The COVID-19 pandemic presents challenges and setbacks for masonry contractors in the USA. While governments may still invest in infrastructure projects and many corporations wish to continue planned projects, overall there is less demand in the masonry industry. Residential and non-residential construction projects depend on the health of the economy, which is currently struggling under the impact of the coronavirus. Businesses and consumers alike have less income to spend on construction projects, less job security and are more hesitant to spend money on non-essential expenses.
While business activities have increased since the early months of the pandemic, with masonry contractors and other companies adapting to new processes and safety measures, the above factors still mean that demand will be lower than usual throughout 2020. Industry research company IBISWorld predicts that COVID-19 will cause masonry industry revenue to fall by 27.7% this year due to weakened demand. And with roughly the same number of masonry contractors competing for a smaller number of contracts, prices are likely to fall as companies are forced to offer more competitive pricing, resulting in lower profits for the year.
Once the nation recovers from the pandemic, however, masonry contractors in the USA can expect to see steady growth over the next several years. Downstream construction markets will stabilize and general recovering economic conditions will improve the outlook of the masonry industry in the USA. Masonry companies that survive the setbacks of COVID-19 will see an increase in demand as consumers, businesses, and governments pursue projects that were put off in 2020.
Competitive Landscape for Masonry Contractors in the USA
The masonry industry in the USA is very fragmented, with a high number of small businesses operating in different regions of the country. According to IBISWorld, the US masonry industry is valued at $22 billion, but no one player accounts for a significant share of the market. The industry’s largest three players make up less than 1% of annual revenue, and most USA masonry contractors employ fewer than 5 people and operate within a limited area of the country.
Contributing to this fragmented market state is the fact that mergers and acquisitions among key masonry contractors in the USA are relatively rare. The industry has low barriers to entry, making it easy for new businesses to join a local market and compete on the basis of price and quality. While the larger masonry contractors in the market have the advantage of economies of scale, smaller businesses can still compete by specializing in certain kinds of work, or by operating in an area not served by big firms. Even the largest masonry contractors in the USA don’t operate country-wide, leaving gaps for smaller masonry companies to fill.
Masonry contracts come from three primary areas: residential, commercial, and government construction projects. Masonry contractors in the USA generate much of their business from single-family and multi-family homes, offices, commercial venues, educational institutions, and government buildings. According to Anything Research, the US federal government spent nearly $80 million on masonry companies in 2020, awarding 111 contracts to 65 different firms.
Founded in 1915 and operating more than 30 offices across the country, Western is one of the largest masonry contractors in the USA. The company performs concrete, masonry, waterproofing, and roofing activities, and its services include restoration, preservation, and disaster recovery. Western is headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, and serves clients in major cities throughout America. It operates in the commercial, educational, financial, government, healthcare, hospitality, and industrial sectors, as well as several others.
Western Specialty Contractors’ masonry restoration services include:
- Brick and stone repair or replacement
- Building cleaning or sealing
- Expansion joint systems repair
- Epoxy injection
- Historic restoration and preservation
- Caulking and sealing
- Exterior wall coating
- Wall ties, structural steel repair or replacement
- Flashing systems
J&E Companies has been in business since 1995, and now employs 1,100 people and generates over $580 million in revenue. Based in Grand Prairie, Texas, the company is among the top masonry companies in the USA. Its areas of expertise are masonry, drywall, ICF (insulated concrete forms), plaster, GFRC (class-fiber-reinforced concrete), EIFS (exterior insulation finishing systems), and preconstruction services.
J&E’s masonry services include:
- Traditional masonry
- Brick, block, and stone
- Hardscape, landscape, paving, and water features
- Masonry restoration
Sun Valley Masonry is a Phoenix, Arizona-based company with over 400 employees and offices in Tuscon, Arizona, and Stillwater, Oklahoma. Founded in 1978, the firm has become one of the leading masonry contractors in the Southwestern USA. Its projects include sports complexes, government buildings, residences, and more.
Sun Valley Masonry’s areas of expertise include:
- Architectural precast
- Adhered stone
- Mechanically anchored stone
- Concrete foundations
- Slab on grade
- Structural concrete
- Tilt panel construction
Northland performs concrete and masonry contracting services in Minnesota. The company has been in business since 1964 and earns over $100 million in revenue, having grown substantially over the past 15 years. Its services include concrete structures, general concrete construction, green building, masonry, project management, and value engineering.
Northland’s masonry expertise includes:
- Natural Stone
- Manufactured Stone
- Architectural Precast
Located in Lindon, Utah, IMS is one of the largest masonry contractors in the Western USA, with over 200 field workers and more than 30 years of experience in the industry. The company installs products such as architectural precast, GFRC, stone, ICF, and traditional masonry.
IMS Masonry’s traditional masonry expertise includes:
Founded in 1937 and headquartered in Morton, Illinois, Otto Baum Company provides concrete, earthwork, masonry, and restoration services to central Illinois and the Quad Cities in Iowa. The company partners with bricklayers, carpenters, finishers, laborers, and operators in the area.
Otto Baum’s masonry services include:
- Concrete block masonry
- Brick masonry
- Stonemasonry and stone veneer
- Thin adhered veneer
- Fluid-applied air barrier
- Related materials installation—flashing, insulation, sealants, etc.
- Masonry restoration services
John J. Smith Masonry is based in St. Louis, Missouri, and has been operating in the Midwest since 1990. The company’s work includes industrial, commercial, institutional, and hardscaping projects, and it employs a team of 60 bricklayers and 15 foremen. Smith Masonry’s services include stone masonry, brick masonry, and block masonry.
Wasco has been in business since 1966 providing masonry services in Nashville, Tennessee. The company is one of the state’s largest masonry contractors, and its projects include commercial buildings, universities, banks, churches, government buildings, medical facilities, and more. Wasco employs over 400 people and works on more than 400 projects annually.
Wasco’s masonry services include:
- Brick Installation
- Block Installation
- Glass block, limestone, and cast stone installation
- New site masonry
- Precast Erection
- Mechanically-fastened engineered track stone
Based in Garland, Texas, Dee Brown is a family-owned masonry contractor that has been in business since 1995. The company’s projects include a range of exterior and interior stone applications, as well as residential and commercial interiors. Its services range from new construction to maintenance and restoration in markets such as commercial, institutional, municipal, and residential. Dee Brown works with stone, masonry, and terra cotta for both interiors and exteriors.
Established in 1989 and headquartered in Waco, Texas, Brazos Masonry is a leading US commercial masonry contractor. The company has worked on a range of projects such as condominiums, churches, and wastewater treatment facilities. It serves sectors such as commercial, education, government, industrial, residential, and more.
Brazos Masonry’s services include:
- Autoclaved Concrete
- Cleaning Masonry
- Concrete Block
- Damp Proofing
- Glass Block
- Historic Restoration
- Masonry Panels
- Retaining Wall System
- Stone (Exterior)
- Stone (Interior)
- Structural Glazed Tile
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