Continued rain impacting custom home builders

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Foursquare Builders says due to the rain and wet weather in September, the company lost about 30 percent of their work days. 

“It pushes out the schedule for sure,” owner Wes Wigginton said. 

We’ve seen 17 rainy days out of the last 35, since Sept. 1.  

“As we get into the winter months, we start to experience more rain and the freezing temperatures impact our work,” Wigginton said. “The biggest challenge is that it can be raining in one part of town and not raining heavy here and our clients expect and anticipate the [subcontractors] will be right over because we’ve got dry weather, yet they’ve been delayed across town, so that delay impacts our production.” 

Wigginton says skeleton crews do work on some sites when it rains, but they aren’t able to use the heavy equipment in muddy conditions. At one house the company is working on, for example, there was enough ground cover that allowed crews to walk around on a soil that would otherwise be unworkable. 

The Homebuilders Association of Greater Austin says the delays have also added costs for builders. 

“Because we have such a tight labor market right now with subcontractors, what we see is if a contracting crew is not able to come out and do the weather delays, then all of a sudden they have to pivot to another job site and keep with their existing schedule,” Emily Blair, with the Homebuilders Association of Greater Austin, said. 

Sometimes a one-day delay could end up being a week if that is when the next availability is, Blair said. 

“Luckily builders build in a buffer,” she said. “There’s always sort of a margin for error for the unexpected things that do come up in any process, especially things out of control like weather. A lot of times builders preempt those conversations with customers and they sort of know that might be an impact throughout the process, but usually the end date can still be delivered on time.” 

Wigginton says Foursquare Builders always keeps clients in the loop. 

A spokesperson for David Weekley Homes reported they lost about three weeks worth of work time last month. He anticipates it will cause even greater challenges for the fourth quarter than normal because a good chunk of their third quarter closings slipped into the fourth. 

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