On October 9, I was fortunate to be interviewed by Steve Doocy on Fox and Friends. I truly appreciated the opportunity to discuss the current market conditions on both material and labor, but you can only cover so much in a 4-minute interview.
Therefore, I’d like to expand on the two topics.
We are experiencing availability issues on several materials including roofing insulation, wire mesh, siding, bar joists, windows, and a variety of fasteners – just to name a few. These availability issues have forced our team to seek alternative materials to keep projects on schedule. By all accounts, these challenges are not going to be solved anytime soon. It requires all project teams, owners, designers, and contractors alike, to work collaboratively to find alternative solutions.
As I stated to Steve in the interview, labor shortages have been and will continue to be part of the construction industry. I encourage schools to present students with career options outside of the traditional 4-year degree – we need to get kids exposed to trades early on. Bringing shop/carpentry classes back in schools would be the first big step, getting students exposure to electrical, auto, carpentry, and HVAC, just to name a few. Also, I encourage schools to partner with community colleges where students can earn credits as part of apprenticeships. These options would allow students who aren’t ready or just aren’t interested in a 4-year degree to enter the workforce. Quality craftspeople can easily earn $75,000-$100,000 a year – and without crippling student debt. There are so many options both in construction and manufacturing that need jobs filled.
These truly are unprecedented times, but there’s always a silver lining. This has challenged us as an industry to be nimble and think outside the box – and it’s easy to do when you believe in what you build.
by Parker Young, President