Coping with the Supply Chain Crisis

Supply chain woes has been a trending topic of news coverage recently, and this issue is greatly impacting the home building industry. The National Association of Homebuilders, (NAHB) reported back in May of this year that supply chain backups were especially affecting appliances. Windows, doors, and other materials were not far behind. These obstacles, in addition to rising prices of lumber and other building materials, cause headaches for builders and new home buyers.

Unfortunately, this double whammy of rising material costs and supply chain delays have a two-fold effect on new home construction. Home prices go up due to price increases in materials and the timeframe for your new home to be built could be delayed.

The shortages are unpredictable from product to product. Building product suppliers, like those in many industries, have adopted just-in-time delivery model, due to lack of warehouse space. This leads to difficulty in knowing if or when a particular item will be backordered and if so, for how long. Your new home will be completed, but it may take longer than either you and your builder want, and the schedule could change at any point in the process.

Choosing the right home builder is now more important than ever. You need a builder with great management capabilities and systems to help navigate the changing of seas of supplies. Systems that help reduce the problems that shortages can cause. You want a builder who creates detailed schedules while remaining flexible.

The new home construction industry uses Critical Path Scheduling, (CPS) a system which defines the sequence in which tasks must happen. For instance, you can’t install drywall until the framing is in place. CPS determines when products must be selected and ordered. It is here where homeowners are seeing the biggest change – everything has to be ordered earlier.

Windows and doors that in the past took around 4 weeks now can take up to 16 weeks. Cabinet selections which used to done after drywall installation, now need to be made earlier.

These possible delays are very product specific. In some instances, the schedule can be adapted to a delay, as the builder can schedule detours around some delays. Plumbers and electricians, for example, often don’t start running pipes and wires until after the siding is complete, but if the siding is delayed those tradespeople can start early.

You may be aware that there is also a supply crunch in skilled trade contractors. That is another reason why you should choose the right builder to be on your team. They have established longstanding relationships with their trades people.  You want that builder as your partner and advocate under any circumstances, and now even more so!