Earlier manufacturing cutbacks create delays, add to price tag as construction rebounds
[Reposted from the Wall Street Journal | Robbie Whelan | September 8, 2015]
A shortage of glass is taking a toll on the nation’s commercial building boom, adding millions of dollars to the cost of new skyscrapers and halting some projects midway through construction.
Demand is soaring for the metal-framed glass panels, or curtain wall, used to sheath skyscrapers. Those buildings need a lot of glass—hundreds of thousands of square feet for a typical high-rise office tower.
Glass manufacturers and fabricators can’t keep up. Many glass makers mothballed their operations or went out of business in 2008 and 2009, during the recession, which hit the construction industry hard.
Now, however, apartment buildings are sprouting up at their briskest pace in decades, and new office towers are rising in major markets like Manhattan at the fastest rate since the early 1990s.
Restarting idled glass factories is a costly and time-consuming process, so property developers say the current shortage could last well into next year, if not longer.
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