Contract awards are expected to decline by about 4% this year, before recovering in 2021. That’s according to the Fenestration and Glazing Industry Alliance’s (FGIA) “FGIA 2019/2020 Study of the U.S. Market for Windows, Doors and Skylights.” This bi-annual report delivers information on residential and non-residential market trends and product relationships for both fenestration and glazing products. Forecasts are based on projections of construction activity as of May 2020.

Non-Residential

Contract awards reflect activity related to new construction and major additions to existing structures. Actual fenestration demand (shipments) for non-residential building activity typically lags contract awards by up to one year or more. This cycle can shorten or lengthen tremendously depending on the complexity or size of a building and when the specific building product is installed during the construction cycle.

The 2019 contract award total was flat from 2018. The manufacturing/warehouse category decreased by 1% in 2019, while contract awards in office/hotel/institutional increased by 1% and decreased in store/mercantile by 1%. Contract awards are expected to decline by about 4% in 2020, before recovering in 2021.

Storefront windows represent the largest market segment by vision area with 27.3% of the overall non-residential glazing in 2019, followed closely by site-fabricated windows representing 26.3%. Site-fabricated are most frequently used in new construction and major additions whereas shop-fabricated windows are more common in replacement applications.

The 2019 market for non-residential entry doors in the U.S. has continued to experience growth, with 2019 volume up 1% over 2018 and up 2% since 2017.

The study estimates that the total U.S. market for commercial unit skylights in 2019 saw a 14% increase from 2017. Unit sizes commonly average in the range of 22 to 25 square feet but can vary dramatically. Nearly all commercial unit skylights are aluminum framed, and most use some form of plastic glazing (acrylic is most common). In 2019, new construction applications represented approximately 35% of the total, up from 31% in 2017, reflecting increasing adoption of unitized skylights in commercial buildings.

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