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Why Do Builders Continue to Use Lumber?

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Construction

Why Do Builders Continue to Use Lumber?


July 13, 2021
wood framed house
Photo: Andy Dean | stock.adobe.com

Despite skyrocketing prices and supply shortages, few home builders are willing to use construction methods other than traditional wood framing. The National Association of Home Builders’/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index found out why in its June 2021 survey: a lack of workers/subcontractors with necessary experience. A whopping 82% of surveyed builders cited this as the most significant barrier preventing them from using other building methods. Wood framing methods were used in 91% of new homes constructed in 2020, according to the NAHB. The second most significant barrier was the relative cost of materials, according to 42% of builders. 

After a lack of experienced workers, the No. 2 hurdle to switch from wood framing was the relative cost of materials, cited by 42% of builders. Not only have materials like steel and concrete tended to be more expensive than lumber historically, they have also recently been subject to their own shortages and price hikes.

The costs of re-designing and re-engineering homes to conform to a new construction method, buyer resistance, and difficulty obtaining inspections and approvals from local building departments were also each cited by more than 25% of home builders as significant barriers to switching away from traditional wood framing.

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