The value of nonresidential glass and glazing activity continues to edge down as the second half of 2020 continues. According to Key Media & Research (KMR), construction spending related to architectural glass declined 3.1% in August compared to a year ago and 0.5% versus the previous month.

KMR’s glass and glazing activity figures are developed from the U.S. Census Bureau’s monthly construction spending report, with weighting and models applied to industry-relevant subsectors.

Nonresidential construction as a whole declined at a slower rate, by only 0.7% year-over-year and 0.1% month-over-month. Residential construction headed in the opposite direction and was up 7%.

“A slowdown in the two major commercial segments—lodging and office—is dragging down the architectural glass-related construction spending numbers,” says KMR director of research Nick St. Denis. “Current construction starts data suggest that this trend could continue in the coming months.”

A more-than-12% decrease in lodging construction and a near-9% drop in office building year-over-year was largely responsible for a 5.4% decline in commercial glass and glazing work.

Meanwhile, glazing contractor activity on the institutional side of nonresidential construction was somewhat flat, edging down just 0.4% from last August to August 2020. Healthcare building was up 5% while the educational category saw a dip of 3.6%.

“The biggest standout this year has been public safety building, which has seen massive increases in construction spending despite tepid numbers in most other sectors,” says St. Denis. “This is a strong opportunity for the architectural glass and glazing industry, as these structures typically call for very high-value glazing makeups due to stringent safety and security requirements.”

He adds, “Public safety is definitely a small segment compared to the other major ones, but it is growing at a significant rate of late, with a 40% increase from a year ago.”

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