In the U.S., for years we’ve been accustomed to being able to buy most of the products we want at the moment we want them (or within a few days, if they need to be specially ordered). That was possible because the supply chain was a well-oiled machine that worked in the background to get those products to us without us ever having to think about the process it took to get there.
The pandemic has complicated things. Even as vaccine access in the U.S. brought some aspects of pre-pandemic life back, the supply chain hasn’t found its way back to normal.
You probably saw plenty of stories about how the supply chain would affect your holiday shopping this year, but that’s not the only area of life it could impact. If you’re considering a home improvement project this year, the supply chain could impact your plans in a few key ways.
How the Supply Chain Affects Construction Work
For anyone ready to tackle that screened porch or basement finishing project you’ve been pondering for years, there are a few differences in how home improvement projects like that work now than how they did before the pandemic started.
Materials are harder to get.
Materials for all types of products are less accessible than they’ve been in the past. At Fineline Construction, we’ve had trouble buying ceiling heaters, gas fireplaces, windows, plumbing fixtures—all sorts of things that we used to have no trouble getting on a short timeline. The days where you could walk into a Home Depot and buy many of the items you needed are long past, and whether they’re coming back is hard to say.
But harder doesn’t mean impossible. We’ve still managed to keep working (safely) throughout the pandemic, helping families complete their dream renovations. Homeowners should expect things to be a bit harder and selection to be more limited though.
The costs may be higher, and less predictable.
When supply goes down and demand stays around the same (or goes up), costs increase. That’s a simple fact of economics. While we pride ourselves on helping clients create realistic budgets for every home improvement project we work on, material costs right now are less predictable than usual. That makes it harder to create accurate estimates, although we’ve generally still been able to get pretty close.
And one thing we like to remind all our clients: the higher prices of the moment don’t just apply to construction materials. Chances are, your stock market returns are higher too. And interest rates on loans are much lower than usual right now, meaning you could save a lot in interest long term. Even if your project materials cost a little more right now, when you look at the bigger financial picture, you’ll probably still come out ahead.
And if you think you can just wait the current prices out, well, none of us really know when this issue will be alleviated. You could end up paying a lot more in a year or two than you would moving forward now.
You should expect longer completion times.
This is one of the biggest impacts we’ve seen since the pandemic started. Because it takes longer to get supplies, projects take longer to complete. Planning has always been an important part of any home improvement project, but now it has a bigger role to play. As long as you go into a project expecting things to take a little longer and bring patience into the process, you can still get that renovation or home addition you want.
Your home improvement plans don’t have to stop because of COVID, but they may need to slow a bit.
How Fineline Construction Minimizes the Disruption
We may not be able to single-handedly solve all the supply chain issues of the moment, but we can work to make sure their impact is less disruptive to the homeowners. To keep our projects running as smoothly as possible:
We commit to full transparency and honesty. We won’t promise to get a job started or completed earlier than is possible. We’ll do our best to set realistic expectations based on the information we have.
We’ll help you plan effectively. Your project will go more smoothly if you know what to order and how to get it as early as possible. We can help you plan out what you need and place the orders as soon as possible, so we can get started sooner, and finish things up with fewer holdups.
We’ll keep you posted. If there are any changes to when an order is expected to come in or what a material will cost, we’ll keep you in the loop. Anything that’s within our control to handle we will, and anything outside of our control you’ll hear about when we do.
Things may be weird right now, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t move forward with the renovation you want. The longer lead times mean getting your project on the calendar sooner rather than later is smart. And the current stock market conditions and loan terms mean that, if anything, this is a great time to make an investment in your home.
With the right construction partner, you can still experience a relatively smooth and successful home improvement project. It just might take a little longer for construction itself to get started. If you want to get a project on the calendar for the New Year, get in touch.