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Update: Lumber & Labor Costs For Builders

  • 2 min read

Labor Realities in Construction

  • Challenges in Finding Skilled Laborers
    In a recent discussion about labor costs and finding skilled workers, an intriguing comment surfaced. It suggested that builders might struggle to find cheap labor, implying that they are unwilling to pay adequately. However, in reality, the issue lies in finding skilled laborers who are reliable and efficient.
  • Availability of Entry-Level Workers
    Entry-level construction workers, often referred to as “day laborers,” are plentiful in the market. These workers are typically paid between $35 and $50 per hour for basic tasks such as hammering and following instructions. However, even at this rate, reliability remains a significant issue, with workers frequently disappearing after a few days’ work.
  • Challenges in Upskilling
    Despite efforts to elevate workers’ skills and offer higher pay, there’s a notable difficulty in finding individuals capable of advancing to higher-paying roles. Builders often struggle to find workers willing and able to perform tasks beyond basic labor, hindering efforts to fill higher-skilled positions.

Material Costs in Flux

  • Shifts in Lumber Prices
    A recent report from a user highlighted changes in lumber prices over the past 18 months. While prices have fluctuated, they remain considerably higher than in previous years. Despite this, the affordability of materials like 2x4s and sheet stock has remained relatively stable, with some individuals reporting spending around $800 for a truckload of materials.
  • Service Challenges at Big Box Stores
    While big-box stores offer convenience, many customers have reported challenges receiving adequate assistance. Employees at these stores often struggle to provide the necessary support, leading some customers to seek alternatives such as local lumber yards or pro distributors.
  • Quality Concerns
    In addition to price fluctuations, there are growing concerns about the quality of the materials available. Many customers have observed an increase in defects such as knots and cutouts in lumber, which can pose problems during construction and inspection processes.

Builders and consumers alike are encouraged to share their experiences and insights regarding labor and material challenges. By fostering open dialogue, we can better understand the broader trends impacting the construction industry and work towards viable solutions. Let us know in the comments section if your experiences align with the trends discussed here.

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