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TradeWinds

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Carbon Disclosure Project again recognizes PPG as industry leader

PPG Industries (NYSE: PPG) has again been recognized as a leader for its carbon disclosure transparency and emissions management by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) within the S&P 500 Index companies in the CDP’s 2009 Leadership Index (CLDI).

PPG scored 81 of a possible 100 points in the CLDI, ranking second in the materials sector, which had an average score of 59. In addition, PPG ranked third among materials companies for the CDP’s pilot “performance-based” metrics, which measure a company’s plans and actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Companies report data voluntarily to the CDP.

“We are pleased to be recognized yet again as one of the world’s leading companies in carbon disclosure and for our performance to reduce emissions, especially among a high-performing peer group,” said Reg Norton, PPG vice president, environment, health and safety. “PPG recognizes the need to address climate change, and as a corporate citizen, we not only have a responsibility to set aggressive greenhouse gas emissions-reduction and energy-conservation goals, we see it as a fundamental business strategy that will enable us to sustain success into the future.”

In December 2007, as part of its continued commitment to sustainable practices, PPG set a goal to reduce its total energy intensity by 25 percent from 2006 to 2016 and its total global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 10 percent from 2006 to 2011. In 2008, the company issued its first-ever corporate sustainability report, which details its successful progress toward emissions-reduction goals. The full report is available on the company’s Web site at http://corporateportal.ppg.com/PPG/corporatesustainability.

As a manufacturer of energy-efficient products, PPG provides customers with products that reduce environmental impact. In 2008, PPG generated more than $3.8 billion in sales from “green” products, a 24 percent increase over the prior two years. The company is a world-leading manufacturer of low- and zero-volatile organic compound (VOC) paints, and Pittsburgh Paints Pure Performance paint by PPG was the first to earn Green Seal Certification. PPG also produces the industry’s best-performing solar control, low-emissivity glass, Solarban 70XL glass, which transmits 63 percent of the sun’s natural light while blocking 73 percent of its solar energy. Additionally, PPG is the first U.S. manufacturer to earn Cradle to Cradle Certification at the Silver tier for all of its architectural glass products. For the sustainable energy market, PPG manufactures fiber glass rovings and fiber glass-reinforced fabric used in wind turbine blades. The company also provides protective coatings for wind turbine towers as well as Solarphire high-transmissive glass and mirrors used in solar energy production.

Launched in 2000, the Carbon Disclosure Project holds the largest database of corporate climate change information in the world and represents more than 475 signatory investors with combined assets under management of more than $55 trillion. The CDP solicits information annually from the world’s largest companies. The CDP’s mission is to facilitate a dialogue between investors and corporations, supported by high quality information from which a rational response to climate change will emerge.

About PPG
Pittsburgh-based PPG is a global supplier of paints, coatings, optical products, specialty materials, chemicals, glass and fiber glass. The company has more than 140 manufacturing facilities and equity affiliates and operates in more than 60 countries. Sales in 2008 were $15.8 billion. PPG shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange (symbol: PPG). For more information, visit www.ppg.com.

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AIA Commends House Passage of Small Business Relief Bill

“The House's bipartisan passage of the Small Business Financing and Investment Act of 2009 is an important step in restoring access to credit and lending for the millions of small businesses who are the backbone of our economy. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) is pleased that the House listened to the thousands of architects who contacted their representatives asking them to pass this bill without a proposed amendment that would have crippled these programs right when they were needed the most,” said Paul T. Mendelsohn, AIA Vice President, Government & Community Relations.

“For small architecture firms, the ability to access short-term lines of credit can mean the difference between survival and liquidation. In this economic crisis, too many firms have faced the horrible choice of having to lay off staff or going without pay in order to keep their doors open. As Florida architect Mickey Jacob, FAIA, told the House Small Business Committee two weeks ago, architects aren’t looking for bailouts. They need tools that help them and their clients create jobs through new building projects.

“The Small Business Financing and Investment Act is one key plank in our Rebuild and Renew plan for long-term prosperity. Now Congress and the administration need to ensure a steady flow of credit to the real estate industry and enact policies that empower architects to design livable, sustainable and vibrant communities.”

About The American Institute of Architects
For over 150 years, members of the American Institute of Architects have worked with each other and their communities to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings and cityscapes. By using sustainable design practices, materials, and techniques, AIA architects are uniquely poised to provide the leadership and guidance needed to provide solutions to address climate change. AIA architects walk the walk on sustainable design. Visit www.aia.org/walkthewalk.

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New Standard Document Facilitates Green Building Projects

Anyone involved with the design and construction of green buildings can now use the first comprehensive standard contract document that addresses the many challenges associated with these complex projects. The new document, known as the ConsensusDOCSTM 310 Green Building Addendum, was developed by members of the ConsensusDOCS group to help advise the owner, set proper expectations, and avoid delays and other legal hassles in the construction of buildings seeking green certification or other sustainable goals.

“A standard of practice simply does not exist today. Publication of the ConsensusDOCS Green Addendum may help the industry avoid an avalanche of wasteful litigation by filling this void,” states Steve M. Charney, Managing Partner of the New York Office of Peckar & Abramson and Co-chair of the national working committee that drafted the document.

The new green contract document is designed to respond to surging demand for green buildings, the group noted. It added that recent industry surveys have estimated that up to 25 percent of commercial and institutional construction projects will be for green buildings by 2013. While added demand for green buildings may be good for the environment, an avalanche of disputes, conflict and litigation is inevitable if order is not brought to the process of building green. ConsensusDOCS has led the way in identifying emerging advances in the building process and bringing order where standards or norms have not yet evolved. ConsensusDOCS took this lead in connection with Building Information Modeling (BIM) and is doing so again the area of green building.

The Green Building Addendum mitigates risk and increases project success by clearly identifying roles and responsibilities for contractors, designers, owners and others involved in the construction project. One of the Green Building Addendum’s most significant features is the introduction of the Green Building Facilitator, who can be one of the project participants or an outside green consultant. “Informing the owner of the many sustainable options presented and establishing how project participants must integrate their various responsibilities to successfully deliver a green project are now part of a documented strategy,” comments Edward B. Gentilcore, Vice-Chair of Duane Morris LLP in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Co-chair of the drafting group. The addendum is written to be easily integrated with existing ConsensusDOCS and other contract documents, the contract coalition noted.

The addendum, like all ConsensusDOCS, was developed by a team of professionals representing every part of the construction process, including owners, contractors, designers, subcontractors and surety professionals. Offering a catalog of 90 plus contract documents covering all methods of project delivery, ConsensusDOCS contracts are the first and only industry standard contracts written and endorsed by 23 leading construction organizations.

For more information about the new Green Building Addendum, visit www.ConsensusDOCS.org.

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Fifty Percent Increase in Green Building Programs since 2007
Local policies to promote energy-efficient buildings continue to thrive despite prolonged economic downturn

In the wake of an extended global economic slump, local communities are pushing ahead and expanding their green building programs. More than one in five U.S. cities with populations greater than 50,000 surveyed by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) report having a policy to promote green buildings, accounting for more than 53 million people. The AIA initially conducted this survey in 2007 for a Local Leaders in Sustainability report that has just been updated. The new report, Green Building Policy in a Changing Economic Environment, is an inventory of policies and best practices intended to help policymakers advance a more sustainable legislative agenda for growth and development.

The report also contains detailed case studies of the green building programs in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Boston, Nashville, and Grand Rapids, Mich.

“My passion for sustainability really comes out of the social side of the ‘triple bottom line,’” said Grand Rapids Mayor, George Heartwell. “We have hit a tipping point here in Grand Rapids, as I think that we are at the point now where the arguments around cost, have been proven to be, if not fallacious, at least weak arguments when you look at the long term costs of maintaining a green building.” Hear more from Mayor Heartwell in a recent interview by AIA Director, Local Relations, Brooks Rainwater.

“It is encouraging that cities are recognizing the economic benefits of energy-efficient buildings, and equally encouraging that the number of programs across the country are increasing despite such difficult economic conditions,” said AIA Executive Vice President / CEO, Christine McEntee. “Our ultimate goal is to achieve carbon neutrality in buildings by 2030 and that all design projects will be sustainable as a matter of course.”

Highlights from the report:

  • 138 cities have green building programs, compared with 92 cities in 2007 – an increase of 50 percent
  • 24 of the 25 most populated metropolitan regionsin the United States are built around cities with agreen building policy
  • The Western region has the most green building programs with 56 cities in just six states
  • The Mountain region is second in the percentage of cities with green building programs, with 24 percent of residents living in those cities
  • The Eastern region has seen a 75 percent rise in green building programs since 2007
  • The central region has 21 cities with green building programs

Recommendations:

  • Hire a director of sustainability
  • Train and accredit municipal employees
  • Pursue green economic development
  • Implement additional sustainability initiatives
  • Remove legal barriers
  • Make program regional
  • Take community-wide approach to green building and planning
  • Utilize training and experience of architects
  • Be inclusive
  • Keep it simple

McEntee added, “The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is helping to move sustainability efforts forward, with programs such as the Energy Efficient and Conservation Block Grant that are providing an unprecedented opportunity for the advancement of green building efforts nationwide. The inclusion of strong green building provisions in energy and climate legislation before Congress shows that our message about the importance of sustainable design is getting through.”

About The American Institute of Architects
For over 150 years, members of the American Institute of Architects have worked with each other and their communities to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings and cityscapes. By using sustainable design practices, materials, and techniques, AIA architects are uniquely poised to provide the leadership and guidance needed to provide solutions to address climate change. AIA architects walk the walk on sustainable design. Visit www.aia.org/walkthewalk.

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Petersen Launches New Blog Site

Petersen Aluminum has launched a new blog to provide timely industry news and

address topics of interest regarding metal roofing and wall applications. The blog can be accessed at www.standingseammetal.com or from the Petersen website at www.pac-clad.com.

“We’re committed to keeping this timely and topical,” said Blake Batkoff, national accounts/marketing manager. “The blog is a great way to maintain a constructive dialogue with architects and contractors.”

Long-recognized as an industry leader in metal standing seam roofing products, Petersen also offers exposed fastener panels, flush panels, composite wall panels and column covers. All provide the well-known Petersen quality and are available in 37 standard colors on steel and 36 standard colors on aluminum.

For more information on the complete line of Petersen metal products, call 800-PAC-CLAD or visit www.pac-clad.com.

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Mr.greenpoints Launches New Web Site to Help Architects and Builders Achieve LEED Certification

Mr.greenpoints launches new website www.mrgreenpoints.com with features unique to the industry to help architects, specifiers and builders identify green building products that can help earn points in green building certification programs. The service has capabilities not available anywhere else, including the ability to determine regionally manufactured materials to help users maximize the sustainability of products selections, stimulate local economies, and create green jobs.

New Braunfels, TX (PRWEB) September 16, 2009 -- Mr.greenpoints launches a new website mrgreenpoints.com to help architects, contractors and home builders sort through the confusing green building product marketplace. Mr.greenpoints provides product sustainability information based on user-defined criteria as well as a clear summary of the growing number of certifications that confirm and validate green product attributes. In addition, the website will allow users to determine when a product may help achieve regional materials credits by calculating and ranking the mileage from the manufacturing location to a project site, a feature not currently available anywhere else. Regional credits are intended to help limit energy use on transportation, stimulate local economies, and create green jobs.

"It makes perfect sense to give designers, builders and owners the opportunity to maximize the sustainability of the products that they're using. It has been possible to do this but the process required a lot of exhaustive searching for information. In this age of information technology there had to better way to provide this data.  Mr.greenpoints combines all relevant information together for easy analysis, and with just a site zip code, architects, specifiers and builders can redefine how they approach regional materials," said Ryan Martin, LEED AP and founder. Mr.greenpoints makes it possible for users to tackle nearly an entire section of credits by using the aggregated information and regional search capabilities.


"It's the intent of mr.greenpoints to give users a real-time product resource. The up-to-date information, the comprehensiveness, the concise product certification data and the ability to filter regional materials are what set the service apart. With 5,000 product listings already, most categories are well covered"


With green building forecasted to grow and lead the way to recovery from the economic downturn, many new products with sustainable attributes are expected to enter the marketplace in the next few years. At mr.greenpoints, new database entries will be logged simultaneously with product releases. "It's the intent of mr.greenpoints to give users a real-time product resource. The up-to-date information, the comprehensiveness, the concise product certification data and the ability to filter regional materials are what set the service apart. With 5,000 product listings already, most categories are well covered," said Martin.

Another aspect of the web that
mr.greenpoints intends to leverage is social media. Martin says "Facebook is a great way for users to share experiences with products and approaches to LEED credits in a way that isn't possible anywhere else. Twitter is ideal for new product announcements and other quick notes. We're on both but still learning how to best utilize them. I invite our users to provide input on what will help them the most. Our goal is to help our users save time and maximize the sustainability of their projects. Mr.greenpoints is your personal research assistant, ready to go to work for you - 24/7."

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PPG unveils certified metal panel program (PPG/CMPP)
PPG-certified products now available for every surface of building envelope

The PPG Industries (NYSE:PPG) coil and extrusion coatings group has introduced the PPG Certified Metal Panel Program (PPG/CMPP). Modeled after the popular PPG Certified Applicator Program (PPG/CAP), the PPG/CMPP gives architects a direct channel to an elite group of metal panel manufacturers.

PPG/CMPP members are certified by PPG to apply high-performance Duranar, Duranar ULTRA-Cool and Coraflon fluoropolymer coatings to metal building components, or to specify, design, fabricate and/or install aluminum or steel components prepainted with these coatings.

Scott Moffatt, director of marketing for PPG coil and extrusion coatings, said the introduction of the PPG/CMPP is the final step in creating a formalized supply chain of premier building companies delivering high-quality, PPG-certified solutions for virtually every surface of the building envelope.

“When architects work with PPG-certified suppliers, they benefit from an unprecedented collection of products and services,” he said. “From environmentally progressive architectural glasses to cool coatings for roofs, wall panels and other architectural components, we offer products with a trusted stamp of quality that protect and beautify their buildings while making them more sustainable, too.”

One direct benefit of working with PPG/CMPP members is enhanced color harmony among a building’s coated metal components. “Architects want the colors they specify to be the colors that get delivered,” he said. “When they work with a PPG-certified applicator or metal panel manufacturer, they get color consistency and maximum performance on every window, door, storefront, curtainwall component and metal panel they order.”

To minimize color variability on metal building components, PPG/CMPP members and/or their toll coaters synchronize color production using the same color-measuring software and hardware as PPG. Other protocols that minimize the potential for color variance include:

  • A digital global database of colors, stored numerically
  • A uniform, systems-oriented approach to matching colors and making paint
  • PPG’s unparalleled color and coatings knowledge, experience and resources, especially in the area of metallic color production (from the automotive industry)

As part of the program, PPG also audits the coating lines operated by PPG/CMPP members and/or their toll coaters. This rigorous process examines every aspect of the metal panel coatings process, from cleaning and pretreating the metal substrate to the actual application of the coating. The audit also specifies paint application parameters and cure schedules, and how finished products should be handled, packed and shipped. There’s also a continuous training and education component.

The PPG/CMPP enhances the ability of its certified metal panel manufacturers to meet demand for more value-added products and solutions. In addition to quality products, PPG-certified metal panel manufacturers provide regional sourcing of coated aluminum or steel panels, fast-track service to meet tight construction deadlines and state-of-the-art application technology.

To learn more about the PPG Certified Metal Panel Program, call 1-888-PPG-IDEA (774-4332) or visit www.ppgideascapes.com.

About PPG
Pittsburgh-based PPG is a global supplier of paints, coatings, optical products, specialty materials, chemicals, glass and fiber glass. The company has more than 140 manufacturing facilities and equity affiliates and operates in more than 60 countries. Sales in 2008 were $15.8 billion. PPG shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange (symbol: PPG). For more information, visit www.ppg.com.

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Minimal Improvement in Architecture Billings Index
Level of inquiries reaches highest mark in two years

As the nonresidential construction industry continues to struggle, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) showed a nominal improvement in September. As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate nine to twelve month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the September ABI rating was 43.1, up slightly from 41.7 in August. This score indicates a decline in demand for design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry score was 59.1, its highest level since September 2007.

“The fact that inquires for new project are so high is an encouraging sign that we may be seeing new construction activity entering the design phase,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “But that optimism has to be tempered by the fact that the marketplace is so competitive that firms are broadening their search for new projects, thereby inflating the number of inquiries that they are reporting. However, some larger stimulus-funded building activity should be coming online over the next several months, partially offsetting the steep decline in private commercial construction.”

Key September ABI highlights:

  • Regional averages: Northeast (47.2), Midwest (43.0), South (42.7), West (36.0)
  • Sector index breakdown: multi-family residential (45.1), institutional (43.9), commercial / industrial (39.0), mixed practice (36.3),
  • Project inquiries index: 59.1

About the AIA Architecture Billings Index
The Architecture Billings Index is derived from a monthly “Work-on-the-Boards” survey and produced by the AIA Economics & Market Research Group. Based on a comparison of data compiled since the survey’s inception in 1995 with figures from the Department of Commerce on Construction Put in Place, the findings amount to a leading economic indicator that provides an approximately nine to twelve month glimpse into the future of nonresidential construction activity. The diffusion indexes contained in the full report are derived from a monthly survey sent to a panel of AIA member-owned firms. Participants are asked whether their billings increased, decreased, or stayed the same in the month that just ended. According to the proportion of respondents choosing each option, a score is generated, which represents an index value for each month. The regional and sector data is formulated using a three-month moving average.

About The American Institute of Architects
For over 150 years, members of the American Institute of Architects have worked with each other and their communities to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings and cityscapes. By using sustainable design practices, materials, and techniques, AIA architects are uniquely poised to provide the leadership and guidance needed to provide solutions to address climate change. AIA architects walk the walk on sustainable design. Visit www.aia.org/walkthewalk.

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Producer Price Index Figures Show Limited-Time Construction Costs Sale Coming To An End, Top Construction Economist Says
September Data Shows Costs for Most Construction Materials Higher with Copper, Aluminum and Steel Seeing “Significant” Increases

Construction costs, which had been relatively low for much of the past year, are beginning to climb at an increasing rate, signaling the end to the “limited-time” sale for construction, according to a new analysis of the latest producer price index released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics today.

The analysis by Ken Simonson, chief economist for the Associated General Contractors of America, found significant upward movements between August and September 2009 in the prices of copper (10 percent increase), aluminum (2 percent increase), and steel (3 percent increase). All three products are essential components for the vast majority of construction projects. The construction economist added that since the prices were collected a month ago, copper, aluminum and diesel fuel have moved to multi-month highs.

“The days of construction estimates coming in 20 percent under estimate may soon be coming to an end,” Simonson said. “These figures serve as an important reminder that governments and developers looking for a good deal on construction should act quickly before having to pay significantly more for their projects.”

Simonson added that prices for other significant construction materials also rose in September as compared to the previous month. For example, the cost of plastic construction products rose 1.2 percent, the cost of prestressed concrete products by 1.5 percent and iron and steel pipe and tube by 1.2 percent. Some construction materials prices did continue to decline, such as gypsum (down 1.2 percent) and plywood (down 0.3 percent).

Mr. Simonson said the producer price data serves as a reminder that “private owners and public agencies should accelerate any plans they have for construction to take advantage of materials costs that remain generally below year-ago levels but which are rapidly reversing their slide.”

Click here for the latest producer price index figures.

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Construction Market to Increase 11% in 2010, Says McGraw-Hill Construction Outlook Report
Gains in housing and public works will offset declines in commercial and manufacturing building

McGraw-Hill Construction, part of The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE: MHP), today released its 2010 Construction Outlook, a mainstay of business planning for construction and manufacturing executives, which forecasts an increase in overall U.S. construction starts for next year. Due to improvement for housing from extremely low levels and broader expansion for public works, the level of construction starts in 2010 is expected to climb 11% to $466.2 billion, following the 25% decline predicted for 2009.

“The U.S. construction market in 2010 will be helped by growth for several sectors, following three straight years of decline that brought total construction activity down 39% from its mid-decade peak,” said Robert A. Murray, vice president of economic affairs for McGraw-Hill Construction, addressing more than 300 construction executives and professionals at the 71st annual Outlook 2010 Executive Conference in Washington today. “The benefits from the stimulus act will broaden in scope, lifting not just highway construction but also environmental public works and several institutional structure types. With continued improvement expected for single family housing, after reaching bottom earlier this year, the overall level of construction activity should see moderate expansion in 2010.”

Highlights of the 2010 Construction Outlook include:

  • Single family housing for 2010 will advance 32% in dollars, corresponding to a 30% increase in the number of units to 560,000 (McGraw-Hill Construction basis).
  • Multifamily housing will improve 16% in dollars and 14% in units, after steep reductions in 2008 and 2009.
  • Commercial buildings will drop 4% in dollars, following a steep 43% drop in 2009. The weak employment picture will further depress occupancies, making it even more difficult to justify new construction.
  • Institutional buildings will begin to stabilize after losing momentum in 2009 Square footage will retreat another 2% after sliding 23% this year. The dollar amount of construction for this sector will edge up 1%, helped by a growing amount of energy-efficiency upgrades to federal buildings and continued strength for military buildings.
  • Manufacturing buildings will drop 14% in dollars and 3% in square feet, hampered by the substantial amount of slack manufacturing capacity.
  • Public works construction is expected to rise 14%, given more wide-ranging strength across all project types.
  • Electric utility construction will slip 3%, continuing to settle back after a record high in 2008.

The 2010 Construction Outlook was presented at the McGraw-Hill Construction Outlook Executive Conference in Washington, DC, which brought together top management from all parts of the construction industry including firms involved in building product manufacturing, architecture and design, contracting, engineering, industry associations and other industry professionals. At the event, Frank Giunta of Hill International and George Pierson of Parsons Brinckerhoff offered insights to an industry emerging from the crisis:

“The stimulus funds are meant to be just that, a stimulus, not the be-all-end-all answer to infrastructure financing,” said Frank J. Giunta, senior vice president and managing director of Hill International. “Both public and private sectors need to be innovative and rewrite the rules of project finance to address tremendous construction needs with minimal financing options.”

“The efforts of the federal agencies at transparency and their willingness to engage with private industry is refreshing,” said George J. Pierson, chief operating officer, Parsons Brinckerhoff. “We have to work together to meet the challenges of infrastructure and this economy.”

For more information on the 2010 Outlook, visit http://construction.ecnext.com/coms2/summary_0249-323417_ITM_analytics?referid=10124 or attend one of the regional outlook events (http://construction.com/events) taking place in Seattle (11/3/09), Salt Lake City (11/4/09), Denver (11/5/09), Atlanta (11/6/09), Minneapolis (11/17/09), Teaneck (12/4/09), Chicago (1/13/10), and Dallas (1/14/10). Robert Murray will also present the 2010 Construction Outlook in a net conference on December 16.

About McGraw-Hill Construction
McGraw-Hill Construction connects people, projects and products across the design and construction industry. For more than a century, the Company has remained North America’s leading provider of construction project information, plans and specifications, product information, industry news, and industry trends and forecasts. In print and online, the Company offers a variety of tools, applications, and resources that easily integrate with its customers’ workflows. Backed by the power of Dodge, Sweets, Architectural Record, Engineering News-Record, GreenSource, and 11 regional publications, McGraw-Hill Construction serves more than one million customers within the $5.6 trillion global construction community. To learn more, visit www.construction.com or follow @mhconstruction on Twitter.

About The McGraw-Hill Companies
Founded in 1888, The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE: MHP) is a leading global information services provider meeting worldwide needs in the financial services, education and business information markets through leading brands such as Standard & Poor's, McGraw-Hill Education, BusinessWeek and J.D. Power and Associates. The Corporation has more than 280 offices in 40 countries. Sales in 2008 were $6.4 billion. Additional information is available at www.mcgraw-hill.com.

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Billings at U.S. Architecture Firms Exceeds $40 Billion Annually
Substantial increase in green design practices and use of BIM software

In the three-year period leading up to the current recession, gross billings at U.S. architecture firms increased nearly $16 billion from 2005 and totaled $44.3 billion in 2008. This equates to 54 percent growth over the three-year period with annual growth of about 16 percent. These findings are from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Business of Architecture: AIA Survey Report on Firm Characteristics, which is conducted every three years to examine issues related to the business practices of AIA member-owned architecture firms. The study also revealed sizeable gains in the number of firms doing green design projects, as well as using Building Information Modeling (BIM) software.

“While architecture firms are struggling considerably as the current economic slump continues unabated, there were extensive increases in revenue for the profession during the period this survey covered,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “Of particular note, the survey also revealed that the number of firms practicing green design has nearly doubled since 2005. The use of BIM software has also doubled in the last three years.”

Click here for more in-depth analysis of the report.

Top 10 sectors served by architects in 2008

  • Healthcare: 18.2%
  • Office space: 11.3%
  • Education (K-12): 9.0%
  • Education (college/university): 9.0%
  • Retail, food services: 8.4%
  • Government / civic: 5.9%
  • Hospitality: 4.8%
  • Industrial: 3.6%
  • Transportation: 2.9%
  • Recreational: 2.3%

Dramatic increase in practice of green architecture
Fifty percent of architecture firms report green design practices, up from 31 percent of firms in 2005. Firms with 10 to 49 employees had the biggest gains in green design work, which increased from 48 percent to 72 percent in the last three years.

Increased diversity within profession
There was a sharp rise in the number of minority licensed architects moving from 11 percent to 18 percent, with a three percent increase in the number of minority partners/principles, and minorities now compose 19 percent of all architecture staff. The gains have been smaller for women over the same period with only one percent increases in the number of principals/partners and for all architectural staff. The number of licensed architects remains to be 20 percent, but there were increases in the number of female non-licensed architects and interns, three and five percent respectively.

Other highlights from the survey:

  • Share of firms that have obtained BIM software has increased from 34 percent in 2005 to 69 percent in 2008
  • Nearly two-thirds of construction projects begun in 2008 had sustainable design features
  • New construction accounts for nearly two-thirds of design projects
  • Traditional design-bid-build delivery method most widely used by architecture firms
    International projects accounted for 7 percent of billings and totaled slightly more than $3 billion in revenue in 2008

Ordering Information:
The Business of Architecture: AIA Survey Report on Firm Characteristics, available only in PDF format, is $59 for AIA members and $99 for nonmembers.
Order online or by calling the AIA Bookstore, 202-626-7475.
To find the survey on the Bookstore Web site, click on “store” on AIA.org, then click on “publications,” scroll to the right to get to the search box and type in “firm survey.”
Send questions to businessofarchitecture@aia.org.

About The American Institute of Architects
For over 150 years, members of the American Institute of Architects have worked with each other and their communities to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings and cityscapes. By using sustainable design practices, materials, and techniques, AIA architects are uniquely poised to provide the leadership and guidance needed to provide solutions to address climate change. AIA architects walk the walk on sustainable design. Visit www.aia.org/walkthewalk.

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Obama Administration Must Justify Decision To Mandate Labor Agreement For New Hampshire Construction Project
Unclear How Excluding 89 Percent of State’s Construction Workers, Most Local Construction Firms From Competing for the Project Will Lower Cost & Reduce Delays, Association Notes

The Obama Administration needs to justify its decision to significantly limit the number of construction firms eligible to build a planned federal facility in New Hampshire. Noting that the decision effectively shuts out the majority of local construction firms and workers from competing for the publicly-funded project, the Associated General Contractors of America asked federal officials to provide documentation supporting and explaining their decision.

“How does severely restricting competition for federal work benefit taxpayers, help construction workers or support economic recovery,” asked Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “There must be a good explanation for why denying so many people access to economic opportunity makes sense.”

Sandherr said the association, which represents union and non-union contractors, is calling on officials with the U.S. Department of Labor to provide and publish their justification for requiring a government mandated labor agreement for the construction of a new Jobs Corps Center in Manchester, New Hampshire. Union contractors also may find the government’s terms and conditions too prohibitive to compete for the work, Sandherr added.

He noted that a recent executive order encouraging federal officials to consider mandating labor agreements was limited to projects worth over $25 million, and asked the Department to explain why it selected a project apparently valued at only $10 million.

The association also noted that the Government Accountability Office and others have found little evidence that government-mandated labor agreements deliver cost savings, ease work-place tensions or protect against construction delays. Given the lack of supporting evidence, Sandherr said the administration officials needed to demonstrate how their decision in New Hampshire would deliver benefits.

Sandherr added that only 10.9 percent of the state’s construction workers are covered by a collective bargaining agreement. Because government mandated labor agreements force contractors to hire employees through a union hiring hall, few local construction workers will be eligible to work on the project and few local firms are likely to bid on the project.

He said the decision was another blow to the state’s construction workforce, which has suffered an 18.6 percent decline in employment since August 2008. “When did denying unemployed construction workers the opportunity to earn a living become a good thing?”

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Live Deck Collapse, New DeckTools™ Software and Seminars at DeckExpo

Since 2003, there have been thousands of reported injuries* and several deaths as a result of deck failures. To help raise awareness about the prevalence of deck collapse and promote code-compliant deck construction, Simpson Strong-Tie will stage a live deck collapse at DeckExpo in Indianapolis on October 28-29 at 1 p.m. in booth 302. In addition, educational seminars and new products will be featured at the show; visit Simpson Strong-Tie booths 1205 and 1305.

New DeckTools™ Software 3.0
DeckTools™ sales, design and estimating software program for decks makes it easy for deck builders and suppliers to create one-of-a-kind deck designs right from their laptops. The program allows users to customize nearly every detail, from the deck shape and railings to material choices, while quickly generating plans, proposals and material lists. Unlike many deck software programs, DeckTools software features photo-realistic 3D views that are rendered in real time. DeckTools was launched in 2003 and since that time has developed a large community of users. “The market is getting tougher because of the economy, but we are very busy, thanks to DeckTools. I’ve almost doubled my sales closing rate,” said Clemens Jellema, president of Fine Decks Inc. in Maryland.

The latest version of the program, DeckTools Software 3.0, will be available at DeckExpo and includes new features, such as Simpson Strong-Tie connectors and fasteners at key connections in deck construction and DWG and DXF (CAD-compatible) file export. The software retails for $1895.00; DeckExpo attendees will receive 20% off the retail price if purchased at the show. For more information about the software, visit the DeckTools site.

A DeckTools Seminar is scheduled during the DeckExpo Conference on October 27 from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. In addition, DeckTools™ software demonstrations will be held daily at the Simpson Strong-Tie booth 1305.

Deck Framing Connections Seminar
Simpson Strong-Tie and the North American Deck and Railing Association (NADRA) will host a Deck Framing Connections Seminar at the DeckExpo Conference. The seminar reviews the IBC and IRC code requirements and methods to satisfy them. The course also identifies the common causes of deck failure, discusses corrosion issues, and provides guidelines for selecting the proper connectors and fasteners. The Deck Framing Connections Seminar will be held October 27 from 8 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

New Deck Products
Simpson Strong-Tie will showcase its complete line of deck connectors and fasteners, including Swan Secure™ corrosion resistant and stainless steel fasteners, as well as Quik Drive® auto-feed screw driving systems. The new versatile DTT2Z deck tension tie fulfills two critical connections in deck construction. It’s a safe, cost-effective way to attach rail posts to the deck framing and complies with IRC requirements for laterally tying the deck to the house.

The DTT2Z and many other products are featured in the new Simpson Strong-Tie Deck Framing Connection Guide. The guide includes best practices for building safe, code-compliant decks. It can be downloaded at the Deck Center on strongtie.com.

DeckExpo at a Glance:
Tues, Oct. 27 Deck Framing Connections Seminar 8 a.m.
Tues, Oct. 27 DeckTools Seminar 1:30 p.m.
Wed, Oct. 28 Live Deck Collapse 1:00 p.m. Booth 302
Wed, Oct. 28 DeckTools Demonstrations Booth 1305 - New Products Booth 1205
Thurs, Oct. 29 Live Deck Collapse 1:00 p.m. Booth 302
Thurs, Oct. 29 DeckTools Demonstrations Booth 1305 - New Products Booth 1205
Fri, Oct. 30 DeckTools Demonstrations Booth 1305 - New Products Booth 1205

About Simpson Strong-Tie Company Inc.
For more than 50 years, Simpson Strong-Tie has focused on creating structural products that help people build safer and stronger homes and buildings. Considered a leader in structural systems research and testing, Simpson Strong-Tie® products are recognized for helping structures resist high winds, hurricanes and seismic forces. The company is one of the largest manufacturers of connectors, fasteners, fastening systems, anchors and lateral-force resisting systems in the world. Featured product lines include Wood and Steel Strong-Wall® prefabricated shearwalls, Anchor Tiedown Systems for multi-story buildings and Strong Frame™ moment frames. Specialty products include Quik Drive® auto-feed screw driving systems, corrosion-resistant fasteners and Simpson Strong-Tie Anchor Systems® - anchors and fasteners for concrete and masonry. Simpson Strong-Tie is committed to providing exceptional products and service to its customers, including engineering and field support, product testing and training. For more information, visit the company’s Web site at www.strongtie.com.

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