Hurricane Ida recovery exacerbates challenges for regional builders 

    ​​Todd Waguespack, managing partner with Baton Rouge-based homebuilder Level Homes, has seen this pattern before. In fact, it has only been a year.

    First, a devastating storm hits south Louisiana. Then, workers such as roofers and drywall installers who might otherwise be helping his company build new homes in Baton Rouge go off to chase recovery work. Last year it was Hurricane Laura. This year it was Hurricane Ida. 

    The construction industry, like so many others, has been struggling to hire enough workers and obtain needed supplies, and Ida only caused demand for both to spike, possibly leading to project delays and higher costs. 

    “A global pandemic coupled with natural disasters have exacerbated the supply chain and labor challenges,” says Karen Zito, president and CEO of the Home Builders Association of Greater Baton Rouge. “Acute shortages in some building materials have skyrocketed prices.”

    Most builders have had to raise their prices on homes frequently and pre-order materials to combat rising building material costs and shortages, and many have implemented escalation clauses in sales and construction contracts, Zito says.   

    Even under the ever-tightening constraints of the shortages, the rebuilding will create opportunities for commercial builders as they repair damage to schools, businesses and state buildings. 

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