Residential construction demands put stress on builders

With increased construction activity now underway and strong indications the sector is quickly recovering from the economic downturn, builders and contractors are busier than they've been in years. While the government-imposed sequester may have halted some federal projects, an appealing housing market is increasing demand for new homes. As such, builders need to enhance their processes to adjust to changing conditions.

Consumer demand and strong housing starts may lead recovery
Buyer demand continues to increase, and the number of people interested in buying now has jumped substantially. Data from Redfin, a real estate brokerage, revealed the number of prospective purchasers increased 0.6 percent in April when compared to March's numbers. Offers were also on the rise, and April saw a 7 percent jump, a significant gain compared to the 4.4 percent gain seen last year.

These numbers could have been even higher, but relatively low available inventory may have held down progress, according to Redfin. This could lead construction companies to further increase the number of new homes under construction and ensure all potential buyers can find residences that fit their requirements and budget.

New homes are already in strong demand, as data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development revealed newly built single family home purchases jumped 1.5 percent in March. The National Association of Home Builders projected new housing starts are expected to experience double-digit gains in the coming months when compared to the same time last year. The organization predicts multifamily starts will be up 35 percent in 2013, while it expects single-family starts to leap 23 percent.

Builders prepare for increasing market activity
The potential jump in home building will require construction companies to adjust strategies to ensure they can handle the increased demand for homes and subsequent flurry of activity. Aside from hiring more workers and ordering additional materials to help them cope with additional starts, they may also need to optimize other processes like transportation.

To ensure they have access to the materials and equipment necessary to begin additional construction projects, builders, roofers, HVAC professionals, plumbers, electricians, window installers, concrete/asphalt vendors and landscapers may need to enhance delivery and pickup schedules by using route planning software. Such software solutions can ensure they have access to vital resources on time and use the most direct route when sending vehicles to pick up supplies. It can also help guarantee teams don't fall behind on construction schedules and miss out on the opportunity to complete additional homes.