Volume 51, Issue 1 - January 2016

If Predictions Hold True

Commercial Construction in 2016 Will Keep Glass Companies Busy

by Nick St. Denis

Current construction growth will continue through the coming year—and that’s good news for the glass industry. Dodge Data & Analytics predicts that total U.S.
construction starts for 2016 will rise 6 percent to $712 billion, following gains of 9 percent in 2014 and an estimated 13 percent in 2015.

The 2015 increase, in fact, will be the strongest annual gain in the current expansion, according to Dodge’s chief economist Robert Murray. He says much of the lift has come from nonbuilding construction, though residential building has strengthened and will be up 18 percent this year, thanks to
a continued rise in multifamily

While he says nonresidential will plateau in 2015 following its 24-percent surge in 2014, it will re-gain momentum this year. The segment will see gains of 9 percent. Residential will be up 16 percent.

According to Murray, office construction will continue to lead the commercial building upturn. Dodge projects it will increase 11 percent, up from the 4-percent gain estimated for 2015.

Multifamily housing, meanwhile,
will increase 7 percent in dollars and
5 percent in units (see related article on page 28).

Institutional building will follow a 6-percent rise in 2015 with a 9-percent jump in 2016, getting a boost from more K-12 school construction.

And as for glass, the USGlass magazine fifth annual glass usage forecast shows increases on the horizon for commercial construction.

Commercial office building construction and single-family construction are two segments poised to see significant growth in the year ahead. Looking at commercial offices, this segment is expected to see 22 million square feet of glass usage—a 17.3 percent increase compared to 18.75 million square feet in 2015. On the single-family side, store construction is forecast to see a 16.7 percent increase in glass usage, from 69.5 million square feet in 2015 to 80.5 million square feet in 2016.
Glass usage in hotel construction is predicted to see nearly a 5-percent increase compared to 2015, from 10.2 million to 10.7 million square feet. Glass used in warehouse construction is up to 5.3 million square feet, an 8.2-percent increase compared to 2015.
Two institutional segments, educational and amusement and recreation, will also likely see gains. Glass usage in educational facilities should be nearly 13 million square feet, a 9.2 percent increase compared to last year. Also, data forecasts amusement and recreation to be at 6.4 million square feet of glass usage, up 16.4 percent compared to 2015.
Glass used in store construction will be up more than 9 percent to 30 million square feet, compared to 27.5 million
in 2015.
Looking at manufacturing buildings, this segment, too, will have a small increase. It’s expected to see about 1.9 million square feet of glass usage, compared to 1.8 million in 2014, a 5.6 percent increase.

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