The construction industry is under immense pressure right now, as supply chains slow and demand soars. You’ve no doubt heard, or are experiencing yourself, the frustration around delayed starts and stalled builds. Davies North-East Co-Founder, Will Campbell, answers some questions around the topic lots of people are talking about:
When did you notice a change in gears within the industry?
In late 2020, around when the Australian Government released building grants in response to the pandemic, we noticed a change of pace: enquiries for new builds skyrocketed. Perhaps because money they’d usually spend on travel or other big-ticket items was being redirected and obviously we were spending far much more time at home, so people began turning their eye to their immediate surrounds plus appreciating their residence in a whole new light. This was also at a time when the ripple effect from global lockdowns were finally reaching us here in Tasmania. So, increase demand for new houses combined with slowed supply took us into an unprecedented territory that we’re still in.
What's going on?
Supplies that usually arrive in a day are taking a month, costs of materials are rising regularly, sub-contractors are scarce because their schedules are bursting and building sites are coming to a halt because tradies are isolating with covid. It’s frustrating at times but this seems to be the way of the world now, so we must get on with it. Staff, reps, subbies and clients have all been so understanding though – everyone gets it and are doing the best they can.
Why are there so many delays with materials?
Global events such as major conflicts and the pandemic are clearly affecting imports. The devastating bushfires across south-east Australia in recent years also wiped out a swathe of timber supply. And, it seems, there’s a renewed desire to create a house from scratch. People have access to great architects and designers now more than ever perhaps, so can be hands on in creating their new home. So, there are more people wanting to build but not enough material to do it with. Classic demand outweighing supply!
What are you telling your clients?
We’re explaining to our clients that we’re working as hard and fast as we can but unfortunately, lots of things are out of our hands. A six-month build is now taking up to a year. We’re also asking clients to make decisions on everything – from big ticket items like windows to the small stuff like toilet roll holders – early, so that we can get orders in. But we’re also warning that things could change in the blink of an eye, and we could be forced to pick another material or fixture, because products are out of stock suddenly or not accessible anymore. On the bright side, because projects are slowing, we’re able to make a start on other builds and get the ball rolling on someone else’s dream home.
Advice to prospective new home builders?
Be patient! Expect delays, make decisions early but also be prepared to change direction. Remember a new home takes a village – sparkies, roofers, brickies, plasterers - so it’s not just your immediate builder who has to have a free schedule. But hang in there, we’ll get it built!