Metal Architecture Home
Features

34th Annual MCN Contractor Survey

Mcn  Survey  Chart 1

Across the board, economists recognize that 2014 was a pretty good year for the construction industry, and the 34th Annual MCN Contractor Survey touts the same message. According to our respondents, who represent more than 10 percent of our contractor readership, 2014 stacked up well.

And 2015 looks to be even better. The 2015 Dodge Construction Outlook predicts that total U.S. construction starts for 2015 will rise 9 percent to $612 billion, a larger gain than the 5 percent increase to $564 billion estimated for 2014. FMI Corp., Raleigh, N.C., indicates that construction putin- place for 2015 will hit $1.04 trillion. The National Association of Home Builders forecasts 991,000 total housing starts, a 6.6 percent increase over 2014. And Hanley-Wood's Residential Remodeling Index indicates a 4.4 percent increase in home improvement activity in 2015.

Growth will come from both increased number of buildings constructed and increased size of the buildings as owners and developers show increased confidence in the growth of the overall economy, including leaps in consumer spending.

All of that optimism builds off a solid year of growth that is reflected in the average square footage increases in every category of metal building products.

 

Average Square Footage Increase by Metal Building Product

 

General Statistics

Respondents to the 34th Annual MCN Contractor Survey represent a wide variety of general and trade contractors in the metal construction industry, with nearly half serving as general contractors. Trades make up the remainder, spread across the roofing, framing and metal building erector trades.

Participants were from all regions of the country with a heavier emphasis on the South and less emphasis on the Midwest. Nationally, the companies average $30,408,792 in annual gross contracting sales, while their total metal projects sales tipped in at $8,478,816. In the 33rd Annual Survey, which measured 2013 performance, these numbers came in at $32,645,262 for annual gross contracting and $4,633,783 for total metal projects volume. Clearly, this year's respondents represent companies that have a higher proportion of business coming from metal, but there is not enough data to assert that this represents an industry growth trend.

 

Company Location

 

Type of Firm

 

Average Annual Gross Contracting Sales Volume

 

Average Metal Project Sales Volume

 

Breakdowns of Metal Construction Contracts

 

Amount of Metal Construction Projects Involving Architects

 

Metal Buildings

Square footage of metal buildings constructed in 2014 increased 10.7 percent over 2013, while the number of respondents involved in metal buildings has held steady. Projections for 2015 indicate that companies who do either more than 50 projects a year or only one a year will decline. Those in the middle of the curve will increase slightly the number of projects they execute.

Commercial and industrial projects represent the most commonly built types of buildings, and that holds true no matter what region in which the contractor builds.

As one would expect, contractors are more likely to build more smaller metal buildings. Nationally, nearly 60 percent of the buildings constructed were less than 20,000 square feet. It should be noted, though, that the East region builders were more likely to build larger buildings than the other three regions. In the East, about a third of all buildings were larger than 50,000 square feet. In the South it was only 27 percent, the Midwest only 20 percent and the West only 15 percent.

 

Number of Respondents Involved in Metal Building Construction

 

Average Number of Metal Buildings Completed per Those Involved

 

Average Square Footage of Metal Buildings Completed

 

Percentage of Contractors Involved in Metal Building Project Types in 2014

 

Metal Building Projects Completed, According to Building Size

 

Metal Roofing

Nationally, respondents anticipate doing fewer metal roofing projects in 2015. Between 2013 and 2014, the number of roofs held steady no matter which region respondents were building.

The number of respondents building more than 50 projects a year is expected to increase slightly, while the number completing only one will decrease significantly. In the middle of the curve, more respondents will be handling between two and four projects than did in either 2013 or 2014.

The likelihood of a respondent executing a commercial or industrial metal roofing project is significantly higher than for any other building category. The same holds true regardless of region.

In the subcategory of new metal roofs on non-metal buildings, the number of respondents taking on such projects is expected to hold steady nationally. There are minor fluctuations regionally, but those numbers appear to be within a margin of error, so should be deemed inconsequential changes. Again, as with the other categories, the growth is expected to come from project size with the number of respondents projecting a 22.5 percent increase in square footage installed on new metal roofs for nonmetal buildings.

 

Number of Respondents Involved in Metal Roofing Construction

 

Average Number of Metal Roofs Completed per Those Involved

 

Average Square Footage of Metal Roof Projects Completed

 

Percentage of Contractors Involved in Metal Roofing Types

 

New Metal Roofs on Non-Metal Buildings

 

Percentage of New Metal Roofing on Non-metal Buildings

 

Average Square Footage of New Metal Roofs on Non-metal Buildings

 

Metal Wall Panels

Metal wall panel projects participants are expected to hold steady for 2015, according to survey respondents. There will be little change in any of the regions of the contractors entering or leaving the market.

Those trade contractors doing metal wall panel construction that are doing more than 25 projects in 2015 are likely to increase, while those in the middle of the curve (five to 15 projects per year) are projected decline in 2015, according to respondents.

In contrast to metal building systems and metal roofing projects, the likelihood of a metal wall panels project being a commercial or industrial project is considerably less with those categories, clocking in at roughly 35 percent. The category that shows the greatest likelihood of metal wall panel projects compared to metal building systems or metal roofing projects is transportation.

 

Number of Respondents Involved in Metal Wall Panel Construction

 

Average Number of Metal Wall Panel Projects Completed per Those Involved

 

Average Square Footage of Metal Wall Panels Construction

 

Percentage of Contractors Involved in Metal Wall Panel Construction Types

 

Light-gauge Steel Framing

Our survey breaks light-gauge steel framing into two subsections: exterior and interior. We do this to differentiate between structural framing and tenant build-outs. In both categories, the number of respondents participating in such projects is expected to hold steady for 2015, matching the 2013 and 2014 numbers.

These respondents tend to do fewer of those projects annually, so the number of respondents doing more than 25 light-gauge steel framing projects is less than 10 percent, whether exterior or interior. The vast majority of respondents tend to do between five and 15 projects.

While the average size of light-gauge steel projects is expected to increase in 2015 for both interior and exterior projects, the gains will be greater on the exterior side of the business.

 

Number of Respondents Involved in Light-gauge Exterior Framing

 

Average Number of Light-gauge Exterior Framing Projects Completed per Those Involved

 

Average Square Footage of Light-gauge Exterior Framing Projects

 

Number of Respondents Involved in Light-gauge Interior Framing

 

Average Number of Light-gauge Interior Framing Projects Completed per Those Involved

 

Average Square Footage of Light-gauge Interior Framing Projects