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Rising Lumber Prices and Your Construction Project or Renovation

You’ve likely noticed the recent rise in lumber prices if you currently have a construction or renovation project underway, or if you’re planning to begin one later this year. It’s true that many building materials have quickly become more expensive since around this time last year. As a general contractor working with customers across the Washington D.C. area, we’d like to share a few tips for dealing with higher material costs and what to expect from your contractor.

While this is a challenging time for both commercial and residential construction companies, and their clients, keeping these things in mind can help you navigate fluctuating prices together and still achieve your desired project outcome:

  • Discuss potential price increases with your contractor now

If you haven’t already, now’s the time to connect with your general contractor about potential cost adjustments. As always, we advise honest, open communication between contractor and client, especially when it comes to the project budget. Getting ahead of the issue can prevent surprises down the road. The sooner you discuss price changes with your contractor, the more flexibility they’ll have to offer cost-saving tips in other areas to offset higher materials prices.

  • Understand cost adjustment terms in your construction contract

Terms for cost adjustments during a project can usually be found in your construction contract. Many times, general contractors can deliver work under budget. When materials or labor get more expensive, or when unforeseen circumstances arise, there will usually be clear guidelines for adjusting the overall cost of the project up. Make sure you understand the process for any mark-ups based on unforeseen circumstances.

  • Ask about adjustments if material costs decrease

Your contractor should absolutely revisit cost adjustments if the price of lumber and other materials falls, affecting work still to be done on your project. We feel this is only fair, and clients should expect it. Make sure to bring this up in any discussions you have about price increases.

If you’re project is still in the planning phase, you’re still working out construction financing, or you need a general contractor in the Washington D.C. area, give us a call. We’ve seen price squeezes before, and we’ll be happy to offer our best advice to help get your project off the ground.

3 Ways to Manage the Cost of a Building Renovation or Restoration

Every construction project is a balancing act between cost, quality, and time. Changes to one of these aspects affects the other two. Of course, everyone wants the best outcome given the resources available. Delivering finished work on time and under budget is always the goal. However, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by cost at the start of a project when aligning plans with your budget. 

An experienced, trustworthy general contractor will help you get the most for the time, budget, and materials available. Honestly discussing budget and expectations upfront sets the project out on the right foot. Often, a contractor who has a long history of building in your area will be able to leverage their experience and business network to make your budget go further with labor, materials, and equipment. 

Here are three ways an experienced contractor can help you manage costs:

  • Planning your project at the right time of year

The climate of your area is a significant factor in completing construction projects. Depending on the nature of your renovation or restoration, this can make one season a financially wiser choice over another. Your experienced general contractor can help you choose the right time of year based on what your project entails, whether it’s extensive outdoor concrete work or a meticulous interior historic restoration. 

  • Choosing cost-effective materials and design elements

Materials and artisan labor can make historic restorations an expensive proposition. Restoring an old mahogany floor, for example, could prove much more costly than replacing it with stained oak, hickory, or cherry designed to last many years with minimal maintenance. Your contractor can help you save costs while retaining the building’s historic charm by saving sections of undamaged floor or even repurposing salvaged pieces as decor. This can help you achieve a balance between cost and results.

  • Doing work right the first time

Doing the job right can save you a ton of money. Having a project completed on the cheap only to be forced to make repairs or redo portions of the projects within a year or two can hit your budget hard. Experienced contractors earn their reputation from results. Always ask them to share a list of completed projects, and speak with their past clients if possible. If they’re happy with the work the contractor did, you can go into your project confident you’ll spend your budget to get the job done right the first time, giving you many years of use of enjoyment.

Considering the cost of your next renovation or construction project? Let’s chat about your options. We’ll help you strike the right balance between cost, quality, and time so you’re completely satisfied with the results.