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Construction Employment Increased In 146 Out Of 337 Metro Areas Between August 2010 & 2011 As Private Sector Demand Improves
Houston Area and Lake County-Kenosha County, Ill.-Wis., Top List of Metro Areas Adding Jobs; Los Angeles Area Lost the Most, While Redding, Calif., Had Largest Percentage Decline

Construction employment increased in 146 out of 337 metropolitan areas between August 2010 and August 2011, declined in 145 and stayed level in 46, according to a new analysis of federal employment data released today by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials noted that the local employment data remains relatively split as private sector demand increased and public sector activity declined more rapidly during the past year.

“The construction market is caught between increases in private sector demand and even larger decreases in public sector construction investments,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist, noting that private sector spending on construction has grown by 5.5 percent since July 2010 while public sector demand declined by 8.8 percent during the same time period. “Construction employment continues to be stuck in a pattern where there are just as many hot spots as there are slow spots.”

Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, Texas, added more construction jobs (10,400 jobs, 6 percent) than any other metro area during the past year while Lake County-Kenosha County, Ill.-Wis., added the highest percentage (22 percent, 2,900 jobs). Other areas adding a large number of jobs included the Chicago-Joliet-Naperville area (7,100 jobs, 5 percent); Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills, Mich. (3,800 jobs, 10 percent); Edison-New Brunswick, N.J. (3,500 jobs, 9 percent) and the Detroit-Dearborn-Livonia area (3,400 jobs, 18 percent).

The largest job losses were in the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale area (-7,000 jobs, -7 percent); followed by Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, Ga. (-5,500 jobs, -6 percent); Las Vegas-Paradise, Nev. (-4,400, -10 percent); Philadelphia (-3,800 jobs, -6 percent); and New York City (-3,400 jobs, -3 percent). Redding, Calif. (-19 percent, -600 jobs) lost the highest percentage. Other areas experiencing large percentage declines in construction employment included Wilmington, N.C. (-17 percent, -1,600 jobs); Montgomery, Ala. (-16 percent, -1,100 jobs) and Panama City-Lynn Haven-Panama City Beach, Fla. (-16 percent, -800 jobs).

Association officials said the two most important steps Washington officials could take to boost construction employment are passing long-term infrastructure bills and reconsidering many of the costly regulatory obstacles that have been put in place. They noted that even as highway and transit legislation has languished, state and local officials are being forced to spend billions of limited transportation funds on butterfly bridges and bat-safe highway lighting.

"It’s like we are trying to rebuild our economy with two hands tied behind our back,” said the association’s chief executive officer Stephen E. Sandherr. “We’re penny pinching on infrastructure even as we allow entitlement spending to spiral out of control, while we are doing a lot of things to inflate the cost and delay the completion of infrastructure projects.”

View construction employment figures by state and rank.

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New Agreement Ensures That First-Ever Lean Construction Education Program Will Include Latest Research And Content

Associated General Contractors of America and the Lean Construction Institute Launch Partnership Designed to Educate Construction Community about the Hyper-Efficient Process

The first-ever lean construction education program will include the latest research and content thanks to an agreement announced today between the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) and the Lean Construction Institute (LCI). Both groups will now be able to work together to create additional resources for contractors about lean construction because of the new agreement, officials noted.

“This agreement will connect our nationwide network of contractors with the Institute’s unique expertise with and knowledge of lean construction,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, chief executive officer of the Associated General Contractors of America. “We will be able to offer more content to more contractors in more places working together than either organization ever could on its own.”

As part of the agreement, AGC will be able to incorporate the extensive research, analysis and source materials compiled by LCI into the new AGC Lean Construction Education Program. The program, which is scheduled to be launched this winter, will ultimately include 16 separate courses and three levels of credentials, to be delivered in a combination of self-paced online, classroom and webinar settings.

“As an organization that stresses collaboration and transparency, we’re pleased to partner with AGC in delivering a collaborative curriculum to contractors and trades,” commented Dick Bayer, LCI’s interim executive director. “We believe this provides an important first step for working with other leaders in our industry to drive lean construction and design principles into project delivery.”

In addition to providing content for the new curriculum, LCI also will have an active role in AGC’s Lean Construction Forum, which brings together those with an interest in lean construction and creates learning opportunities, by providing staff and resources. The agreement also establishes a framework to allow the two organizations to work together to develop new educational materials, host workshops and provide other resources designed to help construction firms understand and use lean construction practices.

The agreement, which was negotiated during the summer, takes effect immediately and will last for at least three years.

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Architecture Billings Index Turns Positive after Four Straight Monthly Declines
Strong level of inquiries for new projects

On the heels of a period of weakness in design activity, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) took a sudden upturn in August. 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 August ABI score was 51.4, following a very weak score of 45.1 in July. 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 56.9, up sharply from a reading of 53.7 the previous month.

You can see this press release online here: http://www.aia.org/press/releases/AIAB091078

“Based on the poor economic conditions over the last several months, this turnaround in demand for design services is a surprise,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “Many firms are still struggling, and continue to report that clients are having difficulty getting financing for viable projects, but it’s possible we’ve reached the bottom of the down cycle.”

Key August ABI highlights:
  • Regional averages: Midwest (49.0), South (47.4), West (47.4), Northeast (46.5),
  • Sector index breakdown: mixed practice (50.9), institutional (48.5), commercial / industrial (46.0), multi-family residential (44.8)
  • Project inquiries index: 56.9

About the AIA Architecture Billings Index
The Architecture Billings Index (ABI), produced by the AIA Economics & Market Research Group, is a leading economic indicator that provides an approximately nine to twelve month glimpse into the future of nonresidential construction spending activity. The diffusion indexes contained in the full report are derived from a monthly “Work-on-the-Boards” survey that is 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 as compared to the prior month, and the results are then compiled into the ABI. These monthly results are also seasonally adjusted to allow for comparison to prior months. The monthly ABI index scores are centered around 50, with scores above 50 indicating an aggregate increase in billings, and scores below 50 indicating a decline. The regional and sector data are formulated using a three-month moving average. More information on the ABI and the analysis of its relationship to construction activity can be found in the White Paper Architecture Billings as a Leading Indicator of Construction: Analysis of the Relationship Between a Billings Index and Construction Spending on the AIA web site.

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. Members adhere to a code of ethics and professional conduct to ensure the highest standards in professional practice. Embracing their responsibility to serve society, AIA members engage civic and government leaders and the public in helping find needed solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation and world. Visit www.aia.org.

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Simpson Strong-Tie Announces Plans to Supply Software and Truss Plates to the U.S. Component Industry

Simpson Strong-Tie announced today that it will supply software systems and truss plates to the U.S. component industry. Mike Bugbee, a 30-year veteran with the company, will be dedicated to developing and leading this business for Simpson Strong-Tie.

The truss and component industry has been an important part of the Simpson Strong-Tie® structural connector business for the past three decades. The company has developed many products that have helped expand the innovative use of trusses in light-frame design. Offering software and truss plates is a natural progression in the company’s effort to support the component industry.

Bugbee who has been very active in the truss industry and its organizations since 1982, and has helped create many truss-related products for the company said, “As software becomes increasingly integrated, it makes sense for us to help lead the development of high-integrity design tools. Working with the existing companies in this arena has become increasingly more difficult over the past several months, leading us to the realization that we need to jump into the market with total commitment.”

Terry Kingsfather, president of Simpson Strong-Tie added, “As with all Simpson Strong-Tie products, the new truss product offering will meet our high standards of quality and customer service. Our customers have been asking for these products for a long time. We know the complete Simpson Strong-Tie solution will take some months to pull together, but we are deeply committed to providing innovative products to this industry along with our engineering, testing, training and field support.”

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, testing and innovation, Simpson Strong-Tie works closely with industry professionals to provide code-listed, field-tested products, and value-engineered solutions. Its extensive offering of connectors, fasteners, fastening systems, anchors and lateral-force resisting systems are recognized for helping structures resist high winds, hurricanes and seismic forces. Simpson Strong-Tie is committed to helping customers succeed by providing exceptional products, full-service engineering and field support, product testing and training. For more information, visit the company’s website at www.strongtie.com.

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PPG, Pleotint To Co-Market Environmentally Adaptive Glazing Technology With Low-E Glass

PPG Industries (NYSE: PPG) and Pleotint, LLC, have agreed to jointly market a commercial window glass system that combines Sunlight Responsive Thermochromic, or SRT™, interlayer technology by Pleotint, with SOLARBAN® low-emissivity (low-e) glass and other glasses by PPG to control solar heat gain and reduce energy costs in buildings.

Pleotints patented technology is a lightly tinted thermochromic interlayer that warms up and darkens in direct sunlight, but clears in indirect sunlight to allow light to pass into a building. Laminated between two lites of glass, SRT interlayer may be used monolithically or within an insulating glass unit. Visible light transmittance (VLT) for windows with SRT interlayer adjusts through the day without the need for wiring, power supplies or controls.

When the SRT interlayer is combined in a window system with Solarban glass, a proven solar control, low-e glass that also blocks solar heat and transmits visible light, these adaptive windows can dramatically reduce the amount of energy required to cool buildings. Because the windows clear up in indirect sunlight, they also decrease the need for artificial lighting.

A study showed that, due to its ability to dynamically adjust to natural lighting conditions, a window system including an SRT interlayer can reduce energy costs in commercial buildings by 17 to 30 percent over industry-standard window systems. A window with SRT technology also reduces the transmittance of ultraviolet light and short-wavelength visible light, which are major contributors to fading in carpets, fabrics, artwork, photos and other materials.

Unlike competing dynamic windows that require manual, electrical or mechanical controls, windows with the SRT interlayer use the suns own energy up to 1,000 watts of power per square meter to adjust the window tint and transmittance level. Because the process is entirely self-sustaining, the SRT interlayer system not only uses less energy, it also eliminates the opportunities for failure due to faulty wiring, poor connections or broken electrical circuits. Windows with SRT interlayers also have passed exposure and durability testing developed for electrochromic windows and conducted by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

Insulating units with SRT interlayers and Solarban low-e glass are available in sizes up to 5 feet wide and have been laminated in lengths of up to 11 feet. Architects may specify any OCEANS OF COLOR® tinted glass or Earth and Sky high-performance tinted glass by PPG as a base-state window color.

About Pleotint, LLC
Pleotint, LLC, is the worlds top innovator in continuously variable, sunlight responsive tinting interlayer for use in adaptive window glazing. Pleotint produces the thermochromic self-tinting interlayer by extrusion in its Jenison, Mich., facility. Pleotint is a privately held company. For more information, visit www.pleotint.com.

PPG: BRINGING INNOVATION TO THE SURFACE™
PPG Industries' vision is to continue to be the worlds leading coatings and specialty products company. Through leadership in innovation, sustainability and color, PPG helps customers in industrial, transportation, consumer products, and construction markets and aftermarkets to enhance more surfaces in more ways than does any other company. Founded in 1883, PPG has global headquarters in Pittsburgh and operates in more than 60 countries around the world. Sales in 2010 were $13.4 billion. PPG shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange (symbol: PPG). For more information, visit www.ppg.com.

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Construction Association To Launch New Fall Protection Safety Training Program Thanks To $130,000 Federal Grant

Associated General Contractors of America to Use Newly-Awarded Federal Safety Grant to Offer Fall Protection Safety Programs in Eight Different Locations in 2012

The Associated General Contractors of America will launch a new fall protection safety training program next year thanks to a new federal safety grant the association is being awarded. The association will use the $130,000 Susan Harwood Training Grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to tackle one of the most pressing safety issues in construction, officials said.

“The new training program will help us continue to make construction safer for millions of workers,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “This is another sign of the commitment our association and our members have to improving construction safety.”

Sandherr said that while the overall number of construction fatalities has declined by nearly 50 percent over the past five years, fall-related fatalities remain the single largest cause of construction deaths, Sandherr said. He noted that fatalities from falls accounted for 260 out of the 751 construction fatalities reported in 2010, or nearly 35 percent of the total.

The association head noted that the safety program would provide comprehensive information about fall protection for both commercial and residential construction. He added that the association would offer the safety program in eight different sites during 2012 and expected to instruct as many as 500 construction workers during the year.

Sandherr added that, in addition to the new fall protection program, the association already offers a host of safety programs and materials that construction firms are taking advantage of. These include in-seat safety training programs and making educational materials available to construction firms.

“Any chance we get to improve safety for construction workers we are going to take,” Sandherr said. “After all, the construction industry is only as strong as its workers are safe.”

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Construction Employment Declines In 25 States And The District Of Columbia In August, While 26 States And D.C. Added Jobs During The Past 12 Months
Delaware and California Had Worst Monthly Losses; Kentucky and Colorado Had Largest Monthly Gains; Florida and Delaware Had Worst Yearly Job Loses; Texas and North Dakota Add the Most Jobs for the Year

Construction employment at the state level was mixed for the year and month as 25 states and the District of Columbia lost jobs between July and August while 26 states and D.C. added jobs between August 2010 and August 2011, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America of Labor Department data. The relatively even divide between gainers and losers reflects continued weak demand for construction services that has been contributing to flat employment levels for much of the past year, association officials noted.

“There is no clear pattern of improvement in construction employment, although the industry is no longer in free fall,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Just as a few states have settled into a pattern of consistently adding construction jobs, a similar number seem to be consistently losing jobs.”

The largest percentage monthly decline in construction employment occurred in Delaware (-4.8 percent, -900 jobs); followed by Alabama (-3.9 percent, -3,300 jobs) Arkansas (-3.9 percent, -1,900 jobs); and New Hampshire (-3.8 percent, -800 jobs). The largest number of construction job losses over the month was in California (-7,200 jobs, -1.3 percent); followed by Alabama; Wisconsin (-3,000 jobs, -3.3 percent) and Florida (-1,900 jobs, -0.6 percent).

Among the 22 states that added construction jobs during the past month, Kentucky had the largest percentage increase (3.6 percent, 2,300 jobs). Other states adding a high percentage of construction jobs for the month included Colorado (3.0 percent, 3,100 jobs); North Dakota (2.8 percent, 700 jobs) and Minnesota (2.6 percent, 2,200 jobs). Colorado added the largest number of jobs; followed by Michigan (3,000 jobs, 2.3 percent); Georgia (3,000 jobs, 2.2 percent) and Kentucky. Construction employment was unchanged for the month in three states.

Among the 24 states that lost construction jobs during the past 12 months, Delaware (-7.3 percent, -1,400 jobs) had the highest percentage decline. Other states with large percentage declines included New Mexico (-6.9 percent, -3,000 jobs); Georgia (-6.9 percent, -10,300 jobs) and Alaska (-6.9 percent, -1,100 jobs). Florida (-17,600 jobs, -5.1 percent) lost the most jobs followed by Georgia; Wisconsin (-5,900 jobs, -6.3 percent) and Colorado (-5,900 jobs, -5.2 percent).

The largest percentage increase in construction employment during the past year took place in North Dakota (20.3 percent, 4,300 jobs). Other states experiencing large percentage increases included Michigan (10.4 percent, 12,600 jobs); Tennessee (5.5 percent, 5,800 jobs) and Illinois (5.4 percent, 10,600 jobs). Texas again added the most jobs during the past year (27,100 jobs, 4.8 percent); followed by Michigan; Illinois and California (7,800 jobs, 1.4 percent).

Association officials said construction firms continue to suffer from weak private sector and declining public sector demand for construction services. Noting that Congress has just enacted new temporary extensions to aviation and surface transportation construction legislation, they urged Washington officials to finally enact the kind of long-term infrastructure legislation needed to allow major infrastructure projects to start across the country.

“Construction employers are certainly relieved that billions in construction projects won’t come to a halt later this month,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “But it is unrealistic to expect firms to expand payrolls when they don’t know how much work will be available a few months from now.”

View the state employment data by rank and by state. View construction employment trends map.

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Demand for Specialty Rooms Drops amid Continued Economic Concerns around Housing Market
Energy-efficient products and systems, outdoor living and accessibility retain their appeal

Homeowner interest in specialty rooms, systems utilizing emerging technologies and upscale products is waning as the residential market continues to struggle. Instead, investments within the home have focused on increasing energy efficiency, fostering outdoor living environments and adding wireless communications systems as home offices remain popular. These findings are from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Home Design Trends Survey for the second quarter of 2011 that focused on emerging home features: systems, technologies and function rooms in the home.

“The majority of special function rooms have seen a noticeable drop in demand in the past year, which makes sense given the state of both the overall economy and the housing market in particular,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “Rather, homeowners are showing a continued preference to save money on utility costs and improve the resale value of their home through investing in energy efficient upgrades.”
 

AIA Home Design Trends Survey highlights  

2011   2010

Home offices

36%   31%

Outdoor living rooms  

24%   22%

Mud rooms  

17%   20%

All other rooms

9%   9%

Home theaters 

8% 9%

Au pair / in-law suits 

3% 6%

Exercise / fitness rooms  

3%   3%

TOTAL

100% 100

(most popular special function rooms, % of respondents)
 

Products       

2011    2010 

Energy-efficient     

69%   77%

Low maintenance     

65%   68%

Tank-less water heaters    

58%   68%

Water saving      

55%   55%

Synthetic materials     

51%   57%

Recycled materials    

42%   47%

(% respond. report. popularity of products “increasing” minus % report. “decreasing”; Q2:2011)
 

Systems / technologies

2011    2010 

Wireless    

50%   42%

Energy management     

46%   50%

Geothermal heating/cooling    

45%   47%

Solar panels      

44%   49%

Back-up power generation    

31%   34%

Water reclamation     

29%   33%

(% reporting popularity of system “increasing” minus % reporting “decreasing”; Q2:2011)
 

Special home features

2011    2010 

Extra insulation   

68%    65%

Alternate insulation (e.g. panels; foam)   

67%    67%

1st floor master bedroom    

47%    44%

Ramps / elevators    

33%    33%

Easy-to-use features    

30%    32

(% reporting popularity of system “increasing” minus % reporting “decreasing”; Q2:2011)

Baker added, “Despite the weak housing market, design elements that promote accessibility within the home remain strong led by master bedroom suites located on the first floor and even more expensive features like ramps leading into the home and elevators.”

Housing market business conditions

AIA Home Design Survey Index for Q2 2011 (any score above 50 is positive)

  • Billings: 50
  • Inquiries for new projects: 54

Baker noted, “There are signs of stabilization of business conditions for residential architects, although it would be premature to say that the market is entering a recovery phase. Demand for remodeling and renovations is in relatively good shape, but all major new construction categories continue to drag, which is keeping the overall housing market back.”
 

Specific construction segments

2011    2010 

Additions / alterations   

40%    22%

Kitchen / bath remodeling   

36%    29%

First-time buyer / affordable home market:   

-37%    -24%

Move-up home market:     

-35%    -32% 

Custom / luxury home market:    

-22%    -39%

Townhouse / condo market:     

-37%     -51%

Second home:                 

-62%    -62%

(% of respondents reporting sector “improving” minus % reporting “weakening”; Q2)

About the AIA Home Design Trends Survey
The AIA Home Design Trend Survey is conducted quarterly with a panel of over 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 community design trends (December 2011), and kitchen and bath trends (February 2012).

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. Members adhere to a code of ethics and professional conduct to ensure the highest standards in professional practice. Embracing their responsibility to serve society, AIA members engage civic and government leaders and the public in helping find needed solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation and world. Visit www.aia.org.

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American Institute of Architects Issues Statement on President Obama’s “American Jobs Act”

The following statement in reaction to President Obama’s address to a joint session of Congress on jobs should be attributed to American Institute of Architects President Clark Manus, FAIA:

“We find several issues on which we agree in the President’s sweeping jobs proposal, including extending the payroll tax cut for another year and his emphasis on rebuilding America’s infrastructure, which includes homes and commercial buildings in the President’s view.

“We are gratified that President Obama saw fit to highlight the need to repair and modernize 35,000 schools and rehabilitate homes and buildings. In that regard, the AIA continues to push for a continuation of the Build America Bonds program. In the two short years that the program was authorized, state and local governments used Build America Bonds to finance roughly $180 billion new construction projects, preserving tens of thousands of jobs. We estimate that at least $45 billion of that amount was used in the construction sector to finance schools, offices, hospitals and other building projects that improve communities.

“The AIA will continue to work with our allies on Capitol Hill to make sure that the built environment is included in debates on how to revitalize America’s infrastructure. It’s important to remember that the parties need to put partisanship aside; this is about rebuilding our economy by rebuilding America’s livelihoods and communities. As we’ve stated repeatedly, every one billion dollars invested in non-residential design and construction results in 28,500 full-time jobs.

“We can think of no better job creation equation than that.”

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. Members adhere to a code of ethics and professional conduct to ensure the highest standards in professional practice. Embracing their responsibility to serve society, AIA members engage civic and government leaders and the public in helping find needed solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation and world. Visit www.aia.org.

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CENTRIA Products Contribute to Merck &Co., Inc.’s International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering’s Facility of the Year Award
Building uses Formawall® Dimension Series®, Formavue™ Integrated Window Systems for its Global Clinical Supplies Manufacturing, Packaging and Warehouse Expansion

CENTRIA’s high performance, aesthetically-pleasing, sustainable products were used extensively for Merck Inc.’s Global Clinical Supplies Manufacturing, Packaging and Warehouse Expansion project, which recently won the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering’s (ISPE) 2011 Facility of the Year Award. A clean, sleek look was created across three buildings by using Formawall® Dimension Series® wall panels and Formavue™ Integrated Window Systems, C/S Sunshades and C/S Louvers.

“CENTRIA’s products played a key role in helping us successfully execute our hybrid design approach,” said Eric Bohn, Principal, Jacobs/Wyper Architects, LLP, the design firm responsible for the project. “This project included three radically different buildings—an existing decommissioned warehouse that was renovated for improved clinical manufacturing and development, a new three-floor operations support facility, and a modular pilot plant for primary manufacturing operations. We needed lightweight products that could be easily installed on varied substrates and that would aesthetically unify these buildings.”

Merck Inc.’s goal for this facility, and what the design needed to accommodate, was the expansion, enhancement and integration of their core drug product development, manufacturing processes and packaging capabilities.

Working on three buildings simultaneously required careful coordination by the project team to construct new buildings that would meet Merck’s strategic need to increase productivity and efficiency, as well as renovating and adapting an existing structure.

“It was important for us to choose versatile exterior building products that would maintain continuity between the buildings,” said Bohn. “While the new office building required application to a conventional steel structure, the 30-40 year-old-warehouse included a wide range of masonry due to expansion and repairs over the years. The project also included modular building construction for the primary manufacturing operations and a support facility. We were able to install CENTRIA’s lightweight, flexible products on these diverse structures without any structural impediments.”

Known for aesthetics, performance and sustainability, CENTRIA is an industry leader in the design, development and manufacture of architectural metal wall and roof systems. This particular project used CENTRIA’s Formawall® Dimension Series®, which provides both advanced thermal efficiency and moisture control in a single panelized component. Compared to traditional multi-component wall construction – typically requiring up to seven separate components such as a rainscreen, an air barrier, exterior gypsum sheathing, fiberglass insulation and a vapor barrier – Formawall Dimension Series only requires one component, making it one of today’s preferred wall systems. CENTRIA Formavue™ Integrated Window Systems, C/S Sunshades and C/S Louvers (joint creations of CENTRIA and Construction Specialties, Inc.) integrated seamlessly with the Formawall panels, and are attractive, weather-resistant and feature a standard thermal break that provides enhanced efficiency.

The ISPE Facility of the Year Award recognizes state-of-the-art pharmaceutical manufacturing projects that utilize innovative technologies to enhance the delivery quality of a project and reduce the cost of producing high-quality medicines. Now in its seventh year, ISPE has received award submissions from more than 25 different countries and territories, marking its competitive international nature.

CENTRIA innovations in architectural metal wall and roof systems are helping building teams around the world reimagine the building envelope. From inspiration through installation, CENTRIA provides the highest level of expertise including service and support from an elite Dealer Network. Based in Pittsburgh (Moon Township, Pa.), our metal architectural systems are the perfect combination of science and aesthetics, offering advanced thermal and moisture protection, the broadest spectrum of design options, truly integrated components, and superior sustainability. We invite you to explore the limitless possibilities metal provides for your next project and to reimagine metal at
www.CENTRIA.com/ReimagineMetal or find us on Facebook.

ISPE, the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering, is the Society of choice for 22,000 technical professionals working in or serving the manufacturing sector or drug development in the pharmaceutical industry in 90 countries. ISPE aims to be the catalyst for "Engineering Pharmaceutical Innovation" by providing Members with opportunities to develop their technical knowledge, exchange practical experience within their community, enhance their professional skills, and collaborate with global regulatory agencies and industry leaders. Founded in 1980, ISPE offers online learning opportunities for a global audience and has its worldwide headquarters in Tampa, Florida, USA; its European office in Brussels, Belgium; an Asia Pacific office in Singapore; and its newest office in Shanghai, China. Visit
www.ISPE.org for additional Society news and information.

Today's Merck is a global healthcare leader working to help the world be well. Merck is known as MSD outside the United States and Canada. Through our prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, and consumer care and animal health products, we work with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver innovative health solutions. We also demonstrate our commitment to increasing access to healthcare through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. For more information, visit www.merck.com.

Jacobs/Wyper Architects LLP is an architectural, planning and interior design firm with a focus on designing projects for corporate and educational clients. The firm is registered in 14 states and works primarily in the Mid-Atlantic and northeast regions of the country. More committed than ever to environmentally-friendly design, several Jacobs/Wyper architects have been certified by the US Green Building Council as LEED Accredited Professionals, and the firm is working on projects in adherence with the USGBC’s LEED Rating System. For more information, visit http://www.jacobswyper.com.

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Architects and Construction Sector Can Lead U.S. Economic Recovery
On Eve of Obama’s Infrastructure Initiative, AIA Policy Document Outlines Six Steps to Create Jobs and Grow Economy

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) today issued the most comprehensive look yet at the built environment’s role in economic recovery, highlighting six specific policy steps that will generate jobs and help grow the American economy.

The policy document, “The Built Environment’s Role in the Recovery,” is being issued on the eve of President Obama’s major jobs initiative to be unveiled next Thursday in a speech before a Joint Session of Congress. The AIA white paper was delivered this week to the White House and to Congressional leadership on both sides of the political aisle.

The report notes that the value of construction put in place each year equals between six and nine percent of annual Gross Domestic Product. Each $1 million in new construction spending supports 28.5 full-time, year-round-equivalent jobs, according to a study by George Mason University economist Stephen J. Fuller. Yet, despite record low interest rates, a financing crunch still persists in this sector, severely limiting job creation.

“We’re putting these recommendations forward now because it’s time for the Administration and Congress to get real about creating an environment in which people are willing to lend and borrow,” said AIA President Clark Manus, FAIA. “When credit flows to worthy projects, it unleashes the job creation potential of the American economy.”

“It’s also important to realize that infrastructure is more than roads and bridges,” Manus said. “The American people need to let their politicians know that the built environment is where the most potential exists to grow the economy.”

The six steps outlined in the policy document are:
  • Support Recovery in Private Lending Markets
    In May, the report notes, the U.S. Government Accountability Office reported that “new [commercial real estate] borrowers have faced tighter credit conditions, due to banks tightening their underwriting standards in response to the downturn…” The trend of tighter credit standards suggests that borrowers who previously were considered creditworthy might not meet banks’ higher standards.

    “Without spending a dime,” the AIA policy document states, “the federal government could immensely improve conditions within the construction industry by improving access to credit.”
  • Re-establish the Build America Bonds Program
    In the two short years that the program was authorized, state and local governments used Build America Bonds to finance roughly $180 billion new construction projects, preserving tens of thousands of jobs. What’s more, the AIA estimates that at least $45 billion of that amount was used in the construction sector to finance schools, offices, hospitals and other building projects that improve communities.
  • Establish a National Infrastructure Bank
    Establishing an Infrastructure Bank is an improvement that should be made immediately. Receipts to the National Highway Trust Fund are falling and an infrastructure bank could leverage private capital to stretch federal dollars further. Two current and similar proposals sponsored by Senator Kerry and Representative DeLauro would provide a source of patient capital for loans or loan guarantees for building energy retrofits, storm-water management, and electric grid improvements, modernizing a broad spectrum of infrastructure and making smart investments in America’s future.
  • Jumpstart Green Construction and Schools
    President Obama called for a new Better Buildings Initiative that would reduce energy used in commercial buildings by 20 percent over 10 years. The initiative would be a catalyst for private sector investment in upgrading the efficiency of commercial buildings. In particular, enhancing and expanding the energy efficient tax deduction by turning it into a credit, streamlining the certification process, and making it available to more owners of commercial property, the Better Buildings Initiative would encourage private investment in energy efficient improvements. More investment, in turn, means more jobs. In addition, financing the renovation and retrofit of schools will create jobs, lower school districts’ energy bills and provide better learning environments for students.
  • Pass a Surface Transportation Bill that Maintains Current Levels of Funding
    The construction industry understands that transportation drives development. In January 2008, the AIA and the University of Minnesota’s Center for Transportation Studies released Moving Communities Forward, a study authorized by Congress that shows how well-designed transportation projects can bring multiple enhancements to communities. The legislation that authorizes and guides transportation investment nation-wide expired in September 2009.
  • Repeal the Three Percent Withholding Rule for Government Contracts
    Legislation enacted in 2005 requires three percent of all payments to contractors by federal, state and many local agencies contracts be withheld, starting in 2013. This law not only reduces the cash flow for millions of small businesses who perform public work, but it also will cost taxpayers an enormous sum to implement. The Department of Defense estimated that it will have to spend more than $17 billion to implement this requirement. At a time when the governments face severe funding shortfalls and businesses are struggling to make ends meet, the three-percent withholding law needs to be repealed.

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. Members adhere to a code of ethics and professional conduct to ensure the highest standards in professional practice. Embracing their responsibility to serve society, AIA members engage civic and government leaders and the public in helping find needed solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation and world. Visit www.aia.org.

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New Garland Coating Damp-Proofs and Beautifies Walls

Garland’s new Tuff-Coat™ single-component, low-solvent, emulsified poly-resin architectural wall coating damp-proofs and beautifies all types of exterior and interior masonry wall surfaces, including concrete, brick work, stucco, and exterior insulating finishing systems (EIFS). It provides heavy-bodied protection against moisture, UV, fumes, and fresh or salt water, while allowing water vapor to escape the structure through its breathable film.

Tuff-Coat wall coating is low-fading and hides stains and discolorations. It is alkali-resistant, and provides a washable surface. Tuff-Coat wall coating is available in both a smooth and textured finish. Its low-odor formula meets the VOC regulatory requirements of all 50 states. The smooth and textured versions can be applied by brush or roller; the smooth version can also be sprayed.

Tuff-Coat high-build wall coating has a dry-film thickness of 10 to 20 mils. The heavy build is primarily due to embedded polymers, which allow for a higher solid content without subsequent cracking or blistering of the coating. With a tensile strength as high as 160 psi and an elongation factor as high as 585 percent, for the smooth version, Tuff-Coat wall coatings provide durable protection and will not peel, chip, blister or crack when applied on properly prepared surfaces.

According to Garland product manager, Tom Stuewe, “Most coating failures on concrete buildings are caused by using the wrong coating material, for example, using a coating that is not alkali tolerant or using paint instead of a high-performance coating. Tuff-Coat is the ideal high-performance solution for masonry walls, damp-proofing the masonry surface while bridging hairline cracks. When used in conjunction with a soft polyester reinforcement, it’s a virtually bulletproof damp-proofing system. As an added benefit, Tuff-Coat’s reflective surface help reduce surface temperatures.”

The Garland Company, Inc. is a worldwide leader of quality, high-performance roofing and building maintenance systems for the commercial, industrial and institutional markets. For over 100 years, Garland has continually developed unique product and service offerings that raise industry standards of performance in order to meet the technical performance requirements of a wide range of challenging damp-proofing applications throughout the world. Its 200 local representatives are strategically positioned throughout the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom to provide integrated product and service solutions for single and multi-property facilities. The Garland Company, Inc., headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, is an ISO 9001:2008 certified company.

For a free inspection or for more information, visit www.garlandco.com or call toll-free to be connected with your local Garland representative at 1 800 321 9336.

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Construction and Architecture Groups Urge President, Congress to Adopt Measures to Boost Design and Construction Work

On Eve of Obama’s Infrastructure Initiative, American Institute of Architects and the Associated General Contractors of America Unite to Promote Design and Construction

The American Institute of Architects (AIA), the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce today issued a joint statement urging policy makers to take immediate steps to create jobs in the design and construction industry.

You can see this press release online here:
http://www.aia.org/press/releases/AIAB090844

On the eve of the Obama Administration’s major jobs initiative, the AIA and AGC, which together represent nearly 110,000 architects and general contractors, said the effort is designed to highlight how vital the design and construction industry is to the health of the entire economy. The industry employs more than 5 million people and has suffered from unemployment of one and one-half to two times the national average over the last three years.

“It is no secret that this economic crisis has been devastating to our communities, our country, and our profession,” states AIA President Clark Manus, FAIA. “The AIA believes that policy makers must enact key pieces of legislation that focus on the built environment.”

http://www.aia.org/advocacy/federal/index.htm

“The value of construction put in place each year equals between five and eight percent of annual GDP,” notes Kermit Baker, the AIA’s chief economist. “The goods that this industry provides are the buildings and infrastructure that define our built environment and provide the foundation for a modern, developed nation.”

"The devastating problems facing the construction industry are crippling our broader economy," said Stephen Sandherr, the chief executive officer of the Associated General Contractors of America. "You can't fix our economy until you fix the construction industry". Sandherr added that policy makers should act on the proposals outlined in the association's construction industry recovery plan, Build Now for the Future.

“Investments in transportation and water infrastructure, schools and hospitals not only create jobs immediately in the design, construction and manufacturing sectors, but these investments also create assets that improve productivity and quality of life for decades in the future,” said Ken Simonson, chief economist for the construction association. “Similarly, allowing these assets to deteriorate costs the economy dearly, and makes future construction more expensive.”

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. Members adhere to a code of ethics and professional conduct to ensure the highest standards in professional practice. Embracing their responsibility to serve society, AIA members engage civic and government leaders and the public in helping find needed solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation and world. Visit
www.aia.org.

About the AGC
The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) is the leading association for the construction industry. Founded in 1918 at the express request of President Woodrow Wilson, AGC represents more than 33,000 firms in nearly 100 chapters throughout the United States. Among the association’s members are approximately 7,500 of the nation’s leading general contractors, more than 12,500 specialty contractors, and more than 13,000 material suppliers and service providers to the construction industry. These firms engage in the construction of buildings, shopping centers, factories, industrial facilities, warehouses, highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, waterworks facilities, waste treatment facilities, dams, hospitals, water conservation projects, defense facilities, multi-family housing projects, municipal utilities and other improvements to real property. AGC members play a powerful role in sustaining economic growth, in addition to producing structures that add to productivity and the nation's quality of life. AGC is truly the "voice and choice" of the construction industry.

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PPG To Sponsor Design Competition For Bath Enclosures
BEMA Design Awards winners to be announced in Atlanta, Sept.12-14

Industries (NYSE: PPG), the manufacturer of CLARVISTA(TM) shower glass, announced that it will sponsor the Bath Enclosure Manufacturers Association’s (BEMA’s) 14th Annual Design Awards Competition. The yearly contest, which began in 1996, showcases innovation and excellence in the fast-growing field of glass enclosure design. Winners will be announced at The Glass, Window & Door Expo in Atlanta, Sept.12-14.

Clarvista glass is an innovative shower glass developed by PPG that, with regular maintenance, looks newer for a longer time than do other shower glass products. Designed for bath and shower enclosures in upscale homes and commercial spas and resorts, it features a proprietary coating that seals the glass surface, making it more resistant to corrosion caused by heat, humidity, soap and chemicals in household cleaning products. When used with STARPHIRE® glass by PPG, Clarvista glass offers superior clarity.

Starphire glass was featured in one of last year’s BEMA award-winning designs.

To learn more, or to order Clarvista glass product samples or literature, call 1-888-PPG-GLAS (774-4527) or visit
www.ppgclarvista.com.

About BEMA
The Bath Enclosure Manufacturers Association (BEMA) is a collaborative, international glass and glazing industry organization committed to the advancement of the manufacture, promotion, sales and safe installation of tub and shower enclosures.

PPG: BRINGING INNOVATION TO THE SURFACE.™

PPG Industries' vision is to continue to be the world’s leading coatings and specialty products company. Through leadership in innovation, sustainability and color, PPG helps customers in industrial, transportation, consumer products, and construction markets and after markets to enhance more surfaces in more ways than does any other company. Founded in 1883, PPG has global headquarters in Pittsburgh and operates in more than 60 countries around the world. Sales in 2010 were $13.4 billion. PPG shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange (symbol: PPG). For more information, visit
www.ppg.com.

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FMI Releases NRCI for the Third Quarter 2011
Nonresidential Construction Index—Recovery Takes a Step Backwards

FMI (
www.fminet.com), the largest provider of management consulting and investment banking to the engineering and construction industry, announces the release of its Nonresidential Construction Index (NRCI) report for the third quarter of 2011.

The NRCI slipped from 58.6 to a still positive 52.4 for the third quarter of 2011. Note that the survey for the third quarter NRCI closed the week before the latest stock market slide, but the uncertainty in the markets is reflected in the panelists’ responses.

Most components of the NRCI are down this quarter as backlogs slipped again from nine months back to just eight months. After setting the question aside for two quarters, we asked again about cancellations and delays due to owner financing difficulties. The response wasn’t much different from that received in the fourth quarter of 2010, except panelists noted delays weren’t caused as much by lack of financing now as uncertainty in the market and difficulties of getting projects approved and off the ground. Fewer cancellations were due more to not getting projects started as well as contractors taking more care to assure project financing was in place before the project got started.

For our current issues questions this quarter, we asked about the connection between residential construction and nonresidential construction as well as expected changes in infrastructure construction due to expected government budget cuts. Most panelists said there is still a bond between nonresidential construction activity and residential, but the ties might be weaker than in the past. Nonetheless, few expect there to be a strong recovery for nonresidential construction until residential gets more traction, especially for commercial construction.

Infrastructure construction is expected to pull back in all levels of government. Many panelists noted that this was probably necessary, but also amounted to lack of governments to recognize the potential benefits that good infrastructure projects can have on the future of the economy and jobs. If there was one concern reflected in the results this quarter, it was the stifling excess of uncertainty echoed in governments’ lack of direction, stifling owners’ decisions to invest in capital improvements and infrastructure.

To download a copy of the full report click here. For reprint permission or to schedule an interview with the author, please contact Sarah Vizard at 919.785.9221 or
svizard@fminet.com.

About FMI:
FMI is the largest provider of management consulting, investment banking and research to the engineering and construction industry. We work in all segments of the industry providing clients with value-added business solutions, including:

• Strategy Development
• Market Research and Business Development
• Leadership and Talent Development
• Project and Process Improvement
• Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Consulting

Founded by Dr. Emol A. Fails in 1953, FMI has professionals in offices across the U.S. FMI delivers innovative, customized solutions to contractors; construction materials producers; manufacturers and suppliers of building materials and equipment; owners and developers; engineers and architects; utilities; and construction industry trade associations. FMI is an advisor you can count on to build and maintain a successful business, from your leadership to your site managers. For more information, visit www.fminet.com.

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Hacker Industries, Inc. Hires New Regional Sales And Marketing Manager

Hacker Industries, Inc., a leading supplier of cementitious floor underlayments and acoustical products, is pleased to announce the appointment of Nick Quercetti, Jr. as Regional Sales and Marketing Manager based in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area. In his new role, Mr. Quercetti will actively support the sale of Hacker branded products and Hacker Industries’ network of Licensed Applicators in the Midwest and Northeast.

“We are excited to bring Nick on board our team at Hacker Industries,” says Vice President Kerry Hacker of Hacker Industries, Inc. “With Nick’s extensive marketing and sales experience and industry expertise, we are confident he will be a tremendous asset to our company. We also believe he will be a valuable resource to our current and future applicators.”

Mr. Quercetti joins the Hacker Industries Inc.’s management team with more than 30 years of business development experience, which includes owning and operating several application and marketing businesses in the floor underlayment industry. An innovative team leader, he has also played an integral role in the growth and development of several companies in a variety of industries.

“The opportunity to join Hacker Industries, Inc. allows me to work with a dynamic organization that offers a full breath of cementitious floor underlayments and acoustical control products, unequaled in the industry,” says Quercetti.“ The team at Hacker Industries, Inc. has a proven track record and commitment to delivering the highest quality products, by the most experienced Licensed Applicators in the floor underlayment industry.”

About Hacker Industries, Inc.
Since 1983, Hacker Industries, Inc. has supplied value to the construction industry by delivering the highest quality cementitious floor underlayments. The full line of FIRM-FILL® Gypsum Concretes
<http://www.hackerindustries.com/products.htm> , GYP-SPAN® Radiant <http://www.hackerindustries.com/gypspan.htm> , TRUE-SCREED® CLU <http://www.hackerindustries.com/true-screed.htm> and sound control products provide a solution to the most demanding project specifications. Hacker Floor Underlayments are listed in over 89 UL floor/ceiling assembly systems designed to achieve excellent STC and IIC sound ratings.

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Construction Employment Increases In 26 States And The District Of Columbia In July And During The Past 12 Months As Overall Employment Remains Stagnant

Texas and North Dakota Led Yearly Pickup; Florida and Georgia Experienced the Worst Job Losses; Utah and California Had the Largest Monthly Gains; Texas and Alaska Had the Worst Monthly Losses

Construction employment increased in 26 states between July 2010 and July 2011 and during the past month, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America of state employment data released by the Labor Department. The relatively even split between states adding and losing construction jobs was to be expected given the fact that overall employment in construction was relatively stagnant in July, association officials noted.

“When it comes to construction employment, for every state adding jobs there is another one shedding just as many or more,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “The fact that this industry is breaking even when it comes to construction employment is little comfort for many unemployed construction workers.”

The largest percentage increase in construction employment during the past year took place in North Dakota (19.0 percent, 4,000 jobs). Other states experiencing large percentage increases included Illinois (8.2 percent, 15,400 jobs); Michigan (8.0 percent, 9,600 jobs) and Oklahoma (6.0 percent, 4,000 jobs). Texas added the most jobs during the past year (23,800 jobs, 4.2 percent); followed by Illinois; California (13,100 jobs, 2.4 percent) and Michigan.

Among the 23 states that lost construction jobs during the past 12 months, Georgia (-9.9 percent, -14,800 jobs) had the highest percentage decline. Other states with large percentage declines included New Mexico (-8.9 percent, -3,900 jobs); Colorado (-8.6 percent, -9,800 jobs) and Idaho (-7.9 percent, -2,400 jobs). Florida (-23,000 jobs, -6.5 percent) lost the most jobs followed by Georgia; Colorado and North Carolina (-6,300 jobs, -3.6 percent). Construction employment was unchanged for the year in Vermont.

Montana had the largest percentage increase (7.0 percent, 1,500 jobs) in construction jobs during the past month; followed by Utah (4.3 percent, 2,800 jobs); Arkansas (3.8 percent, 1,800 jobs) and Iowa (2.6 percent, 1,600 jobs). California (3,200 jobs, 0.6 percent) added the largest number of jobs; followed by Utah; Missouri (2,500 jobs, 2.4 percent) and Tennessee (2,400 jobs, 2.2 percent).

The largest percentage decline among the 24 states that lost construction jobs between June and July occurred in Alaska (-4.3 percent, -700 jobs); followed by Idaho (-3.8 percent, -1,100 jobs); Georgia (-2.8 percent, -3,900 jobs) and Minnesota (-2.3 percent, -2,000 jobs). The largest number of construction job losses over the month was in Texas (-6,000 jobs, -1.0 percent); followed by Florida (-5,800 jobs, -1.7 percent); Illinois (-4,300 jobs, -2.1 percent) and Georgia.

Association officials noted that contractors around the country were reporting that they have been forced to reduce staff because of cutbacks in many federally funded construction projects. They urged President Obama and Congress to focus on out-of-control entitlement spending instead of cutting construction and infrastructure spending. They also noted that unless Washington officials are willing to allow broken bridges and other neglected public structures to remain out of service, taxpayers would end up paying more to fix infrastructure than they would to maintain it now.

“What’s going on in Washington is killing us,” Andrew Koebel, senior vice president of San Antonio, Texas-based Kunz Construction told the San Antonio Business Journal.

View the state employment data by
rank and by state.

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EPA Decision To Withdraw Proposed Limit On Dirt In Stormwater Will Help Construction Industry Avoid Billions In New Costs

Agency’s Announcement that it is Delaying its Effort to Protect the Earth from Dirt Gives Temporary Relief for Struggling Contractors

The chief executive officer of the Associated General Contractors of America, Stephen E. Sandherr, issued the following statement in response to the decision by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to withdraw proposed “numeric limits” on the amount of dirt the agency will allow in stormwater from construction sites:

“The fact that the EPA recognizes the serious flaws in the data supporting its efforts to impose a rigid, one-size-fits all, limit on the amount of dirt in rainwater leaving construction sites is encouraging. Indeed, contractors are already required to take significant measures to ensure that dirt – clean, uncontaminated dirt – does not escape from project sites. Setting a specific limit on how much dirt should be in rainwater will only force contractors to spend billions more on new dirt-busting measures that may not work, expose firms to costly lawsuits from outside groups and put them at risk of receiving tens of thousands in daily fines.

“Unfortunately, the EPA is only seeking to delay imposing its new mud rule, instead of abandoning the idea all together. In other words, this administration remains committed to the idea that protecting the Earth from dirt is more important than protecting the economy from costly, prescriptive and questionable new regulatory measures.”

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Prices For Construction Services Rise In July As Contractors Are Finally Able To Charge More For Projects

Too Early to Tell Whether Construction Prices Will Keep Pace with Rising Materials Prices Given Declining Public Sector Demand for Construction, Weak Private Sector Demand

The amount contractors pay for construction materials and charge for completed projects both increased in July, as firms were finally able to charge more for work, according to an analysis of producer price index figures released today by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials said, however, that it was too early to tell whether contractors will continue to be able to raise prices in the face of declining public sector investments in construction.

“Contractors will have a hard time increasing, or even holding the line on bid levels if the federal government continues to cut investments in infrastructure and construction,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “That being said, anyone looking for a good deal for new construction should act now in case prices continue to increase.”

The index for new construction – what contractors charge for construction projects – increased between 1.0 and 1.3 percent in July and from 2.3 to 3.1 percent for the year, depending on building type. With the exception of school construction, the monthly increases are at their highest rate of growth in two years, and the annual increases for all types of new construction are all at two-year highs.

Sandherr noted that the producer price index for all construction materials increased by 0.3 percent in July and 8.9 percent over the past 12 months. Contractors got some relief, however, from rising diesel prices in July, as prices declined by 1.8 percent for the month, yet diesel prices are still 49.9 percent higher than a year ago. Meanwhile, prices for copper ores experienced the highest rate of increase in July, 7.0 percent, and are up 33.9 percent for the year.

Prices rose sharply in July for a number of other key materials, including copper and brass mill shapes (5.6 percent for July, 33.6 percent for the year); prepared asphalt and tar roofing and siding products (2.4 percent for the month, 4.8 percent for the year) and plastic resins and materials (2.1 percent for the month, 14.2 percent for the year).

Citing the fact that construction programs have already accounted for more than 50 percent of federal budget cuts for fiscal year 2012, association officials said declining public sector investments would make it hard for contractors to continue raising prices. “Deferring needed investments in the nation’s aging infrastructure will make it even harder for contractors to cope with rising materials prices and undermine the kind of private sector economic activity the industry is counting on to help it recover,” said Sandherr.

View the latest
producer price index tables for construction.

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New Laser-Guided Distance Measure Eliminates Unruly Tapes for Indoor Measuring

Calculated Industries, maker of the award-winning Construction Master® calculators, has developed the Laser Dimension Master II, an ultrasonic distance measuring device that measures up to 50 feet indoors and is accurate to 99.0%.

Ultrasonic measuring devices are much easier to use than old-fashioned roll-up tape measures. One person can make quick, accurate room measurements in seconds. Just press the button and aim the laser at the distant wall or surface you're measuring to, listen for the two beeps and the measurement is displayed in Feet-Inches or meters on the large backlit LCD display. Floor-to-ceiling measurements are just as easy, with no risk of injury on step stools or ladders. The Laser Dimension Master II is small (5 inches long), comes in a zipped protective cover, and easily fits in a hand, shirt-pocket or purse. The LDM II also has a built-in laser aimer/pointer.

The Laser Dimension Master II is ideal for real estate agents, interior decorators, appraisers, estimators, contractors/builders, designers, remodelers, do-it-yourselfers, painters -- anyone who needs accurate indoor room measurements up to 50 feet.

MSRP for the Laser Dimension Master II is $39.95. For more information, call 1-800-854-8075 or go to
http://www.calculated.com.

Founded in 1978, Calculated Industries is the country's leading manufacturer of professional trade calculators and digital measuring tools. CI products are designed and tech-supported in Carson City, Nevada.

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Court Dismisses Lawsuit Against U.S. Green Building Council

The United States District Court in New York City today dismissed in its entirety the lawsuit brought against the U.S. Green Building Council by Henry Gifford and others, holding that none of the plaintiffs in the action had alleged or could allege any legal interest to be protected by their lawsuit.

The Court dismissed the federal false advertising claims “with prejudice,” meaning that the Court’s dismissal of those claims is final and that plaintiffs are barred from filing a new suit based on those claims. The Court’s ruling simultaneously dismissed plaintiffs’ state law false advertising claims.

“This successful outcome is a testament to our process and to our commitment to do what is right,” said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chair, USGBC. “Thousands of people around the world use LEED because it’s a proven tool for achieving our mission of transforming the built environment. We’re grateful that the Court found in our favor so we can give our full attention to the important work before us.”

About U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC)
The U.S. Green Building Council is committed to a prosperous and sustainable future for our nation through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings. With a community comprising 79 local affiliates, nearly 16,000 member organizations, and more than 168,000 LEED Professional Credential holders, USGBC is the driving force of an industry that is projected to contribute $554 billion to the U.S. GDP from 2009-2013. USGBC leads an unlikely diverse constituency of builders and environmentalists, corporations and nonprofit organizations, elected officials and concerned citizens, and teachers and students. For more information visit
www.usgbc.org.

LEED
The U.S. Green Building Council's LEED green building certification system is the foremost program for the design, construction and operation of green buildings. Over 40,000 projects are currently participating in the commercial and institutional LEED rating systems, comprising more than 8.3 billion square feet of construction space in all 50 states and 120 countries. In addition, more than 12,000 homes have been certified under the LEED for Homes rating system, with nearly 58,000 more homes registered. By using less energy, LEED-certified buildings save money for families, businesses and taxpayers; reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and contribute to a healthier environment for residents, workers and the larger community.

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Architecture Billings Index Drops for Fifth Straight Month
Falls at the steepest rate in a year and a half

Following a drop of almost a full point in June, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) fell again by more than a point in July. 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 July ABI score was 45.1 – the steepest decline in billings since February 2010 – after a reading of 46.3 the previous month. This score reflects a continued decrease in demand for design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 53.7, a considerable slowdown from a reading of 58.1in June.

“Business conditions for architecture firms have turned down sharply,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “Late last year and in the first couple of months of this year there was a sense that we were slowly pulling out of the downturn, but now the concern is that we haven’t yet reached the bottom of the cycle. Current high levels of uncertainly in the economy don’t point to an immediate turnaround.”

Key July ABI highlights:
  • Regional averages: South (46.9), West (46.6), Northeast (46.4), Midwest (44.9)
  • Sector index breakdown: commercial / industrial (47.9), institutional (47.2), mixed practice (47.1), multi-family residential (44.7)
  • Project inquiries index: 53.7

About the AIA Architecture Billings Index
The Architecture Billings Index (ABI), produced by the AIA Economics & Market Research Group, is a leading economic indicator that provides an approximately nine to twelve month glimpse into the future of nonresidential construction spending activity. The diffusion indexes contained in the full report are derived from a monthly “Work-on-the-Boards” survey that is 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 as compared to the prior month, and the results are then compiled into the ABI. These monthly results are also seasonally adjusted to allow for comparison to prior months. The monthly ABI index scores are centered around 50, with scores above 50 indicating an aggregate increase in billings, and scores below 50 indicating a decline. The regional and sector data are formulated using a three-month moving average. More information on the ABI and the analysis of its relationship to construction activity can be found in the White Paper Architecture Billings as a Leading Indicator of Construction: Analysis of the Relationship Between a Billings Index and Construction Spending on the AIA web site.

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. Members adhere to a code of ethics and professional conduct to ensure the highest standards in professional practice. Embracing their responsibility to serve society, AIA members engage civic and government leaders and the public in helping find needed solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation and world. Visit
www.aia.org.

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Cumming Announces San Diego as National Corporate Headquarters
Project and Cost Management Firm Makes Announcement after Fifteen Years of Worldwide Success

Cumming, with 18 locations across the United States and experience in several international markets, has proudly announced that San Diego will be officially recognized as the company's corporate headquarters. The announcement comes on the heels of Cumming marking its fifteenth year of business in providing industry-leading project and cost management work in the education, healthcare, hospitality, and gaming sectors.

Cumming established Orange County as their home base in 1996 and after three years ventured south to create an office in San Diego. The San Diego office has since grown to one of the largest offices in the company and includes key company leaders President Michael Jensen, Chief Operating Officer Peter Heald, and Executive Vice President Derek Hutchison.

"San Diego is the right place for our business to develop and flourish," said Jensen. "We're honored to call San Diego our home-base and we are excited to welcome this milestone as we recognize the potential San Diego offers our company and our team members."

Cumming relocated their San Diego office in March 2011 in anticipation of upcoming growth. The move to Carmel Corporate Plaza's 8,500 square foot space has proven valuable for the company in its mission to provide an unparalleled culture of client focus, involved team members, integrity, and quality, through a larger and more open workspace.

"We identified key advantages in San Diego and recognized that large-scale growth was on the horizon," said Heald. "We are diversifying our team and expanding at a rapid pace. San Diego has been great to us and we are thrilled to call San Diego our home."

Cumming works on thousands of projects across the nation with many projects located in San Diego. Some of the local projects include:
  • Grossmont Union High School District
  • Chula Vista Elementary School District
  • San Diego Community College District
  • Mesa College
  • Doubletree Hotel in Mission Valley-San Diego
  • Lindbergh Field Expansion
  • UCSD Medical Center in Hillcrest and Thornton Hospital in La Jolla
  • Sharp Grossmont Hospital
  • Scripps Mercy Hospital in Chula Vista

The Cumming team has long anticipated and planned for a strong resurgence in San Diego. The wave of new development speaks to the area's adaptability and future potential into 2012 and beyond.

For more information on Cumming, please contact Nikki Jimenez at
nikki.jimenez@focuscominc.com or 619-233-7778.

About Cumming:
Cumming, headquartered in San Diego, California, is an international project and cost management firm. Since opening for business in 1996, Cumming has provided efficient and cost-effective solutions to ensure that projects in the education, healthcare, hospitality and gaming sectors are executed on time and within budget. Cumming provides a solutions-oriented suite of services that specifically address our clients' unique challenges, thus enabling them to achieve extraordinary results. For more information, please visit
www.ccorpusa.com

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Limitless Computing Launches First Mobile Augmented Reality App for Google SketchUp
SightSpace 3D Revolutionizes AEC Industry

Limitless Computing Inc.®, the company that provides faster rendering with cloud computing for the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry, today announced its newest product, SightSpace 3D, the first and only mobile Augmented Reality application for Google SketchUp™. It is available now on the Apple App Store.

SightSpace 3D enables mobile viewing of Google SketchUp designs on the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. Users of the iPad 2 or iPhone 4 can access SightSpace 3D’s Augmented Reality capabilities, which overlay digital models over existing physical environments, bringing models to life.

“With SightSpace 3D, mobile users and their clients can actually see projects prior to construction without having to perform complicated rendering manipulations,” commented Dr. Errin T. Weller, president, Limitless Computing Inc. “Existing environments, like landscapes and trees, can be easily incorporated into the view, in real time. SightSpace 3D can also be utilized by interior designers to view furniture, art, flooring, and other components long before building begins.”

Quotes from Beta Users
“SightSpace 3D is a great addition to our design and sales workflow. Sightspace 3D is not just an app but a deal maker.”
  • Tim Sharples, partner, Cedar Nursery

“SightSpace 3D is the ‘missing link’ in the project viewing experience.”

  • Mike Lucey, architect, M.D. SketchUcation

About SightSpace 3D
Google SketchUp and Google SketchUp Pro users can use SightSpace 3D to:

  • Experience the most advanced mobile Augmented Reality engine available
           - Augmented Reality available on iPad 2 and iPhone 4
           - Display geo-located models in real-time, to scale in the real world without markers.
  • View Google SketchUp models with a high performance 3D engine
           - Annotate models, bookmark views, take and display photos in a slideshow, share notes and photos, and set custom backgrounds
  • Make your model mobile
           - Place .KMZ files exported from Google SketchUp on your device
           - Preserve the privacy and security of your model
           - Download files from the Google 3D Warehouse™ and open from email and Dropbox

About Limitless Computing
Limitless Computing Inc. is a Boulder CO-based company that has been providing cloud computing since 2006 and specializes in the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry. In 2009, Limitless Computing launched Limitless Rendering, an online rendering service for Autodesk Revit Architecture, followed by the CloudRender add-in. These cloud rendering services provide photorealistic images and walkthroughs to architects and interior designers while reducing times and maintaining quality. Limitless Computing brought Augmented Reality to Google SketchUp in 2011 with the release of the mobile application SightSpace 3D for mobile Apple devices. Follow @LimitlessComp on Twitter.
www.LimitlessComputing.com.

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2Q Sales Reflect Strength of Miami Housing Market

In the Miami Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), sales of homes – including existing single-family homes and condominiums – increased 49 percent, from 4,557 to 6,768, in the second quarter of 2011 and 15 percent from the previous quarter according to the 24,000-member MIAMI Association of REALTORS and the Southeast Florida Multiple Listing Service. This rise marks 12 consecutive quarters, since the third quarter of 2008, of increasing sales.

The Miami MSA posted the highest sales increases of any major metro area for condominiums and of all single-family home markets in Florida. Miami sales of existing single-family homes increased 31 percent compared to a year earlier. The sales of existing condominiums in Miami spiked 62 percent compared to the second quarter of 2010. Statewide sales of single-family homes increased 1 percent while that of condominiums increased 14 percent. Nationally, total state existing-home sales, including single-family and condo, declined 5.4 percent compared to the first quarter of 2011 and were 12.7 percent below the second quarter of 2010.

“Miami sales have increased consistently for nearly three years,” said Jack H. Levine, 2011 Chairman of the Board of the MIAMI Association of REALTORS. “Residential sales have exceeded last year’s levels, which were boosted by the homebuyer tax credit. International buyers and investors continue to fuel the Miami real estate market unlike any other in the U.S., resulting in rapid inventory absorption.”

Median Sales Prices
Short sales and foreclosures continue to have an impact on median and average sales prices for both single-family homes and condominiums especially in some areas of the county.

The median sales price for single-family homes in Miami-Dade dropped only nine percent to $178,800 in the first quarter. The median sales price for condominiums dropped six percent to $119,800. Statewide, median sales prices dropped five percent to $134,600 for single-family homes and two percent to $94,700 for condominiums. The national median existing single-family home price was $171,900 in the second quarter, down 2.8 percent from $176,800 in the second quarter of 2010.

“Current Miami sales levels are reflective of a healthy and balanced marketplace,” said MIAMI Association of REALTORS Residential President Ralph E. De Martino. “While distressed sales are still impacting home prices to some degree, many local areas and buildings throughout South Florida have been experiencing rising values for quite some time. We also continue to see extreme demand for bank-owned properties, resulting in multiple offers and a dwindling supply.”

Inventory Levels
Total housing inventory in Miami-Dade County has decreased 39 percent from a year ago and 13 percent from the previous quarter. Since August 2008, when home sales began to rise, local inventory has declined 64 percent.

About the MIAMI Association of REALTORS
The MIAMI Association of REALTORS was chartered by the National Association of Realtors in 1920 and is celebrating over 90 years of service to Realtors, the buying and selling public, and the communities in South Florida. Comprised of four organizations, the Residential Association, the Realtors Commercial Alliance, the Broward County Board of Governors, and the International Council, it represents more than 24,000 real estate professionals in all aspects of real estate sales, marketing, and brokerage. It is the largest local association in the National Association of Realtors, and has partnerships with more than 60 international organizations worldwide. MIAMI’s official website is
www.miamire.com.

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NCARB President’s Medal Awarded to Six For Their Service to the Public and the Profession

The highest honor bestowed upon architectural professionals by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB)—the President’s Medal for Distinguished Service—went to six deserving individuals at the organization’s 2011 Annual Meeting and Conference, held in Washington, DC.

In announcing the recipients, 2010-2011 NCARB President Kenneth J. Naylor, AIA, NCARB, Hon. RAIC, praised the medal winners for their commitment to the architectural profession and to the organization whose mission is to protect the public’s health, safety, and welfare by leading the regulation of standards for licensure and credentialing.

The Council as a whole recognized Mark I. Aspaas, AIA, NCARB by electing him to the leadership positions of secretary and treasurer on the Council Board of Directors from 2008-2010. For over 12 year, he was a dedicated member of the South Dakota Board of Technical Professions, serving as chair 1995 and 2001. Aspaas first volunteered to grade the Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®) in 1991, and then continuously volunteered for NCARB committees from 1995-2010. His contributions to the Council include chairing the Committee on Examination, the ARE Subcommittee, the Alternate Items Task Force, and co-chairing the Intern Development Program Advisory Committee (IDPAC). He was elected chair of Central States Conference (Region 5) from 2003-2005 and director from 2006-2008.

David Cronrath, AIA, has been a dedicated volunteer to the ARE since 1999. He served on the Committee on Examination as well as on several related task forces. He guided the ARE Grading Subcommittee as chair from 2004-2007, and was then appointed chair of the ARE Research and Development Subcommittee in 2008. As chair, he has been instrumental in the development of future enhancements for the ARE. Cronrath is currently the dean of the School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation at the University of Maryland.

During her 14 years as NCARB’s executive vice president and chief executive officer, Lenore M. Lucey, FAIA, CAE, led the Council through significant improvements that transformed programs, technological systems, customer and member service, and collateral relationships. She led an all-encompassing Business Process Re-engineering of the Council’s internal processes that produced significant, positive change and expansion in service to our Members and customers. She has been both an important voice and a strong advocate for architectural licensure, the NCARB Certificate, and the Council throughout her considerable career.

George H. Miller, FAIA, served as the 2010 president of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). Through his leadership, he helped build a true partnership between NCARB and the AIA and worked to advance issues that were important to both organizations throughout his term. He co-chaired the IDPAC from 2006-2008 and served as an observer on NCARB’s Committee on Procedures and Documents. Professionally, he has been a principal at the world-renowned Pei Cobb Freed and Partners for over 30 years.

For over 16 years Zerrin Sayar has been an integral part of the NCARB’s staff based in Washington, DC. She began in the examination department during the transition from paper and pencil to the computer delivered format. In 2002, she earned the Professional in Human Resources certificate and was promoted to assistant director of human resources. In 2007, she was promoted to the director of administration were she oversees the accounting and human resources departments. Under her direction, the Council launched the electronic Experience Verification Reporting (e-EVR) system for documenting completion of the IDP in 2008.

During the AIA and RAIC conventions, President’s Medals were awarded to Jose Luis Cortes Delgado and Andre Bourassa. Both received their medals for their dedicated service to the profession, and leadership of their respective organizations—Federacion de Collegios de Arquitectos de la República Mexicana (FCARM) and Canadian Architectural Licensing Authorities (CALA).

About NCARB
The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards’ membership is made up of the architectural registration boards of all 50 states as well as those of the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. NCARB assists its member registration boards in carrying out their duties and provides a certification program for individual architects.

NCARB protects the public health, safety, and welfare by leading the regulation of the practice of architecture through the development and application of standards for licensure and credentialing of architects. In order to achieve these goals, the Council develops and recommends standards to be required of an applicant for architectural registration; develops and recommends standards regulating the practice of architecture; provides to Member Boards a process for certifying the qualifications of an architect for registration; and represents the interests of Member Boards before public and private agencies. NCARB has established reciprocal registration for architects in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

Visit:
www.ncarb.org

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