General

Avoid Increasing Lumber Costs by Choosing Bautex Wall System

(Image Provided By NAHB)

Lumber prices in the United States (U.S.) continue to rise with the recent announce­ment by the Trump admin­is­tra­tion to charge coun­ter­vail­ing tariffs1 on imported softwood lumber from Canada. Lumber prices in the U.S. began to increase at the end of 2016, when the 2006 softwood trade agreement between the U.S. and Canada expired. The end of the agreement and the antic­i­pa­tion of the softwood tariff have been blamed for increas­ing lumber costs of more than 20 percent. The National Asso­ci­a­tion of Home Builders (NAHB) also reports that because of the higher lumber costs in the first part of the year, a single-family home, which requires 15,000 board feet to construct, now costs almost $3,600 more to build. Com­mer­cial buildings that are framed in wood, will see similar increases. The addition of a tariff on imported softwood lumber from Canada is predicted to further con­tribute to the trend of rising softwood lumber prices in the U.S.

Trump’s coun­ter­vail­ing tariffs on Canadian softwoods range from 3 to 24 percent and are retroac­tive on imports dating back 90 days. Trump justifies the coun­ter­vail­ing tariff on unsub­stan­ti­at­ed claims that Canadian softwood producers are sub­si­dized by the Canadian provinces. The subsidies are in the form of low royalty rates for cutting trees on gov­ern­ment owned land in Canada. Trump claims this is an unfair advantage over softwood producers in the United States, where forest lands are mostly held by lumber companies. The U.S. Depart­ment of Commerce deter­mined the tariffs based on claims that Canadian softwood producers are receiving subsidies worth 3 to 24 percent.

According to the National Asso­ci­a­tion of Home Builders (NAHB), the coun­ter­vail­ing tariff on Canadian lumber imports will increase the cost of lumber an average of 6.4 percent. The NAHB also estimates the tariff will increase the price of an average, new single-family home by another $1,236. The large U.S. softwood producers and lumber mills will profit from this coun­ter­vail­ing tariff. Home builders and com­mer­cial building owners all stand to loss under the current Trump Canadian softwood lumber tariff.

Con­trac­tors in the U.S. are dependent on lumber imports for wood con­struc­tion. Thirty-three percent of the lumber used in the United States is imported. More than 95 percent of the imported lumber comes from Canada. Ninety percent of the wood used in framing is softwood lumber. According to the NAHB chair Granger MacDonald, imports are necessary because American mills do not produce enough softwood lumber to meet the demands in the U.S.

Producing enough lumber at a rea­son­able price to meet the nation’s demand is vital to the building industry. There are several suggested ways to increase U.S. pro­duc­tion of lumber: boost domestic pro­duc­tion of lumber from publicly owned lands, reduce exporting lumber sales and increase logging of federal forests in an envi­ron­men­tal­ly sus­tain­able way. These sug­ges­tions will help to keep lumber prices down. A softwood tariff against Canada increases the cost of wood, which ulti­mate­ly is passed on in the form of increased material costs for new construction.

Bautex Wall System Offers an Alternative to The Rising Costs of Wood Framing

Con­trac­tors, archi­tects and builders can avoid the volatil­i­ty and increas­ing costs of lumber by choosing an alter­na­tive to wood framed walls, like the inno­v­a­tive Bautex™ Wall System. The Bautex Wall System saves con­struc­tion time and costs. Bautex Wall System also has sig­nif­i­cant advan­tages over wood construction.

  • The Bautex Wall System con­tin­u­ous insu­la­tion is energy efficient and stops thermal bridging with a R‑value of R‑14. Wood framing is less energy efficient and can reduce the sur­round­ing insu­la­tion’s R‑value by 10%.
  • The Bautex Wall System meets and exceed indus­try’s standard for fire resis­tance with a ASTM E119 fire rating of four hours and an ASTM E84 reported values for flame speed of zero and smoke devel­op­ment of twenty. Fire quickly spreads in buildings con­struct­ed of wood.
  • Buildings con­struct­ed with the Bautex Wall System are stronger than wood during severe wind storms. The Bautex Wall System has the strength to resist winds of over 200 mph and can resist the flying debris of the strongest wind event. 
  • The Bautex Wall System sig­nif­i­cant­ly reduces the transfer of sound from the outside to the inside of a structure.

Lumber prices in the U.S. are on the rise as the U.S. and Canada continue to struggle with a softwood trade agreement and the recently imposed tariff by the Trump admin­is­tra­tion. The increase in lumber prices is predicted to have a negative impact on the U.S. building industry. It may be time for builders and archi­tects to cut their depen­den­cy on wood con­struc­tion and consider insulated concrete blocks instead. The Bautex Walls system’s high per­form­ing insulated concrete blocks provide an alter­na­tive to tra­di­tion­al wood con­struc­tion. Bautex Blocks are also more energy efficient and fire, wind and moisture resistant than buildings con­struc­tion with wood.

Coun­ter­vail­ing duties are tariffs (tax,fee) levied (imposed, charged) on imported goods to offset subsidies given to producers of the goods from their gov­ern­ment. Coun­ter­vail­ing duties are meant to help producers of a product be com­pet­i­tive against foreign producers of the same product who can sell it at a lower price because of the help (subsidy) they receive from their gov­ern­ment. A subsidy is money given by the gov­ern­ment to an industry for the purpose of keeping the price of that industry’s service or product low or competitive.

Click here to learn more about the Bautex Wall System.