A few comments, suggestions, and ideas that may be of interest…
I decided to try something a little different for this weeks’ article in the Wood Connections. In today’s fast paced world of social media, we are constantly bombarded with information; staying on top of what is going on in our industry can be tough. So to help out, I’m sending a market report direct from the source. So to help out, I’m sending a market report direct from the source.
I’m currently – as in right now – at the Hospitality Design Show (HD13) in stifling hot Las Vegas. I have been wandering around the show, meeting with exhibitors and attendees and sourcing out the latest in wood products design being showcased from manufacturers from across North America and Europe.
Here are some of the things that I heard and that caught my eye.
Wood continues to have a significant presence at the show. From Flooring to Wall Panelling, furniture to sculptures, wood is everywhere. A company out of Portugal was showing some innovative wall panels made from a variety of species, the most interesting being a stacked oak panel manufactured from reclaimed wine barrels. They have used this product in residential and commercial applications across North America.
A flooring supplier from Anaheim is showing engineered flooring manufactured from Reclaimed materials including rusted metal laminated to a plywood substrate. I thought this was an innovative use and representative of “mixed media’’ where materials are combined to create unique products. I have seen wood and resin, wood and glass, wood and metal, and enamel painted wood used on a variety of products throughout the show; this certainly can be considered a trend at this years’ HD show.
BC Wood member and manufacturer, Martha Sturdy is leading the way in mixed media, showcasing wood benches and sculptures that have been fire charred and stained black, creating a very unique and different look.
This is some of the market info that I have found so far and I still have over half the show to walk. In reading this, if anything interests you or you want to me to dig up some further intel, please send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or text me on my cell at 604 728 8786.
Below are images from the show. Now back to walking the show.
Above image: Wood furniture
Image above and below: Martha Sturdy’s booth featuring fire charred sculptures and benches
Above image: Wall panels made from wine barrels
Above image: Enamel painted outdoor furniture
Above image: Wood sculptures from Europe
Above image: Metal and plywood floor
Above image: Wood, resin, and LED lighted tableread more
A few comments, suggestions, and ideas that may be of interest…
Last week, I had the pleasure of driving across the great State of Texas, meeting with builders and distributors in Austin, Houston, and San Antonio. The southeast corner of the State, along with Dallas, continues to be the economic engine of the region leading the US in construction activity. This is readily apparent as you drive into the city of Houston. The suburbs surrounding Houston are abuzz with construction activity with new subdivisions and multi-family housing developments sprouting up throughout the region. Housing starts in the greater Houston region are up 27% over 2011 with 23,480 homes either being built or are under construction for the 2012 year. When you add in multi-family building and a strong light commercial construction sector, you can really appreciate how busy the region is.
What’s the best way to take advantage of this activity? As always, getting your product in front of buyers and end users is the first step. Two key building product distributors in the State are McCoy’s Building Yard and Tomball Forest Products.
McCoy’s is a family owned building yard and supplier to the residential and light commercial construction industry. They have 80+ stores spread throughout the States of Texas and Arkansas and as such, are significant players in the building industry throughout the region.
Like McCoys, Tomball Forest Products is a family owned timber and building product supplier active throughout the southeast region of Texas. Tomball is a two step wholesaler, selling softwood and dimension lumber materials to building across Texas. Tomball specializes in Western Red Cedar and currently works with a number of BC mills and remanufacturers.
In conversations with buyers from both companies, a common theme was heard. They are both extremely busy and have had strong sales activity. In fact, both firms mentioned that the last quarter represented the best sales over the last five years. They are cautiously optimistic that construction activity in the Texas market will continue to develop.
Finally, the good news is that BC Wood members will have the opportunity to meet with these two key players in the Texas market as both are expected to send buyers to the GBM this September. If the Texas market is of interest, or if you want more information on this or other markets in the US, please contact me at email@example.com more
Welcome to the 10th anniversary of the Global Buyers Mission™ (GBM) – a three-day, invitation only networking/tradeshow event developed to bring together pre-qualified international buyers of wood products from around the world, with Canadian manufacturers of products that include finished materials, building supplies, and remanufacturing products.
The GBM continues to be the best business building event in Canada for wood products manufacturers interested in growing their export market opportunities – and developing new business relationships with architects, designers, developers, builder & contractors – and other exhibiting wood products companies. Response from our 2012 Exhibitors surveys indicated an estimated $48+ million in new business from attendance at the event.
To celebrate our 10th Anniversary, we are also putting on a little competition to see who can come up with the best booth design/display. This will be judged by a committee of your peers and international buyers, and the incentive is to win back the cost of one booth space! (That’s better than an ipad, right?!)
We are very pleased to be partnering once again with the Western Red Cedar Lumber Association (WRCLA) on the event, as they deliver their Cedar Summit program on the 4th and 5th. We will also draw the important architect / designer / contractor / builder decision makers with our popular Wood First program, which will run through the whole event. Last year, pre-qualified wood products buyers came from Australia, Austria, Belgium, Eastern Canada, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, Taiwan, Vietnam, the United Arab Emirates, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Vietnam.
We will be back at the beautiful Whistler Conference Centre and have negotiated unbeatable hotel rates for our delegates in Whistler Village.
You will not want to miss this opportunity to showcase your products to over 250 pre-qualified international buyers plus North American specifiers!
Exhibit space is limited and will be available on a first-come / first-served basis. If you haven’t already registered, contact us for your online registration link at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 604-882-7100. The link will include a floor plan showing the space and showroom layout for exhibitors.
In case you haven’t seen them yet, here are some links to a few short videos from last year’s event:
2012 Global Buyers Mission Video: http://youtu.be/75FB6QDMv1o
2012 Wood First Video: http://youtu.be/2oAK2n6Vf8U
2012 Global Buyers Mission Exhibitor Testimonials: http://youtu.be/C5j5u6ShUP8
2012 Global Buyers Mission Buyer Testimonials: http://youtu.be/c2Xwy8yRbio
BC Wood YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/BCWoodAssociation
Proposed Program Schedule
Thursday – September 5th
Association Business & In-Market Representatives Meetings
Evening Welcome Event at the spectacular Roundhouse Lodge at the Peak of Whistler Mountain for all participants
Friday – September 6th
Afternoon WRCLA Sponsored Golf Tournament; Architects in-booth presentations; or Whistler free time
Gala Evening Event
Saturday – September 7th
2013 Exhibitor Fees
BC Wood, WRCLA or Canadian Wood Products Association Member:
10 x 10 booth – $2,079 (includes 2 exhibiting participants)
10 x 10 booth – $3,129 (includes 2 exhibiting participants)
Each additional company participant: $400 / Spousal Program: $150 (includes 2 Evening events)
Exhibit Registration Includes:
Don’t hesitate to contact us if you would like more information on the GBM or how it could benefit your company.read more
BC Wood just recently received confirmation that the funding for our 2013-2014 trade show activities has been approved. We began this year’s proposal writing with some concerns over just how much our members would want to take on in the coming year. Our early December sector meetings with member companies provided some good input on how much companies wanted to do this year and where they wanted BC Wood to focus its’ efforts.
BC Wood took this input and put together a comprehensive package of market development activities. Upcoming activities will focus on expanding market share in the United States while maintaining the hard won presence we have gained in Asian markets and Eastern Europe. Recognizing the possibility of a new and emerging market opportunity in India, BC Wood has scheduled a mission and participation in a trade show in Bangalore in February 2014. The Global Buyers Mission, our 10th, will be a highlight, with over 200 buyers coming to Whistler in early September.
I would like to recognize and thank the staff of BC Wood for the extra effort they put towards writing these funding proposals. The result was that BC Wood has another strong program of approved trade event activities for 2013-2014. For those of you wanting to see the updated list of trade show activities, please visit the BC Wood website at www.bcwood.com and select Trade Events from the Programs & Services tab. Any comments or questions regarding these planned activities can be directed to me at email@example.com or by calling our office at 604-882-7100.read more
A few comments, suggestions, and ideas that may be of interest…
June 2013 is expected to be be a busy time for BC Wood with two major trade events that are important to the residential and light commercial construction sectors in the United States. PCBC and AIA National both take place that month and BC Wood, along with member companies will be exhibiting at both key events.
PCBC, a longstanding trade event for the construction sector on the West Coast of the US, takes place in the first week of June. This event draws builders, developers, distributors, and architects from across California and the Western United States. PCBC has traditionally been held in San Francisco, but for the first time in its 50+ year history, has moved to the sunnier climes of Southern California and the city of San Diego.
Show organizers made the difficult decision to move the event for a number of reasons; the primary being the decline in attendance in the San Francisco event since the downturn of 2008. Having the IBS builders event in Las Vegas for the next few years also factored into the equation.
Either way, moving the event to the San Diego market makes good sense. San Diego is one of the stronger markets in California with increasing construction starts in the residential and multi-family sectors. So far, interest and uptake in the event is very good, with the show selling out its original space and having to add floor space to accommodate new exhibitors. BC Wood already has 5 member companies exhibiting and has a small amount of space left. If this is of interest to your company, let us know as soon as possible.
*images from PCBC
AIA National is the American Institute of Architects annual conference and trade event that moves around the country each year. This event annually attracts 25,000 to 30,000 architects, engineers, and builders from both the residential and light commercial construction sectors. The 2013 AIA takes place the 3rd week of June in Denver, Colorado and is expected to be a well attended event. As with PCBC, BC Wood and member companies will have a significant presence at AIA and if you want to reach a target audience of US architects and builders, then this event is a cost effective way of doing so.
Both trade events are important for manufacturers to connect directly with their target audiences. If you are targeting builders, architects, developers, and distributors in the western United States, then you should seriously consider either or both of these events as a part of your companies market development strategy. With improving economic conditions and a stronger than expected construction market being experienced across the US, the time to develop market share is now.
For more info on these events or opportunity in the US, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or give the office a call at 1877 422 9663read more
A few ideas, suggestions, and thoughts that may be of interest to Industry…
Last week, I attended the Wood Solutions Fair in Seattle, Washington and was pleasantly surprised with the number and quality of attendees at this one day event. According to Woodworks staff, over 630 qualified architects, engineers, construction specifiers, and other key influencers in the light commercial construction sector attended the event. Attendees had a chance to participate in seminars that showcased new products and trends in wood frame construction and to meet with exhibitors displaying high quality wood and construction related products. The general consensus from exhibitors and attendees was positive and many architects came to the event armed with construction plans and blueprints. All in all, the Wood Solutions Seattle was a good event for companies looking to increase sales into the non-residential and light commercial construction sector.
I have been working with an architect in the Lake Tahoe market and in our discussions found it interesting how he is using some new software in the design of the multi-million dollar vacation homes that his firm specializes in. He is using a software program, Innodraw, which utilizes laser technology to provide 3 dimensional, precise measurements of the interior rooms of his projects. These exact measurements are then forwarded to the architectural millwork shop that he works with. They in turn manufacture 95 percent of the product in their shop and are only on the jobsite for the install. The architect believes that considerable time and money is being saved by using this software, and he feels that a number of costly mistakes have been avoided as a result of the millwork supplier adopting the use of the software into the manufacturing process. For more information on the Innoware software, check out their website, www. Innodraw.com.
Finally, a hearty congratulations to Mr. Doug Auer who has recently been appointed as the new CEO for Viceroy Homes. Doug, as many of you know, worked for BC Wood for a number of years as our in-market representative for the United States. He has a strong knowledge and specialized expertise in the prebuilt housing sector and will use these skills in his new role with Viceroy. We wish Doug all the best in his new endeavor.
As always, for more information on the topics discussed or on market opportunities in the United States, please contact me at email@example.com more
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
A few comments, suggestions, and ideas that may be of interest…
A few weeks back, BC Wood and a contingent of eight member companies travelled to Las Vegas to participate at the International Builders Show (IBS), an annual event where tens of thousands of suppliers, distributors, and builders convene to examine new innovations in home building materials, appliances, fixtures, and technologies.
The mood at this years’ event was optimistic, as construction of single family homes climbed 18% in December from the previous year. When measured year-to-year, home construction in the US is projected to be 23% higher than in 2011, which was a record low year. Strong housing starts along with pent up consumer demand created an air of renewed confidence at this year’s IBS.
IBS also sets the standard for manufacturers to unveil the latest in new and innovative construction products. Kohler, for example, introduced a Bluetooth enabled shower head that can instantly stream your music collection from your cell phone or tablet. Innovative wood products included stunning curved glass door systems from Nana Wall and Caoba door that take advantage of the Eclipse track system which allows the doors to be folded away allowing for large unobstructed openings of up to 20 feet.
The BC contingent, not to be overshadowed by their competitors, did an excellent job of showcasing their wares. Kettle Valley Millwork partnered with Norelco cabinets in the design and construction of a beautiful booth exhibiting their world-class cabinet and architectural millwork capabilities. One showstopper was Norelco’s “gun slinger” kitchen which featured a solid mesquite wood counter which was supported by 3 hand carved six shooter guns. Attendees were drawn to the unique look of the kitchen and at one point had a line up of 10 people to get into the booth.
Participating BC Wood members commented on the high quality leads that were created at the event. BC Wood member Canadian Timberframes Ltd. felt that they got over a 100 solid leads from builders and architects from across the United States and South America. All things considered, the 2013 IBS builders show was a barometer for showing that the US economy is improving and that the residential construction sector across the US is back on the right track. Initial optimism was abundant and here is hoping that this attitude now becomes the norm. For more information on the IBS show or the US market, please contact me at email@example.com
A few comments, suggestions, and ideas that may of interest…
If you needed another sign that the US construction Industry is on the rebound, then you need to look no further than the Northern California market. The town of Truckee, California, which is situated nicely between the south shore of Lake Tahoe and the ski mecca of Squaw Valley, is currently experiencing a bit of a housing boom. Recent housing stats from the local town hall show that over 100 homes are currently under construction with an additional 80+ homes in the design stage. The majority of the construction starts are for secondary vacation homes with an average listed value of $2.4 million dollars.
Who is driving this market demand? The vast majority of the buyers come from the San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley markets who are actively investing in real estate in the Lake Tahoe market. The short two hour commute from the Bay Area has made the town of Truckee an attractive option for many.
There are a number of developments underway with two in particular that should be of interest to BC wood product manufacturers. The first is the Martis Camp Development (image above - www.martiscamp.com), a private ski and golf resort community, is experiencing significant construction activity with over 50 homes currently under construction. Just down the road from Martis is another development, Shaffers Mill ( www.schaffersmill.com), which has seen a change of ownership and as such, is experiencing a high level of construction activity. Like Martis Camp, the Schaffers Mill project will consist of a golf course and village clubhouse surrounded by 200 high-end homes. The golf course development, designed by Ward Young Architects, prominently features contemporary wood architecture including a heavy post and beam design.
One way for BC manufacturers to benefit from this construction activity is to connect with the two key building product distributors in the region. Tahoe Truckee Lumber Company (TTLC) and Tahoe Building Supplies are responsible for supplying construction products to builders in both the Martis Camp and Schaffers Mill projects. Both offer a wide variety of wood products for both structural and finished applications including a number of BC suppliers. In discussions with managers at both building yards, they are interested in wood products from British Columbia and in particular any product that is unique, innovative, and priced well for the market.
As the US market continues to improve, we will continue to focus on providing market intelligence and key contacts to the BC Industry. We will target markets and sectors in the residential and light commercial construction sector such as the two projects listed above. For more information on these projects or any region in the US, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Our 2012 Global Buyers Mission videos have now been uploaded. All of our videos can be seen on our YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/BCWoodAssociation?feature=watch
Global Buyers Mission Video
Wood First Program Video
Buyer Testimonial Video
Exhibitor Testimonial Video
A few comments, suggestions, and ideas that may be of interest to industry…
A few weeks back, I attended the Multifamily Housing Conference and Trade Event at the Aria Hotel in Las Vegas. This event was organized by the publishing group, Hanley Wood who also organizes a number of other shows in the construction sector including: Surfaces, Deck Expo, and JLC Live.
The Multifamily show draws a small but influential group of builders, developers, and construction professionals who focus on the apartment, condominium, and hotel markets. Actual participation numbers were not readily available but show organizers expected that over a thousand attendees were at the 2012 event. In conjunction with the conference, Hanley Wood sponsored a product exhibition and trade show where manufacturers could showcase products targeted at the multifamily sector. Some seventy five companies participated in the trade event including BC Wood member, Woodtone.<br><Br>
The general consensus from the conference was that the multifamily sector was experiencing decent growth after the market collapse of 2008 and this sector is expected to lead the United States in construction activity over the next two years. The term value engineered was frequently heard suggesting that while the sector was experiencing growth, builders were looking for products that added to the quality of their project without adding any significant construction costs. As one builder aptly put it, “we want the look and feel of quality without having to pay an increased cost for it.” A difficult task for manufacturers looking to sell into the multifamily sector, but one it seems that buyers are now expecting.
The positive news coming out of the conference is the continued push back purchasers are having toward low cost product out of Asia. Buyers I spoke to believe that product out of North America offer higher quality and are an attractive selling feature to potential customers. Whether builders and developers are willing to pay the higher manufacturing costs associated with buying North American remains to be seen; however, I believe that there remains a good opportunity for select BC manufacturers to have success selling into the multifamily housing sector across the United States.
For more information on this event or other markets in the United States, please contact me at email@example.com.
In late September, BC Wood participated with four members from the log home and timber frame sector in the Denver Log Home show, Sept. 30th-Oct. 2nd. The Denver show featured log home and timber frame displays, smaller out-buildings, and finished building products such as roofing, flooring, decking, and rustic furniture. Over the past few years, a number of BC Wood members from the log and timber frame home sector have used the Denver show to maintain a toe hold in the US market while they cut back on some of their other promotional activities during the slower economic times.
The BC log and timber frame builders have remained active in a number of regional markets in the US, like the Rocky Mountain States, because it has been one of the few areas that has shown some activity. The Rocky Mountain States, due to their close geographic proximity to BC, product acceptance, and the clustering of resort developments catering to a wealthy demographic, have continued to be a relatively strong market for BC producers.
The feedback from the members attending the Denver show was generally very positive. The number of attendees, while not back to pre-2008 levels, was definitely higher than they had been in recent years. Most exhibitors reported a more positive attitude from the attendees at the show. Individuals who had been hesitant over the past few years to take the final step towards building their projects came to the show ready to build.
So, is there really a light at the end of the dreary economic tunnel? Judging from the feedback from the attendees and exhibitors at the Denver Log Home show, we are probably through the worst of it. The recovery will be, without doubt, slow and sporadic. However, I see more and more positive signs coming out of the most recent BC Wood trade show events.
For more background and my own views on the Denver show, please do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
British Columbia’s softwood lumber industry is finally on the comeback trail, fuelled by a recovery in U.S. housing starts and steady demand from China.
“The outlook for the softwood sector in general is quite positive over the next few years as we go through a growth cycle,” said David Elstone, a senior analyst with ERA Forest Products Research.
He is predicting U.S. housing starts of 835,000 in 2013 and 950,000 in 2014, up from an industry forecast of 746,000 this year. “We’re rising out of a trough in U.S. housing starts,” said Mr. Elstone, who noted that Vancouver-based lumber producers such as Canfor Corp., West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd. and Conifex Timber Inc. will be among the beneficiaries of the market’s rebound.
With softwood lumber prices strengthening in 2012, producers are expected to report healthy third-quarter financial results.
The Random Lengths framing lumber composite price, which is closely watched by the forestry industry, averaged $264 (U.S.) for 1,000 board feet earlier this year, but surged 27 per cent since then to surpass $336 in September.
A seasonal slowdown is inevitable as colder weather reduces demand for lumber at construction sites, but prices are forecast to stay robust, compared with last year’s fourth quarter.
While much of the focus in 2012 has been on the U.S. housing market being on the mend, the trend of strong demand from China in recent years is expected to continue.read more
A few quick thoughts on two markets that are providing members with opportunities but truly are at opposite ends of the spectrum.
As most members know, BC Wood has been active in the Hawaiian Islands for the last decade. Hawaii has proven to be a solid market for companies that manufacture high quality products for the resort, light commercial, and high-end residential construction sectors. In particular, companies in the timber frame, millwork, and Western Red Cedar sectors have all developed sales and market share in Hawaii.
Since all construction materials need to be shipped into Hawaii, BC manufacturers are on an equal playing field with both domestic suppliers and manufacturers from the continental US. For BC companies wanting to develop a market in Hawaii, you can sell contractor direct or to established building product distributors.
One such company who has had considerable success supplying high quality building products to contractors throughout the islands is Seattle based Pacific Source www.pacsource.com
Pacific Source has a six acre yard and distribution facility in Snohomish, Washington and has smaller yards and showrooms on a number of the islands including Kauai, Maui, and Kailulu Kona.
If you’re looking to develop a foothold in the Hawaiian market, it may be worth your while to contact Pacific Source. The key is having a product that is both well suited to the Hawaiian market and is priced well enough that all parties can make a margin. Mark Mason, one of the original partners of the company is expected to be at the GBM next month in Whistler.
Now for the other opportunity, which by all accounts is a far cry from the exotic local of the Hawaiian Islands, is North Dakota. A while back I wrote about the building boom that is currently underway in the northwest corner of the State. Towns such as Williston, Minot, and Watford city are all experiencing extreme housing shortages as thousands of new oil field workers are flocking to the state to work in the booming oil and gas industry.
Today, North Dakota is the US’s number 2 oil producing state, having leapfrogged over Alaska and California. The discovery of vast reserves of natural gas and oil in the northern part of the state have led to a huge influx of oil industry workers moving to the region who require housing. Oil companies have tried to address the shortfall of housing by building temporary housing units known as man camps (picture below), but there remains a serious need for quality residential homes for this well paid workforce.
I will be travelling to the region over the next week to meet with builders, developers, and distributors to gauge the market opportunity for BC suppliers of prebuilt and panelized housing and related products. I will report my findings in an upcoming Wood Connections Newsletter.
For more information on either of these markets, please contact me at email@example.com or on my cell at 604-728-8786.read more
What does a trade show on the skids, mathematical equations, and NHL players loving Kelowna have in common? Read below to find out.
I was in San Francisco last week for the Pacific Coast Builders Conference (PCBC). The city was abuzz, with restaurants, car rentals, and hotels at near capacity, so I was excited hoping that the show was turning the corner after being on life support the last five years. Well, like most things, my excitement soon turned as I realized all the buzz was for the Google app conference that was happening at the same time as PCBC. In fact, Google has taken over occupying three of the four massive building that make up the conference center. As late as 2005, PCBC filled these four buildings with the latest in construction and building products supplies, now PCBC is confined to ¾ of the south hall.
That being said, PCBC this year had all the excitement of a party in a kitchen because the small size of the place seemed much busier than it actually was. Show organizers listed some 5000+ attendees at this year’s event, which provided a good venue for networking between builders, architects, and suppliers from the Northern California market. It’s too early to tell what the change in location to San Diego will do to attendance next year, but suffice it to say, the show could not survive another year in San Francisco.
Last year, I did a quick survey of members to see how their “Bid-to-Close Ratio” and see how the downturn had effected their bottom line. As discussed, the ratio last year was skewed, with members bidding on a high number of projects, but closing with far less frequency than in the past. Most blamed the market conditions at the time, as buyers were checking prices with alternative suppliers, and manufacturers were said to be “giving jobs away” just to stay in business. This time, it seems that the bid-to-close ratio is beginning to return to normal, especially with higher value manufacturers in the millwork and engineered wood products sectors. One manufacturer that I spoke commented that while they are signing more contracts, delays on project start dates have impacted the ratio. The bid-to-close ratio is a benchmark for the overall health of the industry and having this ratio gradually return to historic averages is, I believe, reflective of an improving residential and light commercial construction sector.
Finally, on the celebrity front, it seems that we have a few members who like to rub elbows with the rich, famous, and powerful. For example, Kelowna based BC Wood member, Norelco Cabinets, has developed a niche market building custom kitchens, high-end cabinetry, and millwork for NHL hockey players including Wade Redden, Jerome Iginla, and most recently that ginger-haired grinder from Philadelphia, Scott Hartnall. It turns out that Kelowna has become a hotbed for NHL players to live and train during the summer months and a fraternity of players have built homes on Okanagan Lake over the past few years.
Also hobnobbing with the rich and famous is Judson Beaumont of Straight Line Designs. His use of beetle kill pine in recent projects creating one of kind furniture and wall panelling attracted the attention of the Minister of Tourism and Trade, the Hon Pat Bell who stopped by his shop in Vancouver this past week to view some of Jud’s latest designs. It seems that Jud has become a favorite of Victoria’s political elite as he also was commissioned to build a beetle pebble wall a few years back for former premier Gordon Campbell.
Above image: Marie Khouri
For the four-day duration of the Fair, May 19-22, 145,000 square feet of the Javits Center was abuzz with more than 26,000 interior designers, architects, retailers, designers, manufacturers, representatives, distributors, and developers. On Tuesday, May 21, the ICFF opened its doors to the general public, as well.
BC Wood’s talented contingent this year included: Mario Sabjlak, Brent Comber, Marie Khouri, vin de garde cellar systems, Diamond Stairs (new member), and John Ross Design. Judson Beaumont also put in a brief appearance as he happened to be doing an installation in New York during the show. He was kind enough to stay and help us with the teardown, too!
Everyone brought something new to the show this year and many have already been picked up and blogged through various media outlets. Check out Marie Khouri’s new La Chaise launched at ICFF and picked up by http://www.interiordesign.net/slideshow/2474-ICFF_Product_Highlights.php?photoId=392796&photoUrl=/photo/392/392796-Marie_Khouri_s_La_Chaise_made_out_of_plywood_.jpg
Diamond Stairs and vin de garde are on their way to LA to participate in Dwell Magazines showcase event at the end of the month, thanks to contacts made at the show in New York. Check out these great reviews: http://www.treehugger.com/interior-design/prefabricated-cantilevered-stairs-are-minimal.html and
More than 500 exhibitors from all points of the globe displayed contemporary furniture, seating, carpet and flooring, lighting, outdoor furniture, materials, wall coverings, accessories, textiles, kitchen, and bath for residential and commercial interiors. This remarkable throng of exhibitors created an unparalleled opportunity to view a broad yet highly focused selection of the world’s finest, most innovative, and original avant-garde home and contract products side-by-side, all under one roof.
Buyers and reps came from Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia, Canada, China, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Finland, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, United Kingdom, and U.S.
Along with BC Wood, making their yearly pilgrimage to the celebrated design hub were contingents from British European Design Group (BEDG) (our very good neighbours, incidentally), Ceramic Tiles of Italy, Furniture New York, The Furniture Society (U.S.), IDSA New York (Industrial Designers Society of America), Inside Norway, Interiors from Spain, JETRO (Japan External Trade Organization) and Portugal Brands.
Above image: Diamond Stars & Vin De Garde
Below image: Brent Comber
Above image: Brent Comber & John Ross
Below image: Mario Sabljak
A few comments, suggestions, and ideas that may be of interest to industry…
I have been working with a number of architects, builders, and distributors in the San Francisco market over the last few years and thought it would be a good idea to bring the readers up to speed on some of the projects that these firms have been working on.
Webcor is an award-winning general contractor specializing in a wide variety of project types-from large scale light commercial construction, to multi-unit residential and high-end interior commercial finishings. Webcor has been in the construction business for over 40 years and boasts a list of clients, such as Oracle, eBay, Lucasfilm, Starwood, and the W hotel group. They have made a name for themselves in the San Francisco market and have expanded to take advantage of the significant growth in the Silicon Valley high tech market. In fact, they were involved in the recent expansion of high tech stalwarts, eBay and Google.
I have a good contact with the designers and purchasing agents in the company and have focused on working with the interior carpentry and interior construction divisions in the firm. Webcor has a number of upcoming projects that will require both interior and exterior wood components and finished products. I will keep you informed on the opportunities that come from this contact.
Another key player in the building product sector in San Francisco and the Bay area is Beronio Lumber. This company is an industry legend in the Bay region as they celebrated their 100th year in business in 2011. They specialize in servicing the residential construction market and carry a wide range of interior and exterior building components and finishings. With a trip around their flagship store in the South Bay area, you soon notice a number of BC Wood members products profiled in their showroom.
Michael Cassasa is the main contact at Beronio and a recent discussion with him suggests that business is much better than it has been over the past few years and that whole bay area market that they service – from Marin County to Palo Alto – is showing significant growth. The fact that Beronio is busy is a good sign that the Northern California market is on a rebound after a number of years of limited growth.
A direct chance to connect with these and other companies that I work with will be available to members who attend the Global Buyer Mission this September in Whistler. Both firms listed above are expected to participate at the GBM and if you are interested in meeting with them please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on my cell at 604-728-8786.read more
Later this year in September, BC Wood will be coordinating a tandem of cost-shared trade shows for the Log and Timber Frame Home sector. Member companies are able to participate in the Log and Timber Home Show in Dallas, Texas on September 22-23rd and on the following weekend, Sept 28-29th, in Denver Colorado.
The Log & Timber Home Show – Dallas Texas – Sept 22-23, 2012
The Denver Log Home Show – Denver, Colorado – Sept 28-29, 2012
The first of the two shows scheduled for September is in Dallas. The Dallas region was identified by the industry advisory group for BC Wood’s Log and Timber Frame Home sector as a priority market for this year. The reason to focus our collective effort on Dallas was not because there were a lot of log and timber frame structures being built in Dallas, but, because there were a good number of people living in Dallas who had a desire to own a log or timber frame home and had the financial where-with-all to purchase one.
The attendees at previous Dallas shows had a very desirable demographic make-up with 85% of the attendees being couples 35+, higher education, higher income, and skewing to the outdoors. Further, 80% of the attendees plan to build their log or timber frame home within the next 3 years.
The majority of the homes built by Dallas residences were located in the surrounding states of Arkansas, New Mexico, and the Oklahoma panhandle. BC Wood will support its’ members in our first venture into what is expected to be a very lucrative market.
The second show where BC Wood will support its’ members participation is the show in Denver. Last year, six BC Wood members attended the Denver Log Home Show and expressed a strong desire to return this year. Over the years, many BC Wood members from the log and timber frame home sector have used the Denver show to establish a presence in this very strong market for recreational homes in the Rocky Mountain States region. As the economy in this region continues to build some momentum, I fully expect another strong level of participation from BC Wood’s members for the Dallas show.
Space is available for BC Wood members wanting to participate in these two up-coming shows. I would encourage any companies interested to contact me at BC Wood’s office at 604-882-7100 or at email@example.com.
A few ideas, comments, and suggestions that may be of interest…
This past weekend, BC Wood and member companies participated in the 2012 Anchorage Home Builders Show at the Sullivan center in Anchorage, Alaska. BC Wood returned to the show after a four year hiatus and the general consensus from members was that the event was positive. We met and spent time talking to numerous people active in the construction sector across the state, and through these discussions some interesting observations were made.
Alaska is a unique market, in part due to its geographic remoteness but also due to the independent spirit of the people who live there. Alaskans like to describe themselves as a hearty people, who believe strongly in being self-sufficient, and most importantly having government of all types stay out of their business. In speaking with a number of builders in the market, they often referred to Alaskans having a frontiersman or libertarian spirit.
The reason for discussing this is the potential effect it has on Canadian manufacturers and exporters selling into this market. With this spirit comes a strong ‘Buy American’ or even stronger ‘Buy Alaskan’ mindset from most consumers. The ironic part of this is nearly every building product in Alaska has to be imported into the market. So while Alaskans like to tout the economic benefits of buying locally, the truth is they, by necessity, are more than willing to buy from the lower 48 states and Canada as well. The key to selling into the Alaskan market is to align yourself with a good local partner, dealer, or distributor in the state so that any perceived issue around buying imported product can be nullified.
The show itself was well attended and good sales opportunities were developed for members in the prebuilt housing, interior products, and log home sectors. The attendees were a mix of consumers, builders, and general contractors who were keen to discuss upcoming projects in the residential and light commercial construction market. Due to the relatively short building season, many attendees that we spoke to were ready to make purchases in the next few months. The economic conditions in the state are improving and many builders were seeing increased activity as compared to the past few years.
According to the Alaska Home Builders Association (AHBA), the three main cities in Alaska, Fairbanks, Juneau, and Anchorage, are seeing the mainstay of construction activity with Anchorage accounting for over 60 percent of new housing starts. The renovation and remodeling market is still considerably stronger than new housing construction and the AHBA predicts that it will continue to drive construction activity for the next year.
Anecdotally, we met with a number of people who were looking to build cabins, vacation, and dream homes on property they have outside of the metropolitan areas in places like Homer and Skagway. Due to the significant challenges of building in remote areas and the with short building season, these buyers were drawn to the advantages of prebuilt and pre-constructed housing offered by members like Linwood and Pacific Homes or by Bigfoot Log Homes.
According to analysts, with the Alaska economy improving and with continued oil and gas development in the state, the outlook for Alaska is positive. Market opportunity for BC and Canadian companies wanting to sell into Alaska is favourable. As with most markets, finding a good partner in Alaska is critical to developing a long term sales into the state.
For more information on Alaska or other markets in the United States, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
A few comments, suggestions, and ideas that may be of interest to the industry…
I tend to be a glass half full kind of guy; an optimist by nature, which incidentally has been a necessity for my choosing the forest industry as my sector for employment. It is with this optimism in mind that I honestly believe that the US may have finally turned the corner and that their economy is on the rebound. I know, for those of you who have read my comments over the past few years, I can easily be accused of saying this every few months – but this time I mean it.
I was down in Northern California this past week and met with a number of builders, architects, and distributors in the region. The feedback and general consensus was that the construction market is improving and they were busier now than they have been in the last two years. I usually can get a pretty good gauge on the activity in a given market by first talking to the architects. They are the first link in the distribution chain and if they are busy, it is a fair assumption that the builder and distributor will benefit from the work in the following months. Of the three architects that I met, two had five or more projects that they were working on, primarily in high-end residential construction , and the third architect had two residential projects and one light commercial project on the books for 2012.
On the builder and distributor side, things seemed a little less busy; but that I was told was due to it being winter months and that construction activity is generally slow during this period. That being said, numerous builders were gearing up for a decent spring and summer construction period. Upcoming projects were evenly split between new home construction and renovations. During site visits with builders, I counted over 115 residential and light commercial projects underway in the Lake Tahoe region which I validated with a quick check at the local planning commissions. Many of these projects were of high dollar value, with residential construction in the $400/square foot and above range.
On the distribution side, the general manager of Tahoe Truckee Lumber Company (TTLC), commented that business is up 22% over this time last year and about 28% over the previous few years. He commented on the market, suggesting that many of the projects were for Silicon Valley entrepreneurs who have cashed out stock options and were investing in real estate and secondary vacation homes in the Tahoe region. Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay area is approximately a 2.5 hour drive from Lake Tahoe, up the I 80 highway. Similar results were discussed with the sales crew at Tahoe City Lumber and Reno Building supplies.
While this is but a snapshot of the construction sector in the Western US, most analysts and industry insiders believe that the US market is on the rebound and that residential and light commercial construction is expected to grow over the course of the year. It will be interesting to see if the same optimism and construction activity is being experienced in Southern California when BC Wood and member companies participate in the Wood Solutions fair this week in Long Beach, California. I will keep you posted. For more information on the US market, email me at email@example.com more