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Global supply chain disruptions continue to hamper isle home construction

Published: Sep. 22, 2021 at 6:08 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The video of a record number of cargo ships waiting to port in Los Angeles this week tells much of the story: A worldwide of shipping bottleneck of goods, including building materials destined for Hawaii.

Even though the construction industry has been one of the brightest economic sectors here during the pandemic, global supply chain disruptions of basic goods like paint, copper and PVC continue to drive up construction costs and delay projects.

“So you have plumbers who can do 90% of the job but they don’t have the fittings because they’re not being manufactured at the level that everything else is,” said Beau Nobmann, president of the Building Industry Association of Hawaii.

“Same thing with copper ― just getting copper produced and getting it here is an issue.”

This is on top of a lumber shortage earlier in the pandemic that industry experts said added $20,000 to $30,000 to the price of a typical new home.

COVID shut down or slowed down many factories, resulting in the supply chain disruptions. The shortages are is now causing delays, especially in residential construction.

“Some critical items that you would normally see in two to four weeks is taking three to four to five times as long,” said Jeff Prostor, principal of homebuilder Isle Communities.

“Like appliances are definitely a challenge. We have homes that are nearly complete that we can’t even get a stove or cook top delivered on time under our original schedules.”

Erin Kirihara, senior vice president with the construction consulting firm Rider Levett Bucknall, thinks supply disruptions will continue for another “18 to 19 months.”

But she doesn’t think it will slow down Hawaii’s booming construction industry.

She said there’s still a lot of hotel construction which were delayed by COVID that are restarting.

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