The Pandemic's Effect on Construction Pricing and Demand for a Backyard Oasis

By Adam Alstott, Tropical Pools, Inc. / adam@tropicalpoolsinc.com

The demand for a backyard, socially distanced oasis has skyrocketed.  COVID-19 forced people to work from home, homeschool their kids, and find entertainment in their own spaces.  Commuting, dining out, and vacations were all put on hold for more than a year and the result has been money saved or money invested in the home.  Customers want dream pools with rocks and slides.  They see photos of lazy rivers and islands with swim-up tiki bars and decide they want to transform their backyards into staycation wonderlands.  While it is my job to make their dream a reality, I am beginning to love the simple, modern rectangle even more as costs soar.

So, who should bear the costs of productivity impacts on projects?  Construction costs are rising so quickly due to supply chain issues. Factory workers must be distanced to diminish the risk of infection.  Some states have had to close factories to prevent the spread of the disease.  These measures are causing increased costs, shortages, and delays.  These are the common-sense conclusions, but I would like to see some actual documentation showing exactly how much the costs and prices have increased and the direct link to the pandemic.

Manufacturers and suppliers are using the force majeure clauses in their contracts to pass the costs onto us.  They are citing the causes listed above with a shrug.  Because they are using the clause to avoid long-term pricing contracts, I hope to eventually see the pricing go back down after the force majeure event (the pandemic) has ended.  In the meantime, I am considering using the option on my contracts sold before the new price increases.  The idea will be a hard sell to my clients but I’m hoping that if I can show documentation and proof of the increases, they won’t feel like they are being cheated.

COVID-19 has been challenging to say the least. I feel like our industry has been lucky in that we are seeing increased demand for our product.  Pool construction permits are up 25%.  The challenges we face are small compared to other small businesses that have been decimated by this event.  My heart goes out to those people who lost their businesses and their livelihoods due to the virus.