HARDI: Paused Construction Projects Impacting Demand

Written by Becca Moczygemba

Although some construction companies have a backlog, many jobs are getting put on hold and this is affecting demand, members of the Heating, Air-Conditioning & Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI) Sheet Metal/Air Handling Council said this month.

The HARDI members convened for a post Steel Summit webcast meeting on Aug. 29.

At the last few meetings, many members reported healthy demand in their areas, but some softening is starting to be seen in some areas.

“Demand for us in August has been good, but not for all branches,” said one member with locations across the country. “Looking at the branches that have been doing better, it’s because we are paired with companies that are working on larger projects.”

Sales volumes for one member in the South were down from July to August, but up over 2022 for the same period.

Another member reported that jobs are being stalled.

“I’ve been traveling around and there are a lot of contractors saying that jobs are pushed. Everybody has a healthy book, but nobody knows when any of this stuff is starting,” said the participant.

One HARDI member said that it feels like demand in the Midwest is a little stronger. However, he believes the region will see more softening in the coming months.

A service center participant added that demand has been strong, especially in the agricultural sector. However, he believes that services overall are running lean on inventory.

Inventory was generally reported as down to average across all regions.

An end-of-meeting poll asked participants where galvanized prices would be in the next 30 days. 25% said they see prices remaining flat, while 42% said they see prices dropping more than $2 per cwt. Another 29% voted on prices decreasing more than $4 per cwt.

The outlook on where galvanized prices are headed in the next six months was closer, with 33% of participants saying it would be down more than $2 per cwt. 25% said that prices would be up more than $2 per cwt. 21% believe prices will remain flat.

Looking ahead 12 months, 46% of participants think the galvanized base price will be $50-59 per cwt, 17% think prices will increase to $60-69, and 33% see prices dropping to $40-49 per cwt.

Steel Market Update participates in a monthly steel conference call hosted by HARDI. The call is dedicated to a better understanding of the galvanized steel market. The participants are HARDI member companies, wholesalers who supply products to the construction markets. Also on the call are service centers and manufacturing companies that either buy or sell galvanized sheet and coil products used in the HVAC industry and are suppliers to the HARDI member companies.

Becca Moczygemba

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