Building contractors are more likely to steer clients toward low-maintenance manmade products as they supplement leaner staffs with subcontractor partnerships. That’s according to PVC trim and molding manufacturer Versatex, which shares the highlights of a panel conversation among the its eight-person residential builder and remodeler Contractors Council in a new report released earlier this month.

Builders are matching consumer desire for efficiency with man-made, low-maintenance building products in regions where harsh and variable climates take a toll on traditional building materials. But products such as interior hardwood floors and pine and cedar siding aren’t going anywhere, the report found. And neither are the stronger ties that builders are forging with subcontractors to compensate for leaner staffs. Panelists said that smaller firm sizes and a general decline in construction activity contributes to a tougher bidding process as downsized firms look outside of their own market for projects that they may not be properly scaled to carry out.