ALMANAC: ARCHITECTURAL & CUSTOM WOODWORK
Architectural billings relatively steady
across the nation
The Architectural Billing Index (ABI) shows Work-on-the Boards. An index score
above 50 indicates growth. Business conditions softened at architecture firms located in the West in September, although growth remained strong at firms located
in the Northeast and South, and were flat at firms located in the Midwest.
Firms specializing in commercial/industrial projects continue to report
strong billings ( 54.0), slightly ahead of institutional ( 51.0) and residential
( 51.0), according to the AIA’s Architectural Billing Index. An index score
above 50 indicates growth.
93.4% of small custom shops use websites and social media to market
their products, according to the CMA’s 2017 Benchmark survey. Yet while
these methods bring in sales, 92.5% said they get business from both
word of mouth/referrals and repeat clients.
How’s business? The CMA’s Benchmark survey showed 62.4% predict
2017 sales will be better than 2016, with 33.6% saying “same” and
New North American Architectural Woodwork Standards went into
effect July 1, 2017, in Canada. They were developed by the Woodwork
Institute in conjunction with the Architectural Woodwork Manufacturers
Association of Canada.
According to the AIA’s Q2 Home Design Trends Survey multi-generation-al living options are growing in popularity, up slightly from last year, as
the general population ages and families move in together. Related to
that is the continued popularity of first floor master bedrooms and multiple
Market Data Sources: Architectural Woodwork Institute, The American Institute of
Architects (AIA), Statista, U.S. Census Bureau, Cabinet Makers Assn. (CMA), FDMC,
Woodwork Institute, Architectural Woodwork Manufacturers Association of Canada
Category: Architectural & Custom: commercial & residential interior millwork, casework,
furniture & cabinetry.
The architectural woodwork industry should experience improved operating margins in 2017 and into 2018 as business in
the commercial and residential markets continues to show signs
of strengthening, according to recent surveys by the Architectural Woodwork Institute and American Institute of Architects.
The same looks to hold true for custom woodworkers of cabinets and casegoods. In a recent FDMC/CMA Benchmark survey,
62% of respondents predicted their 2017 sales would be better
than 2016, while 34% expected sales would be equal to last year.
While investments in technology will help improve the productivity and profitability of these small- to mid-size shops, challenges
remain, particularly in regard to a good labor supply.
Shipment value of U.S. architectural
woodwork and millwork
Source: : Statista, U.S. Census Bureau
Source: : AIA Economics & Market Research Group 9-17
Source: AWI Cost of Doing Business Survey. The survey also found 52% of
the 126 participants had sales of more than $5 million, up from 45% in 2016.
Fifty-three percent have 30 or more employees (up from 52%); among them, 15%
have 25% or more of their employees unionized (up from 12%). There was no
change in the number of participating companies that have been in business 25
or more years (58% of participants).
Architectural woodworkers see increased
All firms High-profit firms