From the Fabricator: Forecast Worries?

While the volatility on the financial markets continues, I am still constantly monitoring the different indexes that track construction-related activities. I am also talking with folks every day about the “real time” feel for the marketplace. 

On the index side, the latest Architectural Billings Index continues to show positivity. With a score of 52, the index was on the plus side led by very strong efforts from the West and Midwest territories. The Dodge Momentum Index also showed plus numbers for last month, but just barely, registering only a ½ percent gain on the previous report. Still, while the numbers overall are in the right place some analysts are starting to fret that growth on the commercial side is showing some weaknesses. That is something to watch. Keep in mind, spending forecasts for commercial have been showing gains through 2020, so there is still quite a bit of optimism.

As for the “real time” feel, that has been on the pessimistic side for the most part. The market had some soft spots in February that I believe most figured would go away in March but have not. For current work, the horrendous weather in the Northeast has to be playing a part for that region. Backlogs for fourth quarter and first quarter 2019 are not where many want them to be either, so that is adding to the angst. I think since we all lived through those insane days of the previous recession, our fear mechanism is set to trigger faster than normal. Obviously, we’ll continue to watch and communicate.

Elsewhere…

  • I have written many times on Amazon. I am truly intrigued by that organization. Bloomberg recently took a pretty detailed look at Amazon and it’s absolutely worth the read. 

  • Speaking of Amazon, in the latest Glass Magazine (full review coming next week) there’s a profile on one of its new buildings in Seattle that was fabricated by Vitrum Glass Group. The building is a show stopper. Kudos to the team at Vitrum for a job well done as well as the folks at Walker Glass, Kuraray, Glass Coatings and Concepts, Vitro, and Walters and Wolf who all took part in this incredible project. Awesome work by all! Also, kudos to Viracon on the tower facade glass on the towers there. Nice job.

  • I find myself constantly interested in the “Internet of Things,” also known as IoT. Katy Devlin and Glass Magazine have had some excellent stories on it, and Ron Crowl and his team at Fenetech have been leaders in working to educate the industry and seeing where this movement can go. There is no doubt that more automation and IoT will be in modern glass fabrication plants. It’s just probably going to take a while. As for the mainstream side of IoT, there was an excellent piece on Full Measure News this past weekend that is worth the watch as well. 

  • By the way, I am a fan of Full Measure News. It comes out every Sunday with three or four stories and it’s really well done. In a world of some “interesting” news sites, this one has been pretty solid, in my opinion.

  • Last this week, I have written on modular building and how it’s growing. Now we have the news of an actual factory in Chicago to do modular only. Interesting read and also the comment at the end asking how the building permitting process will work is one that has me curious, too.

Read on for links and video of the week…

The author 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 MaxP@SoleSourceConsultants.com. 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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