Sullivan Engineering, a Rimkus Company, recently hosted a virtual meeting to attempt to identify how the current supply chain issues will impact building envelope restoration projects in 2022. Present on the call were experts across all aspects of the construction supply chain; including freight & logistics, equipment manufacturing, construction material manufacturing, project management, contractors, and other building envelope consultants.
The consensus from the group was that the current supply chain issues will persist throughout 2022. While several people stated that they are more comfortable with the 2022 outlook now compared to just two months ago the feeling is that the supply chain issue is not going away soon.
The good news and bad news with respect to the rapid spike in material costs is that prices have stabilized, for the most part. That’s obviously good news as the frequent price increases of 2021 appears to be behind us, but it’s also bad news as it appears that new baselines on material and shipping prices have been set and will not likely return to pre-pandemic prices.
Pent-up demand due to both construction and manufacturer shutdowns during the height of the pandemic resulted in both sides trying to catch up now. Additionally, shipping delays due to issues at the ports, trucking issues due to a shortage of drivers, and labor shortages at the ports and manufacturers are contributing to this perfect storm of delays.
One example provided that illustrates the pent-up demand is from June 2021 where demand for polyisocyanurate insulation (commonly used in roofing) was at 200% of June 2020 levels, while availability was at 67% in the same period.
As we plan our projects for 2022, it’s clear that we need to spend additional time understanding our clients’ needs, goals, expectations, timeline, and budget. The use of alternate, but equal, materials may be a good solution for some of our projects, additionally, installation of temporary roofs may be necessary to keep the building watertight until the insulation is delivered. The use of standard colors is highly recommended as many manufacturers have focused their production efforts on standard products.
Preparation and communication are always important in construction projects, but it’s clear that in 2022 the importance of these two traits will be heightened to a critical level. The best defense against the current issues is to get out early, complete the design ASAP, award the project to a contractor, and pay deposits. It was noted that some manufacturers are only holding prices for 10 days currently compared to 90 or 180 days in the past. In addition to locking in prices and better understanding the timeline of material delivery, executing contracts early allows the contractor to “start” the project. Human nature ensures that projects that have started get more focus than those that are pending.