When the pandemic hit the US at the start of 2020, we did not know the impacts it would have on the construction industry, even a year later. Now, as we head into 2022, homebuilders are still experiencing delays in the building process due to disruptions in the construction supply chain. The increased demand for homes coupled with the dramatic increase in home renovations in 2020 and 2021 have caused, and are still causing, considerable disruptions. Here’s a deeper look into the supply chain issues plaguing the industry and answers to some of the questions we’ve gotten as a result.
At the start of the pandemic, manufacturers closed the doors to their factories as workers tested positive for the virus and as more regulations were being put into place, globally. With these facilities closed, production halted, and the delays in the supply chain began. Now, these facilities are facing new challenges in the form of labor shortages. There are not enough truck drivers to deliver products with delays on getting materials unloaded. As a result, manufacturers have slowed their progress and are producing less to get better control of the flow.
Currently, we are facing delays in the delivery of critical new-home components, including trusses, windows, cabinets, and appliances, to name a few. Daily it seems, there are new challenges with the availability of other necessary materials like paint, and a staffing shortage with many of our trade partners. To add to it, overseas shipping containers are experiencing delays in the loading and unloading with many of the main ports feeling the pressure.
The effects of any disruptions in the supply chain mean that production must be stopped until the missing item in the chain is acquired. For example, if we are waiting on windows, then exterior facades cannot be installed, interior inspections cannot occur, mechanical trades cannot be completed, and the list goes on. In the past, we were able to push through these disruptions by utilizing other sources of distribution like reallocating product from one division to another or from one distribution center to another. In some cases, we could even switch manufacturers, which isn’t our first preference given the priority we place in our supply chain relationships. But given the ongoing disruptions with various components, we are not able to easily find viable solutions that don’t impact timing or quality. To keep the process moving and minimize delays, some of our divisions have resorted to renting uHaul trucks to pick up and deliver materials themselves.
Sometimes homes are started at the same time, but others progress at a much faster pace causing understandable confusion and frustration for homebuyers. Certain products have earlier availability than others so, depending on the features and even colors selected for the home, one may be built faster than another.
Despite all these challenges, Stanley Martin Homes is always committed to delivering quality homes to our homeowners. You may have seen some of our neighborhoods mentioning interest lists in more recent months. Interest lists help us provide a better customer experience to homebuyers and make sure that we can dedicate the appropriate amount of time to each home. We are working through these disruptions and delays as quickly and efficiently as we can and hope to welcome you home very soon.