Construction

Demand for Construction Goes Up During Pandemic, Supply of Materials Struggles To Keep Up

Aerial view construction worker site. | Shutterstock Aerial view construction worker site. | Shutterstock

A builder in Wilmington says the demand for construction has gone up over the last few months, which sends the demand skyrocketing for materials. But he says the supply is struggling to keep up.

CAROLINA BEACH, North Carolina. September 8, 2020 (WWAY) — While the pandemic continues to hit industries around the country, the construction business is seeing its own deal of setbacks. A builder in Wilmington says the demand for construction has gone up over the last few months, which sends the demand skyrocketing for materials. But he says the supply is struggling to keep up.

“Definitely seen an influx of people wanting to build, and additions,” Jeremy Chaucer, who owns Chaucer Construction Co., said. “I don’t know if it’s due to the fact that everybody’s sitting home staring at their walls.” Chaucer says the manufacturing companies are dealing with shortages and back ups of their own, which trickle down to him and other buyers. On top of that, he says the price of materials is at a 110% influx.

“Everything’s kind of on a back order,” he said. “Lumber is a major contributor. You can’t even go to your big box stores like Lowe’s or Home Depot and get what you need. Appliances are a big issue. Anything that’s being manufactured has to be shipped out. I think a lot of plants have shortened their staff.” Since the pandemic started, Chaucer says they’ve seen a big jump in the number of people wanting to build homes, all the way down to people wanting to do home improvement projects.

Because of this, he says he’s had to fight to get the materials he needs. Chaucer says major distributors are having problems getting the materials to smaller lumberyards, which sets him back even further. “So it slows everything down, one,” he said. “Two, a lot of these projects, like this one here, take a long time to set up and get ready before you actually start.”

Chaucer says he’s having to order materials five or six months in advance to make sure they get there on time, but he’s paying the price for them. “You’re working with pricing that you got four, five, six months ago, and that pricing is nowhere near where we’re at now,” he said. Right now, Chaucer says materials can cost more than twice as much as normal. He says it’s forced him to eat a lot of extra costs and lose money of his own to avoid putting those extra costs onto his customers.

With no end in sight, Chaucer says they’re trying to stay ahead of the game by ordering materials much earlier in advance than usual. If you’e looking to start on projects right now, he says it will probably take a little extra time.