Timber shortage causes house construction delay of up to 18 months

When Rob Willson moved into a rental home on a railroad track during a major renovation job on his home, he didn’t expect to be there yet five months later.

The Gracemere retiree is one of thousands of homeowners caught in the nation’s building material shortage that has skyrocketed new home construction times by up to seven months.

“The delays have been very traumatic,” said Willson as he anxiously reviewed the progress made at the Charles Crescent site.

“Having to rent a house [for an extra two months] is a tax on our finances. And it took a while to get used to the passing trains [the rental home] every half hour. “

Now time is running out for Mr. Willson and his wife, Judy, to return home as they have to vacate their rental in early September.

When Rockhampton Day to Day Constructions builder took over Mr Willson’s house project in March, it was to take three months with the interior gutted for a major renovation and a new patio.

Day to Day boss Matt Day said they were concerned about construction delivery delays but told Mr Willson what the construction industry is facing.

“As you can see, it’s two months longer than I had calculated, but it’s great that he’s so willing to accept these delays,” Mr. Day said.

“We had issues with the doors not arriving on time and we are still waiting for the roof. They think it will be there by tomorrow (Friday) now.”

Inside the extensive renovation work of the Charles Crescent property in Gracemere.(ABC Capricorn: Frazer Pearce)

Do whatever they can

Mr Day said his builders were trying to mix things up to finish the interior so the Willsons could return to it.

“And then we’re going to put the last things away outside while they’re living here because we just can’t let it go on,” he said.

“We are doing everything we can to make this happen for them.”

He said clear communication between the manufacturer and the customer was vital as they worked through supply chain frustrations.

“These are the issues that we are having and it puts a lot of pressure on the client and puts a lot of pressure on us,” Mr. Day said.

“We’re doing our best, but with all of these delays it’s difficult.”

Mr Day said the lack of lumber was the biggest problem the industry is currently facing as demand for new homes skyrockets in the region, state and nation.

On hold until backlog is cleared

Mr Day said the industry could not take the jobs the lumber was needed for.

“We’re at a standstill until we can clear the backlog, and then we’ll know where we can go from there,” he said.

Despite the challenges from one site to another, his team of craftsmen managed to juggle their time on three projects.

“One thing with so much work, there is always another job to do and something else to start, but it’s very frustrating for the customer,” he said.

“Normally we start and finish the work and move on to the next one.

“But we are in the situation where we find ourselves with a number of jobs all at different stages waiting for different materials.

Lead times of up to 26 weeks with certain wood products

CQ Master Builders regional manager Michelle Traill said the wood supply crisis was a concern for a region trying to meet demand in a boom cycle, but dismissed speculation that Builders may have to abandon their tools soon if supplies do not recover in the near future.

“We don’t think [local work] is going to stop anytime soon, but it certainly slows down the pipeline of work and it has an ongoing effect for all trades as you go through the construction process, ”Ms. Traill said.

“It’s also difficult to plan for advancement, as some builders can wait 22 to 26 weeks for some wood products.

“There are also other issues with the roof and many different types of materials. It’s not just the wood. “

She said anyone looking to build a new home now should be patient as there was a backlog of work that would last 12 to 18 months.

“A lot of builders in our area have actually closed their accounts just because of the amount of work they’ve done,” Ms. Traill said.

“They certainly don’t want to disappoint people by promising too much, so they’re up front with consumers that there is a very long delay.

“Even though people cite work, builders tell people you could look 18 months before you start construction.”

New home approvals for the CQ area this year – up 54 percent to 764 homes for the 12 months through June – explain the changing fortunes for an industry that had experienced a decade-long downturn.

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