The construction industry in Windsor-Essex is grappling with building supply shortages — and some say the problem is only getting worse.
For Habitat for Humanity Windsor-Essex, which is building four homes on St. Luke Road in the Ford City neighbourhood, supply delays, along labour shortages, have set crews back on the project.
For the first time in the organization's history, organizers are worried the families destined for these homes won't be in by the holidays.
"Our team is fantastic, the community is fantastic, and I know everybody is doing everything they can to try get us to the finish line on time. Unfortunately, at this point, we can't make the promise," said Pamela Breault, director of operations for Habitat for Humanity Windsor-Essex.
The families are coming from overcrowded living situations or sub-standard conditions, and some have been bouncing around from rental to rental because of the rising cost of rent. Between the four families, there are 16 children.
"We've had families whose kids just stopped unpacking and so to know that their kids finally have place to unpack, and do homework, and all those things and sit around the table and eat dinner together as a family," Breault said. "That's what it's all about."
Amid the pandemic, kinks in the global supply chain are being blamed for shortages of all kinds of products — not just building supplies, but everything from appliances to toys.
For Habitat for Humanity, not only have labour and supply shortages been a big challenge due to COVID-19, but rising costs have hit the organization hard as well.
When Habitat planned for these homes in 2019, the budget was $800,000. Two years later, when shovels hit the ground, that ballooned to $1.2 million.
Problem getting worse
Meanwhile, the companies that sell supplies for new homes like the ones in Ford City say they've never seen shortages like this.
In the showroom at Windsor's Tamar Building Products, "sold out" signs are plastered all over samples of products like roof shingles.
Sales manager Lisa Waldram said the problem is getting worse, though they had hoped to see improvement by fall.
Most of the orders they get are just a fraction of what they requested, she said. Previously, shingles would take two or three days to arrive. Now, many are out of stock and the ones that are available take two or three weeks.
Windows once took two weeks, now they won't arrive for 12 or 14 weeks.
"We're on allocation now with a lot of suppliers, especially aluminum. In the past we would order our material and it would come in and everyone would be happy," she said. "Now they're just sending us whatever they want."