Action: Contact Congress About Lumber Production

Originally published by the following source: SBC MagazineAugust 24, 2020
by Sean Shields

   

As we reported last week, component manufacturers (CMs) across the country are witnessing “unprecedented increases, [80% since mid-April,] in softwood lumber costs in all markets amongst all grade and species combinations.” Also troubling for panelizers is the fact that oriented strand board (OSB) prices have increased 138% over the past year.

Graph of concerns CMs have in today's lumber market

In a recent SBC Industry News survey of CMs, lumber cost is only part of the problem. Lumber is simply not available, particularly in grades and species used in many structural components.  All of these issues are a direct result of a current lack of supply due to the inability for lumber mills to meet demand.  There are numerous factors that have led to a constraint on lumber production, from short-term curtailments due to COVID-19 to workforce and transportation issues.

If left alone, lumber costs will eventually correct themselves, but not before many CMs, framers and home builders find themselves out of business as they are unable to find raw materials to produce product, or afford the sudden spike in raw material costs. That is why SBCA is encouraging all CMs to reach out to their members of Congress to explore and potentially provide financial-incentive-based solutions that will remove the current constraints to timber harvesting, lumber production and lumber transportation.

Getting additional lumber into the market more quickly will deliver a significant return on investment in the form of greater economic growth through a strong housing industry, better employment throughout the construction supply chain, including CMs, and more affordable housing for the American people.

As you know, CMs have always sought stable raw material costs, which necessarily requires stability in the lumber market. Purchasers and users of structural components are best served when CMs compete on efficiencies in design, manufacturing, and shipping, and not on raw material purchasing in commodity markets, as is the case currently with lumber.

Please call and/or email your U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators today. Tell them how lumber costs and availability are impacting your business operations and how it will affect your long-term viability if it isn’t addressed quickly. Ask them to consider financial-incentive-based solutions that will remove the current constraints to timber harvesting, lumber production and lumber transportation.

Click here to look up the email and phone number of your U.S. Representatives.

Click here to look up the email and phone number of your U.S. Senators.