GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Another supply chain issue has been holding up construction projects across the state from being completed. Gov. Roy Cooper’s signing of a new bill may solve the problem.
The “Budget Technical Corrections” bill relaxes regulations on insulated ductwork materials, which are highly unavailable. Legislators said this is so important because unfinished construction projects mean less available housing and higher costs. Now, builders will be able to use a much more available type of ductwork, allowing them to complete builds.
The new law temporarily allows the use of R-4.2 ductwork, which has minimum insulation. Previously, more highly-insulated ductwork known as R-8 was required.
North Carolina Sen. Steve Jarvis, led the effort for the temporary rule change.
“Well, it’s a big deal, because there’s so much building going on throughout the whole state, and I’ve had numerous heating and air contractors contact me, and they’ve not been able to get ductwork and they’ve got projects that are installed, and they cannot get duct work to finish them,” said Jarvis.
The previous regulation was meant to keep structures more energy-efficient, but Jarvis said, it wasn’t making a big enough difference.
“We had engineers that actually went through and done the calculations and may for certain that there was really no significant issue,” he said.
He added the problem has been bad for about a year now, but got dramatically worse over the past couple months, saying, “It would end up in higher housing costs, on top of the fact of more delays.”
This is also a victory for the North Carolina Homeowners Association. Director of Legislative Affairs, Steven Webb, worked with Jarvis to get the bill passed.
“It’s one of a million big other victories that we need,” said Webb.
He said supply chain issues continue to affect a number of other necessary building materials.
“It’s just one issue that we’re facing on the material front, there’s shortages across the line from lighting fixtures to bathroom faucets, to paint,” said Webb.
Webb said these shortages drive up costs, but the ductwork shortage has the potential to bring projects to a full halt. He also said bills like this help because builders are already facing huge challenges with the cost of lumber.
Jarvis said now that the bill has been signed, contractors can get the available ductwork and start back up immediately.