The Coronavirus has created a new market dynamic within many industries, building products included. What does the new landscape look like?
On March 13th, 2020 President Trump announced a national state of emergency in regards to the novel coronavirus. Industry leaders had already started to prepare ways to conduct business while providing safety to employees when this announcement was made. Join us for part one of a three part look at how the industry is navigating the new challenges of both conducting business and keeping employees safe.
As the initial stages of the pandemic took shape, local and state governments were given a difficult choice on what would be deemed an essential business. There were some obvious choices, such as hospitals, emergency response units, and other healthcare facilities. However, what about construction? Were they an essential business? In most states, construction was deemed an essential business, with varying levels of restrictions. This is due to a variety of factors, but primarily caused by the need to construct new healthcare facilities, municipal projects such as wastewater treatment plans, and maintain overall infrastructure improvements such as roads and highways. Of course, these construction companies needed building materials, meaning the building products industry was deemed essential as well. Challenges still arose, including the now extended problem of lack of labor.
To counteract labor issues (both those already present in the industry and those brought on by the pandemic) prefab items have become exceedingly popular. Prefabrication allows the building team to quickly install the building materials, saving time and energy while continuing to maintain proper health and safety requirements.
While some adjustments have been made to meet current safety requirements, prefab railing has always been a specialty for Superior Aluminum. In fact, each railing project Superior produces is already prefabricated, as each project is made to specific jobsite specifications. Furthermore, with Superior’s lengthy history in prefab railing, the transition to the pandemic version of “normal” has been seamless. By delivering parts that are ready to install, Superior is easing the heavy burden that the coronavirus placed on contractors.
Prefabricated railing newly installed on jobsite
While the trend of businesses being deemed essential or non-essential will slowly fizzle out as the world reaches a new normal, some aspects of the building products industry developing during the pandemic may be here to stay. Specifically, the popularity of prefab solutions seems likely to continue even as workers and conditions return to standard operating procedures. In part two we will further explore industry trends that came to fruition during the pandemic but seem to have some long term sticking power.