Rebilt Leadership Adapts To Manage Covid – Lockdown Challenges In The Renovations Sector

Rebilt Leadership Adapts To Manage Covid - Lockdown Challenges In The Renovations Sector

Rebilt Leadership Adapts To Manage Covid – Lockdown Challenges In The Renovations Sector

Much has been reported about current challenges to building companies and contractors in the construction industry as building material costs and labour generally continued to rise due to covid and lockdown disruptions to both national and international supply chains.

The Cordell Construction Index reported a 7.1% construction cost increase in 2021. This is the fastest increase in 16 years. The forecast is that construction costs are expected to keep rising. In Sydney this figure is predicted at approx. 5.6% in 2022.

Timber costs increased by 20-30% in the first six months of 2021. Some builders and had their projects delayed up to 16 weeks as they waited on timber orders to be fulfilled.

Structural steel being relevant to “I” and “U” beams utilised in open plan renovations and extension projects by builders and renovation specialists such as Rebilt came under increased demand. Steel pricing was then set for 24 hours only – an unprecedented decision by suppliers.

Gypsum and ready mix concrete product prices escalated, co-joined with labour costs.

Resellers, retailers, labourers, admin staff, project managers, site managers, builders, logistical staff experienced disruptions as these workers covid-isolated.

Property prices surged forward in 2021 by an average of almost 25% for the year being the fastest rise since 1989.

Possibly larger construction companies and project home builders with a number of fixed price contracts may set their sights on their company ability to meet it’s long-term debts and financial obligations [i.e. solvency] to honour competitive pricing as projects are rolled out.

The more “under-the-radar” price increases included pricing increases in skip bin hire, petrol and diesel, shipping and delivery costs [most building materials are made overseas,] equipment hire, contract works insurance, materials liability, tools, site protection costs, home warranty insurance and indemnity insurance hikes — with more increases anticipated.

Some trades throughout 2021 were prompted to link supply rates to material costs on tenders to compensate for increases allowing for price adjustments. 

Rebilt is aware that the momentum of covid-19 together with escalated building activity due to the HomeBuilder scheme [that ended last year] and lockdown-fuelled home renovations have led to price gains across the board. Labour shortages has seen increases in demand leading to bumped-up labour costs.

Globally fractured supply chains requires that building companies must respond well but generally the building industry has been struggling. The HIA’s Mr Reardon, however, said he believed most builders would trade through the current activity citing, “I do not anticipate a substantial change in bankruptcies within the industry in 2022,” he said.

At the beginning of 2021 Rebilt company directors Neil Walker and Michael Hunnam identified the new season as a curve ball but an opportune time to respond to the new challenges with innovative project management initiatives and increased client care.

The company vision was re-clarified:

“The Rebilt vision is to be the #1 agent for change in the building industry bringing clarity, certainty and confidence for homeowners for their extension and renovation projects.”

Rebilt sought to limit the number of extension and renovation projects to retain capability levels of project management. This decision was contrary to overloading the company structure to capitalise on additional new contracts. 

Rebilt sought cutting-edge web-based technologies to tighten project administrations and time-frames while upgrading communications with it’s clients in a minimum “twice weekly” consistency.

These new initiatives ensured that Rebilt could deliver extension and renovation projects on time even as demand and costs escalated and clients were advised as to possible external delays bringing the client into a “we’re in this together partnership.”

Where possible supplier and trades loyalties were re-invigorated and some critical materials were pre-purchased, earmarked and under lock and key. The larger projects were spreadsheet priced at a nominal fee-for-service to ensure both quantities and pricing accuracies.

Says Rebilt Business Director Michael Hunnam “these centrepiece project documents formed part of the client’s construction contract and were ready for longer range pre-ordering to secure materials and trades. In actuality this initiative assisted the supplier’s own inventories, improved company administrations and controlled project durations with less delays. It’s a policy likely to remain in place because it just works so much better.”

In some cases, delays were even “built in” to project expectations in this new brand of “covid-style” stewardship.

In one instance where a prefabricated roof truss had a blown-out delivery of between 6-8 months due to timber shortages, collaboration with the consulting engineer was sought and the carpenter[’s skill-set] was upgraded for the carpentry to be hand-cut on site immediately saving months of unnecessary “down tool time.”

Says Rebilt Operations Director Neil Walker “hand-picking the trades for their skill-sets in the extensions and renovation sector is an essential policy at any time to avert spiralling costs and project delays. It’s another way Rebilt is able to invest certainty in any project for our clients.”

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