Lindon, Utah—The tariffs on imported steel and aluminum recently imposed by President Donald Trump immediately raised concerns of an adverse effect on steel and aluminum prices. The American Institute of Architects issued a statement saying, “The administration’s announcement of new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports threatens to drastically increase the prices of many building materials specified by architects.” The Associated General Contractors of America warned that the tariffs “could wreck the budgets for numerous infrastructure projects and private nonresidential investments.”
The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) warned that the tariff “could wreck the budgets for numerous infrastructure projects and private nonresidential investments.”
According to AGC, even before they took effect May 31, the tariffs had triggered a surge of orders that mills say exceeds their current capacity, a situation that threatens to produce construction delays, budget problems, and possibly cancellations for future construction projects.
“Considering the impact the mere threat of the tariffs have had on materials prices and demand, prices are likely to increase further as the new trade restrictions come online,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, AGC’s chief executive officer. “Forcing contractors to pay more for materials and wait longer to receive them will make construction more costly and slower.”
The American Supply Association’s (ASA’s) Industrial Piping Division noted that carbon steel pipe experienced “unprecedented” increases during the weeks following the president’s initial announcement of a tariff on imported steel in March. “[The announcement] caused an immediate increase of at least 25% on all imported steel pipe,” the ASA reports. “Domestic product has seen increases ranging from 22% to 60% depending on size.”
Given the ongoing turmoil the tariffs are likely to cause in the steel market, polypropylene-random (PP-R) pipe such as Aquatherm stands as a better option than ever for large-diameter mechanical piping systems.
PP-R pipe is not subject to the tariffs, and its price has remained stable and predictable over the years. Engineers planning mechanical systems, and contractors bidding on them, can rely on PP-R to remain a consistently priced piping system. By contrast, the metal piping market has fluctuated dramatically over that same time span, and in all likelihood is going to remain volatile because of the tariffs.
The predictable total installed cost of PP-R is a primary benefit versus steel. Heat fusion can be much quicker than welding or soldering and requires no hot work permit or fire watch, making considerable labor and total installed cost savings achievable.
Other benefits include much lighter weight (up to 70% less weight than carbon steel depending on size), a much longer life span of 60+ years, and virtually leak-free heat-fused connections that do not require any open flame or welding or release any volatile organic compounds (VOCs). PP-R pipe does not scale or corrode and is fully recyclable.
PP-R pipe is versatile and suitable for a wide variety of PHVAC and industrial applications, and possesses widespread code approvals. In addition, thanks to its light weight, PP-R pipe spools can be prefabricated and shipped directly to the jobsite, ready to hang.
In an ever-changing business climate where metal piping system prices are subject to uncertainty and volatility, price stability is just one more reason to consider PP-R for the piping system in your next project.