Pandemic shortages and supply-chain issues

Pictured above: Metals for items such as stair railings are in short supply right now.


The COVID pandemic presented plenty of challenges for people’s health and well being. Some industries came to a standstill. But demand for home-improvement supplies and building materials soared. It also caused some major supply-chain disruptions. Exhibit A: Lumber, which, for a time just a few months ago, was nearly impossible to get, and what was available was extremely pricey.

So how do these disruptions affect you and the building of your dream home?

First, the good news: “Lumber is still a little higher-priced than it was pre-COVID,” says Taryn Lund, senior project manager with BGD&C. “But at least now you can get it. And before, it was really high.”

Now, the not-as-good-news: Metals of all types are becoming hard to source. Lund says that pre-fabricated metal items such as stair railings are becoming hard to find, due to high demand and because of new tariffs on cheap metal from China. A homeowner has two choices: Going with more of a custom, wrought-iron model, which can be done faster, but will be more expensive. Or being willing to wait a bit longer for a less-expensive prefabricated metal rail. “That’s the give and take,” Lund says.

Also in short supply: some finishing materials such as white oak. “White oak specifically has been harder to get and has gone way up in price,” Lund says. Why? Aside from high demand from homeowners and builders, blame the whiskey industry. Oak, which is tough but easily bendable, is ideal for barrel making and infuses flavors and aroma to whiskey. In our country, oak barrels are a fundamental part of making bourbon. These days, the demand for bourbon far outweighs the production of white oak and oak barrels. Craft distilleries are popping up all over the U.S, with more than 600 in operation today. Companies that make staves, the narrow pieces of wood that helps form the sides of barrels, tanks, tubs, vats and pipelines, are buying up white oak, paying as much as three times the price offered by sawmills.

Luckily, BGD&C pre-purchases many construction materials at the begging of the project, so they’re on hand and not subjects to the vagaries of the market.

Bottom line: Transparency is what BGD&C provides. Whether you choose to wait on a specific material or go with an alternative their experienced professionals recommend, you’ll know what you’re in for. “We’re always very transparent with the options and present them to the client so they can make the decisions on their priorities, whether that’s budget or timeline,” Lund says.

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