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Last week, President Trump enacted tariffs on foreign steel (25 percent) and aluminum (10 percent).
The American Institute of Architects quickly reacted, with President Carl Elefante, FAIA, and EVP/Chief Executive Officer Robert Ivy, FAIA, saying in a statement: “The Administration’s announcement of new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports threatens to drastically increase the prices of many building materials specified by architects. These metal products are some of the largest material inputs in the construction of buildings. Structural metal beams, window frames, mechanical systems and exterior cladding are largely derived from these important metals.”
A release from the Associated General Contractors of America announcing that construction spending in January was the same as December, but higher than January 2017 by 3.2 percent, also warned that “further gains, especially in desperately needed infrastructure investment, would be in jeopardy if the administration adopts tariffs on key construction materials.” As well, the steel and aluminum tariffs “could wreck the budgets for numerous infrastructure projects and private nonresidential investments.” The tariffs “would undermine the administration's goals of dramatically boosting infrastructure investment and achieving sustained higher economic growth.”
It’s not often that facility managers and building owners, architects, and contractors, are on the same side of anything, but the tariffs increasing the cost of building products and construction costs would also be detrimental to facility budgets as well.
This Quick Read was submitted by Greg Zimmerman, executive editor, Building Operating Management. Read his cover story profiling Northwestern University’s vice president of facilities management, John D’Angelo.