We completely understand. It’s so frustrating. It’s not just one delay; it’s multiple delays. Whether you’re building a new home or renovating an existing residence, deliverable setbacks are most likely profoundly affecting your completion date. So, how is it possible for your general contractor or your interior designer not to be able to nail down dates for materials as promised?
The Bad News
COVID-19 and its variants have caused factories to shut down temporarily. Factory workers located far from highly populated areas suffer from a lack of access to the vaccine and good medical attention. Orders back up as workers wait to return to work or, worse, they fall ill with COVID.
Weather systems are not the only thing plaguing barges carrying your hand painted wallpaper from France, your custom rug from Tibet, or your leather sofa from Italy. Design trade business news journalist, Caroline Bourque of Business of Home reported at the end of September of this year, “The number of containerships anchored off the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, California, has once again broken records, FreightWaves reports, as an all-time high of 73 vessels sat waiting in San Pedro Bay on Sunday. The issue partially has to do with the port’s operations, The Wall Street Journal reports—unlike its round-the-clock counterparts in Europe and Asia, the complex remains closed on Sundays and some weekday hours, creating a deeper backlog in a global supply chain already depleted by the pandemic.”
We’ve all experienced the delay in appliances. Above is one of our favorite project managers from J2 Construct, filling in for the 60″ Wolf range while our clients patiently waited (order placed in December and delivered in June).
The Good News
Recent vaccinations, masks, and health protocols have eased the consequences of manufacturers’ exposure to COVID-19. Factory shutdowns have decreased, allowing some producers to catch up on a backlog of orders.
Unfortunately, shortages, shipping delays, and high demand have wreaked havoc on the home construction industry in 2021. Even the experts are finding it hard to predict a return to more reliable conditions. (Believe me, I ask any economist I come into contact with.)
Second, be ready to consider alternatives to your overall design or selected materials. In the furnishings category, if you are lucky enough to have good furniture already that can be reimagined, consider reupholstering it instead of buying custom and waiting. And, remember that antiques are always in stock.
Third, keep it local. Even when materials are ordered, transit time has at least doubled across all categories. If you can buy locally, do so and save yourself extended transit time that often ends up with damaged goods that have been in a port or on a truck too long.
Lastly, lean on your contractor and your designer to provide recommendations. And if you would prefer not to budge on your original selections (which is quite acceptable), find grace and patience. Your entire team is working together to help you realize your objectives. You are not alone. Creating a home for the ages remains our highest priority despite the daily challenges our current world presents.