What affect has the COVID-19 pandemic had on homes currently under construction?
SCOTT BYERS: It is a challenging time. Building or renovating a home is a complex process with teams of building professionals. Over the last several months, we have seen delays in materials and products in all aspects of the home. Initially, the challenge was specific states and the country had work restrictions that created delays in product, along with the challenge of ensuring COVID-19 guidelines are followed during the building process. Guidelines include how many people can be working in the house, cleaning common surfaces, etc. Those challenges have primarily been worked through to a great degree. We have a Ready Work program that helps to ensure a safe environment, but that puts stress on production and installation teams. Each day you don’t know who is going to be available to work — and they might not be able to work for 14 days. This creates complexity to the already complex process of home building. But our team is really stepping up.
CRESS BELL: That’s an interesting question. In short, it has not affected us as much as we expected. We are fortunate to have our industry deemed ‘essential,’ which has allowed us to continue to build homes that we already have started as well as start homes during the pandemic. We have abided by the suggestions in regard to no human contact and social distancing on all of our job sites. We have also posted these protocols on site as a reminder. We have been limiting the amount of personnel on active jobsites and even more so when the house is dried, and our guys are working in closer proximity to each other. Honestly, not overlapping crews on projects has probably been the largest adjustment. With a shortage of available homes in our market we haven’t seen any adjustments to costs either. Mostly business as usual. Building at a more custom luxury level, we haven’t seen much of a decrease in the amount of calls or interest for new projects, which is surprising. There is definitely more hesitation and direct conversations about the current market and COVID, but we have found those that were looking to build prior to the pandemic are still motivated to get their dream home going. We seem to have an added reason for people to move down here into warmer weather and less dense populations now that COVID has become a new reality. I think most see the economic drops as temporary, so they are still optimistic of the future. If COVID continues to swell up as we are seeing, things may slow down in reaction to continued economic issues though. We have always managed our company to minimize debt and control cost, so we feel like we are ready for anything, but hoping for the best!
CEE EDWARDS: During these uncertain times, ensuring that our customers and team members stay safe has been top-of-mind. Our showrooms and design studios have remained open by appointment only in an effort to limit contact between multiple individuals. Our supply chains have been slightly impacted and we are continuing to fulfill and install our customer orders. Custom design orders and new home installations are still occurring according to schedule as people take advantage of this time to invest in their homes. We’re hopeful that our industry will continue to thrive during this time as well as post-pandemic.
ASHLEY KENT: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Kent Homes has seen the following effects on homes under construction: increased difficulty in scheduling trades, minor supply chain issues, some increased difficulty in scheduling closings with our clients moving from another state and some minor delays in build times. Considering the severity of COVID-19, we are asking our project managers to be vigilant by scheduling one trade on a job site at a time, to wear masks and encourage our trade partners to wear masks when social distancing is not possible, sanitize often, etc. Considering we will only allow one trade on the jobsite at a time, if one trade doesn’t hit their scheduled date, it can cause delays and frustration to other trade partners. So, it’s been critical for us to over communicate with trades and our clients to keep them in the loop as we adapt to our new environment. To date, supply chain issues have been relatively minor, but there have been some issues with appliances and light fixtures. Going forward, I expect the supply chain issues to get worse based on conversations we have had with suppliers.
For a quarter century, Majestic has offered a wide selection of products for homebuilders, from counter tops, shower enclosures, shelving, door hardware and accessories for kitchens and bathrooms, in North and South Carolina. Acquisitions just within the last year of many well-established companies – including Builders Glass & Hardware Inc. in Wilmington and similar businesses in Greensboro and Charlotte – allow Majestic to be the most professional trade partner. Visit www.gomajestic.com or call (910) 762-2252 for more information.
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