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Facing shortages of construction materials and labor, builders try to be flexible

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Everything from worker shortage to material prices have forced builders to adapt. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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There is a lot of pent up demand affecting the construction industry. However, builders and contractors are contending with major delays because of supply chain constraints, high prices for everything from lumber to steel, and not nearly enough construction workers. 

Some in the industry are getting creative to work around those challenges. 

In construction, every project has a start date and an end date. But these days, Greg Sizemore at Associated Builders and Contractors said it’s a lot harder to stick to those. So, as a result “the owner community and the construction community is working closer together than they ever had before,” he said.

Often, he said, that means negotiating what gets done when. So, say, if you were planning to install a refrigerator one day, but the wood for the floors gets delayed, and there’s no floor? 

“You can’t install the refrigerator. So what do we do instead? We do something else,” he said.

Something like, the countertops, which might be granite – if marble’s not available.

Stephanie Schmidt runs Poole Anderson Construction in State College, Pennsylvania. She’s also keeping a much closer eye on the cost and availability of everything.

“Watching the commodity prices, talking to suppliers and trying to just really look at the best time to purchase materials,” she said.

Which, she added, might be six months ahead of when they need them. 

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