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Homes Sizes and Lots Continue to Decrease with Growing Preference for Low Maintenance Property Improvements

The prolonged economic downturn in the housing market, coupled with growing concerns about rising utility costs has resulted in greater interest in smaller homes and lot sizes. There have also been some broader lifestyle changes with U.S. households eschewing upscale amenities, opting instead to invest in more low maintenance projects, particularly for property improvements. Accessibility within the home continues to be a concern, especially for an aging population, and there is an increasing demand for more flexible design and informal space within homes. Business conditions for residential architects are beginning to indicate improving conditions with the first quarterly increase in billings since mid-2007. These findings are from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Home Design Trends Survey that focused specifically on overall home layout and use in the first quarter of 2010.

You can see this press release online here:

“We continue to move away from the ‘McMansion’ chapter of residential design, with more demand for practicality throughout the home,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “And with that there has been a drop off in the popularity of upscale property enhancements such as formal landscaping, decorative water features, tennis courts and gazebos.”

Overall home layout and size trends

Residential elements (% of respondents that reported increases)          
In-home accessibility 
Open space layout
Access into / out of home
Informal space                       
Finished basement / attic
Single-floor plan         
Lot size                       

“There has been a steady decline in both the square footage and volume in home design in recent years,” added Baker. “The preference instead seems to be for more flexible, open and informal layouts that allow for both ease movement and fostering a space more conducive to family living.”

Outdoor living and landscaping trends        
Low maintenance landscaping                
Outdoor living space  
Rainwater catchment
Blended indoor / outdoor living                          
Exterior / security lighting
Outdoor amenities     

Housing market business conditions

AIA Home Design Survey Index for Q1 2010 (any score above 50 is positive

  • Billings: 50
  • Inquiries for new projects: 62

Baker continued, “These are the first encouraging signs in over two years that an economic recovery for the beleaguered housing market is near. The home improvement market, including both additions and structural alterations as well as remodeling projects, continues to be the healthiest sector of the market.”

Specific residential segments (index score computed as % of respondents reporting improving minus % reporting weakening conditions)

  • Kitchen and bath remodeling: 41
  • Additions / alterations: 37
  • First-time buyer / affordable home market: -11
  • Move-up home market: -23
  • Custom / luxury home market: -27
  • Townhouse / condo market: -39
  • Second / vacation home market: -57

About the AIA Home Design Trends Survey
The AIA Home Design Trend Survey is conducted quarterly with a panel of 500 architecture firms that concentrate their practice in the residential sector. Residential architects are design leaders in shaping how homes function, look, and integrate into communities and this survey helps to identify emerging trends in the housing marketplace. Business conditions are also monitored on a quarterly basis. Future surveys will focus on specialty rooms and systems (September 2010) and community design trends (December 2010).

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

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PPG introduces CLARVISTA shower glass sample kit
Shows coating on clear, ultra-clear glasses

CLARVISTA shower glass sample kitPPG Industries (NYSE: PPG) has introduced a sample kit for Clarvista™ glass for shower doors and bath and shower enclosures. The box includes two 10 millimeter (⅜ inch)-thick samples of Clarvista glass: one on clear glass substrate and one on Starphire® ultra-clear glass substrate.

Clarvista glass is made with a coating that seals the glass surface, enabling it to resist corrosion caused by heat, humidity and household cleaning products. With regular maintenance, Clarvista glass looks newer longer than other shower glass products.

In addition to 10 millimeters (⅜ inch), Clarvista glass also is available in thicknesses of 6 millimeters (¼ inch) and 12 millimeters (½ inch). Stock sizes are 96 inches by 130 inches.

For more information or to request a sample kit, visit www.ppgclarvista.com or call 1-888-PPG-GLAS (774-4527) to find a local distributor.

About PPG
PPG Industries’ vision is to continue to be the world’s leading coatings and specialty products company. Founded in 1883, the company serves customers in industrial, transportation, consumer products, and construction markets and aftermarkets. With headquarters in Pittsburgh, PPG operates in more than 60 countries around the globe. Sales in 2009 were $12.2 billion. PPG shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange (symbol: PPG). For more information, visit www.ppg.com.

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AGC Supports User Fee Increase As Nation Begins To Grapple With Growing Infrastructure Crisis

The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) today submitted a statement of support for the National Highway System Bridge Reconstruction Initiative that includes a potential increase to the federal excise on gasoline, which continues to be the most reliable, fairest and easily administered user fee.

“This targeted, nationwide bridge reconstruction program is an appropriate response to the tragic collapse of a span of the I-35 bridge in Minneapolis and to our country’s pressing needs,” said AGC CEO Stephen E. Sandherr.

Twelve percent, or approximately 72,000, of the nation’s bridges are classified as “structurally deficient.” Bridges are just one component of the nation’s transportation network that supports our $14 trillion economy; other system needs exist and require solutions to address a variety of mobility challenges.

“We face a looming infrastructure crisis in this country which involves all modes of infrastructure from surface transportation to aviation, from water infrastructure and flood control to navigation,” added Sandherr. “The National Highway System Bridge Reconstruction Initiative is an important first step towards fixing the long-term neglect of our nation’s aging and deteriorating infrastructure.”

In its support for increasing investment in transportation infrastructure and a potential increase in the federal excise on gasoline, AGC recommends that it be indexed to account for the expected inflation in construction costs that will diminish the purchasing power of this funding increase in the future.

“Indexing this user fee to account for inflation will help our country avoid future catastrophes,” Sandherr noted.

The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) is the largest and oldest national construction trade association in the United States. AGC represents nearly 33,000 firms, including 7,000 of America’s leading general contractors and 11,000 specialty-contracting firms. More than 13,000 service providers and suppliers are associated with AGC through a nationwide network of chapters. Visit the AGC Web site at www.agc.org. AGC members are "Building Your Quality of Life.”

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AIA Introduces Tool to Help Architecture Firms Track Predicted Energy Use in Building Projects
Initiative part of goal to reach carbon neutrality in buildings by 2030

As part of the voluntary 2030 commitment program where architecture firms and other entities in the built environment pledge to develop multi-year action plans and implement steps that can advance the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) goal of carbon neutral buildings by the year 2030, the AIA has unveiled a new tool that generates a report on predicted energy use and project modeling.

“This tool is a valuable resource for architecture firms and will be used on their entire portfolio, not just for projects seeking green building certification,” said AIA President, George H. Miller, FAIA. “The tool was specifically developed to be simple to use and to be used by firms of all sizes on a variety of building types, large and small.”

The Excel-based reporting tool will only require the user to enter project use type (from a drop down menu), gross square footage, (GSF), yes/no questions: Is project Interior only? Is project modeled? and predicted energy use intensity (PEUI).

Based on that information, for modeled projects the tool will automatically calculate the national average site EUI for that project type and the project’s percent reduction from the national average EUI toward meeting the firm’s 2030 goal for the current year (currently 60%). For non-modeled projects, users will enter in the design standard or code and similarly the sheet will calculate the project’s contribution toward the firm’s 2030 commitment.

The excel tool will generate three easy to decipher graphs that aggregate the individually listed active projects within the Excel sheet. These three graphs represent the report that firms will forward to the AIA. The three charts will show a snapshot of the firm portfolio including: the percentage of GSF of active projects meeting the current reduction goal, the percentage of GSF being modeled and percentage of GSF for which the firm will gather actual energy performance.

Firms are asked to track all active design projects for the reporting year, not just ones that are seeking green building certification and the reports developed through the tool are meant to provide a year-to-year look of a firm’s work. Firms of all sizes and building type expertise will use the same tool and report in the same manner.

The tool can be used for any type of building project and was developed through a collaboration between members of the AIA Committee on the Environment, the AIA Large Firm Roundtable, AIA Chicago Chapter Working Group and numerous individuals from AIA member firms.

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

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AIA Advocates for Open Standards in Interoperability for Design Software

According to the 2009 Business of Architecture, a survey of firm characteristics published by the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the share of firms that have obtained Building Information Modeling (BIM) software has doubled in period from 2006-2009 and is up to 34 percent of all architecture firms, representing about 50% of AIA architects. Due to challenges associated with the use of BIM with different operating standards among design teams that results in productivity loss, the AIA is calling for the ongoing development of open standards for design software. The software must support non-proprietary open standards for auditable information exchange and allow for confident information exchanges across applications and time.

“The proprietary and conflicting nature of various software packages results in enormous waste and ineffectiveness, with approximately $16 billion in annual losses for the design and construction industries,” said Kevin Connolly, AIA, board member and champion of AIA’s interoperability efforts. “This is due to a lack of accurate and effective information exchange, and the AIA is taking a leadership role in seeking a solution to this costly problem.”

The lack of software interoperability results in:
  • Increased expense to practitioners and owners in training and re-training in multiple formats
  • Increased waste in time, materials, energy and money in completing projects
  • Decreased productivity as data re-entry, document versioning and checking and other workflow problems increase
  • Collaborative delivery models such as Integrated Project Delivery will not deliver the benefits that the profession anticipates

Click here for full AIA position statement.

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

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Construction Employment Drops Again As 35,000 Workers Lose Jobs In May, While Sector’s Unemployment Rate Stays Above 20 Percent
Stimulus Gains Largely Offset By Depressed Private, State and Local Construction Demand

Construction employment declined in May as 35,000 workers lost jobs, offsetting most of the increases the industry experienced in March and April, according to a new analysis of federal employment figures by the Associated General Contractors of America. The figures show how fragile the sector is despite recent increases in stimulus funding activity, association officials noted.

“Growing stimulus activity was clearly offset by weak private sector demand and diminished state and local construction budgets last month,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Unfortunately, construction employment is likely to remain both relatively low and unstable until at least early 2011.”

Construction employment declined from 5,626,000 to 5,591,000 between April and May 2010, Simonson noted. Meanwhile the construction unemployment rate, which is not seasonally adjusted, actually declined from 21.7 percent to 20.1 percent during the same time period. With over 1.7 million construction workers unemployed, however, Simonson noted that the industry’s unemployment rate was still more than double the national rate and was the highest May rate since the series began in 1976.

Nonresidential construction employment was particularly hard hit in May, accounting for 28,100, or more than four out of five, of the jobs lost in construction last month. Citing construction spending figures released earlier this week, association officials noted that developer-financed construction investments, including office, retail and multi-family residential, are down significantly this year.

Given high vacancy rates, private sector construction demand is likely to remain weak for many more months, association officials noted, adding that state and local construction demand would remain soft for even longer considering the budget shortfalls for most state and municipal governments. They urged Congress and the Administration to take advantage of low construction costs by acting on long-stalled infrastructure bills, such as the six-year surface transportation legislation.

“With the temporary stimulus already starting to run its course, it is time for federal officials to act on the longer term infrastructure programs that will give construction workers a change to make it through the protracted construction downturn,” said Stephen Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “With construction prices low, now is the perfect time for Washington to modernize the nation’s aging transportation, water, and building infrastructure.”

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Simpson Strong-Tie Expands Strong Frame™ Ordinary Moment Frame Product Offering and Receives Code Listing

Simpson Strong-Tie introduced its pre-engineered Strong Frame™ ordinary moment frames in 2008 as an alternative to expensive site-built frames. Today, the company expanded the product offering by adding a new 16' tall column and 14', 18' and 20' wide beams. Designers and builders now have a total of 368 frames to choose from – nearly double that of the original product offering. Simpson Strong-Tie will showcase its newly code-listed Strong Frame ordinary moment frame and other products at the PCBC tradeshow in San Francisco, June 9-11, and the AIA tradeshow in Miami, June 10-12.

With more frame configurations, there’s greater design flexibility for larger openings, wider interior clear spans and retrofit solutions. Strong Frame moment frames are recommended for standard wall-bracing, garage-front and balloon-framing applications, and solutions are available for both prescriptive wind and seismic areas. Unlike other moment frames that are welded together, Strong Frame ordinary moment frames come with two columns and one beam that are bolted together. This reduces cost by eliminating an on-site welder or a special welding inspector.

Custom-Order Sizes
Simpson Strong-Tie also is launching a made-to-order Strong Frame™ program using the product’s current plate girder geometries. Clear opening frame sizes are available in widths 6' to 20'-4" and heights 6' to 19'-10½". There is an extended lead time of up to six weeks for custom-size, non-catalog components.

New Code-Listed Applications
Strong Frame catalog-size frames and custom-size frames (as mentioned above) are now code listed (see IAPMO ES ER-164).

New Selector Software
To help designers with specification, a new Strong Frame Selector Software has been developed. By inputting loads, height, width and available space for columns, the program will create a list of available frames, ranked according to relative price, and provide anchorage options. The new software is available online for download.

For more product information, to download or request the new Strong Frame catalog and to watch a new installation video (available mid-June), visit www.strongtie.com/strongframe.

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. Product lines include structural connectors, Wood and Steel Strong-Wall® prefabricated shearwalls, Anchor Tiedown Systems (ATS) for multi-story buildings and Strong Frame™ moment frames. Additional product lines include Quik Drive® auto-feed screw driving systems, structural and 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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Strong Construction Spending Rebound In April As Stimulus Funding & Residential Construction Drive Demand
2.7 Percent Increase in Spending Represents Largest Monthly Increase in 10 Years

Construction spending rebounded strongly in April, with an increase of 2.7 percent or $23 billion from March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $869 billion according to the latest analysis of federal spending figures released today by the Associated General Contractors of America. The association noted that the gains were primarily driven by private residential construction (up 4.4 percent) and public construction (up 2.4 percent), but that private nonresidential also increased significantly (up 1.7 percent).

“The stimulus is clearly driving one of the biggest increases in construction spending the industry has experienced in a long time,” said Ken Simonson, chief economist for the construction trade association. “Once you look beyond the stimulus, however, these figures show how uneven and fragile the construction recovery remains.”

Simonson noted that the stimulus drove significant increases in a range of public construction categories. For example, compared to March, 2010, spending on public drinking water supply facilities jumped 7.9 percent; public sewage treatment, 3.9 percent; and highway construction 3.6 percent. Spending on other public transportation modes was flat for the month but soared 29 percent compared to April 2009. In contrast, public educational construction spending, which received little stimulus support, only edged up 0.4 percent for the month and was 18 percent lower than a year earlier.

Private nonresidential spending was boosted by strong gains in private power construction ($3.9 billion, 5.2 percent for the month); manufacturing ($1.5 billion, 2.7 percent); and communication ($1.3 billion, 7.3 percent). Meanwhile, developer-financed categories, which are plagued by high-vacancy rates and tight credit conditions, continued to tumble. Private lodging construction rose 0.8 percent for the month but was down 61 percent compared to April 2009; commercial (retail, warehouse and farm) was down 2.9 percent and 37 percent; and private office was down 1.7 percent for the month and 36 percent for the year.

Private residential construction figures were also mixed, Simonson commented. New single-family construction climbed 3.4 percent for the month and 29 percent year-over-year, and improvements to existing single- and multi-unit construction rose 6.3 percent and 4 percent from a year earlier. But new multi-family construction—condos and rental buildings, which are developer-financed —slumped 1.9 percent in April and 57 percent compared to a year ago.

“Assuming the economy continues to expand, privately-funded construction should experience a rebound starting in 2011,” Simonson noted. “But for now stimulus funding remains the main source of support for nonresidential contractors.”

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Architecture Billings Index Reaches Highest Mark in Over Two Years
Business Conditions Slowly Improving

For the third straight month the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) has gone up. 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 April ABI rating was 48.5, up from a reading of 46.1 the previous month. Although this score reflects a continued decline in demand for design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings), it is the highest score since January 2008 when revenue at architecture firms headed into recession. The new projects inquiry index was 59.6.

You can see this press release online here: http://www.aia.org/press/releases/AIAB083066

“It appears that the design and construction industry may be nearing an actual recovery phase,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “The economic landscape is improving, although not across the board, but doing so at a gradual pace. It is quite possible that we will finally see positive business conditions in the foreseeable future.”

Key April ABI highlights:
  • Regional averages: Northeast (51.0), Midwest (49.2), South (46.5), West (44.7)
  • Sector index breakdown: commercial / industrial (48.5), mixed practice (48.4), institutional (46.8), multi-family residential (45.8)
  • Project inquiries index: 59.6

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

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Construction Contractors Caught Between Rising Materials Costs And Stagnant Prices For Construction Services
Analysis of New April Producer Price Index Shows Increasing Pressure on Contractors to Raise Prices to Survive, Construction Economist Notes

Construction contractors continue to be squeezed between rising materials costs and falling output prices according to a new analysis of materials costs conducted by the Associated General Contractors of America. The association noted that even as the producer price index leapt in April for key construction components, the amount contractors charge for construction services remains depressed.

“Paying more to earn less is not a sustainable business model,” said Ken Simonson, chief economist for the Associated General Contractors of America. “Contractors are not going to be able to sustain the low prices they have been charging for much longer.”

Simonson noted that prices increased significantly for a range of construction components. Compared to March, the April data shows that diesel fuel was up 6.5 percent (not seasonally adjusted), steel mill products were up 5.2 percent, lumber and plywood were up 4.7 percent, copper and brass mill shapes were up 4.3 percent, aluminum mill shapes were up 3.6 percent and gypsum products were up 2.4 percent. Over the past year, increases in materials costs by structure type have ranged from 3.9 percent for single-unit residential construction to 8.3 percent for inputs to highway and street construction.

Meanwhile, the producer price index for finished nonresidential buildings—reflecting what contractors would bid to construct a new building—was little changed for the month and down significantly from a year earlier, Simonson noted. Prices for new office buildings fell 0.1 percent from March and 4.3 percent from April 2009. The index for new industrial buildings was unchanged from a month ago but down 4.0 percent from the year before. The index for new warehouses was up 0.2 percent for the month but down 4.6 percent over 12 months, and the index for new schools was up 0.7 percent in one month but down 1.5 percent over 12 months.

“These trends suggest that anyone considering a construction project should break ground promptly, before materials costs are reflected in higher bids and while there are still abundant contractors to do the work,” Simonson added.

View Producer Price Index figures.

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Congressional Testimony Underscores Dire Credit Climate Facing Architects
Congress Must Pass Legislation That Would Loosen Financing

The major issue facing America’s architectural profession continues to be the lack of access to financing even as the rest of the economy signals a recovery, one Baltimore architect testified today before the House Financial Services Committee.

You can see this press release online here: http://www.aia.org/press/releases/AIAB083051

Jim Determan, AIA, an architect with Hord Coplan Macht of Baltimore, Maryland, and a former board member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), told lawmakers how the credit crunch in late 2008 contributed to the demise of his prior firm, CSD Architects. As lenders broadly refused credit to the design and construction industry, many CSD projects came to a halt.

In Determan’s case, he and his partners were left with no choice but to close their 60 year-old firm that had successfully weathered previous recessions. As a result, more than 100 people – many of whom had been with the firm more than 30 years - lost their jobs.

“The pendulum has swung so far in the direction of restricted credit that even worthy, well-secured projects by clients with impeccable credentials and proven track records are being denied access to financing,” Determan testified. “The mentality (of lenders) appears to be: ‘since financing everything didn’t work, let’s finance nothing,’ ” he added.

This thinking, in turn, has led to a vicious circle in which construction client financing evaporates. That leads to financing disappearing for architectural firms. Today, nearly one in four architects are out of work and many have been working without pay for as long as 18 months.

“If you ask architects across the country today why conditions are so bad, you will inevitably hear the same two responses: one, firms are unable to secure credit to keep operations going; and two, clients are unable to secure the financing needed to get construction and renovation projects started,” Determan testified.

Determan expressed support for several specific pieces of legislation that would help solve this dire situation:
  • H.R. 5297, the Small Business Lending Fund Act of 2010, introduced by House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank (D-MA), would provide access to capital for small community banks to lend to small businesses, including for owner-occupied non-residential real estate;
  • H.R. 5249, the Capital Access for Main Street Act of 2010, introduced by Reps. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) and Mike Coffman (R-CO). Over the next three years, $1.4 trillion in commercial real estate debt are estimated to become due. This legislation would help lenders and borrowers as they attempt to work out their loans under terms that are mutually acceptable, avoid large sums of commercial foreclosures, and free up credit that can be used more constructively.
  • H.R. 4884, the United States Covered Bond Act of 2010, introduce by Reps. Scott Garrett (R-NJ) and Paul Kanjorski (D-PA). Covered bonds are a type of bond that is far less risky than other kinds of investments that can attract investors back into the real-estate market and worthwhile projects can find the financing they need.
  • H.R. 5302, the State Small Business Credit Initiative Act of 2010, introduced by Representative Gary Peters (D-MI), promotes state-based partnerships with financial institutions to give small businesses and manufacturers with access to credit.

“Architects are job catalysts – they are the first workers to be involved in the construction process when they develop designs,” Determan said, noting that 95 percent of architecture firms employ 50 or fewer people. “Hiring an architect leads to employment in other construction-related fields, from engineers and manufacturers, to steel and electrical contractors.”

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

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Stonhard Provides a Quick, Cost-Effective Flooring Option for University Basketball Arena

Coppin State University is a modern, urban learning environment nestled in the western part of Baltimore, Maryland. Each year, thousands of students cultivate their skills and knowledge on the 52-acre campus, embracing the school’s rich traditions. The University thrives on the motto ‘Nurturing Potential… Transforming Lives,’ and at Coppin, students are encouraged to step beyond the physical boundaries of the campus for the richest educational experience possible.

In February, 2010, after five years of planning and construction, Coppin State unveiled its brand new, 246,000 square foot Physical Education Complex. The $136 million, visionary facility lives up to the school’s philosophy and includes a 4,100-seat basketball arena, a NCAA regulation pool, a fitness center, an auxiliary gymnasium, a dance studio, racquetball courts and classrooms, as well as many outdoor fields and recreation areas.

When plans were drawn up for the design of the basketball arena, polished concrete floors were specified for all areas within the facility. However, as work began, a project manager was extremely unhappy with the unsatisfactory appearance of the first applications in the locker rooms and put a halt to the entire installation. Finding himself in an unexpected situation, and drawing from numerous previous positive experiences with Stonhard, the project manager reached out to Stonhard’s local Territory Manager for guidance. Stonhard guaranteed to provide a long-lasting decorative floor system that could be installed quickly and at a fraction of the cost of the originally specified polished concrete, which hadn’t lived up to expectations.

Stonhard recommended Stonproof ME7, used as a crack-bridging agent on the surface of the concrete substrate, followed by Stonhard’s TecTop UF system. The Stonproof ME7 filled all cracks in the floor surface and enabled a smooth surface for the next steps in the installation process. TecTop UF creates a seamless, stain resistant floor surface that is durable and requires little maintenance. A colored epoxy undercoat and a layer of colorful, broadcasted vinyl flakes, finished off with a clear urethane sealer, resulted in decorative, eye-catching floors in the complex’s new lobbies, concourses, walkways, restrooms, locker rooms and pool observation deck.

Facility planners and project managers were impressed by Stonhard’s quick and cost-effective remediation of the situation.

The Stonhard Difference
Stonhard is the unprecedented world leader in manufacturing and installing high performance polymer floor, wall and lining systems. Stonhard maintains 300 product engineers and 175 application crews worldwide who will work with you on design specifications, project management, final walk through and service after the sale. And, Stonhard’s single source warranty covers both products and installation.

For more information on Stonhard's complete line of seamless, high performance floor, wall and lining systems, visit us at www.stonhard.com or call 800.257.7953. Stonhard is a member of the United States Green Building Council.

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