, this list is subject to change:
- Caulking for roofing
- Resin in plywood or other chemical products
- Specialty tiles
- Quarter-inch veneer for door skins
- Computer chips affecting appliances
- Many mid-range to luxury appliances
What are the biggest supply chain impacts for your projects and for your clients?
Our biggest project impacts are currently windows and exterior doors. Depending on the manufacturer, lead times can take months. The issue in construction is that one cannot finish the walls and trim until those are delivered to the site. It also means that there is limited flexibility for clients to change their mind once the project is underway; something that in the past was easier to do.
Also, our clients may be impacted when it comes to ordering certain appliances. Some appliances have as much as 18 months lead time from order to delivery.
Hamish Murray comments, “Having everything decided early and spec’d out before your project starts has become that much more crucial. We recommend you order as early as humanly possible. Most of our suppliers are happy to keep deliveries in their warehouse until we are ready for it. Ordering early contributes to any project going smoothly.”
Work with a skilled architect and builder. It’s important to work with an architect who is strong at product recommendations and visualization, and a home builder who is strong at planning. If you have an architect who can help you choose products and describe how they will look, it will be easier to get it right the first time. It’s also important that whomever is ordering your products – usually the builder – is strong at noticing order details matched to drawings so that nothing is missing.
At the beginning of a project, we are used to a homeowner not making the decisions for all products and materials. Your builder should guide you on which materials have longer lead times so you can make those decisions on a timely basis. That’s what we do.
Do builders that stockpile materials offer an advantage?
For a custom remodel, addition or new home construction project, we do not see an advantage going with a builder that stockpiles materials. Instead, this is what we recommend:
Focus on the builder’s track record. Choose a builder that knows how to keep things on schedule and on budget. How the builder accomplishes it all should be of less concern for you. References and track record are vital.
Choose the best fit builder for you. A big sub-division contractor that builds similar homes over and over would have reason to order the same materials ahead of time. Due to the nature of our custom work, we do not stockpile materials. To work in the custom business, we choose to be very careful and detail-oriented at the beginning of each project, and we do not assume that a material is available because supply chain issues continue to change.
Relationships matter when ordering materials. Choose a builder who is good at relationships. For many years we have chosen to build lasting relationships with our trade partners, which includes our suppliers. We find that if you treat anyone with respect and courtesy, they want to do so in return. We’re happy to have good relationships with many suppliers, who want to help us, within their control, with timely orders.
Tell us about what’s important to you.
We seek to build each project on schedule and on budget, and always with top-notch quality results. We solely work with independent architects and designers, and we build long-term lasting relationships. If you are planning on home construction and are wondering about where to start, we would be happy to be interviewed, answer your questions or refer you to one of our architect or designer partners.
We’d love to meet you. Contact us or call us at (503) 460-7203 with questions you have, or ask us about our philosophy, experience, or any other question that is on your mind.