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Cold Weather Markets Seeing Severe Shortages

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Supply chain hiccups, rising material costs and shortages have plagued the industrial construction market throughout much of the pandemic. And although some of these problems cleared up in 2021, a new shortage arose in the past few months that could set back the expansion of many product distributors.

In cold weather markets such as Chicago, new warehouses and distribution centers need insulated precast concrete panels. As the cost of transporting the massive panels is prohibitive, builders must depend on local producers, but the escalating demand for consumer products delivered through e-commerce means demand for new warehouses is also hitting a historic high, outstripping the capacity of local precast manufacturers.

Solving this problem won't be easy. The demand for spec warehouses continues to soar, and expanding capacity isn't easy for precast producers. It would cost millions to do so, and such a capital investment could go to waste if warehouse demands returns to normal in 2023. 

"We can manufactural several dozen panels every day. And a typical distribution building of 250k SF needs hundreds of precast concrete panels, each with several inches of insulation, which ATMI can complete in about ten (10) days," ATMI Precast Vice President of Development Mike Walsh said.

The Aurora, Illinois-based company produces about sixty percent (60%) of the precast panels needed in the Chicago region, he said.

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