Two weeks. That’s the extra time it took to build a house in 2017 than it did in 2015.
Can you imagine delaying a home closing by two days, much less by two weeks? Yet that’s where we’re at as an industry, according to the National Association of Home Builders.
There may be several reasons for this swelling timeline, but few would dispute the role of the industry’s labor shortage. Take the numbers of young workers entering the building trades. The numbers are down in every state but two. Nationally, they’ve fallen nearly 30% from 2005 through 2016.
Shane Dauzat, owner and operator of Shane Dauzat Residential Construction in Alexandria, La., specializes in building energy-efficient homes priced up to $500,000. He’s a local builder, delivering up to 20 homes a year and subbing out most work. “People work better when they’re getting paid by the job than by the hour,” Dauzat says.
Like many small and mid-sized homebuilders, Dauzat is no stranger to labor delays. In central Louisiana, “there are no young trade pros coming up,” Dauzat says. “They don’t want to be out in the heat. I don’t see the situation getting any better in the next couple of years.”
The good news is, building product manufacturers are working overtime to help combat the industry’s labor woes. Take housewrap, for instance. There was a time when a team of two or more was required to make a run around house after sheathing. One on the ladder and one on the ground rolling-out housewrap. And if it’s breezy out? You know what happens next.
When Dauzat heard there was an affordable new tape-and-panel, code-compliant way to put up housewrap, reflective insulation, and OSB sheathing in a single pass, he was all ears. Like many builders, Dauzat would completely wrap the home in OSB then put up a housewrap as a moisture barrier.
Now every chance he gets, he has his subs wrap the home with an economical three-way solution that puts the days of the house wrap pass behind him and his crews. The new all-in-one OSB sheathing product— Eclipse Weather Resistant Barrier, manufactured by RoyOMartin—not only solves the housewrap pass but also offers a 180-day exposure rating for those jobs the when the bricks or other cladding material is back-ordered, or when the subs are playing catch-up at other projects.
“Eclipse is a little quicker than the old way. The part I like is that once you’ve taped it, you’re done. No wind worries. No tearing or punctures. I even had one project where we were delayed by 60 days and there were no weathering issues,” Dauzat explains.
There’s not much you can do to solve the industry’s labor woes. But it’s good to know there’s at least one thing you can do to streamline the sheathing, housewrap, and insulation process.