2020 Mid-Year Forecast Notes
July 21, 2020
Starting off this week with some forecasting news. There was a good economic mid-year update presented this week and some interesting nuggets came from it. The analysts see us being past the bottom now and rising. The metrics are all pointing at least in an upward direction.
That said, it’s still dicey out there with unknowns regarding a new surge of the virus. However, taking that into account, the nonresidential forecast is looking like 2020 will end 15 percent down from 2019. 2021 is being predicted as up 8 percent with the majority of the growth on the backend of the year. That may be comforting to a lot of glaziers who are normally backlogged out through the entire following year by this time, and right now there’s a portion that are not.
Other notes of interest―the big growth area in buildings are not a good one for our world. It’s warehouses. The e-commerce side is on fire and there’s significant growth in the fulfillment area. Positive news, though, as renovation looks strong especially on the office side―I have been preaching that for months-even pre-virus―while the other downsides are hotel/motels and colleges and universities. Both of those are really taking a beating and the forecasts for them are not kind. Again we will stay on top of it―soon we will have the latest update from Connor Lokar of ITR during the NGA Glass Conference (register here and not only get that update but so much more― there’s a lot of buzz surrounding that event!) and later this week the June Architectural Billings Index will be released. My prediction there is still numbers in the 30’s but getting better. After all, we did have an improvement in starts in June from May, so I think this area will also show it as well. But it is 2020, so no logic really applies right? We’ll see…
- One of my favorite buildings of all time was torn down this past week. The Palace of Auburn Hills. This was the home of the Detroit Pistons, and a state-of-the-art arena and showplace that was built by Bill Davidson in 1988. He absolutely did it right and it was a great and innovative venue all the way to the end. I saw so many super events there, sat courtside for Kobe (a very, very lucky moment there for me) and bonded with my son during some good and usually bad basketball games.
But it also had a business connection for me. In the early 2000’s the Palace remodeled an entire side of its structure, putting in huge glass spans. I was lucky enough to be the fabricator on this job, working with my pals from Peterson Glass who were glazing it. It was a challenging job with pattern cuts and oversized glass and the obvious high-profile nature of it. But it went off as well as it could―everyone was happy and it gave me insane pride to always point to that to anyone I was with. So, my Project of the Week below is the Palace… a great building with lots of memories that I will always cherish.
- I’ve hit it here a few times over the years so many know I am big into the bird friendly glazing space. (Though again in all honesty when Julie Schimmelpenningh brought it up for the first time in a GANA meeting several years ago I seriously thought she was joking) This week Joe Green of GlasPro in California had an excellent take on it on LinkedIn and I think it’s worth the read.
- Security Glazing is a big area and the NGA just released a new technical paper on it. If you are at all involved in this world, having this document handy is a must. You can find that and a bunch of other great resources here.
- I was excited to see my friend Joe Dressler land a new gig this week. Joe was at Tremco for a long, long time but that recently ended, and now he’s moved to G&W Engineering in St. Louis―so his skillset will thankfully stay within our world! Congrats on the move Joe!
- Last this week…I really like what Guardian Glass did with their new education page. The layout is fantastic and the amount of resources available pretty significant. Click here for the link and check it out. Not sure who the individual folks are there who deserve the props, but kudos to all who worked on this.