Supply chain disruptions have become a hot topic in both the news and our personal lives. Most of us are familiar with microprocessor shortages resulting in shortages of new and used automobiles. Nearly everyone has felt the impact of rising costs in beef, other food items, clothing, furniture and more. For window manufacturers and installers, these shortages have had an especially serious impact.
Home Building Industry Among Hardest Hit by Material Shortages
A recent national survey by John Burns Real Estate Consulting sheds some light on the supply chain crisis faced by home builders. Contractors cited shortages of concrete accounted for 8% of project delays, while engineered wood products and lumber accounted for 13% and 17% of delays, respectively. Yet supply chain issues for windows accounted for the most project delays at over 60%. These supply issues are a direct result of lack of access to primary materials required for windows used in construction.
The National Association of Home Builders sheds further light on these supply concerns and how they relate to home builders and window installers. They report that 65% of re-modelers report shortages of windows and doors, with nearly 20% reporting serious shortages. In fact, the materials themselves – namely glass and vinyl – are themselves in short supply. Adding further difficulty is a shortage of framing lumber required for window installation. In this case, 77% of respondents reported shortages with 25% calling the shortages “serious.”
3 Major Causes of Window Shortages and Rising Costs
1) Pandemic Disruptions
Even when window manufacturers employ highly automated production methods, creating the final product remains very labor intensive. The first wave of the coronavirus disease, or COVID-19, resulted in the complete closure of many of these production facilities. Even relatively brief pauses in production can cause a backlog in orders. Catching up with these orders can take months or even years under even the best of circumstances. When the production facilities re-opened, however, many faced new social distance requirements for their workers. These distancing requirements often resulted in a skeleton crew of laborers, further slowing production and increasing delays in window production and shipment.
2) Increased Demand
The shutdowns further exacerbated issues with supply of window installation materials such as vinyl, glass, and lumber in other ways. Many people found themselves temporarily out of work, working with reduced hours, or working remotely. This led to more time at home. Many homeowners took this extra time as an opportunity to remodel their homes. This caused an increase in the already high demand for window supplies. Similarly, many businesses chose to upgrade their windows while their offices were shut down. While doing so is logical, it led to the perfect storm by increasing demand for windows and building materials further. Additionally, technological advances in energy efficient window installation further prompted homeowners, businesses, and institutional facilities to upgrade to energy efficient windows.
3) Delays and Cost Increases
Increased demand often brings higher costs, as can a decrease in supply. Window manufacturers have experienced both at once. While careful supply chain management such as warehousing solutions can mitigate cost increases over short periods, both the decrease in production and increase in demand for windows have been prolonged since early 2020. The result was twofold. First, time waiting for the arrival of window products increased drastically. While a typical wait pre-pandemic was once just two or three weeks, those wait times spiked to six months and sometimes nearly a year. Without product on hand, window installers had no option but to increase to lead times in some instances.
Similarly, increased cost of materials and finished products have created rising prices for completed installation projects. Installation providers have absorbed some of these prices, but it is impossible to absorb all of them. Some sources estimate a 5% to 10% cost increase for materials at the consumer end despite the aforementioned delays.
Aeroseal Acts to Reduce Window Installation Costs and Wait Time
Founded in 1999, Aeroseal Windows & Storefront has provided commercial windows and door installation services for more than 20 years. While we have no “magic bullet” to resolve the current glass, vinyl, and lumber supply chain shortage, we have the experience and long-standing partnerships with our suppliers to lessen impact for our valued customers. This means keeping prices low with the same quality windows, doors, glass storefronts, commercial renovations and other materials used in our commercial installation projects.
We have also reduced delays to a greater extent than many of our competitors can, from materials provision through project completion. This success has required an effort from end to end, starting with our valued vinyl, aluminum, wood, and door manufacturers and suppliers and ending with our valued customers. The best recommendation we can make to decrease delays and inconvenience for your renovation or door and window installation project is to plan ahead. Work with us in advance to ensure timely start and completion times for your installation or renovation project.
Aeroseal Windows & Storefront delivers and installs quality turnkey solutions for commercial property owners, managers and general contractors including windows, doors, and more throughout the East Coast. See our full list of Aeroseal’s services and view some of our quality work. We assist commercial properties of all types and sizes to identify energy- and cost-saving solutions. For a free consultation, contact Aeroseal or call 1-888-704-3072 today.