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One Year Later, Roofing Supplies Still Reflect the Effects of Katrina

March 16th, 2022

It took only days for the markets to react to the perceived needed increase in building materials in the storm ravaged southern costal areas of the United States. It took only a matter of weeks for the storm to have a major effect on the supply and price of available materials on hand nation wide. Some things like plywood and other forms of sheeting were in high demand just prier to the disaster, being used as damage control measures, and now even in higher demand after Katrina’s passing.

Due to the vast amount of damage, and the material needed to rebuild those damaged areas, supplier seeing that shortages in production were inevitable, immediately raised prices to reflect the coming shortages. But the extent of damage was far greater then anyone had anticipated. Reports of damage took weeks and in some cases months to filter into the big picture. All the while suppliers pushed production plants into high gear to try to meet the staggering new demands on materials.

The problems of production quickly became apparent with major shortages in raw material as a result of the damage to southern sea ports where much of the raw materials used in production are received from suppliers around the world. Many of the damaged ports utilized special handling equipment and procedures that would be difficult to duplicate quickly in other sea ports around the country. These post Katrina developments all served to put a server strangle hold on production of Roofing material as well as many other building materials.

Roofing material suppliers diverted in transit shipments to staging areas close to heavily damaged areas. In many cases, larger warehoused stocks of tiles, shingles, metal roofing and related materials were snapped up from large to moderate distributors and transported to Katrina affected areas, leaving many areas of the country with little or no available roofing materials.

Some mistakes were made in the redistribution of roofing materials. Costal areas that are subject to hurricanes have special codes in place that set specific standards for roofing materials, meaning that roofing materials that are approved for use in Nebraska are not necessarily certified for use in hurricane prone regions of the country. Yet virtually all roofing materials were subjected to large quantity redistributions it would seem. One speculation is that companies were hoping for some new guidelines to be put in place that would allow them to use the currently unapproved materials by utilizing upgraded and modified installation methods that in theory would satisfy the roof testing standards. But this is only speculation.

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