supply chain materials on cargo ship

Surviving Home Remodel Supply Chain Obstacles

Planning your home remodel is always fraught with emotion. Today, however, we get the added drama of remodel supply chain issues due to material shortages, shipping delays, labor shortages, and procurement competition. Homeowners sometimes need to wait for essential materials to get started. Here are some ways to weather some remodel supply chain issues. 

Pandemic Home Remodel Supply Chain Woes

Post-Pandemic Syndrome

Post pandemic syndrome refers to the chain of events that caused many supply chain issues in the world since the Covid-19 pandemic started. Many essential construction supplies became difficult to procure. And, their prices increased due to the low supply and high demand.

About twenty years ago, lumber supplies took a hit with wildfires and insect destruction. While all other industries slowed or stopped at the beginning of the pandemic, the construction and remodeling business increased. People spent more time at home. A desire to enhance their home experience, or optimize space for home offices and schools, created a construction boom. Lumber is the most basic construction material. The demand for a product that was already experiencing a shortage caused lumber prices to skyrocket

Shipping Delays

Due to the increased demand for construction supplies, shipping delays caused another issue for homeowners and construction professionals. Much of this was and still is due to shipping bottlenecks and congestion in major U.S. ports.

supply chain competition

Procurement Competition

With such a high demand for goods, many suppliers and providers are scrambling to acquire materials. This has created procurement competition. Consumers are competing for a limited number of materials from suppliers. Larger construction companies can lock up larger quantities and leave little for smaller builders to purchase. Company buying power is a huge factor in who gets the products.

Labor Shortages

As if material shortages, shipping delays, and competition aren’t enough to derail a project, there is also a serious labor shortage. According to National Bureau Labor Statistics data, to keep up with the current construction demands, the industry will need to hire 740,000 new construction workers per year for the next three years. Unfortunately, these workers simply aren’t available. Or, if workers are available for hire, they are unskilled and require training.

Your Home Remodel Supply Chain Strategy

With these supply chain issues, be prepared for delays. Even if a shipment has a “guaranteed” delivery time, delays are often inevitable. It’s never a supplier’s goal to miss delivery times. However, a project will often hinge on the availability of a certain item. One shipping delay or shortage can set back timelines, lose key sub-contractors, and derail your completion date. Prepare to be flexible. 

It’s particularly disappointing when a “must-have” item is unavailable. Sometimes, a project is designed around an element or piece that was carefully chosen by the interior designer and homeowners. Custom or specialty items may have the same supply chain issues as other construction materials. 

supply chain issue fridge on backorder

Home Remodel Survival Recommendations During Supply Chain Issues

What’s the best way for homeowners to survive these supply chain issues? The key is patience and resilience. Be flexible. It may come in handy to have second and third choices picked out ahead of time. It is difficult to not become emotionally attached to certain design choices. Here are some other recommendations to get you through. 

  • Keep emotions in check to keep the project moving forward.
  • Treat remodeling materials like toilet paper during the shortage. If you see something you like, buy it immediately. It may not be there the next time. 
  • Get comfortable making last-minute decisions and changes. 
  • If possible, wait to start demolition until all the materials are on site. 
  • Don’t let all the negative news discourage you from completing your home remodel. 

Your contractor is more than just the builder today. They need to be extremely well organized and have procurement staff that can go the extra mile. Another way to ease your stress is to hire your own project manager to help with procurement and communications. A project manager is essential for a smooth construction project during uncertain times. At Drafting Cafe Architects, we provide a qualified team of designers, architects, and project managers to help you with your remodel project from start to finish. Let us know if you want our project managers to help with your project. 


Get in touch with us. We would love to help you get your project off the ground