In the Aftermath of Hurricane Florence

September 28, 2018 Karli Langner

We have taken a look at what is happening in the construction industry in the aftermath of the recent hurricane.


Hurricane Florence roared in with a wrath, leaving buildings and homes destroyed  across the Carolinas, to the cost of billions. The number could grow higher as rivers continue to swell. When waters recede, damage to the infrastructure can be more accurately accessed.

However, according to the American Road and Transportation Builders Association, approximately 10% of bridges in South Carolina and over 10% of bridges in North Carolina are structurally deficient. Dams in these states aren’t much better with 178 in South Carolina deemed a high hazard, along with 1400 out of 5700 dams in North Carolina ranked hazardous.

Flooding increases the chance that bridges and dams will fail, which would be catastrophic to nearby communities. Some rivers have risen more than 25 feet above flood level.

Building & Construction Costs

Like last year’s devastation in Texas and Florida after hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the new home building industry will most likely not be impacted, just pushed about 3-6 weeks out for clean-up and infrastructure restoration.

However, costs of materials will be going up, not necessarily in response to the spike in demand for building materials, but because the tariffs on Chinese goods have boosted costs for imported plywood and lumber. Prices for furniture and appliances have gone up too, due to the tariffs. Labor shortages will add to the higher cost of building.

China is one of the leading suppliers of plywood for the U.S. In 2017, U.S. companies imported $1.14 billion in plywood from China, or 41.6% of all plywood imports that year. Through July of this year, imports from China have been down 14.5% from the same period last year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau trade data. If the trade war intensifies, plywood and drywall, two key building products, could face further price hikes.

CoreLogic, a real estate data firm, estimates that Hurricane Florence could damage 759,000 homes in the Carolinas, which would cost $170 billion to rebuild.

Moving Forward

As the Carolinas work to rebuild in the wake of Hurricane Florence, contractors are going to pay the price for it in terms of higher construction costs. To counteract these new expenses, businesses should focus on improving efficiencies, while cutting costs to keep projects moving forward. Using the integrated suite of Command Alkon solutions for the Heavy Building Materials industry can help improve the performance of your enterprise. Batching, Dispatching, Automation, Quality Control, Logistics, Fleet and Workforce Management, Supply Chain Operations, Mobile Computing, Business Intelligence, and more are made better, easier, and more cost effective with Command Alkon.

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