How Nationwide Construction Material Shortages & Rising Prices are Affecting Arizona’s Electrical Industry
It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic is wreaking havoc on the construction industry as contractors everywhere report material shortages and rapidly rising prices on lumber, copper wire, plumbing supplies, windows, doors, appliances and more.
With Arizona on an aggressive growth path over the last few years as more people than ever are flocking to the state with the disposable income to enlist builders to develop an entirely new inventory of housing, this could mean even more construction deadlines not being met and overall job pauses than what is being reported.
Copper Soars 40-50%
Recently, The National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) released its May 2021 survey that indicates retail prices on copper wire have soared 40-50% over the last two months, while 77% of electrical contractors report a shortage. These shortages have little to do with lack of planning and everything to do with manufacturers both locally and globally, being forced to halt or slow production as inventory briefly stabilized during the pandemic. Now with homebuilding ramping back up, the situation puts electrical and solar contractors in a tricky spot.
“I’m currently looking to order materials for a barn I’m getting ready to build. I reached out to get bids from three of the largest manufacturers in the US, and none of them were comfortable giving me estimates longer than three days due to the craziness in the market,” said Jason Hood, owner of Tempe Trophy, the largest supplier of panel tags and solar safety labels throughout the Southwest.
Shortages in electrical supplies are not a new issue. It’s the consequence of explosive growth in electrification projects globally, copper mines being depleted which leads to copper almost being double what it used to cost a year back, and China buying and consuming nearly all the available copper. This trend is likely to be continued.
So how does the market stabilize with all these outside sources impacting the delays and shortages seen across the country?
A family owned and operated business founded more than 35 years ago, Tempe Trophy is the solution. Pivoting its business model over the last few months to better outfit its customers, Tempe Trophy is working with its manufacturers to bolster its inventory and offer long-term price stability on in-demand electrical supplies including copper and wire to help smooth out volatility in the market and ease bidding estimates. The company is also adding additional automation to its engraving process to ensure accurate timing estimates and to prevent further delays.
“Just like what we saw at the start of the pandemic when there was a run on essentials like hand sanitizer and masks, the electrical industry supply chain has been disrupted significantly. Over the last few months, I’ve had several suppliers warning me of increased shortages and a 90% increase in the cost of steel, among other supplies,” Jason Hood said in an interview with me.
With his clients being primarily electrical contractors, it’s upsetting for him to see the massive blows the local electrical industry are about to be hit with. That’s why he’s doing everything he can to ease those concerns by tapping the Electrical Trade Organization and the Tempe Chamber of Commerce to find solutions to keep production up and construction deadlines on time.
During these unprecedented times, electrical contractors are going to have to get creative in how they bid and how they source low-priced electrical supplies like copper and wire to complete their jobs. Until then, Tempe Trophy is doing everything its in power to keep the supply chain stabilized.
For more on Tempe Trophy, visit https://www.tempetrophy.com/ or call 480-968-0900.