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BCA president offers strategies to reduce cost of building materials

Building and renovating property under the pressures of high inflation could be alleviated by sourcing and purchasing all of the needed material from far-flung countries and allowing months for it to arrive before beginning the building process, Bahamian Contractors Association President Leonard Sands suggested yesterday, contending that this method could save a builder 25 to 30 percent on material costs.

Sands said construction costs have increased up to 30 percent in some cases, because of continuing supply chain issues brought on by COVID-19 and due to Russia’s war in Ukraine.

He suggested that if home builders set back their timelines, source all of their building materials from places like China or Indonesia and can wait out the long shipping times, they could save themselves some money. He also suggested looking far past the East Coast of the United States.

“If you look further to the Midwest or outside of continental America… you could save a ton of money,” said Sands. 

“Your goal can’t be a timeline. You want to make one purchase. If you can finance and get all your building material, you would save yourself 25 to 30 percent. 

“The only disadvantage is you’ll get that stuff in three months.”

Sands said outside of that strategy, it does not matter how you try to shop around, you will encounter high prices. He also explained that at the moment, the lead time for appliances is in some cases six months. 

“Inflation has added to the cost of material because of the post-pandemic situation and the long-term procurement issues that the world is still dealing with,” he said. 

He contended, though, that while prices may not return to what they were before the pandemic, they will not remain as high as they are currently.

“We still have the war, we still have the COVID situation and the procurement issues and inflation,” said Sands.

“Those are real, those are present. But for us to say that that will always be with us, I think that would be a misstep.”

Sands also explained that there are opportunities for local suppliers to bulk buy together, in order to keep costs down if they choose to do so.

“They have an opportunity to cheat inflation and bring low costs to the consumers,” he said.