Rise in new homes leaves void for quality workers

By: Joseph Dames Email
By: Joseph Dames Email

A high demand for new homes, sounds good, but what if the supply of qualified workers are just not there?
There are 5 states that have that problem and the National Association of Home Builders says Colorado is one of them.

Colorado is one of the fastest rebounding states when it comes to the housing industry, that is the good news; however, home builders are saying skilled construction workers are hard to come by.

The construction industry took a severe hit over the last 4 years, since it was hard for contractors to get work, many were forced to look for a new gig, and now that building is making a comeback it's tough to find workers.

"Now it is really picking back up again, and we are now having a hard time finding qualified... subcontractors and general contractors are having a hard time finding the qualified people to bring back in now that the work has picking back up again", said Scott Bonner, Project Manager for GH Phipps.

Housing construction surged 47 percent in the last 12 months, nationwide, and local contractors say they have stayed steady here in Grand Junction.

"[Porter homes] build anywhere from 10 to 18 homes a year and with the quality subs that we have, they are able to stay with it", said Rod Porter of Porter Homes.

But for others it can be a vicious cycle because those seasoned construction workers now are looking for higher pay, leaving some contractors having to pass and search for cheaper work, which doesn't always come with skilled work

“There is always going to be somebody who will work a bit cheaper than the next guy, but the question is does he have the quality", said Porter.

And that is what contractors are worrying about, hoping the shortage in quality labor hammers out.

"My guess it will right itself in the next year or two, but it is something everyone will have to fight through as things are picking up", said Bonner.

The NAHB says nearly half of its members at some point had to delay completing work due to the lack of labor, and unfortunately 15 percent of the members have even had to turn down some projects.
Builders say many of the experienced construction workers left for other jobs when the housing industry fell under, many went to industries like mining and natural gas drilling.

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