How Inflation Affects the Construction Industry

March 13, 2023

The construction industry faces challenges due to rising costs, inflation, and great uncertainty across the market. Construction companies need to be conscientious and adaptive to withstand this new climate. With project costs increasing, responsible budgeting and risk management are crucial.

How the Construction Industry is Dealing with Inflation

Here are a few ways builders and contractors need to know about the effects of inflation on their operations.

Inflation Is Driving Up the Cost of Materials and Causing Shortages

Just because things cost more does not mean that contractors are buying less. Fears about price increases have prompted many companies to stock up on the materials they use most. A surge in demand and ongoing supply chain problems has resulted in widespread shortages. It drives prices even higher as suppliers reserve access to materials for the companies willing to pay the most for them.

Record increases in steel mill and lumber products have significantly impacted residential and commercial development initiatives. Whereas contracting companies understand that these increases are beyond their control, their clients often blame them directly. They are understandably unhappy about higher project costs and strained working relationships.

Delays are Widespread

Shortages are putting a lot of crucial building materials on backorder, and projects can face insurmountable hardship when they can only move onto a new phase of work once the supplies they need are available. Builders may wait weeks or months to receive delivery of their orders.

Labor shortages in the construction industry are manifold. Throughout many areas of the country, there are not enough skilled workers for new developments. There is a particularly urgent need for builders and roofers in the regions affected by natural disasters. Consequently, contractors need help to adequately staff projects. Understaffing can lead to unsafe working conditions, issues with workmanship quality, and protracted completion timelines.

Total Project Costs Have Risen Substantially

How has inflation impacted the construction industry in terms of profitability? Companies have to price their bids low to be competitive and win projects. However, barriers to accessing and affording materials make underbidding even more problematic than it already is.

Booming project costs put companies in a tight spot because they want to protect their profit margins, but they also want to avoid pushing all of the burden of increased expenses onto customers. Estimators and project managers have to be upfront with clients. It is vital to share substantive information about the pricing of materials and exercise total transparency about project costs.

Inflation Is Making Insurance and Financing More Expensive

Construction insurance coverages are costlier, with more money tied up in every project due to inflation. Nevertheless, securing the proper protections is fundamental to companies’ risk management strategy.

Procuring working capital to support day-to-day activities and purchase new equipment takes time and effort. Financing options for companies are becoming more limited and tend to carry higher interest rates.

Ultimately, companies must take care to avoid overextending themselves financially. Planning and maximizing resources will make them better adapt to ongoing challenges.

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