Contractors are caught in the aftershock of the collapse

Aug 01, 2009 | 05:31 AM |

With few new business projects in the works, competition for what little is out there is growing fierce, according to electrical contractors. They point to the combination of tight credit availability and lack of confidence in the economy for "a precipitous drop" in commercial, industrial and institutional construction projects, and in turn for the conduit used in the projects.

"We started to see the commercial and industrial construction market really start to weaken in December or January to the point that we are now doing about 50 percent of the business that we were doing last year across the board," Dan O'Brien, president of Current Electrical Construction Co. in Portland, Ore., said. "I think there is still some pent-up demand out there, but until money starts flowing again we will have some serious issues. We had been going great guns through the end of December with a number of projects in hand, and then it slowed. A number of buildings that we were going to build were canceled, largely due to credit issues."

Terry Cole, president of Hamer Electric Inc., Longview, Wash., agreed. "There are businesses that want to build but can't because they can't get credit. It is amazing how many projects have been put on hold or were canceled altogether because they couldn't get a loan or because their market has essentially gone away."....





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