How are project timelines and costs being affected in 2021?
We’ve been getting the question a lot about how the current climate of manufacturing and building material prices, across the industry, are affecting the timeline and cost of projects. We want to shed some light to help you understand and prepare, as you plan for a backyard project that is important to you.
As in many facets of life, we are in very unusual times. For our industry that means that timelines are longer and costs are higher. On average, every project we put together, the cost is 30-40% higher than it was a year ago. The timeline can be quite a few months longer, depending on some factors.
So, what is affecting it?
Lots of things can disrupt timelines, but the main things we are seeing is how local building departments and manufacturing lines are causing longer lead times. Building departments have been much slower to get things processed, as workforce and personnel issues have arisen with stay home orders or social distancing in the office setting, so permits are taking much longer. What used to take a few weeks can take up to a few months now. Manufacturing has also been very disrupted, with production lines being diverted or shut/slowed down, so things that used to be readily available are just simply not available. If you have a project that requires a specific product and there isn’t an alternative product or color option, it can take much longer to get those items.
Due to some of the manufacturing issues, cost of materials has risen significantly. Lumber, including treated lumber, is a commodity, so it is affected by supply and demand. We tend to see it go up and down over the years. Currently, the cost is very high and while it may come down, we don’t expect it to come down anytime soon as the demand is still also very high. Other manufactured products, such as railings, decking, screen products, siding and roofing, they see incremental cost increases periodically and once they go up they don’t come back down. So those products will likely hold their increased cost. So overall, we might see a dip in prices but likely the higher prices are here to stay.
Now we never want to be the bearer of bad news, but we share it because it’s helpful to understand as you put together budgets and timelines for the projects that are really important to you. As you plan for your projects, just know it’s probably going to take longer and cost a bit more than you previously expected. You will want to give yourself margins, which means call us a little sooner and leave a little more space in the budget to accomplish what you want.
Despite the current climate, we are still committed to providing excellent workmanship and we believe these projects add tremendous value to your home. For many of you, that value has also gone up as you are now spending a lot more time at home and you are able to enjoy your backyard projects more than ever.