In Part 1, we gave you the very good news that the pandemic-related issues with sourcing lumber for your projects is not indicative of a shortage of the raw materials. Rather, it’s an issue relating to the supply chain. More good news comes in the way of knowing that there may actually be lumber already at your local lumber yard that would meet your needs. By establishing more thorough communication with your supplier and being more specific about your lumber needs, you may actually discover that what you need is readily available — and at a lower cost than you’d expect! The kind of communication and value engineering required, however, may be a new concept to you. In this post, we’ll give you a real-world example so you can get the picture.
Decking Illustration: Not All Boards Need To Be Long
Let’s consider a decking project. As you know, decking lumber is sold, not as rough lumber, but a moulded, S4S and E4E, product; often, it’s also grooved for hidden fasteners. Width and thickness are typically specified when an order is placed and relate to industry-wide standard sizes; only length of boards and volume are variable. The typical decking order includes only long boards, ranging from 12 to 22 feet long. We get it: no one wants a seam in the middle of a deck; however, when you consider how many boards will actually be cut once they arrive on the jobsite, you’ll realize that your project doesn’t really require all boards to be longer than average; instead, you could certainly make do with a number of 5- to 7-foot-long boards.
Value Engineering: Who Benefits and How
Now, if instead of getting all long boards, you order maybe half the boards in shorter-than-average lengths, you’re probably starting to see how this will benefit your bottom line. As you well know, the price per foot goes up when you order longer boards, which are not only in high demand but also rarer than shorter boards. But you’ll also save time without the need to saw longer boards in half. Since the likelihood of sourcing your project’s lumber becomes higher, you’ll also have less lead time on your project, landing you a happier customer. All the while, you’ll be positively impacting the industry at large, leaving more long boards for those who truly need them for another project. Hopefully you’re beginning to see how value engineering is really a win-win situation!
More Food for Thought: In-House Millwork
Now that we have you thinking outside the box, let’s take this whole thing a step further. Think about how it could impact your project timeline if you have various aspects of the deck milled by your lumber supplier. The supplier could then assemble it in house. After that, they’ll be ready to deliver the material to your job site, where it can be staged in a way that’s ready for you to screw into place. Instead of the time-consuming process of measuring, marking, and flipping boards, you’ll be able to move on to bigger and better things.
Continue reading with Part 3.