Overall costs are lower than they’ve been since 2010 for the construction industry. But construction materials costs are rising. In August 2020, we saw the largest increase in lumber prices since 1949. Some of the rising costs can be attributed to:
- Construction demand is greater than mills’ current production capabilities.
- DIY (do-it-yourself) renovation projects increased among at-home homeowners.
- Mills closed due to pandemic; those that remained open saw a dramatic demand reduction.
5 Strategies for Managing Construction Materials Cost
With no end in sight to the pandemic and international tensions running hot, construction materials costs will continue to rise for the foreseeable future. –Anirban Basu, Associated Builders and Contractors
You can’t control higher construction materials costs but you can better-manage construction project materials:
1. Bulk shipments – Large orders for materials needed at different phases of the project lead to:
- Potential damage from moving materials repeatedly
- Shuffling materials around
- Time lost trying to find where materials are stored
- Unplanned deliveries
Ask your distributor(s) to work with you to break down deliveries according to contractors’ needs.
2. Inventory – The number of hours we lose locating and retrieving materials is amazing. We also tend to over-order because running out of something presents more challenges than having too much of anything. Every day, crews lose time making lists of needed materials and stopping work to retrieve ordered materials. This is a key project planning area construction management teams can improve upon.
3. Pre-work kits – Encourage distributors and contractors to package materials in customized kits for faster delivery and onsite installation. This also reduces waste.
4. Update cost estimates/plans regularly – Changes in construction materials costs need to be factored into the project as soon as possible.
5. Use construction management software – When a contractor needs additional materials, shared software alerts workers of the possible change in project scope. It can eliminate miscommunication.
Construction materials costs are leading to newer – better – construction industry materials. And technology is driving development. Construction Monitor has been a leading provider of analytics for the construction industry since 1989. Ask us how we can customize data to make it work for you.