The number of building permits issued post-recession has grown steadily nationwide, according to a recent article in Maine Biz. It’s not often that retirees and Millennials necessarily find themselves on common ground, but these two groups are working together to drive this trend. What does this mean for you, a forward-thinking person wanting to build a net-zero home? Open your planner, your smart phone calendar, or just grab a sharpie and write “START PLANNING OUR NEW HOME NOW!”
You see, according to the Census Bureau’s 2016 Survey of Construction, custom home build times are estimated to be 10-16 months, while production homes are estimated at 4-6 months.
That may be well and good, but as we enter this new year, certain trends in the industry may have an adverse effect on these estimated times. For one, low unemployment – good on many fronts – has led to labor shortages in construction companies – bad on the home building front. As the Washington Post pointed out, increased tariffs on building materials means their price and availability have become less stable and less predictable. In addition, the construction industry has reported an 8% increase in backlog, meaning many companies are in the midst of finishing the old before being able to take on the new.
Up here in Maine we’ve experienced that many quality site-builders are booked out one to two years, and their subcontractors can be even further out. (Your house may be standing, but you’ll have no bathtub or shower for another year. Nobody wants that.)
Let’s also remember Mother Nature – her unpredictability is trending every year and 2019 is no exception. Weather - snow, sleet, rain, hail, excessive heat, strong winds, lightning - will happen.
Modular construction is subject to some of the same pressures of this year’s construction trends. As more people are enlightened to the ease, speed, and efficiency possible with modular technology, the demand for this building style has grown. There are a limited number of manufacturers making pre-fabricated buildings, and they now have a greater strain on their current capacity. The build time for a modular home will be short, but the “begin to build” could be an additional several months down the line.
Never fear! Though we don’t have a magic wand to wave and eliminate all of these pressures on the industry for you, we do have built-in solutions to help navigate around some of them. Off-site construction has the benefit of being sheltered from the elements, so production happens regardless of what Mother Nature throws our way. And even with the slightly longer waits for fabricated pieces to come out of the factories, the build time on site is not affected.
Trends often generate long lines. We’ve all witnessed the phenomenon of people waiting down the block to get a table at the most recent trendy brunch spot. As we’ve seen for 2019, trends in the construction industry have the same effect, but instead of waiting in line for one meal, you are waiting for the literal roof over your head! Let’s act on that note you wrote to yourself at the beginning of this article. Get in touch with us today and we’ll find a spot for you at the front of the line, helping your net-zero home become a reality this year. You can pass right by all the lines at those trendy breakfast places and make delicious waffles in the comfort of your own beautiful home.