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How to Keep a Project Moving Forward with Unexpected Material Delays

We’ve all dealt with material delays before. Some are minor and expected. Often if they’re not on your critical path of work, they can be quickly dealt with by changing your sequencing of work, and planning around the arrival of those materials.

But this past year, it seems like material costs and availability have taken on a life of their own.

Material Shortage in the Pandemic

There was a shortage of construction materials in 2020 as companies fought to maintain production and supply through the pandemic. They faced staffing shortages and impacts to transportation to get the materials to customers. These were only made worse by a rise in demand, as people took on home improvement projects and decided to build new homes.

Prices of building materials have also skyrocketed. The price of lumber has increased by 406% over the last year.

According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Commercial Construction Index, 71% of contractors were experiencing a shortage of at least one type of building material in Q1 of 2021. And although we’re starting to see production capacities return to normal, it will probably take some time before supply catches back up to the demand.

So, What Should You Do When Your Materials are Delayed?

The best, and simplest, thing that you can do when you find yourself in a situation of unexpected material delays that threaten to halt your project is to keep up the communication.

Bad news doesn’t age well, so get on top of the situation as quickly as you can. Frequent, open communication with your client, with your team, with your subcontractors, allows everyone to react to the change in schedule as soon as possible and come up with a new plan.

And since we’ll all be dealing with the material shortages and price increases of the pandemic for the foreseeable future, make sure to set expectations upfront. Projects will cost more and take longer to complete in the current building materials market.

If you’re struggling with material delays in this volatile climate and trying to figure out how to keep your projects moving forward, let us help you. We’ve helped many owners and their restoration businesses through this same problem, so give us a call.

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