Rebar Demand Spurs Construction of Troy, IL Plant



Nu Way Companies, one of the largest construction material and equipment suppliers in the St. Louis region, has broken ground on a 35,000-square-foot fabrication facility in Troy, Illinois.

Contegra Construction is building the plant, which will enable Nu Way to increase its rebar production fivefold.

Once the facility is up and operating in mid-2023, Nu Way President and COO Greg Rhomberg says the company will be able to increase its annual rebar production from 3,100 tons to 15,000 tons.

“E-commerce-driven warehouse construction coupled with a surge in infrastructure spending has created soaring demand for rebar, a critical element for tilt-up and road construction,” said Rhomberg, who represents third-generation company leadership. “On top of that, health care, schools and other concrete projects are also driving demand for reinforcing rebar.”

According to the American Iron and Steel Institute, rebar demand has increased nearly 9 percent from January through August 2022 compared with the same period in 2021.

The Neurosciences Research Building at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, currently under construction, is one example of a project requiring large quantities of rebar. The job calls for a total of 6,700 tons.

Contegra Project Director Jared Lengermann says the construction project calls for 31,000 square feet of manufacturing space and 4,000 square feet of office. The project site is adjacent to Nu Way’s existing facility on Formosa Road and Interstate 55 in Troy.

The project, which began last month, is undergoing foundational and site work at this time. BJC Healthcare and AB-InBev are other large consumers of rebar and are Nu Way customers.

Contegra is constructing the building with tilt-up concrete panels. The new rebar facility will be equipped with a 21-foot clear height fabrication area featuring three bays. Once operational, Nu Way’s rebar plant will be able to process rebar on 3.5-ton coils and straight lengths up to 60 feet long. A 16-ton magnetic crane, a 10-ton crane and a five-ton crane will serve the bays.

Other construction project partners include J.F. Electric, Vee-Jay Cement Contracting, Illinois Electric Works and Affton Fabricating and Welding Company.

Nu Way’s additional facilities are in Jefferson City, Jackson and Wentzville, MO.

Construction Employment Stalls in April, Materials Costs Rise Again, Inventories Shrink


The level of construction employment remains virtually unchanged in St. Louis and across the U.S. as commercial and residential contractors contend with a prolonged scarcity of able workers and a still-choked building materials supply chain.

Associated General Contractors of America Chief Economist Ken Simonson says finding enough workers continues to be a feat, as reflected in workforce statistics from April. Augmenting the people shortage, he adds, are problems in getting stable prices and reliable deliveries of key materials.

“Contractors are experiencing unprecedented intensity and range of cost increases, supply-chain disruptions and worker shortages that have kept firms from increase their workforces,” said Simonson. “These challenges will make it difficult for contractors to rebound as the pandemic appears to wane.”

Construction employment in the U.S. during April totaled 7.45 million, matching March’s level but 2.6 percent below the most recent peak in February 2020. Simonson said the number of former construction workers (768,000) who were unemployed in April dropped by half from one year ago, and the sector’s unemployment rate fell from 16.6 percent in April 2020 to 7.7 percent last month.

“The fact that (construction) employment has stalled – despite strong demand for new homes, remodeling of all types and selected categories of nonresidential categories – suggests that contractors can’t get either the materials or the workers they need,” Simonson said, noting that many firms are reporting backlogs and rations of key materials.

Still in short supply, according to the Institute for Supply Management’s latest survey report, are steel and steel products (for five months now), PVC products (a three-month shortage), lumber and circuit breakers.

Price spikes continue relative to copper, wire, oriented strand board, lumber, wood products, resin products, PVC products, steel, diesel, aluminum, vinyl windows and roof shingles.