As posted on May 1, 2021 by Metal Construction News

“The pandemic defined the year, but the labor shortage continues … “

Each year when MCN compiles this list, they are faced with the challenge of trying to identify metal building contractors from metal building erectors. For the 2021 Top Metal Builder list, they have attempted to separate the erectors from the contractors and starting next year, the goal will be to create two separate lists of Top Metal Builders and Top Metal Erectors.

For this year’s list, “erector-only” companies have been highlighted. Since both contractors and erectors can be involved in the same building, and the tonnage is submitted by two companies, MCN wanted to avoid counting purchased steel twice. They have also expanded the number of companies on the list. This year, 114 companies have been identified on each list, compared to 100 in previous years.

Editorial Director, Paul Deffenbaugh says, “Over the last 10 years, there have been about 500 companies that submit to the Top Metal Builder Award, and over the last several years, the number submitting in any given year has increased. But this year, we saw a sharp decrease in submissions. Nonetheless, the average tonnage and square footage of 2020 projects reported by this year’s submitters weren’t significantly different than reported for 2019. The tonnage average actually increased about 1% while square footage decreased only 4.2%. Given what happened in the country and the industry because of the pandemic, those are remarkable numbers, but they can probably be attributed to the lack of participation from companies that saw sharp decreases in their construction activity. That’s normal. Companies tend to submit to programs such as this in good times and hold back their numbers in bad times.”

Top 100 Companies Ranked by Tonnage (click to view list)

Credit: MCN

Top 100 Companies Ranked by Square Footage (click to view list)

Credit: MCN

Biggest Challenges Facing Metal Building Industry

MCN surveyed companies to understand the biggest challenges they faced in 2020. While naturally the COVID-19 pandemic was listed, labor shortage was still identified by more than a quarter of respondents as the biggest challenge they faced last year.

Responses that identified COVID as the biggest challenge were broken into two categories: people who identified COVID as the issue, which mostly included reduction in business, and those who saw the increased work requirements as the biggest challenge. Of the remaining issues, rising material costs, supply chain issues, product shortages, almost all of them can also be attributed to issues related to the pandemic. Of particular interest was the issue of rising material costs. Last year, steel prices wasn’t mentioned by a single metal builder, yet, in previous years when steel tariffs were a hot topic it, rated much higher concern.

The biggest challenges Top Metal Builders faced in 2020; Credit: MCN

To access digital reports dating back to 2010, see Previous Reports.

Metal Construction News is the sponsoring publication and official show guide of the METALCON event. Join us IN PERSON at METALCON 2021 in Tampa, Florida, scheduled for October 6-8. REGISTER TO ATTEND or to exhibit, CLICK HERE. METALCON is the only global event dedicated exclusively to the application of metal in design and construction.