Legislative Reform Creates New Business Development Opportunities for Vinyl Siding Industry
In late 2019, home builders and the Vinyl Siding Institute (VSI) scored a significant victory in Texas.
Thanks to combined lobbying efforts, landmark legislation was passed in Texas that prohibits local governments from banning the use of polymeric exterior and trim products by residential and commercial construction contractors. This opens the door for the vinyl siding industry to compete in the nation’s largest home building state.
To maximize opportunities, VSI is pulling out all the stops. In December 2020, they formed the Texas Key Initiative Work Group, which aims to ensure that vinyl siding, insulated vinyl siding, polypropylene siding and other polymeric claddings and components are accepted and recognized in the state for their superior attributes.
“Almost 40% of our work group (of about 40) are members from Texas,” said Alex Fernandez, VSI’s Director, Advocacy – Government Affairs. “This is highly encouraging when you consider that the Texas market is not familiar with vinyl siding products.”
According to Alex, a Florida native, if you grew up in Texas or south Florida, you would rarely see vinyl siding on any homes. And for those Texans who are familiar with the product, there is a common misperception that vinyl siding can only be used with entry-level or affordable housing.
To “flip the script” in Texas, the work group is:
- Pursuing relationships with architects, developers, designers, planners, home builders and code officials
- Seeking to educate these influencers on the features and benefits of vinyl siding and other polymeric exteriors so that they will strongly consider specification for their projects. Key resources in this effort will be VSI’s Architectural Design Guide, Material Array Box, in-person presentations, regional events and online webinars. Ongoing advocacy and communications with established VSI resources, as well as sharing research with key stakeholders in the state will also be part of the work group’s tactics.
In 2021, the work group has made the following strides:
- VSI Exhibiting at the Sun Belt Builders Show in Dallas on July 13-16. The state’s largest residential construction show is an ideal venue for the vinyl siding industry to develop new relationships, so all VSI members are encouraged to attend.
- A Special Presentation to the Dallas Home Builders Association. The VSI was invited to give a workshop called “Advantages of Polymeric Cladding” to the association’s members right across the street from the Sun Belt Show on July 13. The free program will be co-presented by Alex, VSI’s Vice President Matt Dobson, VSI’s Director of Workforce Development Rob Balfanz and award-winning building and VSI consultant Fernando Pagés Ruiz.
- Developing relationships with local AIA chapters. This includes VSI offering AIA CEU accredited education, as well as content emphasizing vinyl siding’s design, recycling and sustainability benefits for their chapter newsletters.
- Presentation to the Congress for the New Urbanism’s (CNU) Fort Worth Chapter. VSI is working with CNU-Fort Worth to finalize dates in Q3 and Q4 of this year.
To gain further traction in Texas, the work group will conduct a fact-finding mission on the importance of sustainability in different areas of the state.
“No matter what state you’re in, the young people care a lot about recycling and sustainability, and vinyl siding fits that bill,” Alex said.
The group is also focusing research efforts on new developments in the suburbs and those developers who are driving them. And they are continuing to steward the legislators since the potential for pushback by the masonry industry is very real.
“The brick lobby will work with local municipalities to initiate petitions banning vinyl siding or try to extend historic districts into non-historic neighborhoods,” Alex explained. “For this reason, we need as much help as we can from VSI’s membership to leverage any relationships they have in the Texas market and try new and innovative approaches to gain greater acceptance and consideration.”