Glass Shops Respond to Residential Construction
January 18, 2010
During a Construction Outlook Conference last year, Robert Murray,
vice president of economic affairs for McGraw Hill Construction,
forecasted that total construction would rise 11 percent in 2010,
partly buoyed by a 32-percent increase in single-family housing
construction starts (CLICK
HERE for related story). Meanwhile, this month the American
Institute of Architects released its semi-annual Consensus Construction
Forecast, which reported that nonresidential construction spending
is expected to decrease by 13.4 percent in 2010 (CLICK
HERE for related story).
So where once the commercial glazing industry worried over the small
and residential contractors taking on jobs beyond their capabilities
HERE for related story) in 2010 this movement may be reversed.
With the start of 2010, Aaron Day, president of American Glass Inc.
in Springfield, Mo., has seen an optimism return to construction
professionals in his region. "I know a lot of our local builders
are fairly optimistic about the new year," he says. "I
think demand, at least in our area, is increasing and the supply
is decreasing. It seems as though the builders I've talked to all
have a few things to look forward to in the new year."
That increase, and optimism, refers specifically to the area's residential
"I think we've definitely seen the bottom of the residential
[downturn] and it's very slowly increasing," Day says. Local
commercial construction, he says, is "definitely" on the
The Glass Doctor franchises provide commercial as well as residential
glass replacement across the country, offering them an overview
of across-the-board demand. Its president, Mark Dawson, says the
company, overall, "projects market growth to be between 4 to
5 percent a year over the next three years. Demand should continue
to outpace the gross domestic product. Even though remodeling activity
has been declining, we should see the first signs of recovery beginning
the first half of 2010."
Paul J. Rowan, vice-president and Midwest regional manager for Trainor
Glass Co. in Alsip, Ill., says that demand is not there yet, for
either residential or commercial glass, but it's coming. "They
are both down right now, but we have seen some movement."
Rowan sees variances by region, in two ways: "both volume and
price. We have a couple areas where we are getting a lot of traffic
and others where it is a little slower," he reports. "In
addition, what you sell for in one region may be high or low in
another area. You need to make sure your pricing structure works
for the area you are in," Rowan advises.
Solar Innovations of Pine Grove, Pa., a manufacturer of products
ranging from greenhouses to curtainwall, is seeing regional variances
in demand as well.
"Pockets of customers in the retirement areas of the country
and those areas that provide more economical living and energy costs
also appear to have higher demand," says Greg Header, president
of Solar Innovations. "There are also pockets of customers
who aspire to live 'greener' lifestyles, in terms of natural daylighting
and passive solar, who provide greater demand to our industry"
For more information, look for the January 2010 issue of USGlass
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