Contractors in Alberta’s booming construction industry say this year’s devastating hurricane season along the Gulf Coast is going to make a cement shortage even worse. Builders say high demand for cement this year has already meant that some smaller projects like driveways and sidewalk repairs have been put on hold. Now, with rebuilding starting in hurricane damaged areas of Texas, Louisiana and Florida, getting the cement that’s needed to make concrete is becoming increasingly difficult.
“I’ve been just starting to feel the pinch in the last week or two,” said Luke Fokkens, co-owner of Ropak Concrete Construction & Development in Calgary Fokkens said cement suppliers are often shipping up to a week late because they can’t keep up. He said the concrete crunch isn’t likely to force huge delays in major projects like building or road construction, but he said smaller projects may have to wait.
Steve Hale of Kodiak Concrete in Calgary said he has been forced by the shortage to limit work to only its largest clients. “We haven’t done any driveways this fall when normally the wheels are just rolling and you’re just pounding out the concrete,” Hale said. “I can haul rocks and sand to my heart’s delight — I just don’t have the cement.” “I’m letting go of a lot of my smaller jobs and going for the bigger stuff, just so I can stay ahead,” said Fokkens.