Skyrocketing Materials Costs and Shortages?
It’s Real, it’s Complicated – And DWC Construction Can Help

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Melissa Smithson

If you’re considering a new construction project or are restarting following the pandemic, you could be shocked at how much the cost of basic materials has gone up along with your project budget. Everyone’s looking for ways to move forward and you can have confidence: DWC Construction has you covered. The situation is complicated and changes every day, but we have the experience and ability to help you and your Nashville construction project or interior commercial project navigate these troubled waters successfully. Owners and property managers alike can rely on DWC Construction’s expertise to navigate the stormy waters of the current material supply chain.

Overseas shipping slowed and now costs more

Trouble on the seas is one major reason some of our material prices are spiking. Remember the giant cargo ship that was stuck in the Suez Canal? It’s far from the only reason why costs are going so high, but having the canal blocked for days affected prices and continues to have a ripple effect in the supply chain.

You might be interested to know what’s up with the stuck cargo ship now. Although it was freed allowing traffic to flow freely through the canal, as of May 1, 2021, the ship is still on the side of the canal. Its crew could be stuck onboard for years along with its cargo. Why? Egypt’s Canal Authority wants the company to pay $1 billion for the work it took to free the ship. That’s some bill, and it’s unknown if it can ever be paid.

Before this dramatic story and our price increases, most people didn’t give much thought as to how our basic materials got here or anywhere else around the world. Some materials coming from overseas have to be shipped on giant cargo ships like the Suez Canal ship. These massive ships carry half of all of the goods that travel by sea.

U.S. material supply chains are disrupted too

Not everything comes from overseas. Many materials we use in construction are made here, like rebar, but the basic supplies they’re made from are in short supply. As one example, U.S. rebar is made from melting scrap steel — and the pandemic put that into shortage as well as slowed down production due to work stoppages.

It’s hard to talk about construction at all without mentioning wood. Wood prices are up, in some cases adding tens of thousands of dollars to the cost of a single new construction home. Some credit COVID-19 for the increase, but consider the massive wildfires that happened last year in western states. In addition to the pandemic slowing harvesting, the fires caused many interruptions and burned valuable timber.

And consider something simple and formerly inexpensive: PVC pipe. Prices have doubled since last year, and it and other common plastic products are in major shortages. The main cause? Remember the terrible Texas freeze in February that caused mass power blackouts? Most of the petrochemicals that make PVC and similar plastics come from plants along Texas’ Gulf Coast. These plants shut down for at least a month and many still hadn’t come back online until later in March. This set back plastic production and shipping for weeks. It’s affecting us in construction and many other industries, including automakers and computer companies.

Construction supply disruptions and price increases

Whether supplies are coming from here in the U.S. or from overseas, disruption in supply chains is continuing to lead to unpredictable price increases. Over 70% of construction firms surveyed in March by the Association of General Contractors said they were experiencing delays in getting materials and supplies, and experiencing cost increases.

The problems aren’t permanent – and they can be solved

One of the advantages of working with an experienced contracting firm like DWC Construction is the ability to create strategies to solve supply and price issues. DWC Construction can use several strategies to manage your project, costs, and get it completed successfully. These strategies combine strong personal relationships, creativity, and smart planning. They include:

  • Finding alternative suppliers
  • Adjusting timing procurement
  • Locking in production slots
  • Working with producers
  • Finding alternative materials

DWC Construction Can Be Your Project’s Hero

Whether you’re considering new construction, interior commercial renovations, tenant buildouts, or looking to renew or refresh your office space, DWC Construction can help you to deal with today’s reality in materials supply, sourcing, and price fluctuations. And it’s not just basic material costs that are going up. Appliances and fixtures are also experiencing many disruptions and cost increases — they’re made from a lot of the same materials we use for the basics of your commercial construction projects.

As always, there are deals out there and ways to supply your project’s needs. You do not have to sacrifice quality or put your project on hold. Now more than ever, it’s important to work with an experienced, trustworthy, and resourceful general contractor like DWC Construction. We have seen a lot of ups and downs since we started in 1947, and we’ve weathered many storms. As just one example about timing and expert knowledge, although the prices for basic plastics ingredients are continuing to rise, plastic industry experts are saying that repairs on the Texas Gulf facilities that produce the ingredients are proceeding and that prices should level off and begin to go down after June.

We know how to find the best solutions for your project, adjust timing if needed, and work with producers and suppliers to get your project off the ground and completed. Right now, there are a lot of challenges in sourcing, prices, and planning. This is our job at DWC and we stand ready to help you in every way possible to navigate these troubled waters … for certain we can help you navigate your project much more smoothly and successfully than the unfortunate Suez Canal ship.