Florida Has A Cement Shortage

First we put half our stuff in storage. Then we moved into the front half of the house, about the size of a NY two-bedroom apartment, putting the kids into a bunk bed. The idea was to start the project in the fall, and finish by about, well, May or June. Then we had permit delays. Then, finally, in January we knocked down the empty half of our house — including a piece of the kitchen — so we could rebuild it better and bigger. Then they started to build, poured a foundation, built some walls, and almost a month ago got ready to pour the beam and install the trusses.

But wait! We failed inspection! The city of Coral Gables has tougher requirements than the County and even though these were noted on the plans, the engineer just did the routine calculations. Three week delay to recalculate, get twice as many trusses, re-inspect. Ok, that takes us to last week. Good to go to pour some beams, right?

Oops. Seems there's a cement shortage. As the contractor tells it, there were three local plants that supplied about 60% of south Florida's needs with the rest coming from abroad. Most of the imported stuff is being diverted to other places, like China, that are willing to pay higher prices than Florida (!). And all three of the local plants are having mechanical problems. The biggest plant has problems so severe that the owners have decided not to repair it, but just to wait for the new plant to come on stream in about a month.

So after a few days extra delay we managed to get a truck to come and bring some of this precious commodity, and we poured yesterday. Except we ran out.

Question: Is it more reasonable to imagine we'll finish in August (contractor's current estimate), December (my guess), or some time after next March….

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6 Responses to Florida Has A Cement Shortage

  1. Sure, but I’ll bet this contractor came in with a bid half what the other ones were asking.

  2. MP says:

    City mistake unacceptable, cement excuse is somewhat legit.

  3. Ty Gillis says:

    Why are we exporting cement to the World’s largest producer of Cement? I can’t find anywhere on the net where all this cement is actually going to. Concrete producers have been saying that China has been paying triple the amount for it.

  4. Dean B says:

    Hey all, bummer on the contractor issues, but the cement shortage is definitely a legit and major issue.

    For Ty: We are not exporting cement (except maybe Canada for Northern mills), in fact we are a huge net importer of Cement, importing about 23% nationally and 40% here in Florida. There is plenty of cement worldwide, just no way to get it here. China isn’t importing cement, as they are the world’s largest manufacturer of it, but they are tying up all of the shipping in the far east hauling other construction materials. It just makes sense for the Ship owners to make 2 or 3 trips between Asian ports rather than 1 trip to the US.

  5. mixer402 says:

    oh Well , life goes on !

  6. Fred says:

    A major factor in this problem is the urealistic expectations given to the contractors by the customers. Construction is not realative to the speed of a computer. As computers and life has been speeding up to an unhealty pace, construction is still accomplished very much today as it was 30 years ago. Construction is very labor intensive and youcan only push people so far. Customers msut get real as to what can be acceptable and allow good construction to take its time; just like a great merlot.

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