It’s no secret that building material shortages are causing problems for the construction industry, with wood, lumber and steel very difficult to source. It’s particularly difficult for small businesses or those planning some DIY projects at home since they don’t have the buying power that the large construction companies might have. If this is you, do not fret, there are opportunities for you if you’re prepare to think laterally. The supply chain issues we currently face here in the US is actually a global issue. There are many factors at play that we can consider in order to pre-empt what may happen in the local market. For example, Australian steel plate distributor Calibre Steel has shared stats that show Australia is experiencing a construction boom that is set to continue despite significant materials shortages.
The supply chain issues we currently face, don’t mean that you have to put your DIY projects or small business on hold. There are often still ways to get what need to get the job done. Here are a few tips to help you out:
Substitute your materials
Often there are alternative materials that can help you get the job done sooner. While they may not have been your first preference, they may still work well to get the task completed. They might come at a higher cost however you should consider the time saved by avoiding the lengthy wait for materials. It is a balancing act. By no means should you cut corners using inferior materials however you may have to make some adjustments to your plans.
Consider used materials
For small business projects or DIY tasks, you might be able to find suitable used building materials that meet your needs. You might be able to buy and sell used building materials by shopping at marketplaces dedicated to used building materials. You can often find good deals on lumber, flooring, fixtures, and other common building supplies. Before you purchase used building materials, be sure to inspect them for damage.
Check with local businesses
Before running to large suppliers, check with local businesses that sell building supplies. While they may not have everything in stock, there’s a chance they’ve got exactly what you need. Local businesses like to support other locals so you might find they go out of their way to support you.
Ask your personal network
It’s not what you know it’s who you know. This is particularly true when there are shortages and we need the support of others to get what we need. Building supply companies are struggling to keep up with the demand for construction materials so as a first step, you should ask people you know in the industry who may have contacts that can get you what you need. Maybe you can offer to pay a little bit extra for items. It could be a worthwhile investment.
Utilize social media
When you’ve exhausted your go-to personal network in the industry, it can’t hurt to try social media. You’ll be surprised who knows who when you put it out there across your social media channels. Twitter is a great platform to directly reach out to companies and see if they can help you with your construction material needs. Facebook groups are also incredibly useful as there are often tight-knit groups of people who are willing to help out others in need.
Check online retailers
While building supply stores are struggling to get products in, other retailers might have what you need so a quick search online could be well worth the effort. You can often find what you’re looking for on websites like Amazon or eBay. Facebook Marketplace may also be helpful on some occasions. Consider searching beyond your local region and pay the freight. It might be a better option than waiting!
With the current building material shortage, you may have to get creative with how you acquire what you need for your project. If you have a skill that another person in possession of what you need wants, then offer to do a trade. It is an excellent way to get what you need without spending any money.
Don’t give up
It may seem like an uphill battle to get your hands on building materials during a shortage, but don’t give up. With a little bit of perseverance and some creativity, you might find a way to get the job done. You may need to redesign your project slightly to accommodate for what is available, but that can lead to some interesting results. You never know when or where you will find a solution to your problem. Keep your eyes peeled for construction sites that are being torn down or remodeled. You might be able to salvage some of the materials from these sites before they are demolished.