Australia is faced with a timber shortage. How will this impact construction in the Sutherland Shire?

The residential building industry is booming as people look to take advantage of the Australian Government building scheme and to create homes more suited to a work-from-home lifestyle. This surge in building, coupled with manufacturing and importing issues because of the Coronavirus pandemic, has created supply shortages and price rises.

Obtaining timber and other materials for construction is very difficult for all builders at this time. In fact, this is not isolated to the Sutherland Shire, but is a current global issue. To try to minimise the impact of this, we are now ordering our timber at least 6 weeks ahead of schedule, compared to what used to be a 24 hour turn-around time. We have great relationships with our suppliers’ sales representatives, so we can communicate, plan and prepare for what we need. In some cases, certain regularly used products are simply not available. However, in consultation with structural engineers and timber providers, we are often able to substitute products with others that will perform in the same way and not incur delays. In saying that, it is possible unforeseeable building delays may be experienced due to timber unavailability. Our clients have access to an online schedule to monitor their new home construction, so any situation that may cause a delay is communicated.

Not just timber, we have noticed supply issues with other building products such as tapware, bathroom fixtures, and appliances, to name a few. This is because suppliers are struggling to receive goods from their distributors and manufacturers, and have an extreme volume of backorders to fill. Where possible, we arrange orders with our clients early in the build process to secure stock and allow the longest amount of lead time available before an item is required on site. We also encourage clients to select products that are showing positive stock availability and be open to alternate product choices, should their first preference be unavailable.

Another issue affecting construction is the soaring cost of timber and other building products. As the demand for timber is at an all-time high, prices have skyrocketed. As a result, the cost of home building is generally more expensive currently due to these external factors. If you are planning to build, the best way for customers to avoid price increases is to lock in building contracts and place orders with suppliers. It’s quite possible if you have left a building quote to expire, that the builder can no longer build your home for that price anymore and would need to requote at a higher rate.