AAMA Fall Meeting Underway in Las Vegas

The American Architectural Manufacturers Association's (AAMA) National Fall Meeting is taking place this week at the JW Marriott Resort & Spa at Summerlin in Las Vegas. Meetings began yesterday afternoon for a number of the group's various committees.

The event's opening general session, led by AAMA executive director Rich Walker, took place this morning AAMA's executive director. He announced there were 46 new attendees at the meeting and said that the Strategic Planning Committee has been working on updating its certification program.

David Moyer of Architectural Testing Inc. provided an update on the activities of the Structure Work Group (SWG). The SWG has been conducting a SWOT analysis of the current certification program.

"We are including insulating glass certification under one roof to provide one administrator/one certification program," Moyer said. "Work is ongoing on a proposed certification procedural guide taking into account all 'A' priorities."

Janice Charletta of AAMA provided an update on the association's Marketing Work Group, which has been conducting customer need assessment.

"They've been exploring international acceptance, which has had some limited interest, but broad-based, and will be looked into further," she said. The group is working to improve state requirement compliance, and has seen interest from architects, builders, contractors and dealers. The goal is to get information from the manufacturers to these end users.

Paul Deffenbaugh, editorial director for Reed Building Group, presented the "Giant Moves - Top 400 Builders." He said some factors that affect profitability include increased margins, greater customer satisfaction and land assembly strategies; the least important factors were savings on building product costs, reduction in construction costs and reduction in cycle times.

Consolidation of the largest homebuilders is big. "The industry is still fragmented," he said, adding that Pulte is the largest with 2.4 percent of the market.

"[In the next couple of decades], 75 percent of the industry will be controlled by 20 homebuilders," he said. "Further growth may come from mega mergers." He added that Wall Street is driving consolidation. "There are 28 publicly traded companies and Wall Street wants to see them grow."

He said the building industry has seen growth in the vacation/second homes market with a significant amount of investment this past year--12.37 percent increase in square footage.

In the top 400 builders, he said, there were changes in types of construction; custom housing increased the most at 13.5 percent from 98-06. He also said land development rotates between anti-sprawl groups and smart growth groups based on political and market forces. Another fact, he noted, is that 360,000 houses are razed annually, which is feeding the baby boomer demand.

AAMA meetings continue this week through Wednesday.

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