Fabricators forecast commercial growth
High-performance products to drive demand in 2007
Even in an environment of high fuel costs, rising material prices, growing overseas competition and a suffering housing market, 2006 proved successful for many U.S. commercial glass companies. And this trend will only continue in 2007, according to predictions from several commercial glass fabricators.
“The sun was shining on the commercial building segment in 2006, and we expect it to do the same in 2007,” says Tim McQuade, president of Northwestern Industries Inc. in Seattle.
Bob Price, director of sales for J.E. Berkowitz in Westville, N.J., says officials from his company also anticipate continued growth in the coming year.
“In 2007, we’re putting up a new plant, and we’re optimistic,” Price says. “We have a fair amount of backlog. So, unless catastrophic issue, we anticipate to be busy.”
To meet customer demands in the New Year, Price says J.E. Berkowitz will focus on their low-emissivity and other high-performance product offerings. Guardian Industries Inc. of Auburn Hills, Mich., and PPG Industries of Pittsburgh both have new high-performance product offerings coming in 2007, Price says.
Max Perilstein, vice president of marketing for Arch Aluminum & Glass Co. in Tamarac, Fla., agrees that performance will be top of mind for commercial glass consumers in 2007. “The trend is really going toward higher performing products. The soft coat or solar control low-e's are getting easier to run, and more and more architects understand their benefits,” he says. “We are seeing that in the specifications.”
For glass tint colors, Perilstein predicts demand for blues and greens will continue to grow, while demand for bronze will suffer a big decline.
As far as the residential segment is concerned, McQuade predicts a continued decline and recommends that companies not invest too heavily in housing until it begins to rebound.
“The residential segment dropped off considerably in the fourth quarter [of 2006] and should stay at this level for 2007. It could even take a step backward and be less desirable to participate in,” McQuade says.
See the December 2006 issue of Glass Magazine for the full 2007 industry forecast, or read the articles online by clicking here.