Habitat for Humanity avoiding high lumber costs with fire-resistant material

The pandemic is hurting the bottom line for an organization that builds affordable homes for low-income families. Action News Now reporter Jafet Serrato shows us how they are working around that.

Posted: May 20, 2021 8:46 AM
Updated: May 20, 2021 9:00 AM

PARADISE, Calif. - The pandemic is hurting the bottom line for an organization that builds affordable homes for low-income families.

The sounds of rebuilding can now be heard all over Paradise. 

Despite that, the pandemic is causing a lumber shortage which means higher costs for building.

Nicole Bateman from Habitat for Humanity has seen the increase first hand.

"A house we probably built in 2018 was like $200,000 and a house that we built just this last year was $250,000," Bateman explained.

Batemen helps build homes for families at an affordable rate.

"So, what that really means for us is that we have to get more in-kind donations more in-kind services," Bateman said.

She is hoping that the rise in prices is only temporary. As far as new homes in Paradise, Bateman told Action News Now they're ditching lumber and replacing it with ICF.

"Insulated concrete forms. So these forms are like legos and we're going to pour concrete into there, and so they're going to be well-insulated homes," she said.

Gregg Lewis is with the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association. He said the benefits for ICF outweigh the negatives if people are looking to rebuild.

"Substantially less expensive to build than if they were to use a traditional stick frame solution," Lewis said. "It is also fire-resistant."

"Fire zones is one area this makes total sense for as well as tornadoes and hurricanes to use ICF housing so that houses won't be destroyed," Bateman said.

Habitat hopes to build six homes in Paradise this year, three of them using the ICF.

Lewis said the organization he works for is trying to implement this ICF material for other habitats for Humanities across the country.

Habitat for Humanity of Butte County, the Paradise Ridge Chamber of Commerce, Paradise Mayor Steve Crowder and representatives of Build With Strength gathered on Wednesday for a ribbon-cutting event to celebrate the construction of those new concrete homes.

The homes will be located on Garden View Lane. There were tours available for people who wanted to see the construction. There were also some speakers including Paradise Mayor Steve Crowder and State Senator Jim Nielsen.

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