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New Consigli poll tracks subs’ material and labor pricing risks

Most trades confident they can find workers to hire to meet demand.

October 09, 2020 |

HVAC and electrical subcontractors could be most vulnerable to COVID-19 related increases in materials and labor pricing, according to a Consigli poll. Image: Pixabay

The contractor Consigli Construction has released its latest breakdown of predictions about materials and labor pricing for 21 categories, based on the firm’s survey of more than 200 subcontractors working in the Northeast.

From that polling, Consigli considers HVAC and electrical trades to be at the greatest risk for price increases, based on their projected percentage of a project’s total cost. The firm elaborates that there is potential for price hikes in copper tubing and small-bore pipe, as well as lighting fixtures, copper and PVC, and distribution equipment.

Consigli breaks down pricing risks by 21 categories. Image: Consigli


The good news is that 56% of the subs polled said they were experiencing no major increases in lead times as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. That being said, “subcontractors are continuing to place focus on ordering materials as soon as possible to prevent schedule delays,” says Peter Capone, Consigli’s Director of Purchasing.

The firm singles out glass and aluminum, lumber, distribution and transportation issues, electrical lighting/PVC, and custom fabricated materials as “risks to watch for” in the future. Concerning lumber, which has been in short supply across North America, the report states that suppliers “should catch up” with demand by this winter and next Spring, when homebuilding shifts into a higher gear.



More than half of the subs polled weren't having lead time problems. Image: Consigli Construction


Consigli notes that, lately, it has experienced “better than normal” bid coverage and aggressive pricing in nearly every trade. Despite their healthy backlogs, subs are still looking to book work for next year and beyond. And most of the subs polled—93%—are confident they will be able to hire more workers to meet work demand.

“There is potential when the COVID-19 vaccine is developed, the construction market may start trending back toward pre-COVID-19 levels of activity,” which could add product and labor costs. “Therefore, now is the time to move forward with upcoming projects,” writes Capone.

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