US cement shortage causing construction delays

US cement shortage causing construction delays
Published: 19 October 2005

A critical shortage of cement is reportedly is causing serious problems in Utah’s construction industry. It means lost revenue for construction workers and rising costs for homeowners. The shortage is causing headaches and frustration at building sites around the state.

The cement shortage forced Geneva Rock to cut back production of concrete from six days a week to five days, and now four days a week. A related problem: the cost of concrete in an average new home has gone up by about 1200 dollars in the last year.

When foundation crews are pouring concrete, these days they feel lucky to get it. Sometimes they can’t. John Duddleston, Dream Home Builders: "It’s putting us weeks behind our schedule."

Construction veterans say they’ve never seen a supply crisis like this.  Al Schellenberg, President, Geneva Rock noted: "The demand is up about 10 to 15 per cent in all the state. And the local suppliers haven’t been able to keep up with that demand." Cement is made at only two plants in Utah and they can’t make it fast enough to keep up with demand.  For the short-term, we’re going to have to import cement. For the long-term we’ve got to build more plants."

Industry leaders are pushing Washington to lift tariffs on imported cement. Others are trying to ease to ease up Clean Air regulations, so a cement plant in Morgan County can increase production. But no one expects an immediate solution, as long as the building boom continues.