Home Construction Booms Despite Need for More Workers

videoframe MURFREESBORO, Tenn.  – Home construction in Rutherford County and Middle Tennessee is booming, but finding enough workers to build it is a big problem.

There is a shortage of framers just to get the shell of houses built.But it’s not just framers, trying to find enough skilled labor is getting more difficult for builders. Some companies have started advertising the old-fashioned way, a big sign in the front yard.

“It’s framers, dry wallers,” President of the Rutherford County Home Builders Association Chris Jensen said. Jensen is also part owner of Jensen Quality Homes.

He said the biggest reason for the shortage is the housing bust a few years ago.“A lot of people got out of the business when the market crashed,” Jensen explained. “The skilled labor force that we had before is not there because they got other jobs and they’re not coming back.”

It’s not just a shortage of framers, the Home Builders Association of Tennessee told News 2, there is a shortage of construction workers in general. “This is not a problem that’s exclusive to Middle Tennessee, or to the state of Tennessee, it’s a problem nationwide,” Susan Ritter Executive Vice President Home Builders Association of Tennessee said. “We went through a very serious recession in the home building industry.”

Photo: WKRN

It’s taking much longer than normal to build homes, for custom-built homes its taking anywhere from seven to nine months to complete, but less time for cookie cutter builders.

News 2 has learned Governor Haslam will announce a Go Build Tennessee program Wednesday. The program will be geared towards recruiting young people in high school and college and letting them know there are plenty of well-paying residential and commercial construction worker jobs.

“We are all struggling to meet demand and have enough workers to do that,” Ritter said. Even with a shortage, Jensen said it’s a good problem to have. “It’s a great problem to have. It’s much better than the problem we had a few years ago,” Jensen said.

Jensen said a shortage of skilled workers is not the only thing delaying home construction. He said the time has increased from two weeks to about six weeks to get state septic system permits.

This story appears courtesy of WKRN.

NewsGrant Prettyman