ALMANAC: ARCHITECTURAL & CUSTOM WOODWORKING
The architectural woodwork industry should experience improved operating margins in 2018 and 2019 as business in the
institutional, residential and commercial/industrial markets
all continue 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 survey by FDMC and the
Cabinet Makers Assn., 65% of respondents predicted their
2018 sales would be better than 2017, while 27% 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.
Custom woodworkers handle a wide range of projects
Source: FDMC/CMA 2018 Benchmark Survey. 197 responses
Market Data Sources: Architectural Woodwork Institute, The American Institute of Architects (AIA),
U.S. Census Bureau, Cabinet Makers Assn., FDMC, Statistics Canada, Architectural Woodwork Manufacturers Association of Canada. Category: Architectural & Custom includes: commercial & residential
interior millwork, casework, furniture & cabinetry.
AWI’s 2018 Cost of Business survey finds 52% of participants invested $100,000 or more in capital investments last
year and 43% plan on investing $100,000 or more next year.
Firms specializing in institutional projects report strong billings
( 55. 1), slightly ahead of residential ( 54. 9) and commercial/
industrial ( 50. 8), according to AIA’s September Architectural
Billing Index. An index score above 50 indicates growth.
Architect firms report healthy revenue growth for 2018, but
are projecting slower growth for 2019, according to AIA.
96.4% of small custom shops use websites and social media
to market their products, according to FDMC/CMA’s 2018
Benchmark Survey. Yet while these methods bring in sales,
more than 98.3% said they get business from word of
mouth/referrals and 90.9% from repeat clients.
Architecture firm billings slow, but remain positive
The Architectural Billing Index (ABI) shows Work-on-the Boards. An index
score above 50 indicates growth.
Architecture firm billings growth softened in October but remained
positive for the 13th consecutive month, according to a report from The
American Institute of Architects (AIA). AIA’s Architecture Billings Index (ABI)
score for October was 50. 4 compared to 51. 1 in September, although
effects from the hurricane season could account for some of the slowdown. However, continued strength in new project inquiries should result
in billings remaining steady into the coming months, said AIA.
Source: AIA Economics & Market Research Group 10-18
Architectural woodworkers see reduced operating profit
All firms High-profit firms
2017 7.33% 17.90%
2018 6.57% 17.09%
Source: AWI 2018 Cost of Doing Business Survey. Profitability is down in compared to 2017
results, however, not by much, as the industry remains strong with an average operating profit of