US Market Update

Posted by Dave Farley
February 26th, 2013

A few comments and suggestions that may be of interest to industry…

The first few months of the calendar year proved to be extremely busy for the US program with our participation in the IBS show in Las Vegas which was immediately followed by the BIA Hawaii. While I admit there could be worse places to be in January than Vegas and Hawaii, having both events back to back provided a number of logistical and time challenges. The good news is that if you use these events as a barometer of market conditions in the US construction sector, then one could conclude that the market south of the border is finally getting better.

As discussed in the last edition of the Wood Connections, the IBS show has an impressive attendance, topping the 60,000 mark for the first time in five years. The same could be said for the Building Industry Hawaii (BIA Hawaii) trade event. While this regional event is small, interest and participation from the building community from across the Hawaiian Islands was strong. In fact, attendance at this years’ show was 20% higher than last year and up 45% over the past three years. Builders and other buyers who came by the booths were optimistic that market conditions were on the upswing and many were starting projects in the residential and light commercial construction sectors.

The Hawaiian market continues to be a prime location for BC grown softwood species including Douglas Fir, Western Red Cedar (WRC), and Yellow Cedar. This was evidenced by a site visit to a new development on the Big Island of Hawaii. This project is a high-end residential development of 40 plus homes anchored by a private beach club and golf course. More impressive than the view was the use of WRC and Douglas Fir in the construction of the residences and commercial buildings. WRC is featured extensively in the project including WRC shingles in the roof, 12’’clear board and baton exterior siding, and VG WRC interior panelling; the project was a showcase for the species. The architect specified WRC in part due to the unique colour and weather resistance properties of the wood. Where structural timbers were needed, Douglas Fir was specified and is prominently featured in the golf club house and beach club buildings. See images below.

This project is expected to last for the next four to six years. There is an opportunity for BC Wood members to supply materials and finished products for this project. In fact, with improving market conditions being experienced across the US construction sector, there remains excellent potential for the BC Industry to develop and grow market share through participation in trade events such as IBS and BIA Hawaii.

For more information on these events or other opportunities in the US market, please feel free to contact me at dfarley@bcwood.com

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