Shortage of workers causing delays for local home builders


WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A shortage of construction workers is delaying many builds in the area. 

Janice Buerki and her husband are building a home. She said hammering out a timeline for when the house will be finished is hard to measure. 

“Every step seems to take a little bit longer than we expected,” said Buerki.  “We were looking at finishing at the end of July and now we’re probably looking at September 1st and that’s with no other delays, and I’m sure there will be more so it could be longer with that.”

While the weather has played a role, she said her builder is struggling to find the crews. “Bob said he was having some trouble with that,” said Buerki. 

Bob Cook, the owner of Bob Cook Homes, said the reason why is there is a shortage of workers. 

“There’s a shortage all the way across the board of carpenters foundation people tradesmen of any kind are really hard to get now,” said Cook. 

Cook said in his fifty years of work, this year has been the hardest. He said the number of workers available was more than cut in half. He said he is seeing fewer people go to trade schools, a greater demand for homes, and fewer workers from overseas because of tighter restrictions. 

“It’s unfortunate, it’s a great way to make a living. It’s been really good to me over the years,” said Cook. “It’s a great way to be creative, and it’s a great way to work with people.”

Cook said it’s hard to nail down a timeline, but said a four-month build will likely take eight months to a year. “Got to get people to do it,” he said. 

Cook said his advice is to be patient. 

“It’s just gonna take as long as it takes,” he said. 

Buerki said it’s important to make sure your builder is communicative, because it’ll be a long ride. 

“Talk to your builder, see what’s going on, be patient with him because he’s just as frustrated as you are,” said Buerki. “Go along with the ride because it’s going to be long and slow, but it’ll eventually get done.”

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