RIVERVIEW, Fla. — The cost of construction materials is higher than ever with the biggest year-over-year price spike in 50 years. Yet, Tampa Bay area companies are finding ways to work around some of the worst supply and labor shortages in American history.
Homes by WestBay in Riverview is a construction company that’s had to overhaul the way they do business. The company started ordering materials six months in advance. That’s about three times longer than usual. The red-hot real estate market is also allowing them to start building homes before they even line up a buyer.
“Our whole experience was built around delivering a home within 6-8 months for a customer and now if we didn’t change, that would be a year plus. So, we’ve completely had to overhaul how we operate,” explained Brian Bullock, the Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Homes by West Bay.
Construction companies stress if you plan to build a home; you should have a plan B for where you’ll live if the building process takes longer than anticipated.
Jordan Reddington got lucky. Her family’s Riverview home only took three months longer than expected to build. Reddington and her husband have spent two years working from home where they’ve been juggling work and parenting all under one roof.
“Now we work and we live at home and life is work and work is life so there’s really no division. We have two young daughters and we felt like the walls were closing in on us,” Reddington explained.
They knew they needed more space and decided to build a home in Riverview's Hawks Fern neighborhood. Their timing just happened to coincide with one of the worst labor and supply markets.
“I kind of make an analogy of the process like a roller coaster: There are really high highs, really low lows, lots of stops and starts but it’s really exciting,” she added.
Brian Bullock agreed that the process of building homes has been unique since the pandemic began.
"I’ve been in this for 30 years and at different times there were maybe a component or two in short supply but then suppliers would get it turned around fairly quickly. Right now we are experiencing delays on almost everything. This is like stuff we have never seen before,” he said.
Reddington’s process was sped up because she chose one of the homes that already had all the features pre-selected by a design team.
“They selected all the features and materials for us, and it worked out that everything I had in mind that I wanted they had already preselected for us,” she explained.
Construction company leaders also said you should check your contract if you’re planning to build a home to make sure prices are locked in and won’t escalate as material costs go up.
“It was exhilarating. There were parts that were frustrating because we didn’t know what would happen but overall, it was really smooth,” Reddington added.