A shortage of some essential building materials is expected to plague the nation’s construction industry in the immediate months ahead, according to a new report issued by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
As of the end of 2020, more than 70% of surveyed builders were reporting difficulties securing at least one, if not several, materials, with lumber by far presenting the greatest challenge.
The report is part of the Chamber’s quarterly Commercial Construction Index, which also lists electrical supplies among other hard-to-get materials.
According to the publication Capital Press, lumber shortages, meanwhile, have proven particularly acute in states of the West “after 2020’s devastating wildfires.”
The Chamber report also indicates that some 41% of respondents blame the material shortages on the Covid-19 outbreak, while others said that even if such shortages decrease this year, the likelihood is that the materials themselves will continue to cost more.
For months, contractors have said that a primary hurdle complicating the materials challenge has been ongoing shipping delays.
On issues not specifically related to materials, some 71% of respondents in the Chamber survey said they were experiencing difficulties meeting project schedules, with another 68% expecting such delays to continue well into the spring of this year.
Exactly 53% of respondents also said they regard both project delays and outright shutdowns as a major industry concern.
On the up side, noted Neil Bradley, Chamber of Commerce executive vice-president, “More than one in three contractors plan to hire more workers in the next six months, and most see sufficient new business in the coming year.”
By Garry Boulard
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