In the last 12 months its price has quadrupled and everyone is scrambling to get their hands on some. We are not talking about Bitcoin here we are talking about Timber. A lot has changed since the coronavirus kicked into gear in early 2020 and getting your hands on some pine has certainly been one of those things. A number of events have coincided to create the perfect storm for the industry as the demand for timber soars.
Firstly, in Australia we were usually quite good at milling and delivering our own supply of timber but you’ll recall the devastating bushfires which raged across the entire continent it seemed, well a lot of the timber plantations were affected during this period, so in Australia at least we don't have the usual homegrown supply ready to go on site and are therefore more reliant on imports which every other nation is scrapping for.
Even the most casual observer will know that trade relations with one of our closest neighbours is frosty at best. China is giving Scotty from marketing the cold shoulder and not even answering the phone so this is causing chaos on supply coming out of the behemoth. Just-In-Time trade routes were were exposed as travel between countries was brought to a halt and we are still dealing with the impact of things like the meme creating Ever Given having clogged up the world's busiest trade routes and causing delays for everything from crude oil to, you guessed it, timber.
On top of it all government stimulus across the world has focused on the construction sector (don't get me wrong we are not complaining about this) and offering homeowners generous incentives to start renovating their houses. This has sparked a relative boom in renno’s across the world which in turn has had a knock on effect on the price of materials to get the work done.
Any of the above would be cause enough to see the cost of timber rise over time but as they are all happening together we are seeing prices go through the roof, if you’ll pardon the pun. This increase in price is being felt across the globe, so whether you are doing work on London Bridge, the Statue of Liberty or the Sydney Opera House you are going to notice that per 1000-board feet you are paying substantially more than you did this time last year. At time of writing per 1000-board feet cost approx $1,900 and it doesn't look like slowing down any time soon as demand is only heating up.
What can you do to help offset the rising cost of timber as you get ready to build - Measure twice and cut once. Make sure you are prepared for the job ahead by getting a detailed Material Takeoff done - www.conxjobs.com can help you with that. Then order your materials as far in advance as is possible, I've heard some horror stories on delays of timber to site. Avoid last minute changes by being very clear with the client or contractor and let them know if “Karen” wants to change the position of the stairs late in the game it has the potential to cause massive delays and the cost could explode.