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Supply Chain Issues Force Builders to Find Alternative Materials

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Building Materials

Supply Chain Issues Force Builders to Find Alternative Materials

Contractors are more open to trying alternatives. Even if the substitution is more expensive, price is secondary to availability. But sometimes there is no option but to wait.


October 7, 2021
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Image: stock.Adobe.com

Builders of residential and commercial properties are learning more about refineries and resin plants than they ever cared to know thanks to unprecedented supply chain issues. A lot of building supplies that derive from raw materials to make plastics, vinyl, and coatings are just not available. 

So contractors are more open to trying alternatives. Even if the substitution is more expensive, price is secondary to availability. But sometimes there is no option but to wait.

Uncertainty about the availability of materials is complicating business for construction companies as they try to price out bids and meet project guidelines. For example, it usually takes a month to deliver mineral wool, but now Skender Construction LLC is looking at a six-to-eight month wait for the wall insulation for an 11-story office project in Chicago.

Skender and its clients considered fiberglass insulation as a substitute. But that would require more layers of drywall, adding to costs, so Skender is sticking with its original plan while seeking more suppliers of mineral wool, said Andy Halik, a company vice president.

Rockwool North America, a supplier, blamed the long wait on high demand, president Rory Moss said in a statement.

Plastic roofing membranes that create watertight barriers to protect building interiors are also hard to come by, because of shortages of raw materials as well as a lack of truck capacity. Manufacturers “just don’t have visibility on when it’s going to get back to normal,” said Tony Rader, vice president of National Roofing Partners in Coppell, Texas.

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