Codes Drive Growth, At Least in Texas

April 11th, 2016 by Casey Flores

For the construction industry, stricter building codes can be good and bad. In the case of Texas, the nation’s largest residential building market, they’ve succeeded in driving demand for higher-end products.

Glass TEXpo attendees learned a lot about codes during the two-day conference in San Antonio.

Glass TEXpo attendees learned a lot about codes during the two-day conference in San Antonio.

This was just some of the news that came out of TEXpo™ 2016, held this past Friday and Saturday in San Antonio, and sponsored by DWM’s sister publication, USGlass. In an early session on Saturday, Richard Morgan, energy codes manager for SPEER (an energy-efficiency organization that serves Texas and Oklahoma), made clear just how booming Texas is. While it may be no surprise that the state is the largest residential market in the nation, how much larger may come as a surprise.

According to Morgan, the state is running at more than 100,000 building permits per year. When you compare that to the combined rate of California and Florida—the second and third largest residential markets—the Lone Star State alone still issues nearly 20,000 more annual permits.

All new construction must meet the building standards of climate zones 2, 3 or 4. That helps with upselling, Morgan explains, because higher-end products help meet the state’s stricter codes.

And as residential construction continues to grow, commercial isn’t far behind.

Michael Gainey of Ensinger said his company’s warm-edge spacers are in high demand.

“It’s all driven by the building codes,” he said. “People are getting more extrusion in Dallas, Houston, but Austin has the strictest building codes in the state. Some of this demand is local-government-driven.”

Lisa Li of PPG said she exhibited at TEXpo 2016 to show off the company’s latest product, Solarban 90.

“This is going to fit the Texas energy code really well because of its solar heat gain coefficient and visual light transmittance,” she said, which are .23 and 51 percent, respectively.

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