Nearly three years past the original impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the building industry is poised to respond to challenges and changes like never before. At LP, we're at the forefront of innovation, offering strong partnerships to building professionals as they navigate this season.
We caught up with several team members at LP Building Solutions to get their takes on the upcoming year and how our products tie to key challenges, new building trends and more.
A return to choices, options and innovation is ahead. "We can now give choices to the market that they haven't had in the past few years," says Susan Soine, General Sales Manager. "Customers crave options. We're eager to get back to growth and innovation in lieu of supplying only the basics."
What do you see as the greatest challenges facing the building industry in 2023—taking into consideration both the structural and siding pieces of our business? Supply shortages have affected pricing. This trend for building material costs won’t change quickly, so there will be adjustments to the market price based on heavy competition, lowering margins.
Looking back, what lessons did the building industry learn from the COVID-19 pandemic and what impacts from the pandemic are here to stay? We learned the need for flexibility. There haven't been major advancements in building techniques, so we need the ability to build homes more efficiently without weather and labor delays.
How do you predict that the general state of the economy will impact the building industry in 2023? The industry is slowing due to interest rate changes. The market will rely more heavily on rentals and people will stay in their homes longer. Customers are worried about a recession, yet they understand that there is still a huge need for homes.
Sandra Bostian, Senior Innovation Manager, highlights how emerging building trends and areas of focus for the industry also tie directly to key areas of focus for LP.
What excites you most about the coming year for the industry? Offsite construction allows for the designing, manufacturing and fabricating of building elements in a factory. This differs from traditional onsite construction, which is subject to weather conditions that can increase build costs and cause delays to the builder. Onsite construction may produce material waste on the jobsite. Offsite construction can revolutionize the construction process from a sustainability, construction quality and speed perspective. Offsite manufacturing reduces cycle time and skilled labor needs and improves onsite productivity. This produces exacting specifications that can lead to a more resilient build.
Green building is a celebrated concept that focuses on adopting environmentally friendly measures in the pre-construction design planning, in the actual construction process, and in how the building is operated. While the sustainable building trend is new for many, LP Building Solutions has been committed to environmental well-being for decades now. All of our products are produced with 100 % sustainably sourced wood fiber, and select products are designed to improve the energy efficiency of a home.
What do you see as the greatest challenges facing the building industry in 2023? The supply chain has been a challenge for both manufacturers and builders. The supply chain constraints included a mix of temporary and lasting changes that required altering the build plan. About 70 % of 2021 projects were impacted by supply chain issues and that continued into 2022.
Equally as challenging is the labor shortage in the construction industry. Construction work has been seen as unstable, making it less desirable for the younger generation. Builders have had to compete for laborers amid increasing demand for homes. Getting employees to come back to work has been a challenge as many laborers retired or left the industry altogether.
How does the LP® Structural Solutions portfolio contribute to Building a Better World™? LP Structural Solutions is focused on making homes more resilient and offering products that help builders build better. For example, LP Building Solutions innovates with products like LP NovaCore™ Thermal Insulated Sheathing, which provides a continuous XPS layer between interior home spaces and the outside world. It will be one of the only insulated panel products on the market that combines XPS foam with an oriented strand board (OSB) substrate.
"Interesting, challenging and dynamic are words that come to mind when recapping 2022," says Tom Hanzely, Senior Marketing Innovation Manager. "The year started strong, fueled by large homebuilder backlogs. Despite challenges, our builder partners still maintained strong demand throughout 2022."
What excites you the most about the coming year for the siding industry? I envision a shift to repair and remodel, and LP will be poised to tackle this change with new and innovative products and solutions to meet the challenges of 2023.
What sort of siding or exterior building trends have you seen come out this year that have surprised you? Architectural trends of profile, panel and texture diversity and the abundance of prefinished paint options have surprised me the most. These are ambitious solutions to meeting a unique vision for a space. I see the trend of mixing materials and textures continuing. Modern design with clean lines, flat horizontal profile panels, and unique textural finishes are what the next wave of young new homebuyers are wanting.
How do LP® SmartSide® products contribute to Building A Better World™? Historically, building materials were selected for their performance and functionality. Today, these attributes are being coupled with sustainability goals, which will make the function and performance of materials more impactful to the built environment. Harvesting wood from a sustainably managed resource and then engineering that wood into a high-performing and durable building material will allow your home to sustain and perform at the highest level.
How can LP SmartSide products help mitigate time spent on installs? LP SmartSide products leverage proven technologies with a focus on time spent on jobsites. We focus on building homes more efficiently while creating less waste to deliver great value to our customers.
What building trends do you expect to be top-of-mind for the industry moving into next year? Managing the unprecedented labor and economic conditions in our country will be top-of-mind for 2023. Either the industry will adapt or use it as an opportunity to refocus. Our products will allow us to thrive in this new era of building, having been shown to install faster and offer real labor savings.
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