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Builders Hunt for Alternatives to Materials in Short Supply

Updated: Nov 11, 2021

By Lydia O’Neal

Swapping out materials to minimize delays in a hot housing market can add to costs

Laborers working on a house under construction in Overland Park, Kan., in August. Builders are looking for replacements and new sources for a variety of materials.

PHOTO: CHARLIE RIEDEL/ASSOCIATED PRESS


Shortages of key construction materials are forcing some builders and contractors to turn to substitutes and hunt for alternative suppliers as they rush to meet high demand for new housing


Construction companies are looking for replacements and new sources for everything from wood paneling to ceiling joists to pipes, saying that potentially higher costs and added complications to design and construction can be preferable to putting a project on hold for months while waiting for planned supplies.


Supply shortages stem from a series of supply-chain disruptions hitting industries around the world this year, from port congestion in Asia and the U.S. to labor shortages at factories. Heavy storms in Texas and Louisiana have also slowed production of some building materials, while semiconductor shortfalls have made appliances harder to secure.







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