Sébastien Michaud is a general construction contractor. These days have not been easy since he had to give up four contracts. All the cedar patio projects that we had had to be handed over to next spring, he says.
Treated wood and lumber are scarce. Several Sébastien Michaud clients have had to take their troubles patiently.
There are several people who understand that this is an exceptional year caused by COVID, others are more reluctant and put a lot of pressure on us to deliver the sites, he explains.
The general construction contractor is not the only one to make this observation. The containment has resulted in a rush for construction and renovation projects.
At the lumber merchant Langevin Forest, we barely meet the demand. The timber for the terraces has flowed at lightning speed, especially since mid-July.
This year, we have seen the increase in self-builders, so the private individual who decided to build his own patio explains the general manager of Langevin Forest, Marc-André Belisle.
We ended up in May with a significant volume, almost double what we normally sell, he adds.
In addition to this increase in demand, there are delays in the delivery of timber. Langevin Forest sometimes waits several weeks before obtaining treated wood for decks.
According to a survey conducted by the Association de la construction du Québec (ACQ) and the Association des professionals de la construction et de l’hhabitation du Québec (APCHQ) at the end of August among their members, 87% 794 respondents claimed to have had material supply problems since the start of the pandemic.
Melik Bouhadra, managing director at RenoRun, a supplier of building materials, is worried about the shortage, which he says is putting additional pressure on the entire industry.
It creates difficulties in the market for us, for our clients, who are general contractors, and for the client at the end of the value chain, who suddenly sees that his budget is less and less respected, affirms- he does.
Mr. Bouhadra sees a significant increase in the price of lumber. We have seen an increase of 15 to 20% over the past three months. But if we are more specific on products such as “2×4” or “2×6”, we see increases of over 50% and it does not stop. So the trend is still on the rise, he adds.
Other materials like rock, concrete and seasonal products have also gone up and their prices have gone up, notes Melik Bouhadra. It’s really historic […] It’s really seasonal and wood, it’s pretty generalized, he notes.
Marc André Roy, associate partner at Sotramont, observes the same thing. In his 28-year career, he has never seen lumber prices increase so rapidly.
For a townhouse […], that’s $ 20,000 in additional costs with also delays. We were lucky to have the 2x4s, 2x6s and plywood materials … there are no more! ”He laments.
This is a loss of profit for his business since he is finishing the construction of some 20 houses that have already been sold several months ago.
Even though the sawmills are running at full speed, they are finding it difficult to catch up after their shutdown last spring.
With COVID and containment, there have been drastic production cuts. There are sawmills that have stopped their activities. […] In terms of real estate construction, marketing, but also people’s personal renovations, there has been a very significant demand, underlines Louis Bouchard, senior director of public affairs at Resolute forest products.
The ACQAssociation de la construction du Québec and APCHQAssociation des professionals de la construction et de logement du Québec wish to sit down with the government and key industry players in order to find solutions and reduce the effects of this shortage.
Louis Bouchard maintains that reducing wood exports to the United States would be an unsustainable solution in the long term. Normally, wood production could not be sold on the local market.
We would like to be able to flow locally, but the reality is very different. We have barriers, supply contracts and markets that we historically serve and a whole logistics and transport network that we have to maintain, he explains.