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A Cautiously Optimistic View of the Industry - 2019 State of the Industry Report

Date:January 02, 2019
Contact:Tony Bouquot, General Manager
Phone:(216) 241-7333
Email:mbma@mbma.com

The turn of a new year is a time when many industry associations get together for their annual meetings—hopefully someplace warm. It is therefore a great time to talk to members and get a pulse on the year that was and the year to come. At the 2018 Metal Building Manufacturers Association (MBMA) annual meeting in Orlando, Fla., I would describe the mood of our members as cautiously optimistic. There are a number of factors affecting that mood.

Manufacturers are cautious because of uncertainty in the current political and regulatory environment. There is uncertainty about the split U.S. Congress that takes office in January, and uncertainty about the effects of tariffs on steel, and other imported and exported products. There is concern about the historically low unemployment rate, which has made recruitment of new workers at a time of increased demand for metal buildings challenging.

But despite these concerns, metal building manufacturers are optimistic for 2019. Manufacturers saw sales growth of 14 percent during the first three quarters of 2018 and are projecting continued growth both in tons shipped and bottom line results into the new year.

MBMA continues to focus on the flexibility of designs in metal building systems that make them an ideal choice not just for warehouses and manufacturing facilities, but retail and commercial buildings, recreational facilities, offices and places of worship. We offer case studies and design support via the MBMA website, ww.mbma.com. We publish informational and testimonial videos on our YouTube channel, MBMA Media.

MBMA members are optimistic about how metal building systems fit within the continued growth of sustainable building design. With the release of our latest online continuing education course entitled “Sustainable Metal Buildings,” MBMA strives to educate architects, engineers and specifiers on the inherent efficiencies of metal buildings. Steel is among the most recyclable building materials, and unlike other materials, it can be recycled over and over again. This unlimited reuse makes steel a good fit for the next evolution of the sustainability movement: circularity—a cradle-to-cradle, continuous-loop approach to resource usage.

Collaboration is another area of optimism in 2019. MBMA will continue and expand the collaborative work we do with other industry organizations. The American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) is a valued, long-standing partner offering guidance and funding for MBMA-sponsored technical and educational projects. New projects for 2019 include the third phase of research into the seismic behavior of metal buildings and field measurements to validate the approximate period of vibration of buildings. AISI and MBMA are also collaborating with the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) on research into lateral torsional buckling of columns and rafters used in the primary frames of metal buildings.

“Acoustical Performance of Insulated Metal Building Roof and Wall Assemblies,” a new guide that will be published in early 2019, is a joint publication of the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association (NAIMA) and MBMA. Additionally, MBMA will be releasing new editions of several manuals and guides that are cobranded with the International Code Council (ICC) and the International Accreditation Service (IAS). MBMA is also developing a new online continuing education course with the National Coil Coating Association.

Lastly, the successful collaboration between metal building manufacturers and the contractors and erectors who build those buildings will expand in 2019. MBMA will once again join forces with the Metal Building Contractors and Erectors Association (MBCEA) for a joint spring association meeting. MBMA and MBCEA members continue to raise the bar for quality and performance by participating in independent IAS accreditation via AC472 and AC478 for their respective industries. Additionally, MBMA and MBCEA are expanding their industry education efforts with the introduction of a new program that shares educational materials between members of the two groups.

MBMA is cautiously optimistic about 2019. By focusing on our core strengths of technical expertise, flexibility of design and sustainability of product and by continued collaboration with our industry partners, we strive to ensure the success of metal building manufacturers in 2019 and beyond.

Tony Bouquot is the General Manager of the Metal Building Manufacturers Association (MBMA). He leads MBMA in its mission to provide research, leadership and education that increases the prominence and use of metal building systems. Bouquot is a 26-year veteran of the building products industry.

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Reprinted by permission of Metal Construction News.