Predictions for 2021
January 18, 2021
Hot off the presses, it’s time to dive into my predictions for our industry in 2021. This should be a very interesting year (understatement alert) as we continue to hopefully move further and further away from the 2020 virus. So, here goes…
Glass is going to be the big winner post-COVID-19.
Between all my talks with our industry and the design community, I am extremely confident the usage of glass on the interior will grow nicely, but so will more glass on the exterior. Natural light was always gaining strength with studies showing how it’s a positive for productivity and health, but now in our soon-to-be “new normal” glass is going to be a monster. There’s no other building product that can come close.
2021 wiil be a “donut” year: a hole in the middle and then solid.
Get ready for a roller coaster ride. I think we start fast, suffer in the middle and then end strong. We have a hole in the center of a lot of forecasts this summer, thanks to the reduction of starts in Q2/Q3 last year. How long will that lull last? Will weather and other logistics slide backlogs that could help smooth over the valley to come? I think we may have some of that, but the donut is ours to deal with.
Protective glass is absolutely in style now.
I say it almost every year, but given the year we had, the need for that extra level of protection is now more focused than ever. Our industry has a ton of options in this field and while other products are out of stock or have a long lead-time, we are always pumping material out.
Real automation, and continued software growth.
Labor was rough before 2020, but now it’s somehow even harder to attract. Did not think that was possible, but it is. What’s the play? Automation. And I am talking machinery and equipment that can do the work of several areas of a plant floor or site. The more it can be combined the better. And quite frankly, it has to happen. To me this is a lock. Software for both fab plants and glaziers has also evolved and improved dramatically. Luckily, there’s quite a few excellent options for this innovation and technology and if you haven’t moved on it before then, GlassBuild in the fall will be loaded with it.
Emergence of high-performance code busters.
Codes and standards like New York Local Law 97 and all of the various national ones are growing. Our industry has always taken an unfair beating that we don’t have the products to meet the needs. We do! We have great low e’s, at least one tremendous VIG option, big-time spacer advancements, tons of options on framing, etc. We have the answers to the questions out there, and this year I think you see us growing our emphasis nicely.
What does everyone else think? Let me know!
- I did see online that the great Greg Oehlers of Tristar Glass has officially retired, though I am pretty sure he will still be around a little bit to keep tabs on things he had in the works. Even with that, I just wanted to wish Greg only the best for this next stage of his life. Hard to find a better guy than Greg and what he has done for our industry and the people who worked with him! Congrats my friend, enjoy your retirement!
- Thirsty Thursday this week is a fascinating one and it’s being led by a person I have heard a ton of awesome things about and look forward to meeting one of these days. Kayla Natividad of Pilkington/NSG is presenting “Glass Options for a Healthy Built Environment.” This a big-time subject as occupant comfort was a huge issue pre-pandemic and will be massive as we emerge. This is Thursday at 1p.m. Learn more and sign up here!
- Builder Magazine had the 5 Housing Markets to watch in 2021 and you know, since I love lists, this one is for me. This was based on where people want to live, improving property values and so on. Here they are with some of my comments:
1. Dallas. Oh, you know me and the great state of Texas. I can see this and back it.
2. Jacksonville. Wow, Florida has a lot of options but did not see JAX as the call here. Thomas Lee or maybe now Urban Meyer must be the draw!
3. Phoenix. Being out West but not in California seems to be the draw.
4. Raleigh. Similar to my Jacksonville comment, surprised this is the choice in North Carolina. I have only been there twice. Nice area.
5. Salt Lake City. I have always liked this area, and I am sure the growth there is insane since the last time I spent any time there in 2011.
For me I would’ve had Charleston or Greenville, South Carolina, on this list of five along with Nashville. Still, I love this good fodder for the blog!
- Last this week: the Minnesota building I wrote about and asked for input on had some news attached to it. The Historic Preservation Committee will now study and make the call. I really enjoyed the feedback I got from the always awesome folks from the Twin Cities. Thank you to all and we’ll keep an eye on where this one ends up!