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U.S. Construction Industry Impacted by Shortage of Glass

construction industry

The construction industry is starting to bounce back from the recession in a big way, but some suppliers aren’t quite as lucky, at least not yet. There’s a glass shortage that’s so extreme, the Wall Street Journal’s article, “Cost of Skyscraper Glass Hits Dizzying Heights,” says prices are skyrocketing. This particularly affects glass for wall curtain use. It’s a common response to short supply, but that doesn’t make backlogged materials and stretched budgets any easier to deal with.

Many construction projects are stuck in a holding pattern while some closed factories struggle to get back to operational status. A few new factories are opening in an effort to bridge the supply gap. And in the meantime, this means longer lead times, significantly higher prices, and a bit more stress on construction projects than you might be used to.

Commercial Construction Glass Suppliers Rebooting

When the demand for commercial construction glass bottomed out, Town Hall Finance reported that many suppliers were forced to shut down operation. But getting them back on track isn’t a simple thing, and the problem isn’t motivation. It’s that rebooting a glass factory takes enormous effort and time.

Wall curtain glass is manufactured in huge tanks. And when operations shut down, the remaining thousands of pounds of glass hardened inside. Ramping up production means months of jackhammering to break it up. The Wall Street Journal says building a new plant cost millions. But even so, some developers are trying to mitigate the problem by circumventing traditional suppliers and making their own.

Some of the biggest projects that we’ve worked on have incorporated enormous amounts of glass, even throughout detailed interiors. For example, one of our high security clients requires all glass partitioning to maximize visibility due to the handling of valuables. Although the supply industry might be struggling, GSD Contracting and its time tested loyal vendors have the experience to manage your project with a professional and personal touch.

South Florida Feels the Effect of Glass Shortage and Higher Prices

No area is immune to the glass shortage and resulting pricing spikes. From Fort Lauderdale and throughout all of the surrounding areas, projects that call for wall curtain glass are experiencing delays, and they can cost a lot more. How much more? Equipment World says about 30 percent, which is not insignificant.

In some other parts of the country, particularly San Francisco, apartment building construction has come to a total halt while suppliers scramble to catch up with the demand. With nearly 25 percent of former suppliers effectively out of business and new factories nowhere near completion, the strain is being felt in practically every new construction market.

But even though delays are now part of the commercial construction industry, projects are getting done. We’ve seen some other incredible advances in glass technology. Some materials act as solar panels. The semi-transparent panes react to sunlight by generating an electric current. It might be slow going, but glass in construction is really amazing.

We might be working the kinks out of getting back to the full swing of business, but the good news is that business is booming. Commercial construction is up, so the demand for glass is natural.

Gizmodo says that the shortage might be better explained, at least in part, by how common this basic material is in just about every type of commercial construction. It’s been that way since the 1930s, and there are no signs of change on the horizon.

If you have a project coming up and you know that wall curtain glass will likely be a part, there are three things that you can count on…

One: Delays are and will remain a risk, so planning in advance of need is more important than ever. That’s unavoidable until the suppliers get back to normal business.
Two: Costs will be higher. It’s that way from coast to coast.
Three: Consider GSD Contacting, your planning partner, and your project will receive the hands-on management and attention to detail that our clients have come to expect.

Give us a call at (954) 961-4222 or contact us to talk about how our expertise can help your project shine.

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