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TradeWinds

Industry News List

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Historic changes to commercial building energy codes will drive energy efficiency, emissions reductions

Local and state building code officials last week approved a package of revisions to the commercial section of the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) that represent the largest single-step efficiency increase in the history of the national, model energy code. The changes mean that new and renovated buildings constructed in jurisdictions that follow the 2012 IECC will use 30 percent less energy than those built to current standards.

Attendees voted nearly unanimously on a series of proposals to effect the change at the International Code Council’s (ICC) final action hearings held in Charlotte, North Carolina, October 27-31, 2010. The improvements were part of a major comprehensive proposal submitted jointly by New Buildings Institute (NBI), The American Institute of Architects (AIA), and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) that addresses measures such as cooling, lighting, quality assurance and renewable energy standards. Several other key proposals that contribute to the savings were approved independently.

The comprehensive proposal is largely based on NBI’s Core Performance protocol, a direct approach to achieving energy savings in commercial buildings. Utilities and public benefits administrators in six states and two Canadian provinces have adopted Core Performance as part of their voluntary efficiency program offerings.

“Increasing the efficiency of commercial building energy codes provides the best opportunity to bring about significant savings and helps move us along the path toward low-energy commercial buildings,” said Dave Hewitt, NBI executive director.

“The often contentious process of developing codes was largely avoided in this case because of the extensive outreach and collaboration that was undertaken to gain industry support for the proposals. As a result, we were able to successfully resolve differences prior to the hearings and put forward our best option for consideration,” Hewitt said.

“The overwhelming support we saw during the votes tells us the marketplace is ready for these practical, feasible and affordable improvements,” said Jessyca Henderson, AIA, director of sustainability advocacy at the AIA. “The nation’s code officials are to be commended and congratulated for seizing this historic opportunity to move the country toward more efficient buildings and help us build an economy that is less reliant on fossil fuels—now and into the future,” she said.

Computer modeling of the 2012 IECC shows more than 30 percent better energy efficiency on average than the ASHRAE 90.1-2004 model code, and payback periods on the new code measures are estimated at less than seven years depending on climate and building type. The energy savings in the 2012 IECC meet national calls from Congress, the Secretary of Energy and industry leaders to improve the efficiency of commercial buildings by 30 percent. In addition, the 2012 IECC will serve as the baseline standard for the International Green Construction Code (IGCC) currently under development.

The 2012 IECC contains many important, first-ever technical features including a new section on commissioning, pathways to use daylighting, and options for the use of on-site renewable energy. It will be published in April 2011 for adoption by state and local agencies.

About The New Buildings Institute
New Buildings Institute is a nonprofit organization working collaboratively with commercial building professionals and the energy industry to promote better energy performance in buildings, including advocating for advanced design practices, improved technologies, public policies and programs that improve energy efficiency. Visit www.newbuildings.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. Twitter: http://twitter.com/AIA_Media

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CSI Board Endorses ConsensusDOCS Documents

On October 16, 2010 the Construction Specifications Institute’s (CSI) Board of Directors officially endorsed six ConsensusDOCS contract documents. CSI joined the ConsensusDOCS® coalition in spring 2010 to contribute in the creation of best practices for construction documentation and communication. CSI participated in drafting sessions as an equal member. The CSI Technical Committee reviewed six documents for adherence to CSI principles, and recommended endorsement of those documents.

“CSI is proud to actively participate in creating contract documents that adhere to CSI technical principles and can benefit our members,” states Walter Marlowe, CSI Executive Director. “CSI’s participation with the ConsensusDOCS coalition aligns nicely with our mission of advancing building information management and education of project teams to improve facility performance. We look forward to continuing our work with the coalition on behalf of the CSI membership.”

“CSI’s contributions as an organization of design and construction professionals interested in improving facility performance further diversify an industry-wide effort to get better project results through better contracts,” says Brian Perlberg, Executive Director and Counsel of ConsensusDOCS. He added, “Their input helped write a better contractual foundation for today’s evolving design and construction industry.”

ConsensusDOCS will be publishing revised editions of its core agreement on January 19, 2011. CSI has endorsed:
  • ConsensusDOCS 200 – Agreement and General Conditions Between Owner and Constructor
  • ConsensusDOCS 221 – Contractor’s Statement of Qualifications\
  • ConsensusDOCS 240 – Agreement Between Owner and Design Professional and General Conditions
  • ConsensusDOCS 420 – Agreement Between Design-Builder and Design Professional and General Conditions
  • ConsensusDOCS 703 – Purchase Agreement for Noncommodity Goods by a Contractor
  • ConsensusDOCS 750 – Agreement Between Constructor and Subcontractor

CSI is a national association of more than 13,000 members (including specifiers, architects, engineers, contractors, facility mangers, product representatives, manufacturers, and owners) working collaboratively to improve facility performance. For more information, please visit www.csinet.org.

ConsensusDOCS offers a catalog of 90+ contract documents covering all methods of project delivery, ConsensusDOCS contracts incorporate fair risk allocation and best practices to represent the project’s best interests. ConsensusDOCS are the only standard contract documents written and endorsed by 29 Coalition members representing Designers, Owners, Contractors, Subcontractors and Sureties (DOCS). For more information, please visit www.ConsensusDOCS.org.

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Suit-Kote Signs With Computer Guidance Corporation
Computer Guidance Welcomes Suit-Kote as an eCMS® v.3.7.0 Customer

Computer Guidance Corporation, the leading developer of financial and project management software solutions for architecture, engineering and construction companies, today announced that Suit-Kote has selected eCMS v.3.7.0 for its financial management solution needs.

Founded in 1921, Suit-Kote is the premier privately-owned asphalt products manufacturer, road construction and maintenance, and asphalt applications engineering company in the Northeast.

“Our continued growth, breadth of integrated operations, and desire to better manage our financial activities in today’s tough economic climate motivated us to make further investments in advanced and innovative technology solutions” stated Jim Ehle, Chief Financial Officer, Suit-Kote. “We believe that Computer Guidance’s fully integrated eCMS solution will enable us to achieve our goals.”

“Companies like Suit-Kote understand that the key to quick and strong recovery comes from continued innovation and increased productivity” stated Roger D. Kirk, President/CEO, Computer Guidance Corporation. “Computer Guidance is committed to delivering the necessary solutions for our industry to carry forward.”

About Computer Guidance Corporation
Computer Guidance has the largest customer representation in the Engineering News Record (ENR) “Top 400 Contractors” and “Top 50 Contractors.” Computer Guidance software has been the leading solution among General Contractors with revenue of more than 250-million dollars and 100-250-million dollars for the past 12 years according to the CFMA Information Technology Survey.

Since 1981, Computer Guidance has been the leading provider of financial and project management solutions to more than 600 enterprise customers from various commercial construction disciplines. Computer Guidance continues to be ranked “World Class” in customer support excellence by independent IBM surveys for the past 20 years. For additional information about Computer Guidance, visit www.computerguidance.com or call 1-888-361-4551.

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PPG makes glass for Freedom Tower

PPG makes glass for Freedom TowerOne inch-thick (25 millimeter) STARPHIRE® ultra-clear glass, specially manufactured for One World Trade Center, rolls off the production line at PPG Industries’ (NYSE:PPG) Carlisle Glass Works in central Pennsylvania.

The building, also known as Freedom Tower, is currently under construction at the new World Trade Center complex in lower Manhattan. The glass was selected specifically by the tower’s design and engineering teams for its thickness and clarity. It will be the signature element in a 185 feet-tall podium glass wall that will incorporate more than 2,000 pieces of prismatic glass and welded aluminum screens. When completed in 2013, One World Trade Center will reach 102 stories and 1,776 feet, making it the tallest building in the United States.

PPG Industries is one of few glass companies worldwide that can manufacture ultra-clear glass in thicknesses of up to one inch (25 millimeters), as specified by the building designers. Founded in 1883, the company was the first commercially successful plate glass manufacturer in the United States.

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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SYNTHEON™ Inc. Introduces New Heavy-Gauge Commercial accel-E® S.T.E.P. Wall System

SYNTHEON INC., a premier building science company specializing in high-efficiency building envelope systems, has announced a new, heavy-gauge upgrade of its highly successful accel-E® Steel Thermal Efficient Panel (S.T.E.P.) wall system. The new panel was designed specifically for the commercial construction market, where the S.T.E.P. system has already proven very popular among building owners, architects and contractors.

“Commercial building designers and contractors have enthusiastically embraced our original accel-E® S.T.E.P. system,” said Jeff Peskowitz, director of marketing for SYNTHEON, the company that manufactures the system. “This new, heavy-gauge upgrade enables us to further meet their needs by offering them an additional wall system option for their most demanding projects.”

The accel-E® S.T.E.P. wall system is manufactured by fusing cold-formed steel framing components and expandable polystyrene (EPS) insulating panels together into a single continuous system. In the new panel, the steel framing members are upgraded to heavy 16-gauge steel.

“This important option adds even more advantages to the innovative wall system in commercial installations,” said Peskowitz, noting that the new panel is offered in an 8-inch thickness. The company also continues to offer its original accel-E® S.T.E.P. panel system, as well, in both 5½-inch and 8-inch thicknesses. The 4-foot wide panels can be manufactured to virtually any height, limited only by transportation considerations.

By fusing steel framing components and EPS insulation into a single system, the accel-E® S.T.E.P. system eliminates air infiltration and provides a continuous energy envelope that outperforms conventional framing and insulation, helping to reduce energy costs for heating and cooling while meeting the new, more stringent, energy code requirements.

The steel framing members are made of recycled steel and are themselves recyclable. Moreover, replacing conventional framing and insulation with pre-engineered accel-E® panels virtually eliminates jobsite waste and disposal issues.

“These sustainability features make the accel-E® system an important and proven component of ‘green building’ approaches,” Peskowitz noted. The accel-E® system is GREENGUARD® Indoor Air Quality Certified and a LEED® point contributor.

In addition, the S.T.E.P. system also reduces construction time by combining framing, cavity insulation, and continuous rigid foam insulation into a single installation process. Window and door openings are pre-cut, with pre-punched knockouts that simplify electrical and plumbing installation. As a result, construction cycle time can be shortened by as much as 66 percent, and associated labor costs can be cut by more than half when compared to traditional wall assemblies.

The accel-E® system fully complies with both the 2006 International Building Code (IBC) and the 2006 International Residential Code (IRC). The system’s effective R-Value and U-Factor exceed ASHRAE 90.1 2007 and IECC 2009 Energy Code requirements for cavity plus continuous insulation in steel stud wall assemblies for all climate zones. For more information, please visit www.accel-E.com.

About SYNTHEON Inc.
SYNTHEON Inc. is a building science company specializing in high-efficiency building envelope systems with advanced component fabrication. SYNTHEON’s systemized solutions capitalize on the latest technologies in the marketplace — creating environmentally and economically sound structures. SYNTHEON’s global business is headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with affiliates and joint venture partners throughout the world, including the U.S., Mexico, Chile and India. For more information, please visit www.syntheoninc.com.

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PPG to supply STARPHIRE ultra-clear glass to One World Trade Center
Low-iron glass to be installed as part of podium wall system

PPG Industries (NYSE:PPG) has received an order to supply STARPHIRE® ultra-clear, low-iron glass for One World Trade Center in New York. The glass will be used for the podium wall system on Tower One, which is currently under construction at the new World Trade Center complex in lower Manhattan.

Also known as Freedom Tower, One World Trade Center will reach 102 stories and 1,776 feet upon completion in 2013, making it the tallest building in the United States. The podium base wall, which was designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, the building’s architect of record, will be 185 feet tall and incorporate more than 2,000 pieces of prismatic glass and welded aluminum screens.

Gary Danowski, PPG vice president, performance glazings, said Starphire glass was selected for its ability to maintain the highest levels of clarity at thicknesses of up to one inch (25 millimeters).

He added that PPG is gratified be part of the landmark structure. “Glass is a signature element in the design of One World Trade Center, not just because of its beauty and functionality, but because it is symbolic of our country’s commitment to openness, transparency and freedom,” Danowski said. “As the first commercially successful plate glass manufacturer in the United States, PPG is proud to provide material that will help reinforce those ideals on an iconic structure that will soon be recognized around the world.”

Danowski cited the opportunity to work with recognized leaders in the construction industry as another benefit of participating in the project. “We are pleased to be working again with Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, with whom we’ve completed a number of projects, as well as the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Tishman Construction, Zetian Systems, Solera/DCM and Sanxin Façade Technology.”

Starphire ultra-clear glass uses a proprietary low-iron formulation that makes it the industry’s clearest, most transparent architectural glass. PPG will supply the product in thicknesses of 10, 12 and 25 millimeters from its glass manufacturing plant near Carlisle, PA.

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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New Lythic SPD Protector Raises the Bar for Concrete Stain Protection
24-Hour Protection Proved in Laboratory

This floor was polished to 800-grit three years ago.  As part of regular maintenance, the stain protection was recently renewed using SPD.  There is very evident difference in gloss between the new SPD finish along the display case and the original polish in the foreground.Lythic Solutions has achieved a major advance in stain protection for exposed concrete floors, it was announced today by Lythic Solutions president David Loe. Lythic SPD Protector utilizes a new protection technology that significantly increases concrete's resistance to stains, acid etching, and liquid penetration. It has been proved in third-party laboratory testing and in the field.

"We believe this is a game-changing product," stated Loe, "one that creates a new standard of care for exposed concrete." Lythic SPD (Silica Polymer Dispersion) uses a different type of chemistry than other stain protector products, a two-part polymer combined with nano-sized colloidal silica, that bonds better and shields the concrete more effectively.

"Most stain protectors resist etching agents for a very short period," explained Loe. "They can buy you enough time to say 'Cleanup pickles on aisle seventeen,' but they cannot protect the concrete against extended exposure to staining and etching agents. Lythic SPD Protector was exposed to very strong acid - muriatic acid - and to oil for a full 24 hours in laboratory testing. There was no damage to the concrete. Any visible effects were easily buffed out of the Lythic SPD Protector layer. Yet, the product does not feel like a coating. It is clear, not overly glossy, and thin enough to maintain a real concrete look and feel."

Lythic SPD Protector can be applied to almost any troweled, burnished or polished concrete, to resist staining and etching while still allowing moisture to evaporate from the slab. It is shipped as a two-part solution that gets mixed 1:1 immediately prior to use. It is rolled on with a short-nap mohair paint roller, and dries in about 2 hours to approximately 1 mil thickness. It is compatible with dyes and stains and is warranted not to peel. Maintenance with the Lythic cleaning system fortifies the surface to keep SPD effective in blocking stains and etching. Lythic Solutions estimates that it will add about 30 cents per square foot to the cost of finishing a floor.

Lythic SPD Protector will be available from select dealers and direct from the manufacturer. For more information, visit www.lythic.net.

About Lythic Solutions: Lythic Solutions, Inc. (www.lythic.net) is a concrete technology company formed by veteran concrete polishing professionals. The company is dedicated to bringing to market advanced products for concrete polishing and other concrete finishing applications.

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Construction Employment Declines In 31 States Between August And September As Industry Continues To Suffer
Minnesota and Hawaii Add Most Construction Jobs, While California and Rhode Island Lose the Most Construction Jobs During the Past Month; Only Ten States Added Construction Jobs During the Year

Construction employment declined in 31 states between August and September, while fewer people are working in construction compared to last year in 40 states, the Associated General Contractors of America reported in an analysis of state employment data released today by the Labor Department. Construction employment is likely to continue to worsen amid uncertainty about federal spending and tax rates for next year, association officials noted.

“Construction firms are caught between a difficult present and an uncertain future,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Looking ahead, nobody knows what will happen to the only thing keeping the current market from getting worse, federal spending, as long-term water, energy and transportation spending programs remain in limbo.”

Simonson noted that Rhode Island (-2.9 percent, -500 jobs) lost the highest percent of construction jobs for the month while California lost the most jobs (-2.5 percent, -13,300 jobs). Among other states losing construction jobs between August and September were Texas (-1.2 percent, -7,000 jobs), New York (-1.8 percent, 5,800 jobs), Ohio (-2.5 percent, -4,400 jobs), and Pennsylvania (-1.1 percent, -2,500 jobs).

Hawaii (4.9 percent, 1,400 jobs) and Minnesota (3.8 percent, 3,100 jobs) experienced the largest one-month percentage increase in construction employment between August and September. Besides those two states, another 13 and the District of Columbia added jobs, while construction employment was unchanged in four states. Other states with increases in construction employment included Florida (0.5 percent, 1,700 jobs), Georgia (1.0 percent, 1,500 jobs), Washington (0.8 percent, 1,100 jobs) and Illinois (0.4 percent, 700 jobs).

Simonson noted that nine states and D.C. added construction jobs for the year while employment in Alaska was unchanged. The largest year-over-year increase was in Oklahoma, where construction employment rose 9.8 percent (6,500 jobs), followed by Kansas (8.9 percent, 5,000 jobs), New Hampshire (8.0 percent, 1,800 jobs), the District of Columbia (4.5 percent, 500 jobs), and Arkansas (3.5 percent, 1,800 jobs).

Among the 40 states that lost construction jobs over the past twelve months, Nevada experienced the largest percentage decline (-19.3 percent, -14,200) in jobs while California lost the most jobs (-50,700, -8.8 percent). Other states experiencing large declines for the year include Vermont (-14.1 percent, -1,900 jobs), Idaho (-12.3 percent, -4,000), Colorado (-11.5 percent, -14,200 jobs), and Kentucky (-9.8 percent, -7,000 jobs).

Association officials cautioned that construction employment will continue to stagnate as firms, already coping with depressed private, state and local demand, contend with an uncertain federal marketplace. Adding to the confusion, officials said, was that tax rates for most small construction firms have also not been set for next year. “Adding uncertainty and confusion into an already bleak market is a good way to keep construction workers out of a job,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer.

View construction employment figures by state or by rank.

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CENTRIA Recognizes Dealers for “Building” Excellence

CENTRIA Architectural Systems, an industry leader in exterior metal wall systems for commercial, institutional and industrial buildings, recently recognized members of its extensive Dealer Network for their ongoing commitment and efforts at achieving excellence in the built environment with its 2010 Dealer Awards Program.

The awards are judged with regard to application and installation quality of CENTRIA’s product on a building project and the overall aesthetic and sustainable attributes of that project. For the 2010 Dealer Awards, CENTRIA received 155 unique entries from 41 dealers.

CENTRIA launched its Dealer Awards Program in 1999 as a way to recognize its dealers for their commitment and dedication. This year, dealers were recognized in nine different categories, including: Higher Education, K-12 Education, Government, Healthcare, Industrial, Office, Stadium/Arena, Transportation and Miscellaneous (e.g. retail, multi-residential, recreation, etc.).

The Dealer Awards allow us to formally recognize our dealers for their ongoing efforts and dedication to our company and our quality architectural systems,” said Rick Brow, Director of Marketing, CENTRIA. “The awards also provide us with the opportunity to showcase the wide variety of projects on which our products are used and the diverse and innovative ways our products are applied to develop dynamic, innovative designs.”

CENTIRA’s Dealer Network is comprised of more than 100 authorized companies nationwide. They each have hands-on product installation knowledge and participate in extensive training on a regular basis. With complete enclosure packages and continuous factory training, CENTRIA’s Dealer Network has the ability to deliver both high quality and on-time installation for all types and sizes of projects. In addition to state-of-the-art training, members of CENTRIA’s Dealer Network provide building teams with many added benefits, including: project pricing, electability reviews, scheduling, bonding and more.

“Our Dealer Network is vital to CENTRIA’s success as an industry leader and, as such, we are pleased to recognize them for their continued commitment to quality and ongoing success,” said Brow. “CENTRIA applauds all of its dealers and congratulates the 2010 Dealer Awards winners.”

CENTRIA (www.CENTRIA.com) is where building teams turn for solutions, support and a distinct advantage in architectural metal wall and roof systems. Based in Pittsburgh (Moon Township, Pa.), CENTRIA has a worldwide reputation for helping to create commercial, institutional and industrial buildings that are beautiful, functional and sustainable. Find us on Facebook or visit www.CENTRIA.com and discover why we are…Distinctively CENTRIA.

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PPG Joins Coalition To Develop Energy-Efficient Building Technologies
Innovation cluster in Philadelphia offers research, demonstration, collaboration opportunities

PPG Industries (NYSE:PPG) has been selected as one of five industry partners in the Greater Philadelphia Innovation Cluster (GPIC), a five-year initiative designed to improve the energy efficiency of buildings in the United States. The initiative is being funded in part by a $129 million grant from the federal government.

PPG’s role in the effort will be to:
  • Leverage a $1.5 million grant for research and development in smart glass technology for incorporation into responsive window products, in collaboration with Carnegie-Mellon University’s School of Architecture.
  • Provide expertise in the development of integrated glass technologies that will enable a building’s glazing system to better control solar heat gain and visual light.
  • Demonstrate next-generation products from its areas of expertise, such as glazing, roofing, interior coatings, solar power, wind power and other sustainable or energy-efficient products, in the GPIC’s new and retrofitted facilities.

In addition to providing opportunities for the research and demonstration of innovative building products, the GPIC will give PPG a forum to interact with others in the building industry to shape building codes and policies that foster energy-efficient design and implementation.

The funding for the GPIC was awarded to a consortium, organized by Penn State University, comprised of five industry members, 11 academic institutions, two Department of Energy laboratories and several regional economic development agencies and community colleges. The initiative is located at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, a 1,200-acre waterfront business development that is home to 80 companies, 7,500 employees and 5.5 million square feet of building space. Because the Philadelphia Navy Yard operates its own utility infrastructure and contains numerous commercial, industrial and office building types, it is considered ideal for testing the real-world impact of energy-saving technologies and policies.

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 is Positive for First Time in over Two Years

For the first time since January 2008, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) indicated a growth in design activity in September, increasing for the fourth straight month. 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 score was 50.4, up from a reading of 48.2 the previous month. This score reflects an increase in demand for design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was also up sharply, moving from 54.6 to 62.3 – the highest mark since July 2007.

“This is certainly encouraging news, but we will need to see consistent improvement over the next few months in order to feel comfortable about the state of the design and construction industry,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “While there has been increasing demand for design services, it is happening at a slow rate and there continue to be other obstacles that are preventing a more accelerated recovery. Still, the strong upturn in design activity in the commercial and industrial sector certainly suggests that this upturn can possibly be sustained.”

Key September ABI highlights:
  • Regional averages: Northeast (56.7), Midwest (51.0), South (47.0), West (44.5)
  • Sector index breakdown: commercial / industrial (56.3), institutional (47.9), multi-family residential (47.0), mixed practice (44.2)
  • Project inquiries index: 62.3

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. Twitter: http://twitter.com/AIA_Media

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New Horton Automatics Catalog For Healthcare Door Systems

A new 16-page catalog from Horton Automatics provides architects and medical facility professionals with the latest information on the company's door systems for healthcare applications.

The brochure showcases Horton innovations such as the smoke-rated, self-closing ICU sliding door that closes without power. Recent additions to the product lineup include the new 2000-IDS and Self-Closing IDS isolation room systems for negative, positive or combination pressure applications. Updates on other popular healthcare door systems are also included for specifier reference in planning of entrances, patient rooms, intensive care units, emergency rooms as well as other specialized and secure areas. The catalog has QR (Quick Response) codes in each section for smart phone users to access additional online resource materials.

To request the new brochure or for additional information, contact Ron Grabowski at ron_grabowski@overheaddoor.com (800.531.3111 x.106) or visit our website at www.hortondoors.com.

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New Fastening Tool for Steel Decking Installation

Simpson Strong-Tie has simplified fastening of steel decking to structural steel with its new Quik Drive® PROPP150 auto-feed screw driving system. The tool uses collated screw strips to eliminate fastener waste and provides a strong connection similar to welding and powder-actuated tools (P.A.T.). Demonstrations of the Quik Drive PROPP150 will be held daily at METALCON in Las Vegas, October 20-22 in booth #1148.

Testing has shown that Quik Drive collated screws achieve some of the highest shear load values in the industry. Unlike welding, fastening with screws doesn’t require special inspection during or after installation, and unlike P.A.T., there is no special licensing or certifications required to operate the Quik Drive auto-feed fastening system.

Quik Drive PROPP150 tools are designed with an extension so users can stand up while they drive screws, saving time and increasing comfort. The patented auto-feed mechanism provides hands-free screw advancement, eliminating the need to handle individual screws which increases productivity and reduces costs.

For attaching steel decking to structural steel, installers simply need to choose the appropriate screw size for the steel decking, and then select another screw size for steel stitching. The Quik Drive® X Series self-tapping screws for steel decking are now code listed, complying with the 2006 IBC and 2009 IBC and IRC (see code report ICC-ES ESR-3006).

The Quik Drive PROPP150 fastening system offers a convenient alternative to other methods of attaching steel decking. For more information visit www.strongtie.com/quikdrive.

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 world’s largest manufacturers of connectors, fasteners, fastening systems, anchors and lateral-force resisting systems. 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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Bluebeam® Software Releases German Version of PDF Editor Bluebeam PDF Revu®
New Localized Version Debuts as Bluebeam Continues to Expand European Presence and Support

Earlier this month Bluebeam Software announced a new partnership with a Stockholm-based software consulting firm, Bluebeam AB, to better support Bluebeam’s European customers and channel partners. Today, Bluebeam is extending that commitment by releasing a German localized version of PDF editor Bluebeam PDF Revu. Used by the world’s top manufacturing, design and construction firms, this PDF creation, markup and editing solution enables project teams to reduce paper usage and fees by 80% and improve productivity by 60%.

“Bluebeam PDF Revu has several documented case study results, and it is a great solution for firms looking to implement digital project communication and collaboration,” said Richard Lee, Bluebeam Software President and CEO. “We’re excited to make this valuable tool more accessible to the German engineering and manufacturing market.”

Bluebeam PDF Revu is a PDF editor designed for CAD and other technical users. The software includes plugins to AutoCAD®, Revit®, SolidWorks® and Office® for high-quality, 2D PDF creation. Additionally, Revu provides intuitive PDF annotation and editing tools such as text, pen marks, highlights, shapes, clouds, measurements and CAD symbols. All markups can be customized and saved into Bluebeam’s exclusive Tool Chest for easy reuse. Bluebeam’s advanced features include a Markups list that tracks all comments, automatic drawing comparisons, a measurement tool with built-in functionality for performing calculations, and real-time collaboration. Revu also integrates seamlessly with popular document management systems Bentley® ProjectWise® and Microsoft® SharePoint®, enabling users to access PDFs through the Revu toolbar. A full list of features and functionality may be read online.

For more information about Bluebeam Software and Bluebeam PDF Revu, also available in Swedish and English, go to www.bluebeam.com or www.bluebeam.de or contact European software consultant Bluebeam AB at + 46 841.020.530.

About Bluebeam Software, Inc.
Bluebeam Software invents, develops, and commercializes PDF software intelligently designed to meet the needs of design, construction, manufacturing and business professionals. Bluebeam produces high quality, easy to use products that allow project teams to improve communication and collaboration immediately with virtually no learning curve. For more information, visit www.bluebeam.com.

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Construction Employment Near 14-Year Low As 21,000 Industry Jobs Lost In September, Unemployment Rate Climbs To 17.2 Percent
Construction Industry Unemployment At Highest September Rate Ever Recorded as Sector Suffers from Private, State and Local Funding Declines and Unclear Federal Funding Plans

The number of people working in construction is approaching a 14-year low now that the industry lost 21,000 jobs in September, while construction unemployment is at a September high of 17.2 percent, according to an analysis of federal employment figures released today by the Associated General Contractors of America. The construction industry continues to suffer from declining investments in construction and broad uncertainty about the future of many federal infrastructure programs and tax rates, association officials noted.

“It has taken less than four years to erase a decade’s worth of job gains as the industry suffers from declining private, state and local construction demand,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “No other sector of the economy has suffered as much for as long as construction.”

Simonson noted that the 5.6 million people working in construction today is barely higher than the 5.59 million people who were working in construction in August 1996. He added that construction employment continued to lag behind other sectors of the economy. For example, while total private employment rose by 593,000 during the past 12 months, the construction industry lost 210,000 jobs. Meanwhile, the industry’s unemployment rate is nearly double the unadjusted national rate of 9.2 percent.

Most of September’s construction job losses came from the nonresidential sector as demand for commercial facilities and infrastructure projects remains weak, Simonson noted. Residential construction lost 2,500 jobs last month while nonresidential construction lost 18,100 jobs. Nonresidential specialty trade contractors were the hardest hit, having lost 19,500 jobs in September, the economist added.

Association officials noted that construction spending figures released late last month show private, state and local construction spending continues to decline. And while federal spending has increased, most of those investments have come from temporary programs like the stimulus and military base realignment programs.

While these temporary federal programs have helped the industry, many contractors are reluctant to expand payrolls while long-term federal programs that fund highway, transit, water system and aviation related construction remain in limbo, association officials said. They added that most contractors don’t even know what their tax rates will be for next year.

“Construction firms aren’t going to start hiring again until they can predict how busy they’ll be,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “Frankly it is hard for contractors to make any business decisions when they don’t know how much they’ll make or how much they’ll owe.”

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Construction Industry And California Regulators Reach Agreement On Proposal To Change Off-Road Diesel Emissions Rule
Associated General Contractors of America Will Support California Air Resources Board Proposal to Delay and Stretch-Out Requirements for Reducing Emissions

The Associated General Contractors of America and the staff of the California Air Resources Board have reached an agreement on proposed changes to the state’s off-road diesel rule designed to give the local construction industry time to recover from the recession while protecting air quality. The proposed changes, which will need approval from the board in December, provides needed relief for an industry that has lost 4 out of every 10 jobs since the start of the downturn, and still lowers emissions below the levels that the Board originally sought to achieve.

“The proposed changes promise relief for struggling construction workers and improvements for the state’s air quality,” said Mike Kennedy, the association’s general counsel, noting that the association will continue to work with Board staff on some of the details of the complex proposal.

Kennedy explained that the proposed changes are based on new and far lower estimates of the emissions from the off-road diesel equipment in the construction industry. The association developed the new estimates earlier this year, and over the summer the Board staff largely confirmed them. “The new estimates provided a common starting point for changes that everyone agreed the data should drive,” Kennedy said.

The proposed changes call for the Board to delay its emissions standards for off-road diesel equipment until 2014, to ease the annual burden employers have to bear, and to give contractors greater flexibility in determining how to comply. The proposed changes also call for the Board to give contractors credit for the efforts they have already made to reduce emissions and to reward contractors for voluntarily reducing emissions before 2014. However, the proposed changes would also extend the rule further into the future.

Kennedy said it was encouraging that state regulators took the time to study and confirm the industry’s estimates, and allowed the information to shape their recommendations. “As the estimates evolved, the Board staff demonstrated the courage and wisdom to propose significant changes to the rule,” Kennedy noted. “It was not easy, but we found a way to protect workers and air quality at the same time.”

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56 Out Of 337 Metro Areas Add Construction Jobs Between August 2009 & 2010, Highest Number Adding Jobs Since September 2008
Hanford-Corcoran, California and Kansas City, Kansas Top List of Metro Areas Adding Jobs while Chicago and Napa, California Lose Most Jobs for the Year

Construction employment expanded in 56 out of 337 metropolitan areas between August 2009 and August 2010 according to a new analysis of federal employment data released today by the Associated General Contractors of America. More cities added construction jobs during the past year than at any point since September 2008, indicating that the worst of the industry’s job losses may be over, association officials noted.

“With construction employment on the mend in an increasing number of areas, it appears that the worst is finally over,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “The fact remains, however, that this industry has a long way to go before we see construction employment back to pre-recession levels.”

Simonson noted that Kansas City, Kansas added more construction jobs (2,500 jobs, 13 percent) than any other metro area while Hanford-Corcoran, California added the highest percentage (22 percent, 200 jobs). Other areas adding jobs included Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (2,000 jobs, 4 percent); Calvert-Charles-Prince Georges Counties, Maryland (1,200 jobs, 3 percent); Chattanooga, Tennessee (700 jobs, 8 percent); and Eau Claire, Wisconsin (600 jobs, 19 percent).

Simonson added that 245 metro areas lost construction jobs while construction employment was unchanged in another 36. The Chicago-Joliet-Naperville area lost more construction jobs (22,600 jobs, 16 percent) than any other metro area, even after a construction strike ended in July. Napa, California (900 jobs, 30 percent) lost the highest percentage. Other areas experiencing large declines in construction employment included Las Vegas (13,500 jobs, 22 percent); Houston (11,200 jobs, 6 percent); Seattle-Bellevue-Everett (9,100 jobs, 12 percent); and Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, California (8,500 jobs, 13 percent).

Association officials said that even as the employment outlook improves in a growing number of metropolitan areas, construction unemployment remains nearly double the national average. They added that Congress is now a year late in passing major highway and transit investment legislation as well as other key infrastructure bills. Federal inaction, combined with ongoing weak private, state and local demand will continue to undermine chances of a broader construction industry recovery, officials noted.

“The fact that the best news the industry has had in years is that we’re not losing jobs as fast as we were is a reflection of how hard hit construction has been during the downturn,” said Stephen Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “Too many construction workers remain unemployed while Congress lets long-delayed infrastructure legislation idle.”

View construction employment figures by metro area or by rank.

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