SunLive – Unfinished Homes Due to Shortage of Building Materials



Work has stalled at some construction sites and jobs could be at risk as home builders battle a growing shortage of materials.

Record housing construction, fueled by demand for real estate and exacerbated by Covid, is putting increasing pressure on nationwide supplies and prices for timber, steel, panel products, roofing materials , paint and even nails.

Small builders waiting for materials say hundreds of orders are being canceled and suppliers are prioritizing large customers.

John Hamilton, president of Master Builders Canterbury, said the crisis was caused by “a perfect storm” and “is not going to go away anytime soon.”

“We cannot bring materials into the country. They go to the biggest international markets and a lot of ships don’t even stop here anymore.

He called on New Zealand to increase material production and security of supply so that it can build the houses it needs. The problems include too few sawmills and infrastructure projects using most of the steel, he said.

“The government wants us to build, but we don’t hear much from them about how we’re going to negotiate through this. They seem only focused on Covid. “

Hamilton predicted a “chain reaction” at the construction sites, including the safety of unfinished homes and the cancellation of outsourcing.

“The follow-up effects could be really devastating.”

Richard Poff of Certified Master Builders says small builders lose out. Photo: Alden Williams / Things.

Christchurch couple Warwick and Natalie Edwards opened the house they are building for themselves in Tai Tapu in June. They can no longer see an end in sight.

Warwick Edwards said that after placing a framing order, the price was increased by thousands of dollars, and now the order appears to have been canceled altogether.

“At this point, we have no wood. We feel we are held to a ransom.

Natalie Edwards said the vendors they had made deals with “are not picking up the phone.”

“We have not been able to close contracts for all of the major components that we need to reach the lockdown stage. We think we have been dumped.

Construction management consultant Mike Blackburn said the shortage of products and materials was “literally rampant.”

Unprecedented demand was exacerbated by global supply chain issues and the Auckland lockdown, he said.

Nationally, 47,330 housing units were approved over the past year, 25% more than the previous year and almost three times more than ten years ago.

Blackburn estimated that anyone with a site to build on now wouldn’t get their keys until mid-2023.

“Everyone tries to build hard, but it gets harder and harder to get their hands on things and contracts are being scaled up as the cost of materials goes up.

“It’s almost in all product categories. There doesn’t seem to be a single sheet of reinforcing mesh anywhere, so you can’t pour the foundation. It also includes all wood products, frames and trusses, waterproofing panels, panels, insulation, steel, fence panels and even nails.

He said that while the major home builders appeared to have secure supplies, everyone else faced significant delays or had to redesign projects.

“Builders can’t have fixed price contracts … no one can guarantee what they will pay for building materials.”

Grant Close, owner of the Placemakers Riccarton hardware and building supply store, said they had had to cancel some customers’ contracts for wood items.

“We have relatively dissatisfied customers, which is not ideal,” he said.

“We are in a very day to day situation. New Zealand’s construction market is running about 30 percent more than the country’s manufacturing capacity.

“We cannot relax the pressure because we are having enormous difficulties betting on material from abroad.”

Close said it will be next year before supplies improve.

Canterbury Frames and Trusses owner Mark Melbourne said he halved production and lost 30 contracts.

“We had to push jobs from this year to next year. It is now nine months, for what would normally be six to eight weeks.

“Of course we chased a lot of people out, but that just can’t be helped if we can’t get the wood.

“Construction in Canterbury is just pumping. But it’s not going to swell anytime soon.

“We’re going to see builders, plumbers, concrete mixers and electricians out of work – these guys are all going to run out of work because the building process has stopped. There are going to be people coming down the gurgler.

Housing Minister Megan Woods and Environment Minister David Parker announce a change in the law that will allow landowners to build up to three stories without resource consent.

Melbourne has so far said its staff of 12 has not been affected, “but if we can’t do anything it will absolutely affect the staff.”

Richard Poff, chairman of the Certified Builders Association in Canterbury, said a “just in time” system meant manufacturers and suppliers no longer held large stocks, as did supply rationing and escalation. prices.

“If you build 100 cookie-cutter houses a year, you will have priority. It is the smallest who are affected.

The shortages extended to carpets, construction tapes and plumbing fixtures, he said.

Liz McDonald / Stuff


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