Unless you have been living under a rock, our lives have significantly changed due to Covid-19. The remodeling industry has also drastically changed as well, and I would like to highlight some of the changes we are experiencing in remodeling during the Covid-19 global pandemic.
Remodeling process and products are taking longer to order during Covid-19:
While your Starbucks coffee may take an extra few minutes to receive due to less staff in the shop, in the remodeling industry we are seeing days, weeks, and sometimes even months added to our remodeling schedules. For example:
- Building Permits: Pre-pandemic, it may have taken 24 to 48 hours to receive a standard building permit, but currently, we are experiencing a 2-3 week delay getting standard permits and sometimes a month simply to receive a simple permit. I do not believe this is due to new inefficiencies in the system (although one could argue this), but with staff now working remotely from home, we are unable to communicate with the city departments other than through email, rather than a simple phone call, or in drastic times a trip down to the permitting department. And within their department, it requires added time to communicate amongst themselves, as they cannot simply walk over to the cubicle next to theirs to discuss the permit.
- Manufacturing Time: We were recently told that most manufacturing plants are working long hours and simply not catching up with the demands for their products. We were also told that many manufacturing plants have had to eliminate some lines of production in order to maintain social distancing, which translates into fewer products being made. Prior to the pandemic, the time from when we ordered cabinets to when we received them was 4-6 weeks. This has increased to 10-12 weeks, which requires careful analysis of the production schedule to determine when during the renovation the cabinets will be needed, to ensure we do not tear someone’s kitchen apart only to come to a screeching halt for four weeks while we wait on cabinets.
This translates into us not being able to start a job as soon as we would like in order to minimize any delays in our schedules due to waiting on products such as cabinets. And the same goes for appliances. What stores used to maintain as in-stock appliances are now taking 4 months to receive. We are literally having to check availability on all products (cabinets, tile, appliances, flooring, plumbing fixtures, lighting fixtures, windows, doors) going into a renovation prior to starting the job to minimize delays during production.
Many of our renovations only require 10-12 weeks to complete from start to finish, so if waiting on a product now requires 12 weeks, that is three months of waiting to start what would have been completed in the same time frame. These same time frames also are holding true for lighting and plumbing fixtures, tile, windows, doors, cabinet hardware, and flooring.
Fewer options and availability:
With the changes in the manufacturing world such as reduction in lines working, there is also the elimination of certain products. Prior to the pandemic, there were a plethora of options for almost every product going into a renovation. Not only did you have the ability to choose which faucet manufacturer or sink was perfect for your kitchen, but you also had tons of choices in style and finish. We are now finding that these choices are being delayed or in some cases eliminated.
For example, a manufacturer may limit the styles of faucets they make, and in addition, may only make it in 3 finishes. They may make it in polished chrome one month, the next month in brushed nickel and the third month in bronze. For our homeowners who are particular in a certain finish on their faucet or on their sink, it may no longer be available to them when they want depending on the manufacturer’s schedule.
And this translates into all other areas of selections for products as well. Unfortunately, during this past year, we had to wait 3 months to receive the appliances for one kitchen renovation, and another renovation saw it’s kitchen sink backordered three times, resulting in a 2-month delay. Understandably suppliers are having a hard time getting manufacturers to commit to a delivery date which trickles down to remodelers having a hard time staying on schedule.
Things are costing more during Covid-19:
And here it gets cringeworthy. No one wants to talk about the cost of things increasing. It is hard enough to talk about the cost of a home renovation before the pandemic. But now we are experiencing the cost to actually do the renovation itself rising. The cost of labor across the industry including plumbers, electricians, and artisans has risen. Additionally, the cost of building materials has skyrocketed. Here are a few examples I, myself have found recently as I tinker on my own home.
A year ago, I could go to my favorite big box store and purchase a 2×4 stud for $3-$4. This same stud a year later costs me $8-$9. Right next to the studs are the infamous ½” thick OSB plywood sheets. Pre-pandemic they cost $13-$14 per sheet. Now they are costing about $30 a sheet. You do not have to be a mathematician to calculate this rise in cost over an entire remodeling project during the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the cost to do a simple (or more complex) renovation.
Pent up demand:
I believe that due to our self-imposed social distancing, working from home, and nesting in place, many homeowners are getting antsy to do something about their abode. Their two options being to either “move and upgrade” or “invest in the nest”. This pent-up demand has sent the building and remodeling industry on a very robust trajectory. All indications pointing to a strong 2021 year, barring any other “black swans” looming on the horizon.
My parting recommendations if you are considering embarking on a renovation project in 2021 are:
- be patient because it is going to take longer to design and complete than it used to
- start earlier than you anticipated in order to make your renovation schedule
- be flexible, you may not get everything you had hoped for at the time
- and most importantly, choose a contractor that is prepared and has a plan to help you navigate these “unusual” times.
Let Corinthian help you navigate your home remodeling during the covid-19 pandemic and help you Love where you live!