Recently, ABC news has been focusing on the topic of products made in America. Though the United States produces many items, they are often the minority of building products in our homes, schools and offices. One might argue that overseas products were purchased because they were a lower cost. However, with rising wages in China, overseas manufacturing is becoming more expensive.
According to Inc. Magazine, over the past two years, the United States economy has created roughly 330,000 manufacturing jobs. Manufacturing production has increased about 5.7% since June 2009. That is the fastest pace in over a decade. Between the rise in wages, hidden costs of doing business overseas and the need for job creation in the U.S., American companies are starting to turn to our homeland for their business.
In the architecture and design community, we often forget just how easy it is to specify items made in the United States. PaperStone, for example, is a U.S. based company that produces countertops made from 50% to 100% post consumer recycled paper right here in the State of Washington!
Many industry members are taking notice. Andrew Lewendal of Bozeman, Montana is one of them. He is an economist turn builder and is working on constructing a home built entirely from American made products. There are over 120 items from over 33 states in the home.
Although builders agree that it is slightly more expensive, they have been finding that quality and availability make up for it. For example, a box of American made nails is $5.00 more than those made in China, yet, the U.S. nails seem to jam less in the nail guns and therefore save time and money. Lewendal estimates that the "All American Home" should run only 1% to 2% more than a foreign sourced house.
The benefits of specifying and using American products are two fold. By supporting domestic goods we create manufacturing jobs and in turn, improve our overall economy. Lewendal is convinced if every builder bought just 5% more American materials, it would create 220,000 jobs. Think of the benefit of 10 or even 15%.
The story of the Montana builder has caught the interest of a local builder here in Spokane. Corey Condron of Condron Homes states, “My eyes were opened as I watched a news story about a builder in Montana using all American made products. Building new homes with American products will positively impact our local and National economies and it is something our customers will take pride in for years to come.” Condron Homes states on their website that they hope this will set the precedence to challenge other builders to follow suit.
Whether it is specifying a local cement manufacturer or verifying your plumbing fixtures are made in the United States, it is a quick and easy extra step to take that will pay off big time in the end.
For more information on using American made building products, contact us here.