Best PracticesNewsA2P1013: Pandemic Wreaks Havoc on the Commercial Building Industry

June 25, 2021

This article is the first installment of a “SMARTci 3 In 1 System” 3-piece series looking at the effects of the pandemic and how the SMARTci 3 in 1 System offers the best practice solution to various problems the commercial building industry is currently facing.

A year after the historic 2020 global pandemic began, COVID-19 continues to affect most industries within the economy. One segment continuing to experience volatile shock waves, is the commercial building industry. Surging building material prices, brought on by the global pandemic along with other factors, are significantly impacting manufacturers, distributors, and contractors across the industry.

Primary commercial building materials, such as steel and lumber, are experiencing record-breaking levels in price increases up to 325% within the previous year. While some material prices have moderated, the commercial building industry continues to be unpredictable across the board. Along with steel and lumber, materials such as drywall, copper, plumbing fixtures, and hardware have also seen significant price increases.

What is causing the surge in building material prices?

It is not a secret that the COVID-19 global pandemic is the common denominator in the volatility we are currently experiencing in the commercial building industry. Due to interferences in the supply chain and demand of building materials, several factors contributed to the rising material costs we are facing today, including:

  • Manufacturing Shutdowns
    • Several manufacturers experienced partial or complete shutdowns for various lengths of time, due to COVID-19 outbreaks among production workers, as well as federal and state mandates. The pandemic brought new workforce restrictions such as physical spacing or even separate workspaces. These factors contributed to a decrease in the number of goods and materials produced, disrupting the supply chain. As manufacturers are trying to increase their product output, many are having a hard time finding workers.
  • Transportation Restrictions
    • Various transportation restrictions were put into place throughout the past year due to the pandemic. An interruption in the flow of goods, both domestically and internationally, caused businesses to experience issues getting products to customers. Along with the labor challenges we are seeing, the demand for truck drivers increased, causing a misalignment of supply and demand. Transporting raw materials to manufacturing facilities and then distributing the final product to its destination, causes truck drivers to be vital in the supply chain process.
  • Disruptions in Supply Chain
    • As COVID-19 ramped up in early 2020, the demand for some products significantly dropped. These events created a ripple effect as buying patterns changed. We saw disrupted plans and routines, people were traveling less, working from home more, or just completely out of work, causing a decrease in demand.
    • Manufacturers also consumed the inventories they had. Since most production facilities were not running at full capacity, the supply chain took a significant hit. Other factors, including storms and natural disasters also played a role in disrupting the supply chain. Raw materials and products were destroyed in last summer’s wildfires out of the West and tropical storms hitting the South.
Best Practice Solution: SMARTci 3 in 1 System

Owners, developers, architects, general contractors, and sub-contractors are wondering how to move forward during uncertain times. How can they combat record-high prices on the most common materials in the building industry? Even though factors such as shutdowns, restrictions, and supply chain disruptions have contributed to higher prices, there are alternative solutions and cost-saving opportunities. Luckily, you can save on your project timeline and budget by reworking material and labor costs within the building envelope.

Prices are projected to drop as demand goes down, however the timeframe is uncertain. Whether it is six months or two years before we see the market back to its pre-pandemic levels, owners, developers, architects, and contractors need a solution now. The good news is there are ways available to mitigate the effects caused by rising material costs.

Revolutionary and innovative, the SMARTci 3 in 1 System by Advanced Architectural Products (A2P), is your best practice continuous insulation solution. Offering long-term thermal energy savings, the 3 in 1 System can save you on building labor and material costs as the system is up to four times faster to install. The SMARTci 3 in 1 continuous insulation system provides a complete thermally efficient and vapor barrier solution for your next building project.

A2P’s experts redesigned and optimized the continuous insulation method in the commercial building industry, by using less material and reducing labor costs, while still exceeding R-value requirements. Whether you are planning a new project or reworking an existing one, the flexibility of the SMARTci 3 in 1 System is the best practice solution.

The SMARTci 3 in 1 System combines GreenGirt composite metal hybrid (CMH) z-girt sub-framing, dual foil-faced polyisocyanurate (polyiso) insulation panels, and vapor barrier components in one cost-effective solution. Using the GreenGirt composite metal hybrid (CMH) z-girt sub-framing, the SMARTci System provides a thermal break in your building envelope.

Engineered to incorporate an interlocking metal fastener retention system, combined with composite fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) material, the SMARTci 3 in 1 System provides industry-leading, CMH patented, unmatched structural capabilities. The 3 in 1 System offers universal attachment options to support all cladding and substrate materials. If a current project needs to be reworked, the 3 in 1 System offers the versatility to support any cladding material.

The SMARTci 3 in 1 System also incorporates custom pre-cut, profiled polyiso insulation panel components. This system eliminates the need for sheathing or an additional weather-resistive barrier (WRB), as the continuous insulation 3 in 1 System achieves a complete vapor barrier. When two steps of the installation process are eliminated, sheathing and an additional WRB, labor costs and materials decrease, allowing a better outcome for the project timeline.

Paired with the thermally efficient GreenGirt z-girt sub-framing and dual foil-facing polyiso insulation, a complete air and water vapor barrier is achieved with the addition of butt joint splines, caulking, and tape. An uninterrupted drainage plane is created when all components are combined. This prevents any air or water vapor from penetrating the insulation system or walls of the structure. The SMARTci 3 in 1 system is a complete all-in-one WRB best practice continuous insulation solution for your next building project.

Stay tuned for the second installment of the series as we take an in depth look at the SMARTci 3 in 1 System and its three main components, GreenGirt, polyiso insulation, and weather-resistant barrier (WRB) accessories. 

Learn more about the SMARTci 3 in 1 System or find an A2P Representative in your area.


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