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  • Writer's pictureDon Magruder

Five Tips for Speeding up Your Construction Project in This Market

If you talk to any homeowner, builder, remodeler, or subcontractor who is building a project with the current supply market during the pandemic, the two words most used are “expensive” and “delays.” Everything is going up in price with many building supplies hitting record high prices. Even worse are the delays due to extended lead times, labor shortages, material shortages, and transportation challenges. Projects that could be completed in four months before the pandemic are taking double that amount of time to complete. The stress factor is elevated well above the red zone.

When it comes to construction, time is money. In some cases, these huge delays are more costly than the price increases on building materials. In fact, more and more contractors are more worried about supply than price.

If you are planning a construction project, here are five tips you should consider in helping speed up your project.

First, hire the right construction professional who is well-funded, properly licensed and insured, and has the wherewithal to get the job done in difficult circumstances. A construction professional that is weak financially or who cannot handle the increased pressures of updating bids and monitoring costs can be devastating to your project, because when they run out of money they will disappear. Even the good guys are hard to find when there is nothing but bad news. Now is the time for a construction professional.

Next, ask your suppliers what they stock and try to make stock products work for your project. Many delays occur because project owners are ordering and specifying products, which are special order, with disjointed manufacturing, being shipped from overseas, or have real labor issues. Products that are special orders are experiencing extremely long lead times. If you insist on ordering special order items from overseas, you should understand that they could get stuck in the Suez Canal or put on a backlog at some point. You can always remodel and enhance your project later when supply lines improve.

Third, double check the details of your project. If you do not have good construction plans drawn or have the details thoroughly noted in all aspects of the project, expect delays. Ordering products last minute is a time killer, and this is where most projects are falling apart these days. Builders and homeowners who are used to ordering the materials a few days before the installation are finding out that it just does not work. Making a mistake in ordering because you have the incorrect size, style, or color for an item becomes very costly from the time delay and expense of having to reorder that item. It is imperative that you double check the details of your project and ensure everyone has signed off on them.

Creating a real budget for the project is probably the most important tip. Earlier, I mentioned the record high prices for building materials. There are projects that are literally running out of money because the budgeting was so poor. The RoMac Building Supply Whole House Commodity Index surged a whopping 58.4 percent from April 2020 to April 2021, and most project budgets cannot withstand this type of massive increase. It is imperative you make an accurate budget and update it weekly and monthly as the markets rise or fall. Running out of money can slow down your project and create a huge loss for you and your family.

Finally, there is gold in those building supply stacks! A sheet of CDX pine plywood has more than tripled in price. If it is left on your jobsite unattended, expect it to grow legs and walk off. Jobsite theft is the worst it has ever been, and desperate people are willing to steal building materials from your jobsite. Be sure to keep from loading your jobsite with materials you cannot use daily and secure all high-value items. If you have HVAC items or a one-of-a-kind door or window stolen from your jobsite you will not only lose a lot of money, but you will also lose a lot of time.

The best thing any person can do to have a successful construction project is focus on taking the steps to shorten the period of time from start to finish. These days, time truly is money!

Don Magruder is the CEO of RoMac Building Supply and host of Around the House, which can be seen at

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