Timber shortage irks local builders

Local builders and timber suppliers want to use local products but are finding that demand is exceeding supply.

Naracoorte-based builder Paul Russell said there is a shortage of local timber in the region, believing it is caused by excessive exporting of logs from Portland.

Builders and carpenters have had no choice but to use imported laminated timber from Europe, and despite it being the same quality, Mr Russell is disappointed it isn’t local. 

“We went down to get some from one of our suppliers and all we wanted was 30 lengths of timber and we couldn’t get it,” Mr Russell explained. 

“They just didn’t have the 30 lengths of timber and they are all back ordered.”

An anonymous local supplier said it was an unusual situation, with local mills exporting logs, but businesses then importing timber back into the country due to a lack of availability. 

“If we were guaranteed a consistent supply for timber then we would use local but the supply is just not there,” the source said. 

We use local plumbers and local electricians, so we would like to use local timber as well

Paul Russell

“We all need confidence in the supply but the confidence is just not there.

“A lot is having to come from interstate and overseas but locally sourced timber would be a much better investment.” 

The anonymous supplier now has 40 packs of timber back ordered, and is unable to keep up with demand.

“Our locals are getting done over,” Mr Russell said. 

“Logs are being taken straight out to Portland to be exported and it is terrible that we have the supply down here but my question is, is there a certain amount left or allocated for domestic use?”

Timber stock has also been reported to have come from Western Australia, yet this supply is only around 5 per cent of what is used. 

“The quality of timber is the same,” Mr Russell said. “But we use local plumbers and local electricians, so we would like to use local timber as well.” 

There are also reports there’s about to be a blanket 9 per cent increase in the cost of timber.

"This means housing will also go up, it is almost 10 per cent,” Mr Russell said. 

“The cost of jobs are going to go up and a large house, well you are talking an extra $2-2500 just for the framing and trusses.” 

Mr Russell explained that when it was exported, suppliers were buying the product at premium rate.

“It is okay that they are paying the premium rate, but now we are paying it too and it is a large increase,” Mr Russell said. “There is a short supply and a large demand.”