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It’s time to be optimistic about the construction industry


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Despite the challenges facing the construction industry over the past two years, there seems to be cautious optimism for 2022. I’m a glass half-full kind of guy and always try to see the more optimistic side of things. To me, there is always a solution, and I love the challenge.

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Over the past two years, homeowners have spent many more hours at home than they usually would have. Instead of going on vacation and doing activities, most of us have been at home trying to manage with all the challenges and spending lots of time binging TV.

The money that homeowners would have spent on vacations and other activities is being put back into their homes. Assuming your roof, building envelope, windows and basement are all in good shape, then remodelling the interior of your home is a great idea.

The building and renovation industry is booming and many are booked months in advance, however there will still be challenges that homeowners and contractors need to acknowledge and appreciate.

Though things appear to be settling down, lumber prices and stock levels remain a big concern, but experts say it should sort itself out later this year. Goods and services are also seeing an increase. Just look at the rise in food and gas prices. Food prices are expected to increase by five to seven per cent, and gas prices are predicted to be 20 per cent higher. Appliance prices have gone up considerably from 20 to 30 per cent.

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Everything has become more expensive, even your renovation budget will likely be higher too, as contractors, and all building related professionals must ensure pricing can cover costs adequately while also ensuring the quality of workmanship.

Both contractors and homeowners need to take extra time to understand the industry’s challenges, as it is likely that contractors will have to provide alternative materials and products to stay within the delivery schedule. Both parties need to take a lesson in patience and understand and acknowledge the reasons for changes and delays.

The shortage of materials poses a challenge but it also offers the chance to think outside the box. Builders and contractors can and should be making alternative suggestions using different materials where appropriate. Homeowners should also be willing to consider different but similar, in quality and style, products and materials as an alternative for the project to stay on track. This can be particularly important with fixtures, finishes, furnishings and appliances. I know many designers and builders look to recycle, reuse, and repurpose — that’s a great idea.

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I’m hard on bad contractors, for good reason, but there are a lot of good contractors out there and I work with many of them. They are all finding the current situation challenging. Everyone is busy and trying to do the best they can.

With the serious shortage of skilled trades and labourers, the situation becomes even more of a challenge. It may take more time and more money to complete projects, and there will probably be a few mistakes along the way. Acknowledging them and taking the time to rectify them is more important than ever.

In some cases, contractors may not be able to find the skilled trades required — this is where both parties need to have open and honest communication. Given the choice, I’m sure homeowners would gladly see a delay in their project if they knew the job would be done correctly and professionally, rather than being rushed and done by an unskilled or inexperienced labourer leading to mistakes along the way. Nothing good comes out of a rushed job.

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Unfortunately, the current situation is a breeding ground for opportunists who will try to take advantage of people. Please be extra careful with who you engage with, especially online. There is so much confusion and false advertising online these days. I encourage everyone to be extra diligent when sourcing for materials and engaging with companies and contractors.

Despite all of this, I remain optimistic about the construction industry, and I think this year is going to be a good one. The demand for home remodelling and new homes is not going to slow down and as an industry we need to work together to overcome these challenges and keep making it right!

Follow Mike Holmes on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for more renovation and maintenance tips.

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