Lead Time For A New Shed

What Is The Lead Time For A New Shed?

Were you hoping to build a new shed this year? Or are you planning a new shed build for 2023? Frustrated with the extended lead times?

Farm sheds, like many other construction projects and products, currently have longer than usual (or pre-Covid) lead times. 

While this is due to a range of factors coming into play, many of which are out of our control, these extended timeframes can be incredibly inconvenient!

Your shed project could be a sheep yard cover to keep sheep dry before shearing. Or a hay shed to get hay out of the paddock and under cover. Or it could be a calving shed or calf shelter that needs to be ready in time for calving. 

Regardless of your project requirements, having accurate and realistic time frames for your shed from the get-go is essential for project planning and peace of mind. 

Here at Action Steel, we like to be upfront about our current lead times. This means we don’t make promises we can’t deliver on. In fact, one of our core values is: we do what we say we will do

So, we have taken the time to write this article; an open and honest discussion about farm shed lead times. 

In this article we discuss:

  • The top three factors influencing lead times.
  • When and how time frames will improve.
  • What we are doing about it – plus, steps you can take.

And of course:

  • What is the lead time for a new shed? 

If your shed project is time-bound and you want to know everything about lead times, then this is the article for you.

What Is The Lead Time For A New Farm Shed?

The lead time for a shed project is determined on a job-by-job basis and is subject to a few factors, such as the complexity of the project.

However, the current lead time for a new shed build is around six to eight months. 

It is worth noting that this time frame has been consistent for the past 12 – 18 months. Additionally, our project schedule is regularly updated and where possible projects are brought forward. 

You might also be wondering about the erection process and how long that typically takes – so this is what we answer next.

Lead Time For A New Shed

How Long Does It Take To Build A New Farm Shed?

The average farm shed build is usually completed within two to three weeks, however, large-scale or complex projects can take up to six weeks or more to complete. 

The time it takes to build a shed can also be impacted by factors like the weather and covid isolation requirements, so keep that in mind. 

Now, let’s talk about why farm shed lead times have been extended. 

Why Are Lead Times Extended For New Farm Shed Builds?

While there are a number of reasons why the time frame for new shed builds has increased, in this article we are focusing on the top three. These are supply, demand and labour – all of which are linked in one way or the other. 

1. Increased Demand

Over the past two years there has been a significant increase in demand for farm sheds. For example, new shearing shed builds and sheep yard covers have been very popular. And this year there has been a high demand for on-farm grain storage sheds, chemical sheds and fertiliser storage sheds. 

This increased demand can be attributed to a number of factors, one being the instant asset write-off incentives. The full write-off of fodder storage assets, for example, encouraged primary producers to invest in hay sheds and grain sheds

Consecutive years of bumper seasons, increased prices for commodities like grain and higher costs for inputs like fertiliser have also increased demand for storage sheds.

Then there are less obvious drivers of demand such as machinery shortages. With new farm machinery and replacement parts hard to come by, farmers and contractors are focussing on keeping the machinery they have well-maintained. And storing your machinery in a shed is the best way to keep your equipment in tip-top condition. 

Similarly, current labour shortages have also contributed to increased demand.  For example,  sheep producers are investing in shearing sheds and yard covers to improve working conditions in an effort to retain and attract staff. An industry focus on safety i.e., AWI’s safe sheds program has also encouraged investment in upgraded facilities. 

As a result, we are manufacturing more sheds than ever! This is exciting, but it does also mean lead times are extended simply due to the volume of work that needs to be produced.

2. Supply Issues

Steel shortages and supply issues have also contributed to extended shed manufacturing times. This is in part due to the increased demand for sheds (and other construction projects) that we have already discussed. The more sheds that are being built, the more materials that are required. But this is not the sole reason for supply issues. 

The impact of Covid-19 on the global supply chain and local steel production should not be overlooked. Covid protocols have meant steel producers have had to operate with limited staff, or in the case of hard lockdowns, they have not been able to operate at all. This obviously reduces the amount of steel produced, resulting in a shortage of steel. And an existing backlog of orders has only magnified this issue. 

While local steel producers are no longer subjected to hard lockdowns, they do still have to deal with labour shortages due to Covid protocols and low unemployment – which is what we discuss next.

Lead Time For A New Shed (1)

3. Staff Shortages

Labour shortages due to Covid isolation protocols can cause delays in your shed project. This is a two-pronged issue:

 1. It is impossible to predict or schedule when staff will be away from work due to Covid. 2. The current low unemployment, while great for the economy, makes finding replacement staff difficult– particularly at short notice. 

It is worth mentioning that these delays due to staff shortages don’t just affect shed manufacturers. Our suppliers are also subject to the same issues which can have a flow-on effect on us with delivery delays. The same goes for our subcontract erector teams.

So, that is an overview of the top three factors that are causing delays with construction projects including farm sheds. 

Now that we understand what is causing the extended lead times, let’s look at when they will potentially improve – and what we can do about it.

When Will Lead Times Improve?

When will the lead time for a new shed improve? Or is the “new normal”

The lead times for farm sheds are likely to improve when supply increases and/or demand decreases.

It is hard to predict changes to supply. For example, steel shortages were expected to be resolved by the end of 2022 but global events such as the conflict in Ukraine have made this unlikely. 

Similarly, there are no signs of demand slowing but again this is difficult to predict. For example, the risk of a foot and mouth outbreak may lower consumer confidence and reduce spending on infrastructure. Or a good harvest in 2022 may mean it remains steady. 

While we can’t state exactly when timeframes will improve, there are a number of changes we have made to shorten the lead time. 

Read on to find what we are doing at Action Steel to reduce the lead time for your next shed build.

What Are We Doing About It?

We have made a number of changes at Action Steel to accommodate the increased demand and to limit the impact of supply issues. 

These include increasing our production capacity by streamlining internal processes, improving manufacturing efficiencies and expanding our operations. 

We also accurately schedule work and regularly update the project schedule with any changes.

To ensure we are not impacted by supplier delays we have been buying steel in bulk and well in advance. And we have moved many activities in-house such a steel processing and concrete panel manufacturing. We also manage the council permit process and engage a private surveyor to avoid delays with councils. 

These changes all help us manufacture and deliver your shed on time. There are also a number of steps that you can take in the decision-making process and buying stage to help streamline your project. 

What Can You Do About It?

As well as the steps we are taking to improve shed build time frames, some of the decisions you make can also influence this. These include ordering your shed well in advance and choosing a standard span shed. 

1. Order well in advance

By now extended lead times for any kind of product are expected. With this in mind plan your purchases well ahead – farm shed projects included. Staying abreast of current time frames and ordering in a timely manner takes the pressure off both you and our production teams. 

Another option to consider is choosing a standard span.

2. Choose a standard span

Our standard spans are a range of span sizes that have been designed to suit farm sheds. These include 15 metres, 18 metres, 21 metres, 24 metres – right through to 60 metres clear span. 

Choosing one of our standard size spans speeds up the manufacturing process and avoids delays. This is because it makes drafting quicker and easier and means that a new truss jig does not need to be set up to accommodate a non-standard span – saving both time and money!

Or you could purchase a ‘kit-only’ shed.

3. Order a kit-only shed

 With our streamlined manufacturing process, sometimes the bottleneck in a shed project can be getting the shed up and standing. One way to potentially avoid this delay is to arrange the erection yourself. Otherwise, we can allocate the erector best suited to your project and provide you with an expected completion date.

We hope this discussion around lead times for farm sheds has helped you understand all the factors at play and why time frames are longer than they used to be. If you would like a more accurate indication of when your shed will be completed, please do not hesitate to give us a call

You might also find these articles of interest:

For more articles like these, and for farm shed resources such as brochures, videos and storage calculators, check out our Learning Hub.

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