NEW YORK Four
trade associations representing the steel stud sector are
teaming up to counter recent inroads by the wood and masonry
industries in the mid-rise construction market.
Meeting last week to
forge a plan to collaborate on research, code advocacy and
promotion of the cold-formed steel framing industry were
representatives from the Steel Stud Manufacturers Association,
Chicago; the Steel Framing Industry Association, Washington;
the Certified Steel Stud Association, New York; and the Steel
Market Development Institute (SMDI), a business unit of the
Washington-based American Iron and Steel Institute.
"The cold-formed steel
framing market is an important one for our steel company
investors, and we are committed to working with like-minded
construction partners to increase demand," SMDI vice president
of construction Robert Wills said.
The four groups are
planning a follow-up meeting Sept. 17 to further discuss their
mission and strategies.
"Cold-formed steel is
an important market. ... We have to defend that market. And we
defend that market with superior steel framing designs,
different emphases on seismic and fire in the code programs and
by digging into everything you hear about wood from an
environmental point of view," SMDI president Lawrence Kavanagh
"The wood guys have
been good about marketing the concept of renewability," he
acknowledged. "Thats usually, hands-down a good thing.
But you have to dig a little deeper to determine what this
renewability means. You chop down 40-foot trees and replace
them with seedlings. What does that do to the land, the species
and the habitat?"
Kavanagh also points
to the body blow dealt to the residential construction market
as a result of the recent deep economic downturn. "We all
remember the beginning of the recession. ... The housing
industry collapsed. So what was the wood industry going to do
with all that lumber that they are not using to build houses?"
"Their strategy is to
move that into commercial construction," he said. "They are
trying to make inroads in six-, seven- and eight-story