Monthly Archives

April 2014

Construction Scholarship

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Mike-Dykstra-SmallAs many of you are aware there is a labor shortage in our industry.  The economic recession forced many of our colleagues to move out of the construction industry and  pursue other career paths.  Now that we are facing an upswing in housing many builders and general contractors are left looking for qualified trades professionals.

Because of this labor challenge the Construction Workforce Development Alliance of West Michigan was formed.  Known more commonly as the CWDA, this group exists to market our industry, and to educate people about career paths in construction and the housing industries.  To that point, the CWDA has partnered with Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) to offer a ‘Core Construction Jump Start Program.’  This intensive three week program will give participants the basic knowledge to be a contributing member of our workforce.

On top of this great work, the CWDA is offering 15 scholarships to the Core Construction Jump Start Program to any graduating high school senior.  Dates of the program, and an application form, can be found by visiting the GRCC website here.  I encourage you to share this link with your network.

This is an exciting program and we are lucky to be playing a small role.

Second Quarter Lumber Pricing 2014

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John-Colley-Final-1024x1024It has been an ‘interesting’ first quarter to say the least.  Many of you are aware of the weather related challenges at our jobsites, but weather related issues also affect others in the supply chain.  As we transition out of the first quarter of 2014 here is what I think you can expect for Second Quarter Lumber Pricing in 2014 .

Let’s begin our recap by examining dimensional lumber. Many mills started the first quarter extremely bullish simply due to shipping challenges.  Orders declined as the weather turned from bad to worse, but mills held pricing higher simply because they did not have cars available to ship product.  Historically, the railroad is typically a mess in the first quarter and this year was no different.  In fact, many cars ordered in December did not ship until March.  With increased regulations over the last few years trucking has been somewhat ‘tight’ but still available.  When placing your orders please keep in mind that trucks only work for us with southern and eastern dimensional lumber.  This is different from the West where we rely on cars.

As the quarter moved along two factors became apparent; weather was worse than anticipated and Canadian exports to the U.S. surpassed last year’s exports.  As transportation is starting to move more freely, demand has remained soft.  Pricing is currently retreating but I anticipate prices to move up quickly when demand increases.  Adding to the woes of the season many dealers are reporting lower than average inventories on hand.  Again, this could result in price changes during the quarter.

Besides dimensional lumber, other commodity products such as studs and OSB are following a similar pattern.  Stud pricing is soft now but expected to rise as orders increase.  OSB is trading at a level where there is little downside potential and any spike in demand could send pricing higher.  There seems to be ample production which should keep OSB at somewhat of a value through the second quarter.Truck-2-300x136

In summary, I think this means you should see numbers average out through the second quarter much like they did last quarter. The first quarter started strong and weakened as time passed.  It is my belief that we will see second quarter pricing start weak but will gain momentum as the quarter comes to a close.