Architectural & Structural Metals Manufacturing
Companies in this industry manufacture metal framed windows and doors, sheet metal work, ornamental or architectural metal products, prefabricated metal buildings, and structural metal and metal plate work products. Major companies include Cornerstone Building Brands, Gibraltar Industries, and Valmont Industries (all based in the US), as well as units of integrated metal producers such as Arconic, Nucor, and US Steel (US); ArcelorMittal (Luxembourg); China Baowu Steel Group (China); JFE Holdings and Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal (Japan); and Tata Steel (India).
Demand for structural and architectural metals is driven by global construction activity. Worldwide structural steel sales are expected to rise by more than 5% per year through 2025, reaching a value of more than $140 billion, according to Grand View Research.
The US architectural and structural metals manufacturing industry consists of about 12,700 establishments (single-location companies and units of multi-location companies) with combined annual revenue of about $85 billion.
Architectural and structural metals manufacturers face competition not only from peers within the industry, but also from makers of competing materials, chiefly concrete and wood. Key competitive differentiators include establishing a global presence to take advantage of strong construction spending growth in emerging markets and offering value-added design services. Companies are also tweaking their marketing messaging to better showcase steel's advantages in civil, commercial, and residential construction applications.
Demand depends primarily on the level of construction activity, particularly nonresidential. The profitability of individual companies depends on manufacturing efficiency and effective supply management. Large companies have economies of scale in purchasing materials and equipment. Smaller producers compete by focusing on specialized product offerings and responsive customer service to local markets. The US industry is fragmented: the 50 largest companies account for about a quarter of sales.
Design Services - Structural metal fabricators may forge better customer relationships by offering more upstream project design services. Building collaborative relationships with project engineers, architects, and construction contractors allows fabricators to share project cost savings as well as risks.
Touting Steel's Benefits - Architects and engineers often favor concrete over structural steel because concrete is cheaper, lasts longer, and is fire-resistant. To better compete, the steel industry is devoting more resources to promoting steel's benefits through trade organizations. Companies also are developing new steel technologies, such as alloys that better resist heat and corrosion.
Global Presence - Urbanization and rising incomes in the developing world are driving demand for prefabricated metal buildings used in housing, as well as steel channels and beams used in infrastructure and commercial building projects, especially in China and India. Companies may establish subsidiaries or joint ventures with local partners to gain access to fast-growing emerging markets.
Companies to Watch:
ArcelorMittal - As the world's largest steelmaker, ArcelorMittal is well-positioned with a variety of structural steel offerings. Products include rebar, beams, and bridge girders, as well as light steel frames and cellular beams for the modular housing market.
China Baowu Steel Group - China Baowu Steel is the second-largest steelmaker in the world and the largest in China, which provides a home-field advantage in the country's massive construction market.
Cornerstone Building Brands - Cornerstone Building Brands offers metal components and engineered building systems for the nonresidential building sector. It operates facilities in the US, Canada, China, and Mexico. Its broad geographic reach and fleet of trucks offer an advantage in bringing products to build sites quickly and inexpensively.
Products, Operations & Technology
Major product types are fabricated structural metal such as steel joists and concrete reinforcing bar (about 35% of US industry revenue); sheet metal work
Sales & Marketing
Finance & Regulation
Regional & International Issues
Also includes the following chapters:
Quarterly Industry Update
Trends and Opportunities
Call Preparation Questions
Glossary of Acronyms