The Top 250 Design Survey - October 2011

By Darius Helm

 

While conditions have stabilized in various sectors of the commercial market, optimism earlier in the year about a slow and unsteady recovery—yes, that’s what passes for optimism these days—has, over the summer, diminished into a nervous uncertainty. Economic conditions, both globally and here in the U.S., have become increasingly fragile over the last few months, and it is once again unclear when the commercial market can expect to regain its health.

Pent-up demand seems to be driving some parts of the commercial market, and it remains true that the corporate sector, buoyed by healthy profits last year, has been trending upward. However, the fundamental issues of high unemployment and a tight credit market continue to stifle growth, and there are precious few signs of any relief in the near future.

However, it is worth noting—and has been noted before—that a slow market does not mean no market at all. If the market has fallen 25% in the last couple of years, that still means 75% activity. That’s not to, as they say, put lipstick on a pig, but it means that there’s still a lot of work out there, even if the going is tough and the competition is more fierce than ever.

Furthermore, last year the commercial flooring market posted slight gains and it was poised for more growth this year, though we’ll have to wait and see what the final numbers add up to.

This year’s survey responses were replete with indications of a continued difficult market. For instance, pricing was a growing concern, vinyl products increased in popularity, and, sadly, environmental concerns among many respondents diminished in importance.

On a positive note, it’s been a great year for sustainability developments. The carpet reclamation business is stronger than ever, green fibers are taking the market by storm, and hard surface and resilient producers have also made great strides. And in an ironic twist, this year’s weather related disasters, which many climatologists believe are products of a destabilizing environment, will likely lead to some rebuilding and provide a modest boost in revenues.

SECTOR OVERVIEW
We asked designers to name their three biggest projects of the last year and identify them by market category, and this year the sector with easily the most top projects was corporate, followed by healthcare, then education. Historically, the corporate sector has tended to be on top, though healthcare led the way during the two years following the credit crisis, in 2010 and 2009, and education was on top in 2008.

According to this year’s surveyed designers, that corporate growth has come from two quarters—tenant improvement and Fortune 500 firms. This correlates well with data gathered from other industry experts, who cite robust growth among the top U.S. and multinational firms, as well as a trend toward renewal of more standard leases. Lease extensions of the last couple of years stifled remodeling efforts, but now that we’re seeing building owners relent and again offer, for example, five-year leases, tenants have started feeling more secure and many have gone ahead and refurbished their spaces. Not so with new construction, which still remains anemic. 

For the complete survey results, see the October 2011 issue of Floor Focus Magazine.

Copyright 2011 Floor Focus 



Other Archived Articles

Georgia Unemployment Grows but Dalton Layoffs Fall   Full Article
Atlanta, GA, Aug. 14, 2014 -- Unemployment in Georgia in July rose to the highest rate since last October, according to the Georgia Department of Labor.

Initial Jobless Claims Rise Last Week   Full Article
Washington, DC, Aug. 14, 2014 -- Initial claims for unemployment benefits rose 21,000 to 311,000 in the week the ended Aug. 9, according to the Labor Department.

Higher Downpayments Hitting First-Time Home Buyers   Full Article
New York, NY, Aug. 14, 2014 -- Growing requirements for downpayments are shutting many first time buyers out of the housing market, Bloomberg News reports.

Tarkett Contest Features Commercial Flooring   Full Article
Chagrin Falls, OH, Aug. 14, 2014 -- Tarkett has launched a WeLikeItNatural Creative Contest featuring its commercial vinyl flooring.

Retail Sales Flat in July   Full Article
Retail Sales were flat in July as car demand slowed and consumers remained cautious in their spending. This is the weakest performance in six months.

Mortgage Application Volume Down Last Week   Full Article
New York, NY, Aug. 13, 2014 -- Mortgage application volume fell last week as both purchase and refinancing applications declined, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Valinge Awarded Another U.S. Patent   Full Article
Viken, Sweden, Aug. 13, 2014 -- Valinge said it has been awarded a U.S. patents regarding mechanical locking of LVT/resilient floorboards.

Another Investment Firm Discloses Armstrong Position   Full Article
New York, NY, Aug. 13, 2014 -- Another investment firm has disclosed a large position in the shares of Armstrong World Industries.

Home Price Increases Continue To Moderate   Full Article
Washington, DC, Aug. 12, 2014 -- Home-price growth continued to moderate in many metropolitan areas in the second quarter, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Domotex Turkey 2015 Set for May   Full Article
Hannover, Germany, Aug. 12, 2014 -- The dates for Domotex Turkey 2015 are May 25-28 at the Turkish carpet trading capital, Gaziantep.

Job Openings Edge Higher in June   Full Article
Washington, DC, Aug. 12, 2014 -- Job openings increased to 4.67 million in June, according to the latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Ceramic Tile Standards Subject of Gathering in SC   Full Article
Clemson, SC, Aug. 12, 2014 -- International trade and standards for ceramic tile were the focus of discussions as delegates from 15 countries met in Clemson to develop new standards.

Propex Marks 50th Anniversary of Polybac   Full Article
Hazlehurst, GA, Aug. 11, 2014 -- Propex recently celebrated a significant milestone for the carpet industry at its Hazlehurst manufacturing facility.

Realtors Applaud FICO Calculation Changes   Full Article
Washington, DC, Aug. 11, 2014 -- The National Association of Realtors said it supports the decision of Fair Issac to make some changes related to how it calculates FICO credit scores.

CRI's Seal of Approval Certifies Several Products   Full Article
Dalton, GA, Aug. 11, 2014 -- The Carpet and Rug Institute's Seal of Approval testing and certification program for carpet cleaning supplies and equipment has certified several products.

Wholesale Inventories Rise in June   Full Article
Washington, DC, Aug. 8, 2014 -- Wholesale inventories rose 0.3% in June, the same as the previous month, according to the Commerce Department.

Retail Credit May Come Easier for Many Borrowers   Full Article
New York, NY, Aug. 8, 2014 -- Obtaining retail credit could come easier for millions of Americans following a change in how the most widely used credit score is calculated

Carpet One Members Hear Two Famous Speakers   Full Article
Grapevine, TX, Aug. 8, 2014 -- Carpet One Floor & Home members gathered this week to network with their fellow store members and receive updates on new products and programs.

Mats Inc. Flooring a Finalist in USGBC Program   Full Article
Stoughton, MA, Aug. 8, 2014 -- Purline flooring by Mats Inc. has been named a finalist in the U.S. Green Building Council’s Best of Building Awards 2014 in two categories.

More Markets Returning to Normal in Housing   Full Article
Washington, DC, Aug. 7, 2014 -- Markets in 56 of the approximately 350 metro areas nationwide returned to or exceeded their last normal levels of economic and housing activity in the second quarter.