The Rising Costs of Building Materials During The Pandemic

The building material price trends in 2021 are harder to anticipate than ever.

So far, the building materials price increase of 2021 is something many contractors have never experienced before.

If you're planning a construction project this year or you're about to start one, it will likely cost you more than it would have a year ago due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The coronavirus pandemic has caused the price of many building materials to go up, including steel and lumber.

The cost of lumber and steel is at its highest levels in years.

That all translates into higher costs for a variety of construction projects.

In the article below, we will examine the impact the pandemic has had on the cost of construction materials and why pre-engineered metal building kits are still a reliable, cost-effective alternative.

Table of Contents


Framing Lumber Has Skyrocketed

Even though the price of lumber had reached a low point in April of 2020, the Random Lengths Framing Composite Price came just short of $900 per 1,000 board feet for the week ending August 28, 2020.

In the middle of August 2020, lumber prices skyrocketed by about 130% from the middle of April.

For example, the cost of a single-family home increased by more than $16,000.

Lumber costs dropped in February and March due to the stay-at-home orders and social distancing requirements.

During this time, the lumber industry projected that housing would be adversely affected by the pandemic, and the lumber mills depleted their inventories.

But the housing market boomed, and the mills weren't ready for it.

Lumber costs skyrocketed, which isn't good news for home buyers.

This is a significant factor because framing lumber makes up about 20% of the material cost of building a home.



Steel Still Costs Less Than Wood

Builders of residential, commercial, and industrial projects featuring wood framing now have an opportunity to use steel on their projects.

More and more contractors are doing their homework on wood and steel prices.

Every project has a budget, and contractors need to save money amid these rising lumber prices, and they're looking to have an alternative construction practice.

And that alternative is steel.

For example, a wood truss package for a small, single-story commercial building mansard truss was priced at $9,800 when the contractor bid the work.

But when it was time to order the package, the wood truss price had ballooned to $16,900.

This caused the truss component for the job to flip from wood to steel.

Wood framing shortages and skyrocketing wood prices due to the pandemic could blow away the labor cost differential of wood and steel for many construction projects.

Generally speaking, a home framed with cold-formed steel has had a 1% cost premium.

However, with the surge in lumber prices, steel framing is clearly going to cost less while offering higher quality, more durable structures.

Builders under contract that are faced with these current pandemic wood price levels would have to consider using cold-formed steel as an alternative to traditional wood framing.

Check out our article on what insulation is the best for metal buildings, proper insulation can help decrease energy costs that can help offset some of the rising cost of construction materials. 

Trust The Pre-engineered Metal Building Experts at STEVENS-2



Is There Relief On The Way?

Fortunately, some people in the industry are holding on to some optimism.

Some think higher steel prices, although still lower than wood prices, could end up creating a supply incentive for producers.

Typically when steel prices go up, they turn furnaces back on.

That's what has happened during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The market is changing in the world economy so much that it's worth making more steel at home.

Other experts are projecting steel prices will begin decreasing again and be near the pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2021, even with the increase in demand.

A surge could occur that will put pressure on the supply chains.

But it's still expected for the price of steel to level out or even reduce slightly as we head into the middle of the year.



Prefabricated Metal Buildings Are Cost-Effective

Even before the pandemic, pre-engineered metal building kits will save you money in various ways.

Compared to traditional building methods, especially during the pandemic, the price of steel buildings remains comparatively low.

Steel parts are pre-engineered in factories which decreases the overall construction time.

This saves additional money on labor costs.

And since steel buildings are much more durable than wood and have a longer life expectancy, insurance costs for commercial steel buildings remain relatively low.

And when tax season rolls around, tax incentives are available for companies who build with eco-friendly materials like steel.

So even with the unpredictable construction markets due to the pandemic, steel stands to save you money in various ways.


Contact STEVENS For Your Prefab Steel Building Needs

The metal building systems team at STEVENS can provide Pre-engineered Metal Building Kits that can streamline your next steel building project during these turbulent times.

Prefab steel building kits have customizable options to make your building unique and one-of-a-kind.

The flexibility of STEVENS custom-engineered steel building kits' allows you to tailor your metal building to match the needs of your business.

Metal buildings can be adapted for many industries, including:

  • Manufacturing facilities
  • Steel medical buildings
  • The metal industry
  • Churches
  • Distribution centers
  • Metal storage warehouses
  • Or any other number of industrial custom metal buildings your business may require.

With the cost savings, customization, and design options available to you when you build with steel, it's clear to see why you should choose a pre-engineered metal building for your business during this pandemic.

If you're ready to see what STEVENS can do for you, click the button below.


Check out our other metal building articles:

What Are The Best Ways To Customize A Metal Building?

How Long Does It Take To Erect A Metal Building?

How Are Steel Buildings Safer?


About The Author


I'm Ben Sparhawk, the Content Writer and Marketing Account Manager for the esteemed STEVENS company. As someone passionate about crafting captivating content, I take great pride in creating pieces that highlight STEVENS' capabilities and communicate the depth and breadth of their outstanding work.

In my role, I'm constantly striving to develop messaging that resonates with our clients and effectively showcases the exceptional work that we do here at STEVENS. I believe that communication is the key to success, and I work tirelessly to ensure our marketing efforts are engaging and informative.

When I'm not working, I often spend time with my three wonderful children. Becoming a dad is one of the best things that has happened to me, and I love every moment I get to spend with my wife and kids. You can also find me in the gym, trying to better myself, and I also enjoy spending time outdoors hiking or checking out local parks.