Stone World

Trends From The Trenches

August 28, 2008


In just a few months we’ve gone from feast to famine… from too much business to “where is the business?”…from fat and happy to hungry and stunned.   
   Someone has played a horrible trick on the construction field. We ramped up, bulked up and grew up. We were an industry on steroids, without those nasty side effects.  
   We were big, strong and unstoppable…or so we thought.
   Whether you design, install, service or supply products or systems for the architecture/engineering/construction (A/E/C) market, chances are your livelihood has been painfully impacted.  
   Possibly shattered.
   This blog will address the issues causing you pain. We’ll use research and firsthand reports to quantify and understand the trends causing you grief.  
   We’ll look at those who are succeeding despite this crappy market, as well as those who are not.
   We’ll identify rays of hope for a construction turnaround and bring clarity to predictions that the sky is falling.  
   It’s not. 
   OK, the sky has crashed down on some. But let’s make sure your company isn’t next.
   While we’ll reference multiple sources in this blog, a primary source of information will be you. Via our relationship with Clear Seas Research, we’ll tap into something called the Building Products Panel. This panel is made up of hundreds of readers from our architecture, engineering, construction and mechanical systems publications and Web sites.
   As I write this, the first of many surveys is being answered by A/E/C pros like you who are out doing battle on the front lines. Who better to tell us what’s really happening in the market?
   I invite you to contribute to this blog. Share your greatest frustrations and triumphs.  
   What are your competitors doing that is killing the market – and dragging both of you into a death spiral? Have you done anything to reverse it? Did it work?
   If you are a business owner, have you thought about selling your company? Turning it over to your offspring? Buying your competitor? Merging with another firm?
   What has your company done to change momentum, even for one day or one project?
   Have your good employees remained loyal – or jumped ship? How can you keep them?
   Have you found a niche that allows your company to maintain its sales volume, or even prosper?
   Perhaps your company is hanging on by a thread. How long can it last if conditions don’t improve?
   We need you to be part of this survive-and-conquer-minded blog by posting your challenges, airing your frustrations and sharing your successes.  
   Or, e-mail me at fauscht@bnpmedia.com and allow me to share your story. Good, bad or ugly, there’s a legion of A/E/C pros that desperately need to hear it.