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

Housing Markets Improving at a Gradual Pace   Full Article
Washington, DC, Nov. 6, 2014 -- Markets in 59 of the approximately 350 metro areas nationwide returned to or exceeded their last normal levels of economic and housing activity in the third quarter.

Planned Job Cuts Surge in October   Full Article
Chicago, IL, Nov. 6, 2014 -- Planned job cuts jumped 68% in October to the second-highest total this year, according to outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

Initial Jobless Claims Fall Again   Full Article
Washington, DC, Nov. 6, 2014 -- Initial claims for unemployment benefits fell by 10,000 to 278,000 in the week ended Nov. 1, the Labor Department said

Grosser Named Tile Person of Year   Full Article
San Antonio, TX, Nov. 6, 2014 -- Tile Council of North America presented its Tile Person of the Year award to Donato Grosser at the Total Solutions Plus event.

NWFA Renews Agreement With Wildlife Fund   Full Article
St. Louis, MO, Nov. 6, 2014 -- The National Wood Flooring Association said it has renewed its Memorandum of Understanding with the World Wildlife Fund.

Tarkett Hosts Second Sustainability Summit   Full Article
Chagrin Falls, OH, Nov. 6, 2014 -- Tarkett recently hosted its second annual Sustainability Summit in Cleveland, Ohio.

Gerflor Acquires Connor Sport Court   Full Article
Chicago, IL, Nov. 5, 2014 -- Gerflor said it has acquired Connor Sport Court of Amasa, Michigan.

Armstrong Illinois Plant Wins Sustainability Award   Full Article
Lancaster, PA, Nov. 5, 2014 -- Armstrong Flooring said its Kankakee, Illinois manufacturing facility has received the 2014 Illinois Governor’s Sustainability Award.

Services Sector Continues To Grow in October   Full Article
Washington, DC, Nov. 5, 2014 -- The services sector of the economy continued to expand in October but at a slower pace, according to the Institute for Supply Management.

Mortgage Applications Fall Last Week   Full Article
Washington, DC, Nov. 5, 2014 -- Mortgage application volume fell last week as interest rates increased, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Businesses Add 230,000 Jobs in October   Full Article
Roseland, NJ, Nov. 5, 2014 -- Private employers added 230,000 jobs in October, payroll processor ADP said.

Earthwerks Names Head of Product Development   Full Article
Houston, TX, Nov. 5, 2014 -- Earthwerks has named Lindsey Nisbet head of product development and marketing strategy.

Linron Names de Beaumont VP Business Development   Full Article
Houston, TX, Nov. 5, 2014 -- Linron Co. has named Gilles de Beaumont, vice president of business development.

Domotex Asia Anticipates Larger Wood, Laminate Area   Full Article
Shanghai, China, Nov. 4, 2014 -- It will require four dedicated halls to house just the wood and laminate exhibitions at Domotex asia/Chinafloor’s 17th annual flooring show March 24-26 in Shanghai, organizers said.

Factory Orders Decline in September   Full Article
Washington, DC, Nov. 4, 2014 -- New orders for manufactured goods fell for second straight month in September on softness in the aircraft sector.

Lexmark Names Wellman Director of Architecture, Design   Full Article
Dalton, GA, Nov. 4, 2014 -- Lexmark Carpet said that Jennifer Wellman has been named director of architecture and design solutions.

Shaw's Tuftex Wins Cool Planet Award   Full Article
Dalton, GA, Nov. 4, 2014 -- Shaw’s Tuftex Division won the 2014 Cool Planet Award, which recognizes Southern California Edison business customers for demonstrating exemplary leadership in energy and carbon management.

Q.E.P. Completes Acquisition of Flooring Trade Supplies   Full Article
Boca Raton, FL, Nov. 4, 2014 -- Q.E.P. said that it has completed the acquisition of Flooring Trade Supplies, an accessory distributor in Sydney, New South Wales.

Stifel Nicolaus Praises Mohawk's Performance   Full Article
New York, NY, Nov. 3, 2014 -- Analyst Stifel Nicolaus says it continues to recommend the stock of Mohawk Industries with a "buy" rating as Mohawk "continues to execute in a very impressive manner given the slower demand environment across the globe."

Manufacturing Expands at Faster Pace in October   Full Article
Tempe, AZ, Nov. 3, 2014 -- U.S. manufacturers expanded at a faster rate in October, according to the Institute for Supply Management.