Offsetting The Escalating Costs of Construction Materials

With the price of lumber up 68% in March 2021, and fabricated metal and construction materials up 9%, construction project costs continue to rise. However, construction companies can help offset these prices with a few cost effective methods.

Using Lean Methods

The Lean method is the art of constantly improving productivity. From the early planning stages, through to the final inspections phase, lean operations allow construction companies to reduce wasted time and materials. According to studies, construction projects using lean methods can reduce material waste by as much as 64%. It can also help eliminate key safety hazards and reduce production hours by as much as 31%. These efficiency improvements positively influence construction projects across the board from planning to waste reduction and from improved safety to reduced labour hours. Because all workers are more accountable for their work, there tends to be a notable improvement in quality as well.

Building Information Modeling

Building information modeling (BIM) leverages technology to provide improved visuals during the design and building phase. Because BIM goes beyond conceptual design, construction logistics and operation phases are under constant evaluation. BIM empowers project managers using integrated technology designed to incorporate changes and calculate material costs on the spot. Site evaluations:

  • Decreases errors
  • Correct or adjust shortfalls in design to suit client need
  • Reduces material waste costs by adjusting orders to suit changes

BIM fits in perfectly with lean construction methods, continuing to streamline the construction process.

Explore Prefabrication Options

Sourcing prefabricated building components reduces costs associated with waste and transportation. In the prefabrication process, they use efficient large scale production methods allowing them to reduce waste and remain cost effective. Prefabrication offers the following cost benefits:

  • Reduced onsite labour costs
  • Reduced transportation costs by delivering a single item instead of multiple material deliveries

Including some form of prefabricated elements can help balance building materials rising prices.

Time and Attendance Efficiencies

Technology to improve time and attendance efficiency reduces payroll mistakes. At WellDone Inc., for example we use a punching application to record working hours and locations that are then transferred to our accounts payable. By keeping accurate records we reduce costs in administration as well.

Improved Safety

A focus on improved health and safety not only attracts a higher quality of skilled workers, but also provides financial advantages. According to the Construction Safety Association of Ontario workplace injuries account for 6-9% of project costs. When construction companies invest in safety measures, injuries go down and profits rise. Simple steps such as holding regular health and safety meetings can lead to lower costs and in turn increased profit margins. At WellDone we use a mobile system for our safety procedures. We are also actively pursuing our Certificate of Recognition (COR™), the gold standard for occupational health and safety in construction.

These steps can help offset rising lumber prices and the impact of other building material increases. WellDone Inc. has adopted the necessary strategies to efficiently complete projects safely, on time and on budget even in these changing times.