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TradeWinds

Industry News List

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CFA Announces Public Review of White Paper on Design Provisions for Residential Concrete

The Concrete Foundations Association (CFA) has announced the posting of a white paper containing a comprehensive set of simplified design provisions applicable to residential cast-in-place concrete for public review on their website.

The white paper, authored by Scott Humphreys, a structures and code consultant from Chicago, Illinois, is based on efforts of the CFA and other technical committee activities over the past ten years.

“It is anticipated that the simplified design provisions contained in this paper will benefit residential concrete construction” stated Ed Sauter, Executive Director of the CFA. Sauter added that the paper lays out the applicable provisions for reinforced, moderately and plain concrete based on the element: footing, wall, and lintel. It is thought that there will be several benefits to this approach. For example one of the three design approaches is called moderately reinforced concrete (e.g. similar to masonry reinforcement).

This revised methodology can be used to produce designs consistent with those provided by the limited prescriptive foundation tables in the International Residential Code (IRC) and that of typical practice in the residential industry. This ability is important to foundation contractors such that when one of the design parameters changes then the design can be checked and appropriate measures taken, if needed. The other scenario often played out in residential concrete is the difficulty on innovating new types of concrete solutions to the residential market. For example the residential concrete market has been working to increase the use of concrete on above grade exterior walls. Despite the availability of prescriptive tables there always seems to be a reason that the walls have to be specifically designed. Lastly, Sauter noted that once the approach has been vetted it is hoped that the provisions will then be incorporated into current industry standards.

The public is invited to download a copy of the white paper and review the proposed provisions. A comment form is also provided on the CFA website for any critical suggestions or other comments related to the publication. The public review period for this document will close on September 30th, 2010.

If you would like more information or would like to receive a copy of this white paper by email or fax, please contact Jim Baty at the CFA. Phone 319-895-6940 or jbaty@cfawalls.org.

The CFA is a voluntary, nonprofit association that brings together concrete contractors and professionals nationwide to improve the quality of cast-in-place concrete walls and foundations. The CFA provides promotional materials, educational seminars, and networking opportunities to its members and the industry. CFA also works on behalf of its members and the entire industry to develop support and influence code bodies. For more information about CFA, please visit www.cfawalls.org or call 866-CFA-WALL (232-9255).

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Petersen Launches “Project Of The Month” Recognition

Petersen Aluminum has launched a Project of the Month competition to recognize superior design applications using PAC-CLAD material. Architects and contractors may submit projects for consideration by completing a simple upload form found on the Petersen website at www.pac-clad.com. Monthly winners will each receive a $100 BEST BUY gift card and will have their project highlighted on the “Project of the Month” page for one full month.

Every January, one project will be chosen from the previous 12 monthly winners to be awarded the “Project of the Year”. The winner of the “Project of the Year” will be featured in one of Petersen Aluminum’s ads scheduled to run throughout the year in various national trade publications.

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 PAC-CLAD® Kynar 500® finish in 38 standard colors on steel and aluminum. Most colors meet LEED®, ENERGY STAR® and cool roof certification requirements.

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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Construction Spending Stumbles Again In May; Stimulus Provides Only Bright Spot For Nonresidential

Construction spending shrank again in May, dropping 8 percent from a year earlier, although homebuilding and stimulus–funded public works increased from year–ago levels, according to an analysis of new Census Bureau data by the Associated General Contractors of America. “Stimulus has made a difference, but Congress needs to provide long–term funding for transportation and water projects to assure further economic growth,” Ken Simonson, chief economist for the construction trade association, said.

“Private nonresidential construction sagged 25 percent from May 2009 to May 2010, while public construction edged down 3 percent, and private residential construction rose 11 percent,” Simonson commented. “Federal stimulus funds helped keep public construction afloat and buoyed single–family construction.”

There were year–over–year increases of 5.6 percent for highway and street construction, 13.8 percent for other transportation, 5.1 percent for sewage and waste disposal, 5.0 percent for water supply, and 23 percent for conservation and development—all categories that have received stimulus funds, Simonson pointed out. In contrast, spending on all other public and all private nonresidential categories fell.

Simonson noted that new single–family home construction in May soared 31 percent from the depressed levels of a year earlier but new multi–family construction—condos and rental housing—tumbled 57 percent. “The first–time home buyer tax credit that expired at the end of April boosted demand for single–family and lessened demand for multi–family,” he said. “Those distortions have now ended, although Congress voted yesterday to extend the closing deadline until September 30 for families that had signed contracts by April 30.”

Simonson concluded, “It’s even more important not to let funding lapse for highway, transit and airport construction funding. Congress and the White House need to make these programs a priority, along with long–term funding for drinking water, wastewater and waterways.”

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Construction Employment Falls To 14-Year Low In June; Industry Unemployment Rate Tops 20 Percent

Seasonally adjusted construction industry employment slipped in June to the lowest total since July 1996 while the industry's unemployment rate remained at 20.1 percent, more than double the average for all workers, according to analysis of new federal figures by the Associated General Contractors of America.

"The recession may have ended a year ago for most of the economy, but for construction, job losses and business closures continue every month," said Ken Simonson, chief economist for the construction trade association.

"While the rest of the economy added nearly a million jobs in the first half of 2010, 114,000 construction workers lost theirs, joining the two million others who have become unemployed since August 2006," Simonson observed. The industry added 49,000 jobs in March and April as homebuilders and highway contractors geared up, but 30,000 jobs disappeared in May and 22,000 in June as housing cooled and nonresidential building slumped further.

The outlook for nonresidential building construction remains ominous, according to Simonson. In May, the latest month for which such data is available, architectural firms laid off workers for the 21st time in 22 months.

"If there's less work for architects now, there will be less for building contractors to bid on and build in coming months," Simonson remarked. In contrast, engineering and drafting firms, which design infrastructure projects, added jobs three months in a row through May."

Heavy and civil engineering construction-the category that covers most workers in transportation, power, water and wastewater construction-added 1,300 workers in June and has held roughly steady since last October, as federal stimulus funds have boosted construction in these categories, Simonson noted.

"The stimulus has helped," said Stephen E. Sandherr, CEO of the association, "but any gains the industry experienced will evaporate unless Congress and the Administration promptly enact long-term spending bills for transportation, water, wastewater, rivers and harbors."

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Nonresidential Construction Recovery Possible by Latter Part of 2011
Sharp declines projected for the rest of 2010

Even with modest improvements in the overall U.S. economy, nonresidential construction spending is expected to decrease by more than 20 percent in 2010 with a marginal increase of 3.1 percent in 2011 in inflation adjusted terms. Poor conditions remain because of an oversupply of nonresidential facilities in most construction categories, weak demand for space, continuing declines in commercial property values, and a strong reluctance to provide credit from real estate lenders. These are highlights from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) semi-annual Consensus Construction Forecast, a survey of the nation’s leading construction forecasters.

“There are a number of factors at play here that are contributing to one of the steepest construction downturns in generations,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “We have businesses nervous about expanding their facilities, a fragile financial sector, excess commercial space, and general unease in the international economy. Things should begin to turn around midway through next year with retail and hotels expected to see the strongest growth, along with health care and amusement and recreation facilities.”
Market Segment Consensus Growth Forecasts 2010 2011
     
Overall Nonresidential -20.3% 3.1%
Commercial/Industrial    
     Hotels -43.3% 8.7%
     Office buildings -29.1% 0.0%
     Retail -25.6% 7.6%
     Industrial -21.3 -2.0%
Institutional    
     Amusement/Recreation -14.4% 8.1%
     Education -13.2% 1.3%
     Religious -10.2% 0.0%
     Public Safety -9.1% -0.7%
     Health Care Facilities -6.5% 5.1%

About the AIA Consensus Construction Forecast Panel
The AIA Consensus Construction Forecast Panel is conducted twice a year with the leading nonresidential construction forecasters in the United States including, McGraw Hill Construction, Global Insight, Moody’s economy.com, Reed Business Information, and FMI. The purpose of the Consensus Construction Forecast Panel is to project business conditions in the construction industry over the coming 12 to 18 months. The Consensus Construction Forecast Panel has been conducted for 12 years.

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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Parex USA Announces the launch of LaHabra Exterior Installation Finish Systems (EIFS)

Parex USA, Inc. the parent company of leading building material brands; Parex, Teifs, LaHabra, El Rey Stucco, and Merkrete today announced the launch of LaHabra Exterior Installation Finish Systems (EIFS).

The EIFS product line is targeted for those who are LaHabra loyalists looking for the option of EIFS for both residential and lite-commercial purposes. LaHabra EIFS offers superior energy performance, moisture management, versatile design, low maintenance and long-term durability.

"The addition of EIFS as an offering for LaHabra showcases the brand’s position as it continues to advance in the national market,” said Jennifer Pregowski, Brand Manager. “LaHabra is aiming high on product innovation, excellence in service, customer satisfaction, and trusted value."

LaHabra offers three types of high performance EIFS to provide the best in both price and performance.
  • LaHabra Insul-Flex Standard
  • LaHabra Insul-Flex WaterMaster
  • LaHabra Insul-Flex WaterMaster LCR

Insul-Flex WaterMaster and Insul-Flex WaterMaster LCR are LaHabra’s premiere EIFS. These systems use a proprietary liquid applied, water-resistive barrier with integrated drainage that delivers maximum moisture protection.

LaHabra EIFS add to the R-value of a home or building wall. Since EIFS are used on the outside of the building, studs do not break the continuity of the insulation. LaHabra EIFS acts as a blanket of continuous insulation wrapped around the exterior of the building or home. For more information about LaHabra EIFS, visit www.lahabrastucco.com

About Parex USA, Inc.
Parex USA, Inc. Parex USA, Inc., a California Corporation, is a subsidiary of the ParexGroup, a division of Materis, S.A., a French Corporation. The ParexGroup is one of the world's leading manufacturers of specialty chemicals and ready-to-use mortars for the construction industry. With over 45 manufacturing sites in 18 countries the ParexGroup employs more than 2,700 industry professionals who are the corner stone of this thriving global organization. For more information regarding Parex USA, Inc. visit www.parexusa.com.

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Construction Employment Falls To 14-Year Low In June; Industry Unemployment Rate Tops 20 Percent

Seasonally adjusted construction industry employment slipped in June to the lowest total since July 1996 while the industry’s unemployment rate remained at 20.1 percent, more than double the average for all workers, according to analysis of new federal figures by the Associated General Contractors of America.

“The recession may have ended a year ago for most of the economy, but for construction, job losses and business closures continue every month,” said Ken Simonson, chief economist for the construction trade association.

“While the rest of the economy added nearly a million jobs in the first half of 2010, 114,000 construction workers lost theirs, joining the two million others who have become unemployed since August 2006,” Simonson observed. The industry added 49,000 jobs in March and April as homebuilders and highway contractors geared up, but 30,000 jobs disappeared in May and 22,000 in June as housing cooled and nonresidential building slumped further.

The outlook for nonresidential building construction remains ominous, according to Simonson. In May, the latest month for which such data is available, architectural firms laid off workers for the 21st time in 22 months.

“If there’s less work for architects now, there will be less for building contractors to bid on and build in coming months,” Simonson remarked. In contrast, engineering and drafting firms, which design infrastructure projects, added jobs three months in a row through May.”

Heavy and civil engineering construction—the category that covers most workers in transportation, power, water and wastewater construction—added 1,300 workers in June and has held roughly steady since last October, as federal stimulus funds have boosted construction in these categories, Simonson noted.

“The stimulus has helped,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, CEO of the association, “but any gains the industry experienced will evaporate unless Congress and the Administration promptly enact long-term spending bills for transportation, water, wastewater, rivers and harbors.”

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Crow's Construction Materials Cost Index (CMCI) Reports 35% Drop in Building Materials Costs

Crow's Weekly Market Report (Crow's) today reported that the total cost of lumber and panels for construction of a 2,116 sq ft home has decreased by 35% since April of this year. Based on the Crow's Construction Materials Cost Index (CMCI), the wholesale cost of lumber and panels for framing an average home has dropped from $7,511.80 on April 30, 2010 to $4,951.44 today. This dramatic drop is the result of a steep, supply-driven run-up in prices during the first quarter of the year.

Ken Tennefoss, Executive Editor of Crow's Weekly Market Report, commented, "Once buyers filled up inventory needs and production volumes became more in line with demand, prices began a continuous decline to the point we are at today." He continued, "The market dynamic can change in a very short period of time. That's why it is imperative that lumber and panel users and producers have the most accurate and up-to-date market intelligence available."

Crow's CMCI is published each Friday in Crow's Weekly Market Report.

About Crow's Weekly Market Report
Crow's Weekly Market Report, part of the Crow's Market & Price Service, is the longest-running source of prices in the North American softwood lumber and panel industry. Crow's provides objective wholesale pricing and detailed market reports designed to give a quick but accurate understanding of each week's market.

Crow's Weekly Market Report is published weekly. To order or for more information, please visit www.risi.com/crowsprices.

About RISI
RISI is the leading information provider for the global forest products industry. The company works with clients in the wood products, timber, wood biomass, pulp and paper, tissue and nonwovens industries to help them make better decisions.

Headquartered in Boston (Bedford), Massachusetts, RISI operates offices in Brussels, Belgium; Atlanta, Georgia; San Francisco, California; Portland, Oregon; São Paulo, Brazil; Shanghai, China; Singapore; and Charlottesville, Virginia. More information can be found at www.risi.com.

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294 Out Of 337 Metro Areas Lose Construction Jobs From May 2009 To 2010, Reflecting Weak Demand & Overdue Infrastructure Bills
Most Jobs Added in Columbus, Ohio While Eau Claire, Wisconsin Has Highest Rate of Job Growth; Chico, California Has Highest Rate of Decline and Chicago Loses Most Jobs

Construction employment continued to suffer significant declines in the majority of metropolitan areas according to an analysis of federal employment data released by the Associated General Contractors of America. The figures reflect continued weak private, state and local demand as well as a lack of long-term projects caused by stalled federal infrastructure bills, association officials noted.

“With current demand soft and chances of a turnaround months away, construction firms are unwilling to expand payrolls,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Contractors know there’s nothing to take up the slack once the stimulus runs its course.”

Simonson noted that construction employment declined in 294 metropolitan areas between May 2009 and May 2010, increased in 16 metro areas, and held steady in another 27. He added that 11 metro areas have lost over 10,000 construction jobs each during the past 12 months, while one-in-three cities added 1,000 or more jobs during the same period.

Chicago lost the most construction jobs between May 2009 and 2010 (21,900, 16 percent), followed by Houston, Texas (18,400 jobs, 10 percent) and Los Angeles-Long Beach (17,300 jobs, 15 percent). Chico, California experienced the largest percentage decrease in construction employment (33 percent, 900 jobs), followed by Flagstaff, Arizona (32 percent, 700 jobs); Pascagoula, Mississippi (31 percent, 1,900 jobs); Monroe, Michigan (29 percent, 700 jobs); and Lewiston, along the Idaho-Washington border (25 percent, 300 jobs).

Columbus, Ohio, added the highest number of construction jobs during the past year (1,500 jobs, 5 percent), followed by Kansas City, Kansas (1,100 jobs, 6 percent) and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (1,000 jobs, 4 percent). Two metro areas recorded double-digit percentage gains in construction employment: Eau Claire, Wisconsin (17 percent, 500 jobs) and Haverhill-North Andover-Amesbury along the New Hampshire-Massachusetts border (11 percent, 400 jobs).

Association officials urged Congress and the Obama Administration to quickly pass a number of multi-year infrastructure bills so construction firms can adjust their payrolls to meet future demand. They noted that with legislation that sets funding levels for the nation’s highways, transit systems, airports, waterways, drinking and sewer systems all months overdue, contractors are hesitant to expand payrolls.

View the metropolitan area construction employment figures by rank and by state.

View video of Ken Simonson explaining the latest construction employment trends.

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Call for Presentations Issued by CONSTRUCT

CONSTRUCT is committed to promoting a comprehensive education program for construction and design professionals, including the people they serve, the environment, emerging technology and the economic impact to businesses. CONSTRUCT is now accepting submissions for the 2011 education program.

CONSTRUCT provides an excellent opportunity and venue to showcase the latest industry updates and case studies for the commercial building and construction market. The presentation theme focuses on taking design ideas using progressive thinking and the interpretation by offering practical solutions. The primary audience of the educational program includes architects, specifiers, building owners, facility managers, designers, engineers and general contractors.

Session format will be two-three hour courses (pre-show) on September 13, 2011 and ninety-minute and/or sixty-minute courses from September 14 through September 16, 2011. Presenters must be available to present on any day of the conference program. Program submissions must not be presented at any other industry event 9-months prior to scheduled date of program at CONSTRUCT and must include the latest industry updates.

The submission deadline is September 6, 2010

CONSTRUCT is the commercial building event for architects, specifiers, engineers, facility managers, building owners, CSI members, project managers, general contractors, designers and thousands of diverse commercial, institutional and industrial building professionals. Held in conjunction with the CSI Annual Convention, CONSTRUCT offers accredited education, unparalleled networking and a full exhibit hall floor with the latest products, services offering practical, real world commercial building solutions. CONSTRUCT is owned and produced by Hanley Wood. The event will take place September 13-16 at McCormick Place, Chicago, in conjunction with the 55th CSI Annual Convention. Additional event information and instructions for submitting topics are available at www.constructshow.com/Attendee/RegForm?promoCode=BN15.

About Hanley Wood
Hanley Wood is comprised of four platforms: Business Media, which publishes more than 30 magazines, featuring Builder, Remodeling and Architect magazine, along with related Web sites, enewsletters, and conferences; Exhibitions, which produces marquee events such as World of Concrete, bringing residential and commercial construction professionals face-to-face with manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, and service providers, and also manages events in other industries; Market Intelligence, which collects and aggregates proprietary data sets that capture hundreds of pieces of profile and material information about housing developments in more than 75 For Immediate Release housing markets; and Marketing, which plans, creates, and executes strategic and integrated marketing solutions for its clients. Visit www.hanleywood.com.

About CSI
CSI is a national association dedicated to creating standards and formats to improve construction documents and project delivery. The organization is unique in the industry in that its members are a cross-section of specifiers, architects, engineers, contractors and building materials suppliers. The organization has 140+ chapters and more than 13,000 members. Monthly Chapter meetings allow members the opportunity to communicate openly with their counterparts and exchange information for successful project management.

CSI is renowned in the industry for its rigorous certification programs for professionals seeking to improve their knowledge of accurate and concise construction documents. CSI provides continuing education, professional conferences and product shows. For more information, visit www.csinet.org or call 800.689.2900.

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Construction Employment Declines In 25 States Between April And May As Stimulus Outweighed By Weak Private, State & Local Demand
Louisiana Adds Most Jobs During Past Month, Hawaii Adds Highest Percentage; While Most Construction Jobs Are Lost in New York and Wyoming Experiences Highest Monthly Percentage Decrease


Construction employment declined in 25 states between April and May and in 45 states between May 2009 and 2010, according to a new analysis of federal data released today by the Associated General Contractors of America. Construction employment will remain weak despite the short-term stimulus while private, state and local demand for construction remains depressed, association officials noted.

“Construction workers will continue losing jobs until demand for new housing, office, retail and local public construction improves,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Although the stimulus is helping, it is very likely that construction employment has yet to hit bottom in most states.”

Seasonally adjusted construction employment declined in 25 states, improved in 22 and the District of Columbia, and was unchanged in three states, Simonson noted. He said New York lost the most jobs during the past month (9,800 jobs, 3.1 percent), while Wyoming lost the highest percentage (6.5 percent, 1,500 jobs). Other states experiencing large monthly construction employment declines included South Dakota (3.8 percent, 800 jobs); Michigan (3.4 percent, 4,200 jobs); and Wisconsin (3.4 percent, 3,500 jobs).

The economist said that Louisiana added the most jobs during the past month (2,400 jobs, 2.0 percent) while Hawaii added the highest percentage (4.1 percent, 1,200 jobs). Other big gainers included Maine (3.7 percent, 800 jobs); D.C. (3.7 percent, 400 jobs); and West Virginia (2.7 percent, 900 jobs.)

California lost more construction jobs during the past 12 months than any other state (80,900 jobs, 12.8 percent) while Nevada lost the highest percentage (23.0 percent, 18,900 jobs). Other states experiencing high percentage drops include Washington (15.6 percent, 25,400 jobs); Missouri (15.0 percent, 18,000 jobs); and Vermont (14.7 percent, 2,000 jobs.)

Simonson noted that Kansas added the most construction jobs between May 2009 and May 2010 (3,600 jobs, 6.2 percent). The other four states to add construction jobs over the past year were North Dakota (5.4 percent, 1,100 jobs); Arkansas (3.0 percent, 1,500 jobs); Alaska (2.5 percent, 400 jobs); and New Hampshire (1.3 percent, 300 jobs).

Association officials said that private, state and local construction employment demand was unlikely to improve until next year at the earliest, given current vacancy rates and public finances. With economists predicting stimulus work will decline later this year, association officials urged Congress and the Administration to act on a series of long-delayed infrastructure measures.

They noted that passing the 9-months late surface transportation bill will boost employment and provide relief for a construction industry that loses an estimated $23 billion a year to traffic congestion. “Construction workers shouldn’t have to suffer because Congress is months late in doing its job,” said Stephen Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer.

Click here for the state-by-state construction employment figures. Click here to watch Stephen Sandherr, contractors and others explain the need for new highway legislation.

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PPG introduces SUNGATE 400 low-e glass
New heat-trapping glass designed for northern climates


PPG Industries’ (NYSE:PPG) performance glazings business has introduced Sungate 400 glass, a passive low-emissivity glass with a magnetron sputtered vacuum deposition (MSVD) “soft coat” that helps commercial buildings in heating-dominated climates retain heat from the sun and reduce winter heating costs.

Sungate 400Sungate 400 glass has a winter U-value (insulating value) that is 9 percent better than that of Sungate 500 glass, which is typical of passive low-e coated glass options manufactured with “hard” pyrolitic coatings. In addition to offering excellent insulating qualities, Sungate 400 glass has an exceptionally clear aesthetic. When coated on a conventional clear glass substrate, visible light transmittance (VLT) for Sungate 400 glass is 76 percent. On an ultra-clear Starphire glass substrate, VLT is 80 percent.

Glenn T. Miner, architectural market manager, PPG performance glazings, said Sungate 400 glass was originally developed to address new residential building codes, and then refined for commercial applications to support requests from architects. “The strong demand we heard for this glass from commercial architects in places such as Minneapolis and Chicago demonstrated a marketplace need we were well-positioned to meet,” he said. “This coated glass is extremely well-suited to the applications for which it is designed, and it provides the flexibility to be used in combination with other coatings to maximize performance.”

Miner said Sungate 400 glass performs best as a passive low-e product when specified as a third-surface coating on Starphire glass, which maximizes the solar heat gain coefficient and minimizes U-value. Sungate 400 was engineered to be paired with Solarban 60 or Solarban 70XL solar control, low-e glasses to optimize performance in triple-pane insulating glass units.

Sungate 400 glass is available through members of the PPG Certified Fabricator Network and other qualified suppliers. To learn more, visit www.ppgideascapes.com or call 1-888-PPG-IDEA (774-4332).

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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Architecture Billings Index Falls Back After Three Months of Improving Conditions
Lack of available credit continues to plague design industry

After three straight months of improving conditions, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) fell nearly three points. 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 May ABI rating was 45.8, down substantially from a reading of 48.4 the previous month. This score reflects a continued decline in demand for design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings), and comes on the heels of the highest score since January 2008 when revenue at architecture firms headed into recession. The new projects inquiry index was 55.5.

You can see this press release online here: http://www.aia.org/press/releases/AIAB083474

“This dip is somewhat of a surprise since it appeared that conditions were pointing towards a recovery,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “The overriding issue affecting the entire real estate sector is unusual caution on the part of lending institutions to provide credit for construction projects that apparently would be successful in this economic environment.”

He added, “An amendment has passed the House that would help lenders and borrowers as they attempt to work out their loans under terms that are mutually acceptable, avoid large numbers of commercial foreclosures, and free up credit that can be used more constructively. If this passes the in Senate then some much needed relief will available for the struggling design and construction industry.”

Key May ABI highlights:
  • Regional averages: Northeast (50.6), Midwest (48.5), South (45.9), West (42.9)
  • Sector index breakdown: commercial / industrial (51.3), multi-family residential (46.9), mixed practice (46.8), institutional (43.4),
  • 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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