Expectations for waiting
Brian Pennings

Start planning today!

“Good things come to those who wait.” You’ve heard that proverb before. In fact, if you paid any attention to advertising in the 80’s you may recall Heinz Ketchup using that phrase to add value to the time it took for ketchup to pour out of a glass bottle. Of course, today we have plastic squeeze bottles to accelerate that wait time, but not so in construction! Yes, there may be full size 3d printers, but at this writing they’re still out of reach for most of our society when it comes to building or remodeling a home.

If you’re thinking about a remodeling project next spring or summer and hiring a reputable professional to do it, you will want to get on someone’s radar starting soon. If you’re thinking about building a home, the lead time is likely going to be even longer. Many factors are driving this phenomenon:

  1. Demand has risen. Plain and simple, more people than ever seem to want to improve their housing situations. This could be an obvious result of more people spending more time at home these days. This is not just a local trend, but a national one.
  2. Interest rates have remained relatively low. Construction money and mortgage lending is still readily available and at decent interest rates. Many people are taking advantage of this.
  3. Backlogs in manufacturing due to material and labor shortages. We’ve noticed increased lead times required to get cabinetry, windows and plumbing faucets and fixtures to name just a few. Getting raw materials for certain manufactured products continues to be a challenge.
  4. Lack of skilled tradespeople/workforce. You don’t have to look hard to find “Help Wanted” signs posted out there with all types of added creative incentives. The circumstances of the past year and a half have contributed to many older skilled tradespeople deciding to hang it up and retire. At the same time, we are experiencing the results of years of the educational community’s propensity to direct students to college instead of into the trades. This philosophy has led to relatively few young people who have considered or are considering a career path in construction.
  5. Lumber prices are starting to drop. The media frenzy about rising lumber prices this past year discouraged some people from proceeding with projects. Now that lumber prices are actually dropping, those parked on the sidelines will likely be resuming where they left off, which will add more demand to an already crowded playing field.

If you call a contractor to request a bid on work, you’ll likely encounter a month or two wait just to meet with someone. Then, expect an even longer time than what you might consider “normal” to get a design and then a price provided. Most professional and reputable contractors are in this same boat right now, but they will still provide you with the best path to getting a job done. Trade contractors are being kept quite busy by those builders and remodelers that provide them work on a regular basis. As an individual homeowner trying to contract something on your own, it could be challenging to get much (if any) response from the trades. If you do happen to get immediate attention and availability, you’ll want to carefully check references.

All this to say that planning well in advance for construction work is more important now than ever. This is by no means meant to discourage you, but only to amend your expectations of what you may have experienced in the past. Thankfully our area has a good selection of professional, reputable, and reliable building contractors. If you are looking for one who provides personally crafted design as an integral part of the build or remodel process, please consider contacting penningsandsons.com. Not been around as long as Heinz Ketchup, but we’re still well worth the wait!