From the Editor Spring 2021

Challenges Ahead

By Jordan Scott

The big question for the architectural glass industry this year is: What’s in store for commercial projects? According to an Associated General Contractors of America 2021 Construction Outlook survey, 59% of contractors said an owner postponed at least one project from 2020 to 2021, and nearly half reported that a cancelled project was not rescheduled.

This is not surprising considering the widespread shutdowns in the U.S. Though jobsites have adapted and we have learned to work within the the pandemic’s constraints, the economic situation has caused many companies to tighten up. The impacts of this may not be fully realized yet.

Eighteen percent of contractors surveyed reported that a project scheduled to start in January-June 2021 was postponed, while 5% said a project was cancelled. The vaccine rollout has given hope to people and businesses, but it’s still unclear when a return to normal will occur. And once it does, how long will it take for commercial construction to recover? The survey suggests recovery will be uneven, with the highest optimism for healthcare facilities and warehouses and the most pessimism focused on the retail, lodging, private office and higher education segments.

Despite this uncertainty, the glass industry has pushed ahead, finding ways to innovate and meet the challenges of the future. Glass companies have continued to release new products throughout the past year. To see the latest in glass and glazing products, check out “New to the Game” on page 14.

Another way the glass industry is preparing for the future is by maintaining a focus on energy efficiency as cities increasingly adopt more stringent codes. The change in administration has many thinking this topic could be addressed on a national level. While architects often are mindful of the importance of U-factor in cold climates, there’s a misconception that U-factor is less important in hot climates. Read “Understanding U-Factors: Helen Sanders Explains Why U-Factor Matters in Hot Climates” on page 6 to learn why that misconception is wrong. And if you’re interested in seeing some cool projects featuring the best in architectural metal, turn to “Magnificent Metal” on page 10.

Though the topic I began this column with can be disheartening, I’m feeling hopeful that the pandemic and financial situations in the U.S. will improve, allowing us to gather in-person again soon.

To view the laid-in version of this article in our digital edition, CLICK HERE.