Soaring demand for contractors causing delays, backlogs in WI

Growing demand for contractors causing delays and backlogs in BISE

In the past year many of our houses have also become our workplaces, schools and day care centers. These requirements have many people trying to change a few things in their homes, like adding a home office. You will likely wait a while.

In the past year many of our houses have also become our workplaces, schools and day care centers. These requirements have led many people to change some things in their homes such as adding a home office. You will likely wait a while.

“There’s more demand than ever,” said Jason Cyborowski of J&J Contractors I in Wauwatosa. “Four to five months is a realistic time frame [for a big project.]””

What leads to longer lead times? High demand for contractors and a number of delivery bottlenecks and backlogs.

Cyborowski says her requests for interior work go through the roof.

“Last year was the best year we’ve ever had and this year is already in the books to be better than last year,” said Cyborowski. “They make basements, they make additions.”

NARI Milwaukee says its home improvement and remodeling contractors are reporting an increase of over 60 percent.

“Plan it will be a good month before they can even visit you,” said Diane Welhouse of NARI.

The backlog of manufacturers contributes to delays. Currently it can take four weeks to order a new door. A new window can take ten weeks. Fixings, cabinets, and vinyl siding can take three months to complete.

“They’ve also reduced choices to keep up with demand,” Welhouse said. “If at any point the siding was available in 15 colors, they cut that down to six.”

It doesn’t help that manufacturers are also shutting down to implement CDC guidelines, continuing to close temporarily and still work with reduced labor.

“It’s not us, it’s everyone we buy from,” said Cyborowski.

Prices have also increased. Last year, the price of sawn timber more than doubled to a record high.

“In the beginning, treated wood was the construction industry’s toilet paper,” said Josh Brown of Bliffert Lumber and Hardware.

Since March, Brown has seen an increase in do-it-yourself customers. It’s been good for business, but Brown warns against taking on more than you can handle.

“You can get yourself into a tough spot there because you may have started a project and then at that point you can’t find a contractor for 3-4 months,” said Brown.

Contractors may be busier than ever, but permit applications are actually declining slightly in West Allis and other communities. How can that be? While some households are saving money, others are struggling. People are also likely to do a lot of smaller projects or work without permission.

“Things like roofing a house or siding, painting a house, tiles, new cabinets, a lot of these different things don’t require a permit [in West Allis]”said Ed Lisinski, director of site inspection and neighborhood services for West Allis.

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Lisinski says you should call your community to see what permits are required.

Before starting a major project, contractors ask about one thing.

“Whether you are a roofer, sider, window fitter, kitchen remover, whoever it is, please be patient with them,” said Cyborowski.

NARI Milwaukee says if a contractor claims they can start a large project in 30 days, it could be a red flag. Even if a quote seems too good to be true, it probably is. This is more true now than ever.

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