The Douglas Company has a number of processes that control costs for our clients, and they have worked well in this inflationary construction environment. But even for us, there are limits that everyone should be aware of. Some were predictable, some not.
Though I’m not an economist, it doesn’t take one to be able to predict that when unemployment nationally is below 5%, it’s difficult to get significant economic growth without growth in the workforce, either through domestic workforce growth or immigration. Though The Douglas Company doesn’t endorse the hiring of illegal immigrants, and we do check green cards, we’ve noticed that the “Trump Effect” has made the situation more difficult, not only with anticipated faster growth of the economy, but a reduction in the Hispanic workforce, leading to capacity issues, and price escalation.
What I didn’t predict was the tariff on imported lumber. Over 84% of our country’s softwoods are imported from Canada, and the proposed 20% tariff, to be made retroactive, has driven up lumber prices in excess of this amount, dramatically impacting pricing.
We don’t like this because it hurts our clients and impacts the viability of their projects. This necessitates more creative solutions to make projects work and will make some projects infeasible. Better to know and plan for it than to not know and be surprised.
Peter Douglas, P.E.
The Douglas Company