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SWFL Custom Homes Blog

Building in a Post-Covid World

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Englewood Home Builder

The COVID-19 pandemic brought significant changes to not only the way we live, but the way we build our homes. Add in the effects of Hurricane Ian, and South Florida’s builders and homebuyers alike have been hit with a double whammy of disruption.

If you’re considering building a home here, it's crucial to understand the new dynamics in the construction industry. We’ll discuss some of the biggest points of friction right now, and provide you with the guidance you need to plan well and manage your expectations.

Supply Chain Issues

One of the steepest challenges in the post-pandemic era is the instability of the global supply chain. The construction industry has been particularly affected, with delays and increased costs for materials like lumber, steel, and concrete. A lot of material can only be sourced from overseas, and others are more affordable. Keeping costs low sometimes requires waiting long periods until shipments arrive.

When planning your custom home, you’ll need to be aware that delays and budget overruns could occur, simply as a result of these disruptions. We do our best to place orders early and coordinate with suppliers, but frequently the issue is out of contractors’ hands.

Solution: Have Backup Choices

The best remedy here is to be flexible. Be willing to go with alternative materials or brands, and have backup options selected so that you’re ready to pivot as soon as something comes up. Making contingency plans is the best way to safeguard your project’s progress and maintain as much control as possible.

Labor Shortages

The pandemic has caused a big labor shortage in the construction industry. Sadly, many workers have been forced to leave the industry due to health concerns, while others decided to pursue less physically-demanding work.

As a result, many contracting teams are spread thin, especially when it comes to tradesmen with specialized skills. The high demand vs. short supply has raised the price of labor quite a bit, and projects are slowing down.

Solution: Choose an Established Builder & Set Expectations

This shortage of workers increases the chances that your project could be faced with delays, and even budget overruns if the cost of labor isn’t properly accounted for. The best protection is working with a well-established construction company that has a proven track record of meeting deadlines, staying on budget, and communicating the realities of construction costs to their clients.

Be wary of contractors that give low price quotes. Their numbers are usually too good to be true, resulting in overspending once the project actually gets going. A reputable contractor will be honest about all of the costs, including labor, and draw up a budget that properly accommodates the new prices.

Permitting Bottlenecks

In order to build your home, you’ll need local authorities to approve the proper permits. While this process has always been time-consuming, the pandemic has only lengthened the waiting periods. COVID-19 created shortages among staff at these institutions, while also increasing demand for their services. As a result, local agencies are now working through major bottlenecks. Your project can easily get stuck in the backlog.

Solution: Get Organized & Submit Early

Navigating the permitting process goes a lot more smoothly when you and your contractor are organized. Iron out your plans early and make firm decisions. This will ensure that you can submit your permit applications as soon as possible, and that you won’t need to resubmit because you changed your mind about some aspect of the build. Make sure you’re working with a contractor who is diligent about documentation and can have all paperwork ready in time.

Hurricane Ian

Last year’s hurricane was devastating, causing extensive damage to homes, businesses, and critical infrastructure throughout South Florida. Construction teams have been working overtime to speed up the recovery, and much of the local resources have gone toward rebuilding. This has only further exacerbated material and labor shortages.

In addition, it has changed perspectives when it comes to building. Now, priorities lie even more strongly in constructing homes that are resilient in the face of extreme weather, which is expected to become more frequent.

Solution: Be Patient & Plan a Smart Build

With so many people trying to rebuild, it’s important to be understanding of project slowdowns. Your contractor should be communicating time projections clearly, making sure that you have a clear picture of your project’s status and what to expect moving forward.

This extra time should be taken advantage of. Use it to plan a design that can stand strong against hurricanes and keep your household safe. Talk with your contractor about features such as hurricane-proof windows and doors, elevated foundations, structural reinforcement, and backup power.

Capitol Can Help You Achieve a Successful Post-COVID Build

Of course, a project can be meticulously planned and executed and still run into delays for reasons that are out of the builder’s control, but a good builder will be communicative about the length and reason for the delays so homebuyers aren’t left wondering what’s taking so long.

Here at Capitol Homes, we have extensive experience building custom homes throughout South Florida, tackling all of the challenges presented by both the pandemic and Hurricane Ian. Our team is prepared to help you navigate the new construction landscape, giving you the insights and support needed to ensure a timely and affordable build that meets all of your goals.

You’re welcome to read more about our process, or even come down to our Design Center to talk to us in person. We guarantee you’ll be in great hands.