As all of our clients and the construction industry at large are aware, material shortages have been one of the ongoing battles of the last 18 months. The COVID-19 pandemic, along with increased freight costs, delayed shipping times, and a marked increase in the construction sector have caused many raw materials to become scarce. Suppliers simply cannot keep up with increased demand, and some are even having to declare force majeure due to a complete lack of inventory. Many leaders in the construction industry have been struck by the unprecedented nature of these shortages. It is unfortunate that with the combination of circumstances, a perfect storm has been created for an increase in demand, and a shortage of supply.

What’s Going On?

We recently covered in-depth here why material shortages have become so prevalent. The increase in home improvement projects and renovations/construction during the pandemic has made raw materials a hot commodity that manufacturers just cannot seem to keep up with. As stated in our previous article:

“There are both supply and demand-side issues that affect price increases. When demand exceeds supply, prices tend to rise. The Wall Street Journal calls the events of the last year a “mess”, stating that the global supply chain has been disrupted in a way that is causing increases across all industries with several main factors.” 

However, COVID-19 is not the only factor that has affected supply shortages recently. According to Roofing Contractor, “transportation issues, things like the Texas freeze, the blockage of the Suez Canal, and the trade war with China have all contributed to supply shortages.” 

These unforeseen circumstances have caused many suppliers to declare a force majeure, a rarely used exemption clause that allows for suppliers to suspend contractual obligations due to circumstances beyond their own control. Unfortunately, this sort of circumstance only increases demand, and competition for materials is at an all-time high. 

 

Which Roofing Products Have Been Hit The Hardest? 

According to Syntec Systems, the products most affected are “fasteners/plates, polyiso, low-rise foam, EPDM, and TPO.”  Roofing Contractor also reports that shortages have been reported for light-gauge metal, membrane materials, and insulation boards. Shortages for these materials are expected to last into 2022, so it’s more important than ever to be proactive about the health of your structure. 

 

 So What Can You Do To Protect Your Investment?

 Plan Ahead:

With materials being scarce, set lead times and completion dates are currently something that roofing contractors cannot guarantee. Longer lead times should be expected for raw materials, so if you know that there’s a project that you’d like to start within the year, talk to your roofing contractor about getting the wheels in motion early to avoid unnecessary wait times.

 

 Practice Preventative Maintenance:

The best thing that you can do for the health of your building is to create a comprehensive preventative maintenance plan. Have your roofing inspector make a recommendation for repairs that are pending, but not emergent, and have those repairs done sooner rather than later. It’s likely that with the increase in cost and the longer lead-time, materials for emergency fixes will be much harder to come by.  

 

Ask about alternatives:

If the roofing material that you need has a particularly long lead-time, or you have a roofing emergency, your contractor should be able to recommend a short term solution with materials that are currently available. Make sure that you only deal with experienced and licensed roofing contractors who can make these augmentations without sacrificing the integrity of your roof. It is possible, but expert knowledge of how certain materials work together is an absolute must. According to the NRCA, the ability to adapt is crucial, especially during emergency situations. 

 

The last year has hit every industry, and we’re making it our mission to help our clients navigate through these challenging times. If you’d like to know more about current solutions offered, or book an inspection, contact us here. The Elite team is here to help you set up your roof for success. That’s the Elite Advantage.