Residential and commercial builders struggle with obstacles that can delay deadlines and blow budgets. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, five main problems stand in new property owners' way before builders can hand over the keys:
1. Labor: although labor returned to 99% of pre-pandemic rates, this crisis existed before COVID with layoffs and early retirement. Until the labor market eases up, construction planners will continue to struggle.
2. Roof and Floor Trusses: with all steel on allocation, some backlogged for 8 to 12 months, commercial builders struggle to buy metal trusses for floors and roofs. Many contractors opt to hand-frame roofs; this requires limited expertise (see point #1).
3. Concrete Blocks: concrete remains a problem, but concrete blocks cause even more drawbacks. For decades, contractors could order blocks and have them onsite the next day; they must now wait weeks, if not months.
4. Steel: prices continue to climb due to short supply and high demand. Builders have to wait longer and pay more for steel, whether for hardware, doors, or rebar.
5. Windows: the slowed supply chain holds up windows across the country. Many homes only need windows before new owners can move into them. Lead times to get metal and glass can extend 10 to 12 weeks, even on purchased materials.
Forecasters don't see immediate changes. Even optimistic economists don't expect variation until December 2022.