From the Fabricator: Economic Softness

I mentioned on my last post that the softness of the market was a discussion point at GlassBuild America and this week I wanted to dig deeper into it. There is no doubt we have hit a slowing point in many of our markets. The forecast presented at GlassBuild also backed that up and we did get some indexes that performed on the weak side from the Architectural Billings Index and McGraw Hill. It’s there and its real. 

On the flip side, expectations are that these are just somewhat temporary times and we’ll see positive swings return soon. In addition, home sales have had a surprising resurgence in the last two months as well. But, bottom line is we are starting a softening slide, and if we are going to slow up, at least doing it in a more orderly fashion is the way to go. As I have stressed before, this is the time you prepare and work on your efficiencies. This is where you strengthen that bond with your supply chain—thousands did that at GlassBuild—and this is where you look closer at the diversification of your offerings.

Overall analysis has been stressing that the slowing will reverse and this won’t be like what so many of us dealt with in 2009, but why not use this time to be smart and get and stay ahead of any potential negativity.

Want some more interesting background on what’s happening out there?  Good piece here from Alex Carrick of ConstructConnect on the U.S. Economy.


  • I do hate writing the negatives on the forecasts, but it is what it is and we all have to handle this better than we did in the past. We know better now!
  • Some leftover tidbits from GlassBuild include the incredible tour of Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Really a neat experience. But best part for me, and there were tons of great moments, was talking with glaziers and fellow glass lovers about the frustration of the stadium using a plastic on a major portion of their curtain wall instead of glass. The stadium plays up that the plastic is better for energy and glare and I gotta tell you I surely did not agree—and was not alone on that obviously. That was a tough pill to swallow and I think all of us will be watching how that material, the plastic, performs over the next few years. This could be a classic “why glass is better” case study in the making!
  • I also was honored to moderate a panel on the “Battle for the Wall” and it was the most enjoyable 45 minutes I think I have ever had on stage. Five brilliant people on stage just riffing about glass, glazing, collaboration, owners, contractors, innovation, next steps, etc. Really incredible stuff—I think we could’ve easily went two hours without losing the audience at all. Key takeaway though of that session was this “battle” whether it is a code, or Bill DeBlasio’s cluelessness, or the Green New Deal—all are massive opportunities for industry to show what we can do, and I love that.
  • It was also a pleasure to meet and work with Roberto Bicchiarelli of Permasteelisa and Steven Rainville of Olson Kundig. First time meeting them, I hope we can have them around in more industry events in the future! Of course, the other three folks on the panel are no slouches either; great work from code savant Dr. Tom Culp, Nick Bagatelos of BAG’s Inc., and Vitro Architectural’s Paul Bush. Tremendous talents all!
  • Usually a story like this would be in my links section but it involves glass, so it’s going here. This company could’ve broken the glass, had a glazier/glass shop there pretty quick and a new door relatively quickly. Instead, they went viral and look pretty stupid, unless I am missing something.
  • School safety and security is a huge issue right now and the glass industry is right there with excellent products. Now there’s an additional push through Congress for better designs in schools. 
  • Last this week. We’ve moved into October, and this year has absolutely flown by. Coming up on the blog we’ll have my yearly MVP and runners up, along with some other fun things. Also, please feel free to share this blog with other industry folks. I have been doing this a long time and assumed everyone who wanted to read this did, but you never know! Thank you. 

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Max Perilstein is founder of Sole Source Consultants, a consulting firm for the building products industry that specializes in marketing, branding, communication strategy and overall reputation management, as well as website and social media, and codes and specifications. 

E-mail him at The opinions expressed here are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Glass Association, Glass Magazine editors, or other glassblog contributors. 


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