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How COVID Has Impacted Construction and Roofing

NRCA Telephone Town Hall
October 13, 2020 at 3:23 p.m.

By Karen L. Edwards, RCS Editor. 

National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) talks to industry association leaders about the state of the industry.  

On Tuesday, October 13, 2020, NRCA hosted a telephone town hall to talk about what is happening in the industry overall and see what manufacturers, contractors and distributors are reporting. It was interesting that many reported that while business is good or better than previous quarters, the industry is facing other challenges such as material shortages.  

Supply and demand issues 

On the NRCA telephone Town Hall featuring directors of roofing industry associations, the question was asked by Nancy in Fayetteville, “When do you anticipate that supply is going to catch up to demand, allowing those longer lead times to come down? I’m specifically talking about asphalt shingles.” 

Reed Hitchcock, executive director of the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association, said that he has been speaking with manufacturers’ CEOs and presidents who are reporting that they are operating at full capacity with most running 24-hour production schedules. “There have been some raw material supply delays,” said Hitchcock. “If I had a crystal ball I am hoping to see and hear from our members that those waiting times will come down in the next four to six weeks, but it’s very speculative right now.” 

This is not specific to just the roofing industry. Globe Newswire reports, “The COVID-19 pandemic has made completion of construction projects impossible and a large percentage of projects have been put on hold. Shelter-in-place orders, social distancing norms and restrictions on logistics and transportation have disrupted labor markets and supply chains.” 

National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association conducted surveys that show dealers are being hit hard by shortages. "Supply constraints are one of the barriers to a more robust recovery," said NAHB chief economist David Crowe. "The shortages and price increases reported by both home builders and lumber dealers are particularly concerning given that the current rate of construction is still far below what would be considered normal or necessary to meet underlying demand." 

What contractors are reporting 

In a recent press release, Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) said that 85% of respondents to the August survey in their magazine, Construction Executive, reported negative impacts from the coronavirus pandemic. The release states, “Supply chain disruptions, prolonged municipal permitting processes and delayed inspections due to office closures are all factors contributing to the increased rate of postponement and/or cancellation of construction projects.” 

ABC reports that throughout the pandemic, most construction services were considered essential so many haven’t seen drastic negative effects, but they are concerned about the long-term implications. Seventy percent of respondents don’t expect the industry to stabilize until 2021 with 10 percent believing that things would never get back to pre-pandemic levels.  

Construction Executive Editor-in-Chief Lauren Pinch said, “While the survey respondents’ concerns about market viability and the health fears of the virus itself will remain in place for the duration of 2020 and into next year, contractors did report bright spots, such as a widespread adoption of technology after the outbreak of COVID-19.” 

Roofing contractors who are turning to new technologies for their businesses should definitely visit the Roofing Technology Think Tank, whose contractor members are always available and willing to share information and advice on making the transition to a more technology-oriented business operation.  

How has the COVID pandemic affected your business? Tell us about it in the RoofersCoffeeShop® forum discussion.  

 



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