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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.