Chattahoochee Valley construction industry faces rising building costs amid pandemic

Updated: Apr. 20, 2021 at 8:00 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - It has been a year and some days since the first reported cases of coronavirus were detected in China, but COVID-19′s global spread continues to plague residential and commercial construction.

“The cost of OSB plywood has skyrocketed,” said construction worker Robert Daniel. “A year ago it was $9 and now Home Depot is selling it for $36.25 a sheet.”

The rise in construction and building material prices could be due to several things, like labor shortages and supply chain issues. But most of the likely reasons stem from the pandemic.

“There is just an unprecedented demand and a supply that is really low right now,” said Tripp Mitchell, owner of Valley Fir and Redwood Company.

Mitchell is the third-generation owner of his family-run lumber business and because of the nationwide uptick in building costs, he has to adjust prices more than he would like.

“We have had to raise prices pretty much on a weekly basis,” Mitchell said.

For builders like Daniels on the other end of the supply and demand chain, it creates some headaches for those fronting the costs to build.

“That drives our price up, which falls back on the customer who now has to pay all this extra money because of the increase of prices,” Daniels said.

For Mitchell who relies on his inventory from out-of-town lumber mills, a lot of the supply issues are out of his control, like if a mill experiences an outbreak of COVID-19 cases or experiences an accident, forcing them to shut down. His advice to prospective builders is to have options and be flexible in the material you want to use.

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