A new supply chain problem is bothering home builders in Colombia as the city has been forced to delay electrical service of some new developments under construction.
The site most immediately affected by the supply issue is the Timberbrook development, which is located off Scott Boulevard in southwest Columbia.
Jeff Hemme, one of the founders of Hemme Construction and one of the developers of Timberbrook, said the city has yet to give them information on when the parts will be delivered.
Due to the delay, Hemme said they are not selling the houses to anyone at this time as they don’t know when they will be completed.
The delay affected the conduits that pass under the street and to the various houses. Electrical works are designed when the roads are completed and before the development of houses begins. The placement of the conduit takes place before the concrete for the street is poured, Hemme said.
He said homes that may have been available soon could be pushed back to next year due to the delay affecting the city.
Matthew Nestor, the public information specialist at the city’s utilities department, said the department tried to change its ordering process to ensure materials arrive on time. Nestor also said that while the service may not be as fast as in the past, they continue to provide electrical services to the developments.
It depends on “the materials, supplies and personnel available to install or restore electrical service,” Nestor said.
Nestor said the materials had been on order for months and the city was proactive in obtaining the materials it needed and finding other solutions if needed.
However, Nestor noted that some issues are still beyond the city’s control. “Shipment delays and other circumstances beyond the control of utilities can cause longer delays in project completion. ”
The city has the electric utility service for those who live in Colombia, and the city is expanding electricity and other utilities as developments are built in the city. Boone Electric Cooperative provides similar services in unincorporated areas of the county.
Meredith Hoenes of Boone Electric said they “plan for the future with a longer time frame than the past” because of the lack of various parts that go into making electricity.
Boone Electric has experienced shortages of copper wire, aluminum wire, insulators and bolts, Hoenes said.
Boone Electric has also established contracts well ahead of schedule to bypass shortages. In previous years, contracts hadn’t been drafted so long ahead of schedule, Hoenes said. Boone Electric works with engineering contractors for up to a year and a half to start planning projects.
Boone Electric is also making sure it knows what the developers are planning to do in the county so they can plan accordingly. Boone Electric has yet to shut down electrical operations for new developments in the county.
The shortage of various materials across the country has affected many areas besides the construction industry. The auto industry, for example, has been hit by the shortage of microchips, leaving many cars almost complete but not ready for sale.
Hemme also spoke about sawmills in Canada suffering from a railcar shortage and a shortage of truck drivers on the West Coast, leaving some materials lying around.