Where Has All the Gypsum Gone?

Where Has All the Gypsum Gone?

Where Has All the Gypsum Gone? 1560 1177 gcproductsinc

Over the past several years, gypsum – especially glassfiber reinforced gypsum (GFRG), has become a very popular material used in the construction business. Gypsum is fire resistant and environmentally friendly, and is a lightweight mineral that is viable in nearly any design, color, size, or shape a project needs.

Glassfiber reinforced gypsum (GFRG) is also the go-to choice for access panels. That is because, since most walls are made out of gypsum board (drywall), the panels can be almost completely hidden and easily installed into any space.

Unfortunately, there has been a significant shortage in the availability of gypsum over the past few years. Even for smaller projects, gypsum availability is becoming a real problem for contractors, requiring estimated costs to rise with no end in sight to the demand of gypsum in construction projects.

NOTE: GC Products has obtained a supply of gypsum, and has it available for all of our projects, reducing our lead times to compared to our competitors. If you need gypsum access panels, or any GFRG designs, contact us for faster completion times. Contact GC Products for your GFRG access panel order.

What Does a Lack of Gypsum Mean for the Construction Industry?

There are a variety of reasons that gypsum has experienced shortages in the past year or so. Between supply chain issues, rising prices, and complications that had persevered since before the Covid-19 Pandemic, there has been a high demand and low availability for what has become an essential building material.

This lack of gypsum has created construction delays, projects to run over budget, and has made it quite difficult for contractors to accurately estimate costs when trying to anticipate profit margins. So where did all the gypsum go, and why are we dealing with such a shortage of it right now?

  • COVID-19 Complications – The demand for construction materials increased in the early months of the pandemic due to the amount of time people were spending in their homes. During this time, much of the workforce that manufactured gypsum was not operating at full capacity, and many of the systems that were in place to transport gypsum around the world were also not functioning. Because of this, gypsum became a backlogged material for all 2021, 2022, and most of 2023.
  • Increased Demand – Gypsum has continued to see an increase in the construction industry as a whole. Its ability to replicate different materials, and significant increase in quality over previously available construction options has made it a nearly essential material for planning and development. Had the demand for gypsum remained similar to what it was before 2020 instead of increasing year over year as it has, the previous production rate may have been able to catch up after the pandemic.
  • Shortage of Labor –Manufacturing and transportation industries have seen a steady decline in their workforces as the baby boomer generation has begun to enter retirement. Because of this, we have hit a bottleneck in the supply chain, where gypsum cannot be produced as quickly as it is required for construction projects. Combined with an increasing shortage of truck drivers, transportation costs have climbed recently as well. This has made it more expensive to transport gypsum to where it needs to be. This means less materials being transported, which only makes the supply problem worse.

When discussing a material shortage, it is world events, supply, demand, and labor that are always going to be the main contributing factors. For gypsum right now, there are many construction companies that are working with shortages. This can lead to inaccuracies when trying to predict the length of a project.

When discussing construction plans with different contractors, it is important right now to find out what materials they have in supply, and what materials they will need to wait for, like gypsum. It can mean the difference between an affordable construction project, or something getting out of hand and over budget very quickly.

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