Back in January, we were preparing messages focussed on bouncing back into a buoyant market and supporting our customers to get back to ‘normal’. February brought to light the very real timber shortages and the impact they are having on our industry, as well as significant cost increases and product delays through most supply chain channels.
March, well March has proven that ‘expecting the unexpected’ is the best planning model to have on hand, as the entire construction industry grapples with rising costs and stretching lead times for many basic products. If we hadn’t already learnt more than we ever expected about the global shipping network, we got one more reminder of just how vulnerable these complex systems are to one piece in the puzzle going askew.
One thing that’s for certain is that when it comes to the ongoing competitiveness and viability of timber as Australia’s preferred structural material for housing, we’re all in the same boat, and if we’re going to avoid ending up as stuck as that boat we all need to work together.
We can’t see what around the corner, but we can start to plan to manage different scenarios. A great example is the huge attendance Pryda’s Engineering team had at a training session on how to do more with less, addressing the current timber challenges with alternate design thinking. With all the great work over the last 1-2 years to promote timber as The Ultimate Renewable it’s vital that we use it to its full potential and minimise the opportunity for steel to fill a supply gap.
It’s also a good time to tap into the support networks. With many plants having to down tools because there is no material to manufacture with, stress levels will be at varying levels across your team. In 2020, Pryda became aware of the great work that Mates in Construction do in Australia, and our team voted to make them the recipient of our annual Christmas donation. They have a great set of resources available, so it worth checking out https://mates.org.au/
As we saw across 2020, the FTMA works around the clock to offer support to you all. Kersten’s crystal ball often sees communication and advice in close proximity to State and National government and industry announcements. Just like global shipping these are complex systems, but the FTMA team have gone to great lengths to break down and simplify the steps for engaging productively with your local members. One by one, these conversations build a picture of an engaged and proactive industry seeking the best outcomes for our team members, builders, and homeowners.
Being able to stick together as an industry and continue to deliver high quality products is the thing that will see the timber frame and truss market remain a core feature of Australia’s residential industry for years to come.