2017 State of the Industry

By Paul Deffenbaugh The new year promises lots of opportunity and many challenges At the end of 2016, people in the United States felt a bit dazed and weary after a bruising election cycle that dominated the news cycles. But quietly under the radar, the metal construction industry experienced a strong growth year, and the… Continue reading 2017 State of the Industry
By Paul Deffenbaugh

Cmd  Commercial  Mainly Retail

The new year promises lots of opportunity and many challenges

At the end of 2016, people in the United States felt a bit dazed and weary after a bruising election cycle that dominated the news cycles. But quietly under the radar, the metal construction industry experienced a strong growth year, and the prospects for 2017 appear equally as strong.

We asked a group of industry experts to weigh in on these factors from their individual perspectives. The following pages provide a spread of information on the state of the metal construction industry.

Ken SimonsonThe Positive but Uncertain Outlook for Construction

By Ken Simonson, Chief Economist, Associated General Contractors of Americas

The outlook for construction remains positive. But uncertainty has increased since Election Day.

Construction spending and employment continued to increase in 2016, as they have each year since bottoming out in early 2011. However, the industry seemed to hit the pause button for several months in mid-year, and year-over-year growth slowed.

For 2017, total construction spending appears likely to grow by low- to mid-single digit percentages. However, the mix will change.

Residential construction has a mixed outlook. After years of rapid growth, multifamily starts and permits began to decline in 2016, and permits no longer exceed starts. That’s a strong warning sign that the number of projects will taper off, once current starts are completed in late 2017 or early 2018. In contrast, single-family construction should continue its uneven but generally upward pace.

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Kathryn ThompsonLower Taxes are Driving CEO Confidence Up

By Kathryn Thompson, CEO, Thompson Research Group

The economic direction for 2017 is not clear cut, but I can state rationally: The economy will definitely be up, but the degree will be impacted by the residual effect of potentially lower corporate taxes on consumer and, more importantly, CEO confidence. Overall, President-elect Donald Trump is pushing for a 15 percent corporate tax rate. The U.S. House of Representatives wants 20 percent. It could end up somewhere in between. In any case, directionally, it’s going to be lower. That is a top priority for all involved.

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Marlon BlackwellAspirations for Metal Components

By Marlon Blackwell, FAIA, Marlon Blackwell Architects

Identifying trends in metal construction design is difficult to do, but I certainly do have aspirations, things that I hope to see. There are three things: developing an envelope that shapes the outside and inside, capture phenomena in the metal system to intensify the effects of weather, and create metal systems that amplify light.

Inside Outside Envelope

We see a lot of metal screens where they’re disengaged from the weather seal such as metal screen over glass. For some time, I’ve been wondering when the metal cladding system, the envelope system, begins to shape both the outside and the inside to the point where the glass sits within the voids of the envelope system-a serial system of units (outside and inside) with the wet seal embedded between.

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Scott KrinerMetal Component Efforts in 2017

By Scott Kriner, Technical Director, Metal Construction Association

Andy Williams, Director of Codes, Metal Construction Industry

Sustainability is one key area where the Metal Construction Association (MCA) continues to work. Continued development of Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) is a key area of interest for the design community. MCA is in the initial stages of the process to

Andy Williams

update and broaden the scope of these declarations for Insulated Metal Panels (IMP), Metal Composite Materials (MCM) and prepainted roll-formed cladding. MCA Members have found these declarations show a great advantage in the use of metal as a key component for both roof and wall assemblies.

Several incidents outside of North America have highlighted the concerns about fire performance of wall and roof assemblies. MCA has been very active with National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and ASTM International in modifying and updating the fire standards defined by the building code. Probably the most important proposed change is to the NFPA 285 test standard, which regulates the use of combustible cladding assemblies on high-rise construction. MCA has provided valuable input on this change to the standard that will go through the final balloting process in mid-2017.

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Lee ShoemakerMetal Building Systems Prepare for 2017 and Beyond

By W. Lee Shoemaker, Ph.D., PE, Director of Research and Engineering, Metal Building Manufacturers Association

2017 will be a year of reflection and planning with respect to codes and standards. This is because 2016 marks the end of the current cycle of updates that take place every three years for the International Codes, and every six years for most material standards and specifications.

There were some significant changes in the codes and standards that will impact construction in general and metal construction when the 2018 International Building Code (IBC) is eventually adopted. Some changes will fill needed voids, some changes are based on more recent research, and some are unfortunately just changes for the sake of change. We are all still evaluating the impact of all of the changes and overcoming our discouragement where the outcome didn’t reflect our desired position.

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Alex CarrickU.S. Construction Outlook Heading in 2017

By Alex Carrick, Chief Economist, CMD, Norcross, Ga.

The following is an overview of construction activity levels in the U.S. It will focus on key type-of-structure categories and attempt to answer where they are headed over the next couple of years, and with what degree of vitality.

Residential Construction

In residential construction, the multifamily homebuilding segment has returned to a level of starts on par with before the Great Recession. Single-family ground breakings, while considerably better than they were in 2010, are still languishing below their previous norm.

There remains a great deal of lost ground to be made up in single-family construction. Many analysts are fond of calling this an accumulation of pent-up demand.

Also, a key demographic factor will soon play a role in lifting the single-family market. To this point in their lives, millennials, when they have moved out of their family homes or college dormitories, have tended to favor rental accommodation.

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