Lumber price volatility may be impacting more than your P&L statement. As Debra Hilmerson writes in this Construction Executive article, higher costs are also indirectly tied to jobsite safety and the skilled labor shortage. This time, change is mandatory.

“It’s pretty much guaranteed that unless contractors make changes, the big hits to their bottom line will continue,” she cautions.

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2 x 4 lumber prices rising construction industry get rid of 2 x 4's

Hilmerson offers three proactive strategies for staying ahead of competition:

1. Avoid lumber prices: Get rid of waste that’s costing you time and money.

“Eliminating the wasteful use of two-by-fours for temporary fall protection is a good starting point. It’s not much different than tossing extra cash directly into the landfill at the end of each job. Use two-by-fours to build structures, not to create guardrails when something more durable and sustainable could be used.”

2. Create an extra revenue stream (or expand the one currently used).

“A lot of contractors are adding durable equipment to their fleet and creating their own internal rental companies. They are moving away from ordering massive amounts of two-by-fours, and investing in construction-grade, engineered safety systems that are designed to last, faster to install and easier to maintain. By the second deployment, they are saving money instead of spending money. They have created a profit center.”

3. Adapt to the skilled labor shortage.

“This is another huge reason to find lumber alternatives. If contractors are not using experienced carpenters to build and install wood safety rails and leading-edge fall protection, there can be safety and compliance issues. … Building two-by-four guardrails is time and labor intensive, and requires skilled labor. On the contrary, if a contractor invests in an OSHA-compliant system that is easy to install with minimal components, it can assign the task to someone just learning the trade while experienced workers are used more efficiently.”

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About Hilmerson Safety

Hilmerson Safety® is a full-service safety product design and manufacturing company serving the construction industry. Since 2001 Hilmerson Safety® has been working with construction industry leaders and contractors to develop safe, lean, construction-grade™ products and solutions that add to the company’s bottom line.

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