Pricing insanity: Material costs escalate, driving contractor desperation

At conventions, on Zoom calls, and in casual conversation, it’s the only thing contractors talk about anymore. Everyone wants to know how everyone else is dealing with the rapid escalation of material prices, a crisis that revved up last spring and shows no signs of slowing down for at least another year.

COVID-19-related disruptions devastated global production and supply chains, which continue to be ravaged, but that’s only one of many factors causing prices to spike. China’s new emissions-reducing limits on metal production, factory closures throughout Asia, a disruptive winter storm in Texas, a natural gas shortage in Europe, global transport problems and labor shortages have all contributed to skyrocketing costs — and construction firms locked into contracts based on 2020 and pre-2020 prices are feeling the heat.

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