Framing the Future

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John R. HillNational Frame Building Association (NFBA) staff, along with the association’s Convention and Events Committee, has been busy putting together plans for the upcoming 2011 Frame Building Expo on March 2 to 4 in Indianapolis.

We’ve selected the theme “Framing the Future” for our upcoming annual meeting, and I absolutely love it. We intend to build a show that highlights the tremendous opportunities that await the post-frame construction industry — from down on the farm to small town America to the suburbs of the big cities. We’re positioning post-frame construction to play a big part in building America’s future.

So much of what we are focusing our attention on in NFBA right now is about expanding the market opportunity for post-frame construction. At a time when the construction industry is still struggling due to one of the largest and longest post-WWII recessions in our history, you might be sitting there wondering if there is any reason for optimism looking ahead. We confidently believe there is.

I’d like you to take a short break from whatever you’re doing at the moment, sit back, close your eyes and relax. (Ah — now that feels nice, doesn’t it?) Now I  want you to think about the types of folks who will be influencing decisions or making decisions about construction projects in the future. We believe that group will consist of architects, designers, business owners, consumers and government institutions.

Points to ponder
Ask yourself three questions.
• Do you think those future construction influencers and decision makers will be operating with tighter budgets?
• Do you think they’ll be paying more attention to energy efficiency, life cycle costs and green building solutions?
• Do you think they’ll still want attractive buildings?
If you answered “yes” to these questions, you should be excited about the prospects of “Framing the Future” with post-frame buildings!

Whether the application is on-farm, low-rise commercial or consumer personal use, if the influencer or decision maker has a smaller budget than what they might have had in the past, what better solution may be out there than post-frame?

Our projects typically require less money spent on a building foundation.  In most cases, for buildings under 80-ft. clear-span width, our framing solutions are more efficient than steel or stick-built options. As for cladding, we’ve got options for every budget — from low-cost steel siding to higher end masonry solutions.

You better believe the focus on energy efficiency, lifecycle costs and green building solutions is here to stay. Many in our industry truly believe we have a good story to tell here, and the NFBA is in the process of funding some key research projects that will prove our point to future building influencers and decision makers. We sincerely believe the combination of ease of insulation, fewer thermal breaks, use of renewable resources like lumber and steel, and lower in-place costs will position us well against other types of building construction.
It’s very important to our future that we prove our point, and we’re embarking on an effort to do just that in the coming months. We’ll look forward to updating you on our progress at the 2011 Frame Building Expo.

You know the answers
The last question posed was whether you think future building influencers and decision makers will still want attractive buildings. Of course they will. And our building solution can help them accomplish that task while not breaking the bank.

Who can dress up a roof-line more efficiently — a post frame builder or a steel frame builder? Post-frame wins hands down.

Which one of the aforementioned can line the outside and inside of a building more efficiently with a wide variety of finishes? It’s no contest: a post-frame builder doesn’t have to build a building inside a building just to line the inside of it.

Now is the time to reopen your eyes. The nice thing about the short little journey we just took is that we didn’t just close our eyes and dream these thoughts. These opportunities are the reality we will find ourselves facing in the months and years ahead. As post-frame contractors, we can be excited about what the future holds for us.

The market is going to rebound. Influencers and decision makers are going to be impressed with what we have to offer. The post-frame industry will expand further into markets that we are targeting with our Post Frame Marketing Initiative.

I encourage you to mark your calendars now for March 2-4, 2011. You’re going to want to keep current with all the ways our industry is moving to meet the needs of future building owners. Even in today’s down market, these are exciting times for our post-frame industry.

What: 2011 NFBA Frame Building Expo
When: March 2-4
Where: Indiana Convention Center, Indianapolis
Learn more: Visit www.nfba.org

John Hill is president of Lester Building Systems and current chair of the NFBA Board of Directors. Contact him at jhill@lesterbuildings.com

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