Construction supply chain issues. Labor shortages. Rising prices. Delays with no end in sight.
If you’ve been thinking about remodeling, chances are you’ve heard about the challenges facing the construction industry. Maybe a news report caught your eye and piqued your anxiety. Maybe a friend discouraged you with their story of a project gone way off track.
These issues are real. Hear about them enough, and you might feel like there’s nothing you can do.
But at VADA Contracting we don’t believe that’s true.
While you can’t completely predict the future or fix the larger industry problems, there are steps you can take to minimize their impact. In this article, we explain the facts behind construction challenges and offer a professional contractor’s plan for beating supply chain issues. With a little understanding and the right plan, you overcome the biggest obstacles and get the remodel you’ve been dreaming about.
What’s Causing Challenges?
You’ve likely listened to all the experts and professionals blame supply chain challenges on the pandemic, which is true. There’s a bigger picture out there, though.
To successfully address the problems you might face in your remodel, you have to understand the events that are causing so many kinks in the supply chain. Once you know why your deliveries might be delayed or materials are hard to find, it’s much easier to approach your project with the proper mix of patience and preparation.
So what exactly is causing all of the supply chain issues? The answer has four parts:
Since 2018, the U.S. has seen an unprecedented amount of severe weather events. The main thing affecting supply chains, however, are hurricanes. Hurricanes Michael (2018) and Ida (2021) decimated forests along the East Coast, causing the current lumber shortage.
Additionally, in 2020, Hurricane Laura struck the western border of Louisiana and pulled the Texas Petrochemical Complex (TPC) off the grid. This company supplies key construction materials to contractors across the country, and the downtime while they recovered caused significant order and production backlogs.
When lockdowns began in 2020, businesses across the U.S. stopped operating. Only select industries were deemed “essential” and given the okay to continue running. Construction was one of these and so technically builders and contractors could take on new projects. However, many of their suppliers kept their doors closed for most of the year. So even though your contractor could show up for work, he couldn’t get the materials he needed for your job.
When suppliers did reopen, they faced massive backlogs. They had months worth of requisitions to manufacture and deliver while new orders streamed in every day. These companies are still struggling to get caught up, creating significant delivery delays for things like furniture and appliances.
The Great Resignation
At the end of 2020 and beginning of 2021, there was a surge of people retiring from their careers. A Pew Research study found that people were choosing retirement for a number of reasons, including burnout, feeling disrespected in their jobs, and not feeling safe in an office during the pandemic.
This “Great Resignation” has created a labor shortage in industries across the board, which is starting to impact consumers. Contractors are having trouble finding skilled labor, manufacturers can’t find people to work for them, and even warehouses are having staffing issues. With these smaller crews, companies can only produce or deliver so much and many find themselves behind schedule.
Balance of Supply and Demand
The impact of severe weather, lack of materials, and shortages in the workforce have all combined to tip the scales of supply and demand. There are now more people looking for construction services than materials to meet those needs. This creates a scarcity, which allows companies to charge higher prices and contractors to be more selective about the jobs they take.
How to Overcome Remodel Challenges
These issues in the supply chain are what trickle down and cause problems with your remodel. But just because they’re real problems doesn’t mean you have to lie down and deal with it or accept a nightmare of a remodel. Although there’s no magic solution, there are things you can do to minimize delays and avoid issues.
Below we’ve listed some of the most common challenges homeowners are facing and suggest ways to beat them so your project stays on track and on budget.
Hiring Qualified Builders
Quality contractors are in high demand, which makes it difficult to find one with room in their schedule for your remodel project. This has left many homeowners worried about the teams they hire. We’ve heard stories of contractors leaving clients high and dry with incomplete work, damage to their homes and even taking their payment then disappearing altogether.
You worked hard for your home and you deserve to have the job done right. Besides, the most expensive project is the one you have to do twice. So don’t settle for shoddy work or the word of a stranger. Instead, make sure you do your homework to find the qualified builders in your area and be willing to wait a little longer to hire them if you have to.
There are a couple of different ways you can verify a contractor’s qualifications and gain some peace of mind that you’re hiring a quality professional to do the job.
You might imagine your contractor as the old curmudgeon who doesn’t want to be bothered with your opinions, but the truth is the modern builder is a refined gentleman! He has a myriad of talents, excellent social skills, and wants to make sure your project meets your every expectation. The professional you choose should be someone you like and feel comfortable doing business with.
If you have any reservations about a contractor’s trustworthiness or just want to make sure everything is above board, you can verify their licensing on the LARA website. You can also ask for proof of their liability insurance and verify the policy with the provider listed. This gives you some extra peace of mind and protects you from hiring someone with ill intentions.
With these considerations and precautions, you can feel confident in your contractor and trust them with your project. You’ll get to enjoy your favorite hobbies while they deal with the stress and decisions of the job.
For more help with choosing a qualified professional, check our guide about 5 Things to Know Before Hiring a Contractor.
5 Things to Know Before Hiring a General Contractor
Every homeowner should read this guide before starting their home remodel. In it, we explain what to look for in a general contractor and reveal the questions you need answered before you sign a contract. Use this free resource to find and hire the right person for your family.
Finding the Finishes You Want
The example in this blog’s introduction is all too common these days. With so many items and materials either out of stock or on backorder, many homeowners are frustrated that they can’t find the finishes they want for their remodel. People are having to settle for what’s available instead of what they love.
But your remodel should be everything you hoped for. It should be a space that you love with everything exactly how you pictured it. And despite the shortages and backorders, there are ways you can beat these supply chain issues and get the remodel you want.
The key to finding your perfect finishes is to start looking early and order ahead of time. Before your project even starts, you can start looking for appliances, furniture or fixtures that you know you want in your new space.
When you see something that you like and think you might use, buy it. If you change your mind later, you can always return or resell it. It’s also helpful to have second and third choices in mind in case you simply can’t get your first pick.
Construction project prices skyrocketed during the pandemic and are still sitting higher than normal. This makes it difficult for homeowners to know when they’re being overcharged or just facing the increased costs. Without a way to check their quotes, you feel at a definite disadvantage and might have trouble trusting your contractor.
The good news is there are ways to find out if a contractor’s quote is accurate and make sure they’re charging a fair price.
Do Your Homework
We know you’re eager to start your remodel, but when you’re trying to find a contractor it’s important to be patient. You’ll have to do your homework before getting started so you know which quotes are accurate.
You’ll need to find the average cost of your type of remodel. The best way to do this is by reviewing recent cost vs. value reports, such as the projected 2022 averages or 2021 statistics. These numbers will give you an idea of what your remodel should cost as well as what value it could add to your home.
Don’t trust websites like HomeAdvisor, Angie.com or similar others! These websites do not have accurate information and present skewed data so it’s difficult to understand and interpret. Stick with unbiased information and always read the fine print.
Supply chain issues have made it difficult to nail down a project timeline, but aside from that homeowners are also having trouble with their builders missing deadlines. Some people have even mentioned their builder defaulted on a contract or defrauded them by never delivering the work.
This is upsetting on its own, but it’s rarely a standalone issue. Problems compound when discoveries are made on site that cause further delays or require additional funds. Things like weather delays, discovering pipes or wires underground, or even the wrong material being delivered can all slow down a project that’s already behind schedule.
Sometimes these delays are inevitable. After all, your contractor can only control so much. But there are a few things you can do to help the project move smoothly and avoid those angry, frustrated feelings when the timeline changes.
The best way to roll with the punches during your remodel is to be flexible. Keep in mind when you start that the timeline isn’t set in stone and there are likely to be some delays along the way. No contractor will be able to give you exact dates, so you need to work with someone you trust to keep the project moving as fast as possible.
It also helps to be involved in your project. When things are backordered or suddenly more expensive than you planned for, your contractor will likely need some direction for how you want to adjust. Be available or appoint someone to give them the go ahead on next phases or approve changes so the contractor can keep working on your remodel.
It’s also wise to discuss contingency plans before you sign a contract. Ask them what their process is when something gets delayed and how the project will be adjusted. Getting on the same page as much as possible before there’s a delay is the best way to ensure any potential roadblocks are quickly cleared up and your project gets back on schedule.
Lastly, do your absolute best not to change the original plan. Picking a different finish or ordering another piece of furniture is one thing, but adding onto the project itself can have a significant impact on your timeline and costs. If you have any ideas about extra work, talk to your contractor before they get started. Once a remodel is in motion, it’s much tougher to make significant changes.
Get the Remodel You Really Want
Supply chain issues have caused a host of challenges for homeowners who want to remodel. But if you choose the right contractor, start early, do your homework and try to stay flexible throughout the project. Then you’ll be on the right track for a successful, stress-free remodel.
At VADA Contracting, we help our clients create spaces that make their house feel like home. Check out some of our projects to see if our work matches your style! We’d love to add your remodel there too!