Lumber shortage brings ripple effect to Lynchburg businesses

Lynchburg & Central Virginia News

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — Experts say a lumber shortage was caused by a slowdown in and processing because of the pandemic. However, there was a little drop-off in demand.

Building industry analysts say they expect the shortage to last through the summer.

According to owner and president of Rock Solid Construction, Roger Settje, “I booked out for six to eight months with jobs already on the schedule and those estimates all had to be reevaluated.”

Settje is one of many who recently had to bump up his prices due to the lumber shortage being seen all across the country.

“A piece of four-by-eight OSB seven-sixteenths went from about $10 to $40,” said Settje.

Luckily, they’ve still been busy. But some builders have had to hold off on projects

“Lumber is something we have to have there’s no way around it, and we’re going to have to absorb those costs,” said Executive Director for Habitat For Humanity in Greater Lynchburg, Donna Vincent.

She tells WFXR News that they usually build four homes per year for families who qualify, but four homes per year could turn into three.

“Habitat families are counting on us to provide houses that they’ve made an application for and they’ve qualified for,” Vincent added.

She says to make up for higher lumber prices, the non-profit has been dipping into internal funds more than they’d like to.

“We’ve had two major struggles,” said Vincent. “The first is the effect of COVID on our volunteer workforce and the second one, most recently has been the increase in lumber prices.”

Some contractors believe these high prices are here to stay. Vincent says that Habitat For Humanity will just have to find a way to get the supplies to ensure their families maintain an affordable place to live.

“We have a commitment to them and we intend to fulfill it to the best of our ability and if it costs us a little more money, we’ve got to find a way to meet that need.”

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