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Avoid Lumber Tariffs with Insulated Concrete Form Construction

Ris­ing lum­ber costs due to Cana­di­an lum­ber tar­iffs are encour­ag­ing builders to con­sid­er alter­na­tives to wood frame con­struc­tion, like insu­lat­ed con­crete blocks (ICBs). In Novem­ber 2017, the Trump admin­is­tra­tion imple­ment­ed tar­iffs on Cana­di­an soft­wood lum­ber aver­ag­ing 20.83 per­cent. Since then, fram­ing lum­ber cost has esca­lat­ed to a record aver­age high in June 2018 of $565. This is a thir­ty per­cent increase over the aver­age com­pos­ite price in 2017.

Con­se­quent­ly, accord­ing to Robert Dietz, chief econ­o­mist for the Nation­al Asso­ci­a­tion of Home Builders (NAHB), the tar­iff will increase the expense of a typ­i­cal new­ly-built wood framed home by about $9000. Light wood frame con­struc­tion has been wide­spread in the Unit­ed States (U.S.) for over 100 years.

How­ev­er, with the sky­rock­et­ing price of wood, new home builders and con­trac­tors should con­sid­er an alter­na­tive solu­tion to wood fram­ing mate­ri­als, like Bau­tex insu­lat­ing con­crete blocks.

What is the Canadian softwood lumber Tariff?

The Cana­di­an lum­ber tar­iff is a tax on lum­ber com­ing into the Unit­ed States from Cana­da. In the U.S., tar­iffs are typ­i­cal­ly paid through a cus­toms bro­ker or agent when the prod­uct enters the U.S. The goal of the lum­ber tar­iff is to increase the price of Cana­di­an lum­ber, there­by mak­ing pre­sum­ably less expen­sive U.S. lum­ber more desir­able.

How do the lumber tariffs impact contractors and builders?

Con­trac­tors in the U.S. are depen­dent on lum­ber imports for wood con­struc­tion. In fact, 30 per­cent of the lum­ber con­sumed last year in the U.S., came from import­ed lum­ber. Of the imports, more than 95 per­cent came from Cana­da. In Texas, about 40 per­cent of all the fram­ing lum­ber used comes from Cana­da.

The Impact of Lumber Spikes on Quotes and Bids​

Con­trac­tors and builders often source the land and quote a price to a cus­tomer based on cur­rent expec­ta­tions for the cost of mate­ri­als. Because lum­ber is the largest com­po­nent of a new wood frame home, esti­mat­ing accu­rate lum­ber costs is essen­tial to a contractor’s bot­tom line. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, when the price for lum­ber spikes, as they have done recent­ly, the builder can lose their prof­its. To recoup those loss­es, the builder may raise the prices on the next cus­tomer.

Bautex Wall System Offers a Solution to Lumber Tariffs

Con­trac­tors, builders, and archi­tects can avoid the ris­ing costs of lum­ber by select­ing an alter­na­tive to wood framed walls, like the inno­v­a­tive Bau­tex Wall Sys­tem. The Bau­tex Wall Sys­tem is an insu­lat­ed con­crete block that saves build­ing costs and time. Bau­tex Wall Sys­tem also has sig­nif­i­cant ben­e­fits over wood frame con­struc­tion.

  • The Bau­tex Wall Sys­tem con­tin­u­ous insu­la­tion is ener­gy effi­cient and stops ther­mal bridg­ing with an R‑value of R‑14, which is up to 350% bet­ter than con­ven­tion­al wood framed walls (see this arti­cle on ther­mal bridg­ing).
  • The Bau­tex Wall Sys­tem meets and exceeds indus­try’s stan­dard for fire resis­tance with an ASTM E119 fire rat­ing of four hours and an ASTM E84 report­ed val­ue, for flame speed of zero and smoke devel­op­ment of twen­ty. A fire can quick­ly spread in wood frame build­ings.
  • Build­ings con­struct­ed with the Bau­tex Wall Sys­tem are stronger than wood frame struc­tures dur­ing severe wind storms. The Bau­tex Wall Sys­tem has the strength to resist winds of over 200 mph. Bau­tex Wall Sys­tem can also resist the fly­ing debris of the strongest wind event.
  • The Bau­tex Wall Sys­tem sig­nif­i­cant­ly min­i­mizes the trans­fer of sound from the out­side to the inside of a build­ing.

Lum­ber prices in the U.S. are on the rise. The increase in lum­ber prices is forc­ing builders to increase their prices for new con­struc­tion. Per­haps it’s time for builders and archi­tects to cut their depen­den­cy on wood con­struc­tion and con­sid­er ICBs like the Bau­tex Wall Sys­tem. Bau­tex ICBs are more ener­gy effi­cient and fire, wind, and mois­ture resis­tant than build­ings con­struct­ed with wood. For a solu­tion to record high lum­ber costs due to lum­ber tar­iffs, builders should con­sid­er the Bau­tex Wall Sys­tem.