Waco: Hurricanes could impact local construction costs

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WACO, Texas (KWTX) Residents along parts of the Texas Gulf Coast will feel the effects of Hurricane Harvey for months or even years to come.

(Staff photo)

Central Texas could also feel the effects in the way of demand for construction manpower and materials as they are expected to go up.

Wholesale lumber costs increased about 23 percent back in the spring because of a Canada-U.S. trade dispute, and the recent storms, Hurricane Irma included, are expected to drive prices up even further.

"The pressures for costs to go up are much higher than the costs for them to stay the same or even go down at this point. So, I would advise customers, you know, that we are in a time when it's going to cost more- especially three months from now, six months from now,” said Rob Baker, who’s part owner of JoCo Builders, which specializes in new home construction and remodeling.

He said the skilled worker pool will also be affected.

The Waco area was already experiencing a labor shortage because of the number of construction projects going on before Harvey.

Now, Baker said it's possible some laborers may head down to the coast as volunteers or to be involved in recovery building.

K. Paul Holt, Central Texas chapter of the Associated General Contractors, said in terms of costs for materials in the short term is different for commercial developers.

"They were glad that they had their prices built-in for their materials for commercial projects that are about to open up and so their prices are locked in."

With some much demand on supplies and laborers developers may also see a slowdown in the time it takes to get materials to the work site and the job finished.

Prices increases are expected to last into next year and then may level out.