Landscape Contractor / Design Build Maintain

AUG 2012

LC/DBM provides landscape contractors with Educational, Imaginative and Practical information about their business, their employees, their machines and their projects.

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6OLUME .O s WWW LANDSCAPEONLINE COM LCDBM Commentary D " B UIL Bruce Fordyce Assistant Editor/Education Michelle Medaris A Look Ahead. . . I went to a "Meet the Builder" event on July 12, produced by the Southern California Building Industry Association (BIA). At the meeting, attended by about 200 service and product suppliers, there was some very positive chatter, a few moans and groans, a lot of hope for change and a pre- diction of a bit of a lull before the turnaround kicks in. We saw several landscape architects, landscape contractors, fence suppliers and the like stand- ing in front of the horizontal purchasing sections of about 25 major area homebuilders. While the conversations were all tempered with the acknowledgement that times were better in 2007, for the most part the landscape architects and contractors were busy lobbying for work, which seemed on the very near horizon. One landscape architect was happy to be in the bidding for the California speed rail proj- ect, even if the work was controversial and may get sidetracked before it is straight tracked. An- other was talking about projects with builders and engineers; others were in various stages of subdued optimism. The landscape contractors we spoke to also seemed to be busy, with plenty of projects in the works and a fairly steady workload. Now it could be that the ones we saw were the ones who were being active in the industry. It is always better to put yourself in front of the clientele rather than wait for the phone to ring. But the builders were also talking positive and hoping the upcoming elections will produce positive change in the minds of the consumers, land owners and the business world. According to a fence contractor, whose division supplied temporary fencing to new develop- ments, his business was ahead of the curve. He indicated the first half of 2012 was great for his division, meaning that there were plenty of new starts across the southern California landscape. Almost all the builders were building and selling new homes; some at breakneck speed. One builder said that since January, new home prices were steadily climbing and have increased as much as 10% this year. The builder indicated he was getting "same-day" offers and was even able to wait and accumulate several offers on a property, something that had been out of the question over the past few years. Still, there were three forces that caused concern in the eyes of the developers. One was the overall uncertainty about the elections, and whether there would be huge tax increases or a more business-friendly environment in 2013. Another was the number of homes being held by banks waiting for supply to fall and prices to rise. The third was the lack of available property to develop, as landowners are waiting for the elections and for prices to rise before letting property go for de- velopment. The positive side of this . . . at least in Southern California . . . is as land that is currently being built continues to sell, supply of new homes is going to decrease as developers must first find, permit and prepare new lands for development before beginning to build again. This will give the banks time to introduce their supply in 2013. This will help deplete the excess inventory and cause developers to bid and pay more for land. Thus, the housing recovery, given that no more radical change inhibits growth and confidence, is on the horizon. So as you develop your business plan for the next 18 months or so, there is still time to get in some new residential work, but watch for a lot of renovations in 2013, and an opportunity to get in on the ground level of projects for 2014 . . . Granted this is just Southern California, but over the years So Cal has been a good indicator of what to expect in the construction industry. Let's hope history stays on our side . . . God Bless . . . Assitant Editor/Economic News Kyle Cavaness Product Editor Larry Shield Editorial Administrative Assistant Amy Deane Editorial Contributors Timothy Grant, Grant and Power Landscaping; Berena Pena, soil Retention; Dave Ouwinga, EasyPro Pond Products; Debra McNamara Ultrablock, Inc.; Paul Hathaway, Pacific Interlock Pavingstone; Ken Newman, Ramco; Tom Kraus, Natural Path Landscaping, LLC. Associate Editors Associate Editor at Large: David Linstrum Pesticides Business Manager, Target-Specialty Products Will Harrison Erosion Executive Director, IECA Russ Adsit, FASLA Water Resources Program Specialist, Texas A&M University Dotty Woodson, PhD Arboriculture/Horticulture Assistant CE Specialist, University of California Riverside Deborah Mathews, PhD Production Manager Sheila Mattox Assistant Ad Coordinator Brad Schulz Assistant Art Director Nicole Miller Rene Hunter Graphic Designer Matthew Medeiros Production / Fulfillment Manager Sheila Mattox Assistant Circulation / Fulfillment Manager Jacqui Argyle IT Department Circulation / Fulfillment Grace Stewart Web / Tech Manager Jerry Short Chief Operations Officer C.O.O. Mark O'Halloran Marcia Owyang Sales Administration Cynthia McCarthy Advertising/Marketing ,!3. X s Kip Ongstad Matt Henderson Advertising Sales Vince Chavira Booth/Banner Sales Vladimir Kostich Proverbs 21:5 …"The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but every one who is hasty comes only to want." George Schmok, Publisher LC 6 LC DBM Landscape Contractor Design Build Maintain and/or the publisher is a member of or financially supports the following associations: APA, CLCA, The Library of Congress Association, IAAPA, ASLA, NRPA, National Wildlife Association, IES, IALD, IA, ISA, IECA, BPA, APLD, National Parks and Conservation Association, IRLA, TPI, National Trust for Historic Preservation, LAF/CLASS Fund, American Rivers and the American Institute of Architects. &AX Equipping Landscape Professionals for Success " M AI NT AI N Editor Publisher/Editor-in-Chief George Schmok DBM

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