Heating, Airconditioning & Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI) member distributors say they expect price volatility and shortages for galvanized steel to continue for several quarters, according to a statement released on Feb. 11. The statement says prefabricated sheet metal pipe and fittings, which are used in residential work, are also encountering price increases. It says the causes of these price increases and shortages are not due to any post-effect of steel tariffs, but are due to other factors. First, there is a high steel demand coupled with less production of steel due to mill consolidations. Transportation costs have increased due to new hours of service rules, higher fuel costs and a limited amount of available transportation. Finally, a growing Chinese economy has increased worldwide competition for raw materials. They recommend contractors work closely with suppliers to communicate their needs and to take the worst-case scenario on expected prices.