By Michael Copp, Executive Vice President
Chief Economist Ken Simonson for Associated General Contractors writes that “Despite the threats from labor market tightness, tariffs and rising interest rates, most contractors should find opportunities abound in 2019.” (Retrieved on the World Wide Web on December 27, 2018 at https://www.contractingbusiness.com/commercial-hvac/2019-construction-outlook-cautious-positivity). However, Simonson cautions that increased costs associated with tariffs will become of greater concern than finding skilled craft workers. If contractors can’t absorb the increased cost of materials, which are then passed to consumers or developers, and those same folks cannot afford rising interest rates associated with construction loans–then projects may be delayed or cancelled. On the brighter side, Simonson reports that “the best prospects among building types appear to be in airport terminals, warehouses, data centers, and a return to growth in multifamily construction.”
Wayne Grayson (2018) wrote in his October 2018 article, U.S. construction starts to be flat in 2019 while another recession looms, that “based on Moody data, Christian deRitis, the head of consumer research at Moody Analytics, said that: “the U.S. economy is likely to slip back into recession in the second quarter of 2020. Moody’s expectation for recession is based on a number of factors including:
- Housing starts remaining low
- Slowing of commercial real estate activity
- Insufficient infrastructure funding. (Tax cuts took precedent despite bi-partisan support.)
- Trade war with Chinese (Retrieved on the World Wide Web on December 27, 2018 at https://www.equipmentworld.com/construction-flat-2019/ )
Emily B. (2018) writes in her article, Plumbing Industry Trends: 10 Predictions You Need to Know for 2019, albeit many predictions impact HVAC contractors too, some emerging trends “that will shape the industry in 2019” include:
- Need to pay attention to leveraging social media.
- Your website should include “responsive design” so that it can be navigated using mobile devices.
- Customers need to better understand the importance of quality craftsmanship. Sell your valuable “expertise.”
- Your reputation is highly influenced by online customer reviews.
- Consumers are increasingly aware of their impact of climate change and resource conservation.
- Aging infrastructure provide opportunities for contractors to provide additional services.
- Consumer’s growing preferences for energy-efficient equipment
Emily B. (2018) suggests that contractors “keep up with the latest industry best practices, never stop learning about your trade, and take advantage of everything [that] streamline[s] your business.” (Retrieved on the world wide web on December 27, 2018 at https://www.housecallpro.com/learn/post/plumbing-industry-trends-2019/).
Executive Vice President , PHCC-National Association