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Now is the Time

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Good news in the housing industry. Existing home sales have increased. New home sales have increased. And new home starts have hit a four-year high. One of the biggest drags on our economic recovery has been the slowness of the housing recovery. Of course, the industry had a deep hole to dig out of. The 2008-2011 housing recession was the worst housing recession in history-worse than during the Great Depression.

But now, homebuyers are shopping models, builders are hiring and trade contractors are doing installations. It would be nice this time around if the metal construction industry could gain a bit more market share of the new home construction industry.

We've made some inroads on the remodeling side of things. (Check out the article by the Tom Black of the Metal Roofing Alliance on page 4.) But getting homebuilders to adopt metal roofing, steel framing and other products in the metal construction industry has been slow.

If we want to get builders' attention, it should be now. During the long downturn, every homebuilder dismantled more than 75 percent of his or her operation. That includes their purchasing and construction departments. Now, as they ramp back up, they are evaluating products, instituting new processes and looking for a competitive edge.

If you're a trade contractor handling metal construction materials, now is the time to set up your meetings with your local builders. If you're a designer or architect, broach the subject of offering a new product on their models that can help them differentiate. (Cold-formed steel framing and metal roofing fit nicely into the new focus on performance homes.) Our goal should be simple. Move metal building products beyond the remodeling and custom home segments where they are currently most popular and into the production home builder segment. That's where huge market share gains will occur.

Thankfully, the housing industry is coming back. Let's not lose this opportunity

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