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29th Annual MA Architect Survey

Ma  Survey  Chart 3

Across the board, economists recognize that 2014 was a pretty good year for the design and construction industry, and the 29th Annual MA Architect Survey suggests the same message is true for the metal construction industry. According to nearly 300 respondents, 2014 stacked up well.

And 2015 looks to be even better. The 2015 Dodge Construction Outlook predicts that the total U.S. construction starts for 2015 will rise 9 percent to $612 billion, a larger gain than the 5 percent increase to $564 billion estimated for 2014. FMI Corp., Raleigh, N.C., indicates that construction put-in-place for 2015 will hit $1.04 trillion. The National Association of Home Builders forecasts 991,000 total housing starts, which is a 6.6 percent increase over 2014. And Hanley-Wood's Residential Remodeling Index indicates a 4.4 percent increase in home improvement activity in 2015.

Not only is the construction industry as a whole growing, we also see from our survey that designers and architects were increasingly likely to specify metal building products in 2014 compared to 2013, and they are bullish about their specification in 2015. It doesn't matter whether it's metal roofs, metal walls, metal building systems or metal framing, architects are going to increase their specification of them.

 

Percentage of Respondents Who Specify Metal Building Products

 

General Statistics

The respondents to the 29th Annual MA Architect Survey represent architectural and engineering firms almost exclusively, with a much greater emphasis on the design side of the business, especially when you factor in design-build firms. Overwhelmingly, the participants are owners or managers in the firms they represent.

Matching the industry trend, nearly 50 percent of the firms in this survey bill less than $1 million in services, but a surprisingly large number (24.4 percent) bill more than $10 million.

Last year was a good year for our respondents in comparison to 2013. Nearly 75 percent of them increased billings in 2014, and more than 20 percent increased billings more than 10 percent over the previous year. For those firms that did see declines, the losses were less severe with just over 8 percent seeing declines of more than 10 percent.

That reflects the general health of the industry. Not every company will see increases as the industry increases. Projects may increase or decline in size, which affects the overall billings.

 

Company Type

 

Position in Firm

 

Company Location

 

2014 Approximate Billings

 

2014 Billings vs. 2013 Billings

 

Metal Roofing

In 2014, survey respondents reported increases in the specification of metal roofing in both new construction (8.5 percent) and renovation (15.1 percent) compared to 2013. For the most part, the increase held across regions, although respondents from the Midwest indicated a slight decline in the specification of metal roofing on new construction projects.

Projections for 2015 continue the trend of increased specifications for metal roofing and respondents show a robust interest in metal roofing. Nationally, nearly 27 percent of respondents report they will specify more metal roofing in 2015 compared to 2014, while only 4.8 percent suggest a decline in their specification.

Low-slope standing seam metal roofing continues to be the most often specified type of metal roofing as it was in previous surveys. Still, respondents are nearly as likely to specify batten-seam and just slightly less likely to specify steep-slope standing seam or corrugated.

Of the projects in which metal roofing is specified, 40 percent will be less than 10,000 square feet and only 5 percent will be greater than 80,000 square feet.

 

Percentage of Respondents' New Construction Projects that Include Metal Roofing

 

Percentage of Respondents' Renovation Projects that Include Metal Roofing

 

Amount of Metal Roofing Projected in 2015 Compared to 2014

 

Types of Metal Roofs Specified

 

Metal Roofing Projects Specified, According to Building Size

 

Percentage of Respondents who Specify Retrofit Metal Roofing for Existing Buildings

 

Metal Wall Panels

Respondents report that specification of metal wall panels for both new construction and renovation projects increased in 2014 at 8.5 percent and 15.1 percent respectively. Compared to metal roofing specification, respondents were slightly more likely to specify metal wall panels in 2013 and 2014 for both new construction and renovation projects.

Looking forward to 2015, 28 percent of survey participants expect to increase the specification of metal wall panels, while 7.7 percent anticipate a decline. These numbers are comparable to the usage reported on metal roofs, although the number of respondents reporting a decline in use is slightly higher.

More than half (56.1 percent) of respondents indicated they specified concealed fastener metal wall panels, while slightly less than half (45.9 percent) specified corrugated and 42.7 percent specified exposed fastener metal wall panels.

 

Percentage of Respondents' New Construction Projects that Include Metal Walls

 

Percentage of Respondents' Renovation Projects that Include Metal Walls

 

Amount of Metal Wall Panels Projected in 2015 Compared to 2014

 

Types of Metal Wall Panels Specified

 

Metal Buildings and Metal Framing Systems

About a fifth of our respondents are likely to specify a metal building system for new construction, while only about 10 percent will do so on a renovation project. Incidence of specification increased for both new construction and renovation projects in 2014 compared to 2013 at about the same rate of 11 percent.

Just over 22 percent of our respondents indicate they will specify more metal building systems in 2015, and about 7 percent suggest the likelihood will decline. Respondents in the West show an increased likelihood of specifying metal building systems compared to other regions.

Metal framing system specification among respondents will likely increase about 21 percent in 2015, and nearly 9 percent say they will be less likely to specify a metal framing system.

 

Percentage of Respondents' New Construction Projects that Include Metal Building Systems

 

Percentage of Respondents' Renovation Projects that Include Metal Building Systems

 

Amount of Metal Building Systems Projected in 2015 compared to 2014

 

Amount of Metal Framing Systems Projected in 2015 compared to 2014

 

Green Technologies

Because of the increased emphasis on green technologies over the last several years, we have asked our survey respondents about their use of LEED designation, solar energy and cool metal coatings. The most dominant trend in those questions comes from our respondents likelihood to use metal products to achieve LEED designation. The number reporting now has increased every year since 2011 (56.6 percent) through 2014 (73.7 percent).

Cool metal coatings have held steady in their use since 2011, according to our respondents, with 41.6 percent saying they had specified cool metal coatings in 2014. That matches nearly exactly the numbers reported in 2011, but is slightly lower than the peak of the curve in 2012.

Solar panel, photovoltaic and solar film usage has increased since 2011 when 28.3 percent reported specifying these technologies. Our respondents report that 32 percent specified solar in 2014, which is an 11.6 percent increase.

Respondents suggest that 2015 will continue this trend. More than 21 percent indicate they will specify solar products with "some more" or "a lot more." Nearly 55 percent will specify it when possible, while only 4 percent suggest a decline. Nearly 20 percent will not specify solar products in 2015.

(Note: Data for 2011, 2012 and 2013 are from the 2012, 2013 and 2014 surveys respectively.)

 

Percentage of Respondents Who Specified Metal Building Products to Achieve LEED Designation

 

Percentage of Respondents Who Specified Cool Metal Coatings

 

Percentage of Respondents Who Specified Solar Panels, Photovoltaics or Solar Films

 

Anticipated Usage of Solar Panels and Photovoltaics in 2015