Renovation Headaches | Supply Chain Lead Times and Pricing

renovation headaches

Renovation Headaches | Supply Chain Lead Times and Pricing

When my monthly newsletters go out on the first of the month, I include a ‘feature article’ that is typically not a blog post. This past April 1st, my feature was on renovation headaches. Not the construction headaches, but the supply chain headaches. So what exactly am I talking about?

**A little side note: WordPress recently had an update and I can’t begin to tell you how horrible this update is. There are so many extra spaces in my blog and I have troubleshot for hours. In reaching out to others, they too are having this issue so for now, please excuse the excessive spacing.**

renovation headaches

Renovation Headaches

When you take an entire renovation project and break it down into steps and stages, there are a multitude of balls to juggle.

  1. Designing the space.
  2. Reviewing the design with clients and making tweaks and adjustments to ensure the client is getting exactly what they hope for.
  3. Obtaining labour quotes for the newly designed space.
  4. Receiving quotes for all of the pretty that will fill the new space.
  5. Finalizing an investment budget (which may mean more tweaks to the design).
  6. Creating a Construction Calendar so that there are minimal to no ‘dead times’ in the calendar.
  7. Ordering all of the pretty to ensure it is onsite when they are needed to be installed.
  8. Following up on ordering and deliveries to ensure someone is onsite to receive the goods.
  9. Attending site visits during construction to ensure the paper dream is coming to fruition.

Seems simple right? Now throw in a massive renovation headache into item number 3 and 4. What do I mean?

Rendering of a current downtown condo project we are working on | Sheri Bruneau, Designer

Labour Costs and Woes | The Ugly

Let’s first start with labour costs. While all of our trades have ensured us that their service labour has not increased, we are seeing a massive increase in material. It’s unfortunate as supply and demand are hiking up the costs astronomically. The really unfortunate part is that all of this material is something you will never see as it’s behind the walls. The reality is that you need to have those materials behind the wall. So, what exactly are the labour renovation headaches?


Josh Ferguson, with Lumberjack Plumbing & Heating informed me of the following:

  • Copper costs are up 30%
  • All of ABS and plastics are up 28%
  • Anything else for plumbing, we are seeing anywhere from a 3% – 15% increase.

renovation headaches
We needed 12 Ball Valves for the condo plumbing project and our plumbing had to go to 6 different suppliers to get them.


In general, materials have increased an average of 45%. Overall, since January, there have been some price increases of 75%!

Our good friends Robb Lacey with Jewel Electric and Peter Doner with 4-Star Electric have shared what they are seeing in their industry. As an example, Peter was just telling me that they typically source 5 electrical panels and breakers. They now are limited to sourcing from 2. If there are no electrical panels to be found at a suppliers, you can’t purchase them.

renovation headaches
Old electrical panel we have to change out at our condo project

Raw Goods

The news does not get better in this category. On average,

My trusty Site Supervision, Sherman Quinlan with Q2 Developments, and I were just having a conversation about baseboard and casings. A 4″ baseboard and 3″ casings are next to impossible to find in our city right now. We recently had a project where we had to purchase 6″ baseboards and rip them down to 4″ (and no, we could not use 6″ baseboards for this project).

We are busy sourcing interior doors and are looking at having to either wait for the ones we want, or re-select to another style.

Pretty Quotes | My Renovation Headaches

I am in charge of specifying and ordering all of the pretty.  Say with me, ‘Deep breath in….deep breath out.”.  I know why I practice yoga on a daily basis.  Where do I even begin with my own renovation headache?

For pricing, we have seen an increase on pricing but our largest issue is supply.  Whether it is tile, hardware, lighting, or furniture, supply is THE biggest issue.  We have been told the following: 

  • IF appliances are not in stock, set aside an average of 18 weeks to receive them. 
  • There is currently a foam shortage so any furniture, bedding (and I know I don’t sell cars, but think of everywhere foam is used – like in car seats) are all delayed!  I know our own custom furniture was once 6-8 weeks and is now 18+ weeks.  
  • Tile: we are being told that if it’s not made in North America (and what is these days), that if it is not on the water, expect 12+ weeks for product to get here.  
  • Lighting: oh where do I even begin with lighting. We have a really pretty light that is going to go in the bathroom below and I’ve been notified to expect it in June. We plan to be fully completed this bathroom by the end of this month. So…the light will have to be installed when it arrives.

The pretty bathroom light we will wait for. | Sheri Bruneau, Designer

For me, I am trying to source ‘readily available’ products for my clients. When I do order, I continually have to follow up on those orders. Right now, we are working on a primary bathroom projects and all is running smoothly. The tile came in on time, most of the plumbing is in. What did I receive this week? An email stating that the two finishing pieces for the shower are about 2-4 weeks out. Wait – what? That puts me over my construction timeline for this project. Hello delay!

renovation headaches
Primary Bathroom Steam Shower – ready for tile. | Sheri Bruneau, Designer

Renovation Headaches

This is just a small snippet of what is happening in our industry.  I didn’t want this article to have a negative vibe as my intent is to educate you on the state of our renovation world right now.

While we continue to have a full project calendar with our clients, the biggest advice I can give is that you really need to have an open mind when it comes to timelines. There is no point in setting you up for failure.  Be open to delays, be open to alternative product that does not compromise your design, and be open to ‘go with the flow’.  Honestly, we have no other choice right now.  

Glass Half Full

This blog really wasn’t full of any pretty pictures, was it? I really detest the feeling of doom and gloom and with spring here, I’m ready for some pretty spring things! I’ve made sure at the time I wrote this, that all of the items below are readily available and something you may wish to add to your space. You know, a pretty space is a happy space. And we all could use a bit of happy right now.

The items below contain affiliate links. Any purchases, at no additional charge to you, are most appreciated and make this blog possible.


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