Recovering after Irma, Maria, and Harvey

Builders Face Challenges Post-Hurricane

The storm may have passed, but cleanup is still underway. Builders are tasked with cleaning up both homes and communities that may have been affected by the storms.

This is no small task – Irma left a path of devastation through Florida, and Houston is still coping with cleanup from Harvey. For builders, though, other factors are quickly coming to light.

Construction Workers are in High Demand

In Houston, Fox Business reports there’s a sharp shortage in available construction workers. Labor costs are predicted to rise along with construction delays as builders scramble to meet their deadlines. And with Irma’s havoc on the Florida coast, this shortage is only expected to climb.

This isn’t just based on a pure guess – experts look back to Katrina as a metric for what’s to come. After Katrina struck Mississippi, wages for construction workers shot up 12% according to Fox Business.

And construction workers aren’t just from the area – many arrive from other states, either on their own or hired by contractors who then have to cover the cost of their room and board.

Rising Material Costs

Homeowners and builders alike get the double whammy of material cost rising in the wake of hurricanes Harvey and Irma as well. And the material likely to see the highest rise in cost? Wood.

NBC reports that even before the storms struck, builders were experiencing the pinch as plywood, softwood lumber, and fiber board have been in short supply. Additionally, much of U.S. lumber comes from Canada, on which the Trump administration piled on a 10% tax earlier this year.

Looking Ahead

The future is strong for builders – after all, the homes that were destroyed are going to need to be rebuilt. It’s just going to take some careful planning, budgeting, and deft maneuvering of the changing industry landscape.

Harvey and Irma are shaping up to be the costliest weather disasters in U.S. history, and we’re sure to see their effects for months (if not years) to come.