Texas

Shortages of supplies and workers will delay the reconstruction of the Gulf

Joe Sobol, owner of the Big Easy Construction in New Orleans, is bad for homeowners who call about roofs damaged by hurricane Ida and get up-to-date on planned renovations before the storm hit the area. I’m telling the news.

This job is much more expensive and time consuming than usual.

Aida crashed into the Gulf Coast and was subsequently destroyed northeast when construction contractors were already tackling a serious labor shortage and supply chain depletion. The damage caused by Ida has exacerbated these challenges.

Struggling to find enough skilled workers and materials can increase costs, complicate planning, and delay reconstruction by months.

“My expectations only get worse from here,” said Ali Wolff, chief economist at real estate research firm Zonda.

Consider that Lake Charles, Louisiana, 200 miles west of New Orleans, has not yet recovered from the damage left when Hurricane Laura struck the area a year ago.

advertisement

The challenges facing construction companies arise from what happened after the country endured a brutal and short recession when the virus outbreak broke out in March 2020. The economy recovered much faster and stronger than everyone expected. The surge in customer demand resulting from an increasingly strong economic recovery has surprised companies of all kinds.

There was a sudden shortage of workers and supplies. For months throughout the economy, businesses have struggled to get enough supplies, refill their shelves, and bring back the workers they fired during the recession.

Construction companies are particularly affected. Of the Zonda building executives surveyed last month, 93% complained of supply shortages. 74% said there was a shortage of enough workers.

And that was before Ida hit.

“Natural disasters put a strain on building materials, rebuilding materials, and the workforce. The difference today is that the entire supply chain was destroyed before Aida broke out. It’s hitting at the same time. Frankly, the last thing the supply chain needed was an extra burden. “

advertisement

As a result, the cost of materials and consumables has skyrocketed. Total prices for windows, doors, roofs and other building products rose 13% in the first six months of the year, according to Labor Ministry data. In contrast, prior to 2020, such total prices typically rose by just over 1% each year on average during the first six months of the year.

Steelworks product prices more than doubled year-on-year in July. Gypsum products required for drywall, dividers, ceiling tiles, etc. increased by 22%.

Henry Desposito, head of construction research at real estate services firm JLL, said the most difficult challenge in the current reconstruction is the delay in acquiring drywall, glass, steel, aluminum and other materials.

“A lot of the material needed for the project, especially the ones that are urgent — we can’t go to the scene for weeks or months,” says D’Esposito.

advertisement

During his career, Sobol has overcome some of the biggest hurricanes that hit Louisiana, including Betsy in 1965, Camille in 1979, Katrina in 2005, and Aida last week. On Friday, he received a text from a client who hired BigEasy to renovate his home. The client wanted to know if the initial cost estimate was still valid.

“I said,’I can probably add 10%,'” Sobol said.

And now the project will probably take 9 months instead of 6 months.

Robert Maddox, owner of Hahn Roofing in Voice, Louisiana, 200 miles northwest of New Orleans, said: Supplies. We need to bring in supplies. “

Insurers that are responsible for many of the hurricane repairs can incur additional burdens, Maddox said.

“I’ve spent more time fighting insurance companies over prices than roof houses,” he said.

advertisement

Jacob Hodges, co-owner of the family roofing business in Houma, Louisiana, complains that herpes zoster is so scarce that it’s difficult to buy consistently in the same color. One day, they are only available in black. The next day, only gray.

Hodges takes what he can get. So is his customer, who is anxious to repair or replace the roof after a storm.

Then there is a labor shortage.

Among the workers in short supply are framers that build, install and maintain frames for foundations, floors, doors and windows. Carpenter; Electrician; Plumber; and heating and air conditioning specialist.

“Workers-they have power,” said Wolf, Zonda’s economist. “They can go where they can make the most money. Therefore, if you need access to workers, you need to pony up.”

According to Maddox, the typical wages of roofers have skyrocketed by 20% in the past year or so. Some people make $ 400 a day.

advertisement

“If you don’t pay them, someone else will do,” he said.

Usually, the demand for their services was so uneven that roofers often divided their working hours for different contractors.

“Now we all need them,” Hodges said.

To make matters worse, the weather on the Gulf Coast is hot, with many places still unpowered, running out of gas.

Reconstruction workers have to drive from a distance because they cannot stay anywhere. Maddox said roofers commute from Lake Charles, a three-hour drive from the hurricane zone.

“We are losing half of our driving time,” he said.

He hopes that hotels with water services will reopen without electricity and become a place for workers to stay.

“They don’t care about cold showers,” he said.

Hodges weighs the magnitude of the hurricane damage against the shortage of supplies and workers and envisions a long crushing period for recovery from Aida.

advertisement

“To get everything back, you’re talking … well, we’ll probably work on this this time next year,” he said.

___

Wiseman reported from Washington and Veiga from Los Angeles.

Copyright 2021 AP communication. all rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.

Shortages of supplies and workers will delay the reconstruction of the Gulf

Source link Shortages of supplies and workers will delay the reconstruction of the Gulf

Back to top button