Low supply and high demand for materials force construction companies to adjust | Local news
SHERIDAN – Excalibur Construction used to order its building materials by house. This year, they are ordering by semi-trailer.
Even so, they cannot be assured of getting all the supplies they need affordably, said Mykaila Jensen, project manager for Excalibur.
âThere are definitely longer wait times to get things here,â Jensen said. âYou have to wait a few weeks and you might not even get all of your gear. “
The shortage of supply and rising costs – seen especially in wood and cladding materials like oriented strand board – were caused by a perfect storm of reduced supply and increased demand resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Nate Laible, marketing director for Bloedorn Lumber. Local entrepreneurs like Excalibur are doing their best to weather the storm by adapting where they can.
âWe’ve made a difference in terms of using materials that we can get cheaper and faster,â Jensen said. âWe’re doing our best to keep things moving. We have stayed on track so far.
Bloedorn Lumber buys materials from wholesalers, who in turn buy materials from sawmills. But when sawmills had to temporarily shut down and cut production last year due to the pandemic, the shift had ripple effects throughout the supply chain.
âWhen factories had to socially distance themselves and shut down production for a while, no one thought that would be a problem,â Laible said. “But then the demand increased, especially here in the western part of the mountain.”
Amid the pandemic, many people on the east and west coasts decided they needed a change of scenery, Laible said. They sold their high value homes and had enough equity to build new homes in Wyoming.
âA lot of people moved to Wyoming just to have their kids in school this year,â Laible said. âWhen you live in a big city during the pandemic, a place like Sheridan looks a lot more appealing, especially when you can work remotely. “
With the relocation of new residents to the state and an increase in home improvement projects during the lockdown, demand for building materials has far exceeded the limited supply of lumber, Laible said.
âProduction at the plant was down and demand exploded,â Laible said.
With the growing demand for building materials, prices have skyrocketed, Jensen said. Nowhere is this clearer than in the cost of oriented strand board, which currently stands at $ 61.84 per sheet. This is an increase of 786% from last year’s cost of $ 6.98 per sheet.
But all wood materials are seeing an increase in prices linked to the increase in demand, Jensen said. The wooden studs, which used to cost between $ 4 and $ 5 depending on the length, now cost between $ 15 and $ 17. Steel poles, usually the more expensive option, now cost half the price of wood poles, Jensen said.
Due to high material prices and low supply, Excalibur adapts where it can, Jensen said. Some changes are easy, like switching to steel posts. Others, like solving the OSB problem, are more difficult.
âTo use vinyl siding, you have to use OSB,â Jensen said. âSo for some houses we have to use it. But for others, we’re trying to change it up a bit and use a new coating called SmartSide, which doesn’t require an OSB. We’re just making changes where we can to make sure projects move forward.
These adjustments are expected to be temporary changes while entrepreneurs wait for the market to recover, Laible said. Factories are expanding operations to meet demand, and by the time the construction season resumes next year, supply is expected to be sufficient to meet demand.
âThe construction cycle naturally comes to a halt around December when it’s cold out, which means the material supply can build up for a few months before the next construction season begins,â Laible said. âThe hope and expectation of the industry is that this is only a short-term problem. While we’ll probably face it for the rest of the season, we hope to get back to some sort of normalcy next year.