Find Out What USDA Offers To Mitigate Rising Construction Costs New

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In response to the economic disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic that has shaken the very fabric of the construction industry and caused a dramatic increase in the cost of materials, the USDA is calling for increased efforts for an independent forest economy. But what does that mean?

According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), the issue of rising lumber prices dates back to 2017, when the Trump administration passed a tariff on softwood lumber from Canada, which provides a large portion of the lumber needs of the United States, but the pandemic has really taken its toll.

Nationally, by mid-February, lumber prices had risen 170% in the previous 10 months, prompting builders to raise prices. This in turn raised the price of building a new home by thousands of dollars, according to the NAHB.

“It’s absolutely a crisis,” says Dennis Bourbeau, president of the Vermont Home Builders Association.

Bourbeau is also a real estate agent and claims that his company, Bourbeau Custom Homes, builds 100% new homes.

“My costs have increased by almost 20% in the past 12 to 14 months for the same house,” he says.

And it’s not just wood that drives these costs up. Bourbeau reports that the cost of a roll of electrical wire has dropped from $ 65 to $ 125 in just over a month. This is at a time when the average home uses 15 rolls of yarn.

“So you’re looking at an increase of about $ 800 to $ 900 just for the wiring of an average house. It continues to add up … and the new ICC code requirements have added an additional $ 1,500 to the electrical part of the house. Now all of a sudden the electrical part of the house has increased by 20%, ”he said.

Steve Maskell, an independent contractor and former lumberjack from Eden, says shipping long distances and across borders also changes the price of materials.

“The border closure has really had an effect on free trade. We couldn’t cross to pick up supplies. In addition, many of our trees go to Canada and the Canadian government subsidizes their industry. We send the products to them, they are processed and sold back to us for less than what we can produce ourselves. That’s why the demand is so great to go to Canada, ”he says.

On the other hand, the question of demand. Summer DIY projects have significantly affected the pressure processing market.

“You just couldn’t get pressure treated lumber. We had huge delays because everyone was at home and they weren’t spending money on anything other than renovations, ”Bourbeau explains.

As a result, demand has been increasing and supply decreasing.

“I don’t expect us to see this huge DIY rush in 2021 that we saw in 2020,” he says.

However, the lack of products and the lack of existing homes left buyers in a pinch. The only option he says is to build new houses. But 98% of the time the price is marked out of the consumer’s range.

“What is happening is that the market is so hot that you see people bidding or bidding on asking price and then keep not even asking for home inspections,” he says.

The result is a cash transaction, according to Bourbeau.

“If someone needs funding, their offer will not be accepted due to the possibility of funding,” he says. {h3 style = “text-align: left;”} What’s the solution? {/ h3}

To solve the current problems, the USDA proposes the idea of ​​an independent forest economy through the use of solid wood, a general term for engineered wood products used in commercial construction.

“This involves gluing pieces of soft wood like pine, spruce or fir, but also sometimes deciduous species like birch, ash and beech to form larger pieces”, explains Adam. Kane, executive director of the Fairbanks Museum, who recently secured funding and built an addition called the “Science Annex Workforce Development Project”.

When complete, the three-story, 6,000-square-foot upgrade will include a classroom and exhibition space, a stair tower and four restrooms, and will be made entirely of solid wood.

“The idea is to stimulate the economic impact on the forest industry in Vermont,” says Kane.

But the most common form of solid timber is called cross-laminated timber (CLT).

“The planks of wood that have been cut and kiln dried are glued together in layers, crosswise, with the grain of each layer facing the adjacent grain,” he says.

Stacking planks in this way, Kane says, can create large slabs, up to a foot thick and up to 18 feet long by 98 feet wide, but also produce fewer emissions and less waste than normal construction.

“Slabs of wood this size can match or exceed the performance of concrete and steel. CLT can be used to make floors, walls, ceilings – entire buildings, ”he says.

According to the USDA, Vermont has 4.5 million acres of forest making up 73% of the state, but there is no solid timber building built in the state yet and that is what the Fairbanks Museum hopes to move forward.

“It’s a chicken and egg problem. You need the supply and the demand right now. We saw this as a way to create an ecosystem where more mass timber can be built. Kane said. “This project promotes sustainability and creates something that will last for a long time. “

The exhibit, which will cost between $ 2.25 and $ 2.5 million, is slated to open in June and open in March.

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