After two years since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are still navigating the effects on our economy and supply chain. From gas, food, and lumber the uncertainty surrounding the rate at which prices will climb is causing concern across multiple industries including commercial construction.
Riding the wave of the volatile lumber market continues to be a top challenge as investors, developers, and builders struggle to identify the true cost of their next commercial construction project. In recent weeks, lumber prices have jumped 14% to $1,452 per thousand board feet, putting them at just 15% below the all-time high of $1,711 in May 2021.
With lumber’s daily trade limits widened by 90% starting last week, industry insiders warning we should prepare for continued and lingering prices swings.
The continued volatility of the lumber market adds greater importance to the timing of selecting the right framing contractor. In a stabilized lumber market, general contractors could push the limits of awarding the framing package to be within three to four months of mobilizing the framing crew. In today’s market, that timetable offers more risk associated with presenting an accurate project budget. That’s because the framing package mix has shifted. What used to be broken into thirds – 1/3 Labor, 1/3 Lumber, and 1/3 Roof and Floor Trusses with labor being the biggest variable is now ½ Lumber with Labor and the Roof and Trusses making up a quarter each. And while labor is still an issue, lumber is now the biggest variable.
3 Key Benefits to an Early Selection of Your Framing Partner
Awarding the framing package six months or more before mobilizing the framing crew offers several benefits to keeping a commercial construction project on budget and schedule.
- Better Lumber Pricing. More time often equate to better lumber prices. Bringing in the framing contractor earlier allows experienced contractors with strategic lumber suppliers the ability to analyze the lumber market and future to buy the bulk lumber at the best time at the best price. With advanced notice, a financially stable framing contractor will be able to buy and store the material until it’s needed.
- BIM Coordination. If working with a turnkey commercial framing contractor, an earlier start allows the contractor’s pre-construction team to be involved with the BIM coordination efforts to improve collaboration between architects, engineers, and sub-contractors and most importantly identify design issues before getting to the job site. A highly experienced commercial wood framing contractor is also valuable in guiding new trends and materials, such as structural hardware and fasteners.
- Secure Top Truss Vendor. Awarding the framing package earlier also gives a competitive advantage in selecting the truss manufacturer. Reputable truss manufacturers are booked well in advance, in some cases up to 9+ months. If the turnkey package is not awarded early enough, you may be forced to use a less qualified or more expensive option.
When you select the right framing contractor at the right time you can set your project up for success from the start. To learn more about how Quality Buildings turnkey process can help your next project contact us at 717-288-2348.