Business Advice6 min

How to Lower Costs and Handle Construction Labor Shortages on the Jobsite

As an ongoing result of the COVID-19 pandemic, construction supply chain challenges have resulted in increased costs of building materials and extended build timelines. Labor shortages also continue to impact the industry, so building pros are constantly on the lookout for ways to get the job done quickly and with smaller crews. 

Erik Perkins of the Perkins Builder Brothers has experienced some of these challenges firsthand. “Building projects are taking a lot longer and costing a lot more these days,” he says, “but we feel great using LP® SmartSide® Trim & Siding products, knowing we can put up siding faster and more efficiently.”

Let’s take a look at how engineered wood products, including one of the most durable siding solutions on the market, can help mitigate some of these issues.

Why Are Building Materials So Expensive Right Now?

With high demand comes higher costs of building materials, and demand for home construction continues to increase. This causes the overall prices of building materials to increase along with it. While prices are high much of the time, the COVID-19 pandemic causes volatility—prices have dipped and spiked dramatically over the past couple of years. According to Newsweek, the current construction boom is a major factor in higher prices, alongside the effect of the pandemic on the transportation of lumber.

“With supply chain issues in construction, our biggest holdup lately has been getting windows and doors in even close to the timeframe it used to be,” Perkins says. “When you do a building project for yourself, check ahead and make sure those products are going to be available in the timeframe you need them.”

Skilled Construction Labor Shortage in the Construction Industry

According to McKinsey & Company, there were over 400,000 unfilled construction positions in October 2021 in the United States. There are many factors that contribute to this gap—training programs being slow to restart after the COVID-19 pandemic, the retirement of the baby boomer generation and the prospect of higher pay, among others. “We’re making sure we can get every moment out of our crew we can,” Perkins says.

Labor shortages aren’t just on the jobsite. A shortage of workers contributes to the efficiency of the construction supply chain for building materials, which can delay production and shipments. Overall, labor shortages affect jobsites—and the speed of construction—daily. 

Will the Cost of Building Materials Go Down in 2022?

With high demand for homes and other structures alongside persistent construction supply chain challenges in 2022, costs of building materials may not drop in the near future. Builders must work to combat the effects of this in both short-term, day-to-day choices and long-term planning. 

It's critical to consider how product choices can help mitigate some of the challenges that have come up since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Let's take a look at how LP SmartSide products can contribute to more efficient jobsites.

Siding Tips for Making Jobsites More Efficient

As one of the most durable siding materials available, LP SmartSide Trim & Siding contributes to a more efficient jobsite and represents a great choice for improving operations. Backed by a third-party study, LP SmartSide products boast proven productivity and can help pros install faster, cut waste and reduce build cycles. Here’s how the installation of engineered wood siding can make a difference:

  • Faster Installation: LP SmartSide Trim & Lap Siding are proven to install 30% faster than fiber cement trim and lap siding.
  • Lighter Weights: LP SmartSide lap siding weighs 45% less than fiber cement lap siding. Perkins notes that his crews can carry up to five pieces of lap siding at once.
  • Longer Lengths: LP SmartSide Trim & Siding comes in 16-foot lengths as opposed to 12-foot fiber cement siding boards. 
  • Smaller Crews: LP SmartSide Trim & Siding boards can be carried and handed up to another member by just one other crew member. 
  • Simpler Installation: LP SmartSide products install easily with standard woodworking equipment.

With durable LP SmartSide products on the jobsite, pros can rest assured the job will get done faster and easier than with other siding options such as fiber cement. When labor may be short and every moment counts, a durable product that enables quick, accurate work is key-and LP SmartSide products fit the bill. Ultimately, Perkins notes, "We don't have to run as big a crew to be efficient."

Other accessory products, such as LP SmartSide Outside Corners, can make installing outside corners a breeze. These eliminate the step of building corners on the jobsite and also contribute to a finished look.

Dig into the details about LP SmartSide Trim & Siding’s proven productivity here.

All data referenced came from RSMeans’ data research document for comparing Louisiana-Pacific ExpertFinish® and SmartSide® Siding and Trim products to fiber cement competitor siding and trim products.

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