The COVID-19 pandemic has completely uprooted just about everyone’s life across the globe. From school, to work, to dining and more — the pandemic has changed our world.
Home building is no different. Before the pandemic, we at Rob Rice Homes were always able to accurately predict when a home would be ready for buyers. We gave exact move-in dates and followed through. We have always prided ourselves on our clear communication and commitment to our buyers so they know what to expect throughout their entire home building journey with us. However, building a home includes many moving parts. Even in normal times, it requires skilled coordination of time, products and teamwork.
Since the pandemic, unfortunately, labor shortages across the country have caused unpredictable and uncontrollable delays and have hampered our ability to predict exact dates of completion. In this article we explore the process of building a home, labor issues due to the pandemic and how we have been affected at Rob Rice Homes. We want to be clear and transparent with our buyers on what to expect in the pandemic world we live in.
What Was The Pre-Pandemic Process Of Building A Rob Rice Home?
In a normal market, we followed a checklist to help coordinate the delivery of products, the work of subcontractors and the supervision of workers. This is a very brief overview; for a more detailed look check out our previous blog article. Our checklist consisted of:
- Site Preparation
- Framing & Exterior Construction
- Mechanical Systems
- Interior & Millwork
- Hard Surfaces & Trim
- Fencing & Landscaping
- Nicks & Dings Fixed
- Review Punch List
- Owner Walk-through
Supply Chain and Labor Issues Due To The COVID-19 Pandemic
Since the COVID-19 pandemic emerged in early 2020, supply chains across the globe have slowed for a variety of reasons. This has affected many different industries and economies. One of the causes of disrupted supply chains has been the exodus of many workers from their jobs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4.3 million workers had left their job as of August 2021, a three percent decrease in the United States workforce. Particularly impacted has been the trucker and warehouse worker sector.
Product Delays That Have Affected Rob Rice Homes
At Rob Rice Homes, these labor shortages and supply chain disruptions have led to a variety of issues. Below are a few specific areas we have faced challenges in.
- Glass continues to be a product that is hard to access. One day we can purchase the garage door style our buyer wants and the next day it’s not available.
- Our painting contractor has had to drive to southern Oregon just to find the paint that we use. Many tints have had to be changed or adjusted.
- We have had to completely redesign our building timelines based on product availability.
- We have never had to purchase on-site storage units just to store windows — we are doing so now.
- Daily price changes and increases make it difficult to estimate costs on homes we are building a year out. One supplier has already raised prices three times in the past eight months.
- Lumber prices are inconsistent and during the pandemic reached an all-time high. They continue to fluctuate.
- HVAC systems are difficult to get. Last summer, we had a sold home under construction and the homeowners had to close and move in without their AC unit. We installed it after closing which is not normal for us. Again, this is a disruption to us and the homeowner.
While we are dealing with these issues out of our control, it is still important to us at Rob Rice Homes to communicate with our buyers as often and accurately as we can.
According to Helena Rice: “Our process of building a home is very systematic. Because of issues out of our control, our completion dates continue to move. As a company that prides itself on quality construction and exceptional service, it is difficult for us to meet deadlines. We do our best to communicate to our homebuyers the reason behind delays, but it doesn’t make it any easier. We are looking forward to the day when we can get back to normal and meet our completion dates regularly.”
New homes in Thurston County, like so many areas right now, are very limited. Rob Rice Homes does offer a unique presale program that lets our home buyers buy a house in the early stages of construction, allowing our buyers to choose colors and surfaces such as tiles, counters, hardwood and more. To become a part of our waitlist, visit our website at robricehomes.com and locate the community you are interested in. Simply email the community agent and you’ll be added. We hope to hear from you soon!