2020 State of the Industry

Metal Construction News has released their “2020 State of the Industry.” This year’s report highlights views from five industry professionals who examine how the industry will move forward into the next decade. They look at the uncertainty that is creeping into the market, and not just on the economics side, increasing sophistication of projects, improved technologies and more demanding clients which are forcing everyone in the industry to rethink and reevaluate their processes.

MCN comments, “For the last 10 years, the construction industry has seen a remarkable line of expansion, with every year seeming to top the previous year. Only the shortage of skilled labor has taken any of the steam off the growth.”

Richard Branch, Chief Economist with Dodge Data & Analytics, comments in his article The Tipping Point, “The U.S. economy and construction market have reached a tipping point. After a solid 10-year economic expansion and moderately healthy recovery in construction, total construction starts are now tipping over the edge into decline.” He goes on to say, “With a potential economic storm (or at least some rain) gathering on the horizon, total construction starts are expected to decline a further 4% in 2020 to $776 billion.” His article breaks down specifics for the single-family housing, multi-family and commercial building markets.

Alexi Miller, Senior Project Manager with the National Buildings Institute, examines how the important sustainability trend will continue to increase in the next decade in “Growth of Zero Energy Buildings.” He states, “The fast-growing awareness of the impending climate crisis is driving major policy and market changes across North America and around the world. Buildings account for about 40% of annual global greenhouse gas emissions.” New Buildings Institute (NBI) has been tracking zero energy (ZE) buildings for more than a decade now. They have seen over 1000% growth since 2012 with more than 650 zero energy buildings across North America using their “Getting to Zero Buildings Database” (newbuildings.org).

In his article, Executive Vice President & CEO of the International Institute of Building Enclosure Consultants, Brian Pallasch, CAE, takes a closer look at the “Complexity and Interconnectedness of Building Enclosure Components Drives Demand for Consultant Input.” Pallasch comments that “commercial buildings are increasingly more complicated and the systems that comprise the building are more numerous and interconnected and this complexity has driven a number of changes that will continue into the future.”

New technologies and trends are forcing firms to be responsive and adapt. John Trifonoff, Vice President with East Coast Metal Systems, looks at the importance of investing in innovation in his article, “Investing in Innovation and Changing the Narrative.” Trifonoff comments that, “Staying on top of industry technology and news is a key component to adapting to the labor shortage. With fewer people and tighter timelines, staying on top of industry technology and news is something that has yielded positive results.”

And lastly, marketing will be a key ingredient to success going into the new year and new decade. In his article, “Marketing Becomes Mission Critical for Construction Products and Services,” Neil Brown, Chairman for Construction Marketing Association, examines the results of Construction Marketing Association’s (CMA) annual survey along with a summary of trending marketing imperatives.

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