PFMI Update: The timing is right

There is not much positive news in the economy and, specifically, in the construction sector today. No matter what metric one chooses to analyze — housing starts, low-rise construction starts, unemployment numbers, number of new car sales (not to mention the number of plant closings or that GM filed for protection from its creditors the first day of June) — things just don’t look good.

It’s a rough and bumpy road companies and associations will travel, each minimizing spending as revenues fail to meet expectations. Both company product sales and association membership dues are suffering. Every expenditure is being looked at under a microscope to ensure maximum benefit.

This was very evident as those responsible for the NFBA’s Post-Frame Market Initiative went to supporters for funding this year. Every potential source of funds told the committee to cut back on its requests for additional funding, as due to market declines there was simply less money available for marketing.

Now, more than ever “the timing is right for post-frame construction.”

Don’t stop marketing!
It is a common mistake to cut marketing budgets during an economic downturn. Marketing experts agree this is exactly the opposite of what a company should do: When things slow down, a sure way to slow them down even more is to cut one’s marketing efforts. A great time to shine is when others are pulling down their signs!

At the 2008 NFBA Post-Frame Industry Summit, economist Alan Beaulieu and marketing expert Jack Sims both looked at the PFMI program and agreed the best time to market and grow the industry through an association-led marketing effort is right now. The economic downturn is providing the industry with unique opportunities that will make NFBA’s efforts even more successful.

Architects, designers, city officials and building developers are being more aggressive than ever at looking for alternative forms of construction that deliver energy efficient, architecturally-appealing and cost-effective options. Post-frame construction is the answer for many of their projects. Many people, probably most, are just not aware of this alternative.

For all the right reasons, post-frame construction is a very good alternative for light commercial construction, especially in today’s economy.

First, post-frame is extremely efficient in terms of materials used and construction time. It takes less energy and resources to build post-frame buildings than most other types of buildings. That means it’s the least expensive building option, right when everyone wants it.

It is no wonder the predecessors to today’s modern post-frame buildings, the humble “pole barn” and “pole buildings,” gained rapid acceptance during the Great Depression; and why the modern post-frame market isn’t completely “on the ropes” like the rest of the construction industry in the current recession. So due to current economic conditions, the timing is right for post-frame construction sector expansion.

Second, post-frame buildings can achieve the best insulation R-values compared to almost any other above-ground building type. That means post-frame’s economic advantage doesn’t stop with the construction process — it continues for decades over the life-span of the entire building with savings in heating and cooling.

Finally, saving energy and money by using less resources to build and power buildings converge right on time for the biggest marketing opportunity in recent times for the construction industry — the “green building” phenomenon.

And still more reasons
Post-frame structural materials are made of wood, the production of which actually removes carbon dioxide and mitigates other “greenhouse” gasses from the atmosphere, right when the planet needs it. Steel siding, roofing, fasteners and other components are all made of steel, the most recycled building material in the world.

Post-frame buildings are also easily disassembled and materials may be reused or recycled, leaving a clean “footprint” after they have completed their life cycle. Combine all this with the energy efficiency of post-frame building material production and building erection, as well as the long-term energy efficiency of post-frame buildings, and it is the ultimate “green building.”

That is why the “Timing is Right for PFMI.” The Post Frame Marketing Initiative is the tool that will make the connection.

That was the approach the NFBA Market Growth Committee charged NFBA President Tom Knight to deliver to the Bi-National Softwood Lumber Promotion Council. Although the council repeatedly asked the committee to decrease its funding request, the committee stuck to its guns and asked for an increase.

It worked! The Bi-National pledged $400,000 to the Initiative for 2009, doubling the $200,000 it provided the previous year.
The monies will be spent on education, marketing and market metrics to drive home the advantages of post-frame construction. To see the message being delivered, visit web site.

The timing is right! Now is the time for the post-frame market and NFBA members’ businesses! NFBA members can help grow this industry by growing their own businesses and learn how to sell the post-frame product, based on the unique advantages that provide solutions to commercial concerns such as the economy and the environment.

To access resources NFBA has developed for the PFMI project and find out more about how to get involved, visit

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