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TradeWinds

Industry News List

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Construction Materials Prices Spike In March Even As The Prices Contractors Charge To Complete Work Remains Stagnant

Construction Association Cites Wide Array of Materials with Price Increases, Including for Diesel, Gypsum and Aluminum Mill Shapes; Notes Rising Costs, Weak Demand May Drive Construction Firms out of Business

The cost of construction materials jumped in March, even as the amount contractors charge to complete projects remained stagnant, according to an analysis of producer price index figures released today by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials noted that the spike in materials prices continues despite relatively weak overall demand for construction, and cautioned that current market conditions could force some firms out of business.

“Price shocks for a number of key construction materials may have caught contractors by surprise in a period when overall inflation remained very moderate,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Even though the increases are generally small compared to the high levels of last March, contractors have not been able to pass along these new costs, putting firms at risk of insolvency.”

Simonson cited increases in March for diesel fuel, up 3.5 percent for the month after rising 3.0 percent in February; gypsum products such as wallboard, up 2.2 percent after increasing 5.1 percent in February and 5.9 percent in January; and aluminum mill shapes, up 1.2 percent after a 1.9 percent rise the previous month, as particular problems. Overall, the producer price index for construction materials prices increased by 1.4 percent between February and March, following a rise of 0.9 percent from January to February.

Even as materials prices spiked in March, the amount contractors are able to charge for completed projects remained relatively flat, the construction economist added. He noted, for example, that the amount contractors charge for new industrial building construction declined by 0.2 percent between February and March. Meanwhile, the amount contractors charge for new warehouse construction rose by only 0.2 percent, for new school construction rose by 0.1 percent and for new office construction was up by only 0.2 percent.

Association officials said construction firms have been coping with over four years of relatively weak market conditions, driven in particular by declining public sector demand for construction and little demand for new housing construction. They added that conditions were being made more difficult because just as many stimulus and Base Realignment and Closure projects were wrapping up, Congress has failed to enact a number of long-term infrastructure investments programs for highway, transit, airport and water maintenance.

"Contractors are paying peak market prices for construction materials even as they charge bottom market prices to build new structures," said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association's chief executive officer. "Needless to say, many firms won't be doing much hiring if they have to continue to cope with higher costs, less income and little demand for work."

View March PPI tables.

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Positive Conditions Persist for Architecture Billings Index
Greatest demand for commercial building projects

The commercial sector continues to lead the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) which has remained in positive territory for the fifth consecutive 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 March ABI score was 50.4, following a mark of 51.0 in February. This score reflects a slight increase in demand for design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 56.6, down from mark of 63.4 the previous month.

“We are starting to hear more about improving conditions in the marketplace, with a greater sense of optimism that there will be greater demand for design services,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “But that is not across the board and there are still a number of architecture firms struggling so progress is likely to be measured in inches rather than miles for the next few months.”

Key March ABI highlights:
  • Regional averages: Midwest (54.1), Northeast (53.9), South (50.1), West (46.6)
  • Sector index breakdown: commercial / industrial (56.0), multi-family residential (51.9), institutional (47.7), mixed practice (47.2)
  • Project inquiries index: 56.6

The regional and sector categories are calculated as a 3-month moving average, whereas the index and inquiries are monthly numbers.

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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Harvard Jolly Architecture expands healthcare design practice in Central Florida

Harvard Jolly Architecture announces the expansion of its healthcare design practice with senior vice president, Alex F. Gonzalez, AIA, joining the firm's Orlando office where he will serve as director of healthcare design for Central Florida.

Gonzalez joined Harvard Jolly in 1982 and has led many of the designs of large-scale projects throughout the state, including major expansions at Winter Haven Hospital and Munroe Regional Medical Center. A graduate of the New Jersey School of Architecture, he has served on his local AIA chapter’s Academy of Architecture for Health steering committee and is a member of the Leadership Orlando class of 2012-2013.

Harvard Jolly has provided architectural services to the healthcare industry since 1946 serving both not-for-profit and for-profit clients. The firm's clients include BayCare Health System, Tenet Healthcare, Baptist Health South Florida, Florida Department of Veterans Affairs, and Tampa General Hospital.​ Harvard Jolly's portfolio ranges from community clinics to full-service hospitals, including facilities for: acute care, outpatient care, skilled nursing, assisted living, behavioral health, and medical office buildings.

"We're excited to have Alex join the Orlando office as we continue our expansion of services in the region," said Jeffrey Cobble, AIA, president of Harvard Jolly. "With the continued investment in healthcare and life sciences in Central Florida, Alex's presence will provide the level of expertise and service our healthcare clients have come to expect from Harvard Jolly."

About Harvard Jolly Architecture
Harvard Jolly Architecture is one of the largest architectural firms in Florida. Founded in 1938 by William B. Harvard, Sr., the firm has seven full-service offices located in Orlando, Tampa, St. Petersburg, Jacksonville, Ft. Lauderdale, Ft. Myers, and Punta Gorda. Harvard Jolly offers services in architecture, interior design and landscape architecture with expertise in healthcare, education, civic and library design. Additional information about Harvard Jolly can be found online at www.harvardjolly.com.

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Phipps Center for Sustainable Landscapes to feature PPG glass
Energy-efficient glass to help building become one of first certified ‘living’ buildings

PPG Industries (NYSE:PPG) announced that the Center for Sustainable Landscapes being constructed on the campus of Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh will include SUNGATE® 500 STARPHIRE® glass and SOLARBAN® 60 Starphire glass by PPG. The two advanced architectural glasses were selected for characteristics that will help the center become one of the world’s first certified “living” buildings.

Richard Piancentini, Phipps executive director, said the center is designed to meet or exceed the stringent standards of the Living Building Challenge, an advocacy and certification program that encourages architects, designers, specifiers and building owners to achieve the highest possible standards of sustainable design. He said glass selection was critical to helping the center meet rigorous standards for energy use and human health and comfort.

“PPG glass was specified for the project because we wanted a low-e (low-emissivity), high-performing glass that provides state-of-the-art solar and thermal control and energy efficiency, while admitting maximum daylight,” Piancentini said.

Chris Minnerly, AIA, LEED AP, principal of The Design Alliance Architects, who specified the glass, concurred. “One of the key aspects of glass selection is to balance the solar heat gain coefficient against the visible light transmittance to get the best overall performance,” he said. “The glass assemblies have to have the best UV transmission in certain light spectrums to facilitate the growth of plants.”

Minnerly specified two triple-pane insulating glass units (IGUs) to meet performance requirements in different parts of the building. Sungate 500 Starphire glass will be installed above the sunshade and light shelves, while Solarban 60 Starphire glass will be used below.

When combined with Starphire glass in the specified triple-pane IGU, Sungate 500 glass has visible light transmittance (VLT) of 63 percent and a solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) of 0.51, which yields a light-to-solar gain (LSG) ratio of 1.24. Solarban 60 Starphire glass in the same configuration generates an LSG ratio of 1.90 based on VLT of 61 percent and a SHGC of 0.32. Winter nighttime U-values for both configurations are less than 0.20.

The Living Building Challenge was developed in 2005 by the Cascadia Region Green Building Council and requires buildings to generate all of their own energy with renewable resources, to capture and treat all of their water on-site and to use resources efficiently and for maximum beauty. The certification program, which is now administered by the International Future Living Institute, measures a building’s performance in seven areas, including site, water, energy, health, materials, equity and beauty. So far, only three projects have achieved “living” status by meeting all 20 imperatives established by the Living Building Challenge.

For more information on Sungate 500, Solarban 60 and Starphire glasses by PPG, visit www.ppgideascapes.com or call 1-888-PPG-IDEA (774-4332).

About Phipps Conservatory
Built by Henry W. Phipps in 1893 at the height of Pittsburgh’s industrial prowess, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens has evolved from the nation’s first teaching conservatory to a distinguished eco-champion among America’s 500 public gardens. The facility’s mission is to inspire and educate visitors with the beauty and importance of plants; to advance sustainability and worldwide biodiversity through action and research; and to celebrate its historic glasshouse. For more information, call 412-622-6914 or visit phipps.conservatory.org.

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 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 2011 were $14.9 billion. PPG shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange (symbol: PPG). For more information, visit www.ppg.com.

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Beck Technology’s launches Macro BIM solutions in Brazil at FEICON 2012

Beck Technology’s Chief Operating Officer Stewart Carroll launched its macro BIM software DProfiler™ in Brazil with a presentation at FEICON 2012, Latin America’s largest construction event.

In January 2012, Beck Technology and PINI, a Brazilian software and data reseller, announced a comprehensive software and services partnership agreement for Brazil. The agreement between Beck Technology, creators of the Macro BIM product, DProfiler™ and PINI, the largest domestic data and software reseller to the AEC industry in Brazil, gives PINI exclusive distribution rights in Brazil and expands the geographic availability of DProfiler™.

Brazil’s construction market, which has been growing dramatically for ten years, is fueled even further by the country’s role as host of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Analysts at Frost & Sullivan report that the 2014 FIFA World Cup alone will bring an additional R$142.39 billion to the country from 2010 to 2014, generating 3.63 million jobs per year and R$63.48 billion of income for the population.

Stewart Carroll, COO of Beck Technology said, "We’ve been piloting both software and professional services over the past year in this vibrant market. Based on the extraordinary response, we are very excited about the opportunities in Brazil and our partnership with PINI. PINI has been the construction data and software leader in the Brazilian market for many years - Pedro Paulo and the PINI team is a great fit for us. DProfiler™ combined with Volare™ construction cost data and PINI’s experienced sales network has us primed for success in 2012 and beyond."

The agreement between Beck Technology and PINI also includes the firms collaborating on professional services to meet the increasing demand for BIM knowledge and expertise. Pedro Paulo Machado, GM of PINI stated that, "DProfiler is the only product positioned to incorporate cost, schedule and scope in the early phases of a project’s life cycle and complements downstream BIM offerings that we and other vendors are already make available in the Brazilian market. Through our strategic partnership with Beck, PINI will expand the offer range of BIM software and service solutions, aiming to become the first provider of end-to-end BIM software and services to the design and construction industry in Brazil, which we believe will be well received in Brazil."

About PINI
PINI is the largest and most important technical publisher of the AEC segment in Brazil, meeting the needs of architects, engineers, constructors, planners, designers, buyers and developers; offering magazines, websites, events, software, technical books and specialized engineering services. Pini also currently represents BIM solutions in Brazil including Tekla Structures (Offshore), Graphisoft ArchiCAD, and now Beck Technology’s DProfiler. For more information on PINI visit: http://www.piniweb.com.br/

About Beck Technology
Beck Technology is a leader in building information modeling (BIM) research, development, consulting and related services serving architects, engineers, contractors and owners worldwide. Beck Technology's flagship software, DProfiler™, is changing early building planning by enabling highly accurate conceptual estimating through integrating 3D modeling and real-time cost data. DProfiler™ facilitates collaboration, evaluation of more project alternatives, and better clarification of scope before moving into design development. For more information on Beck Technology’s products and services visit: www.beck-technology.com

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Year-Over-Year Gains In Private Construction Outweigh Public Sector Cuts Despite Second Straight Monthly Spending Downturn In February
All Residential Categories and Largest Nonresidential Segments Show Improvement since February 2011; Association Officials Decry Lack of Long-Run Transportation Infrastructure Funding

Construction spending in February topped year-ago totals by 5.8 percent as a double-digit increase in private construction offset a small drop in public sector spending, according to a new analysis of federal data released today by the Associated General Contractors of America. The gains occurred despite a 1.1 percent decrease in spending from January to February and a dip of 0.8 percent the month before, based on revised data.

"It is heartening to see that nearly all private residential and nonresidential segments exceeded their February 2011 levels this February and that the decline in public construction has moderated from the steep pace of early last year,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “The improvement is too widespread to be attributable just to favorable weather comparisons.”

Simonson commented that private nonresidential spending had an especially strong year-over-year gain, rising 14 percent from February 2011 to February 2012, although spending sank 1.6 percent from January to February. He noted that the biggest increases were in the two largest private nonresidential categories—power construction, which includes shale-related activity as well as traditional and renewable electric power (-2.1 percent for the month, +24 percent over 12 months)—and manufacturing (+1.7 percent for the month, +40 percent over 12 months).

The economist added that there were year-over-year increases in all three categories of private residential spending, which was 5.6 percent higher than in February 2011 and essentially unchanged from January’s revised level. New single-family construction posted a 4.2 percent year-over-year rise although it slipped 1.5 percent for the month, possibly because mild December and January weather “pulled forward” construction that normally begins in February. New multifamily construction was up 26 percent from the previous February and 2.0 percent from January. Spending on residential improvements moved up 4.5 percent year-over-year and 1.2 percent for the month.

Simonson noted that public construction spending declined 1.4 percent in February from a year earlier and 1.7 percent from January. The two largest public categories showed similar results. Highway and street construction, the largest public category, edged up 0.4 percent year-over-year but fell 2.6 percent for the month. Educational spending rose 0.8 percent over 12 months but dropped 2.5 percent from January to February.

Association officials warned that public construction spending may soon decline more sharply, unless lawmakers provide adequate funding for transportation and other infrastructure needs. They said the fact that Congress has failed to enact a host of long-term infrastructure and tax measures was making it hard for many firms to make business investment and hiring decisions.

“Once again, Congress has left contractors and states without the certainty they need to make long-run highway construction plans,” said the association’s chief executive officer, Stephen E. Sandherr. “The latest 90-day extension of highway funding means vitally needed long-term capacity additions and reconstruction projects remain in limbo.”

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Construction Costs Increase in First Quarter 2012
Increased Level of Private Sector Construction Activity is Offset by Decrease in Public Sector Activity

Turner Construction Company announced that the First Quarter 2012 Turner Building Cost Index – which measures costs in the non-residential building construction market in the United States – has increased to a value of 821. This value reflects a 0.37% increase from the Fourth Quarter 2011 and 1.86% increase from the First Quarter 2011.

Karl F. Almstead, the Turner vice president responsible for the Turner Building Cost Index, said, “The economy in the United States has shown signs of slow growth over the past six months. However, the construction market has remained relatively flat as an increase in private sector activity is offset by lower levels of activity in the public sector. Market competition continues to restrain the overall impact of slowly increasing material and labor costs.”

Approximately 90% of Turner’s business is performed under contract arrangements, where Turner provides extensive preconstruction planning services before the contract price is fixed and before construction starts. By providing preconstruction services and utilizing enhanced procurement strategies, Turner effectively manages the market risks associated with cost-related issues.

Turner has prepared the construction cost forecast for more than 80 years. Used widely by the construction industry and Federal and State governments, the building costs and price trends tracked by the Turner Building Cost Index may or may not reflect regional conditions in any given quarter. The Cost Index is determined by several factors considered on a nationwide basis, including labor rates and productivity, material prices and the competitive condition of the marketplace. This index does not necessarily conform to other published indices because others do not generally take all of these factors into account.

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Sargent Introduces SE LP10 Line Of FIPS 201 And Multiclass® Solutions At ISC West 2012

At ISC West 2012, SARGENT is showcasing its newest solutions for secure physical access projects that must comply with Personal Identity Verification (PIV) standards under Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) 201.

The SE LP10 product line offers a simple-to-deploy, cost-effective turnkey solution for any federal agency or facility requiring the highest level of security. It supports SP 800-116 Uncontrolled Security Areas (GSA APL listed) and works with HID Global’s pivCLASS Authentication Module and Validation Server to support SP 800-116 Controlled Security Areas. The integrated locks meet the latest U.S. Government Smart Card Interoperability Specifications with the ability to read FIPS 201 compliant cards in either low or medium assurance profiles, as defined in the Technical Implementation Guidance Specification.

SARGENT SE LP10 locks feature HID® multiCLASS® SE technology to support multiple credentials, including HID and Indala 125 kHz proximity, HID 13.56 MHz iCLASS®, HID iCLASS SE, DESFire SE and MIFARE SE, PIV and PIV-I. Ideal for mixed credential environments, this solution also offers easy migration from 125 kHz proximity credentials to 13.56 MHz technologies.

These solutions leverage HID Global’s new Secure Identity Object (SIO™) digital credential technology to provide advanced security and performance. SIO digital credentials support data authenticity and privacy by binding information to a specific credential for additional authentication and encryption on top of device-specific security.

ASSA ABLOY will be located at booth #11065 during ISC West 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

ABOUT ASSA ABLOY
ASSA ABLOY is the global leader in door opening solutions, dedicated to satisfying end-user demands for security, safety and convenience. For more information visit http://www.assaabloy.com/en/com/.

ABOUT SARGENT
Founded in the early 1800s, SARGENT is a market leader in locksets, cylinders, door closers, exit devices, electromechanical products and access control systems for new construction, renovations and replacement applications. The company’s customer base includes commercial construction, institutional and industrial markets.

About HID Global
HID Global is the trusted source for secure identity solutions for millions of customers around the world. Recognized for robust quality, innovative designs and industry leadership, HID Global is the supplier of choice for OEMs, system integrators, and application developers serving a variety of markets, including physical and logical access control, card personalization, e-government, cashless payment and industry and logistics. Headquartered in Irvine, California, HID Global has over 1,900 employees worldwide and operates international offices that support more than 100 countries. HID Global is an ASSA ABLOY Group brand. For more information, visit www.hidglobal.com.

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New Green Code to Help Architects Usher in a New Era of Sustainability in the United States
AIA Announces Support for International Green Construction Code (IgCC)

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) announced its support for the International Green Construction Code (IgCC), a new model code expected to help conserve energy in both commercial buildings and residential structures while providing direction for safe and sustainable building design and construction. The International Code Council (ICC) will publish the IgCC tomorrow, March 28.

“The IgCC is a tool that, when adopted nationwide by states and communities, will create a path for the United States to follow in cutting energy use in one of its biggest energy consumers – commercial buildings,” said AIA President Jeff Potter, FAIA. “Now that the IgCC is final, American architects can use the Green Code to help the U.S. lead the way in designing sustainable buildings and infrastructure.”

Early versions of the IgCC released during the development of the code are already in use by states and jurisdictions, demonstrating the need and demand for safe and sustainable design and construction. With the IgCC’s release tomorrow, the AIA will continue its effort to provide information and education resources to its members engaged in the adoption of the IgCC in their states. In May, the AIA will publish a guide to the IgCC that will be available at the AIA’s annual convention in Washington, D.C. May 17-19.

The IgCC was developed at public hearings with input from experts in code development and enforcement, architecture, engineering, building science, environmental advocacy, government, business, academia and the public. Besides the AIA, IgCC cooperating sponsors include ASTM International, ASHRAE, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES).

The Green Code acts as an overlay to the existing International Codes, including provisions of the International Energy Conservation Code for some baseline requirements. The IgCC provides model code language that establishes a baseline for new and existing buildings related to energy conservation, water efficiency, site impacts, building waste, material resource efficiency and other sustainability measures. The ongoing development and evolution of the IgCC serves as the best process to monitor, validate and develop green regulations that are useable, enforceable and adaptable.

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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ASSA ABLOY Brings 46 New Products to ISC West 2012

ASSA ABLOY is highlighting 46 new products that are new to ISC West 2012. At the heart of this year’s innovative and impressive array of solutions, is Aperio, a wireless technology that connects multiple door or cabinet openings to an existing electronic access control system. The Mobile Innovation Showroom (MIS) will also be at the booth, available for full demonstrations of the new and most popular ASSA ABLOY products.

“This year at ISC West we’re pushing the Aperio wireless lock system because it offers a substantial cost savings for people looking to expand their existing access control,” said Martin Huddart, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Architectural Hardware Group, ASSA ABLOY. “This push on Aperio at ISC West will show integrators that they can sell access control into areas like K-12, retail, food safety, server farms and historical buildings – greatly expanding integrator opportunity.”

Aperio has been deployed and successful in healthcare, government and business facilities, and is also applicable for K-12 classrooms, retail aluminum storefronts, food companies to meet FDA safety standards, server farm technology cages and to protect historical buildings without having to retrofit and compromise the establishment.

Besides the Aperio-related products, ASSA ABLOY will also be debuting Yale’s new residential keypad Lever lock and Securitron’s AccuPower Power Supply solutions. There is also an entire pod dedicated to multiclass SE & FIPS 201 as well as Norton Power Operators.

ASSA ABLOY will be located at booth #11065 in the Sands Expo and Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nevada during the show (March 28 – 30, 2012).

ABOUT ASSA ABLOY
ASSA ABLOY is the global leader in door opening solutions, dedicated to satisfying end-user demands for security, safety and convenience. For more information visit http://www.assaabloy.com/en/com/.

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Tilt-Up Concrete Association Launches Initiative to Update Wind Bracing Guideline

The Tilt-Up Concrete Association (TCA) – a non-profit international organization that serves to expand and improve the use of Tilt-Up as the preferred construction method – has launched an initiative to review and update its “Guideline for Temporary Wind Bracing of Tilt-Up Concrete Panels during Construction.”

First released in 1994 and then updated in 1998 and 2005, the Association recognized the need for an update to this vital piece of literature. Since 2005, the prevalence of ground anchoring systems (sometimes referred to as helical anchors) has become more common in the Tilt-Up industry as a cost-effective solution for bracing panels. The updated guideline will include discussion of proper uses and specification of such ground anchoring systems.

Additionally, the updated guideline will improve upon the methodology for evaluating the proper floor slab thickness for brace anchorage. While the previous guidelines provided a formula for determining the thickness of the floor slab, the new guideline will further explore the shear and flexural stresses imposed on the slab-on-grade when used as the brace anchorage. The guideline will also be updated to reflect the requirements of the most current ASCE 7 document, which is ASCE 7-10.

This effort will be led by Scott Collins, Assistant Chief Engineer at Meadow Burke and Richard Lindstrom, Director of Engineering at Dayton Superior, who will serve as the co-authors of the guidelines. The update will be published later this year.

TCA was founded in 1986 to improve the quality and acceptance of site cast Tilt-Up construction, a construction method in which concrete wall panels are cast on-site and tilted into place. Tilt-Up construction is one of the fastest growing industries in the United States, combining the advantages of reasonable cost with low maintenance, durability, speed of construction and minimal capital investment. For more information about the TCA, visit www.tilt-up.org or call Ed Sauter at 319-895-6911 or e-mail esauter@tilt-up.org.

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PPG publishes data sheet for new SUNGATE 600 glass and R-5 IGU

PPG Industries (NYSE:PPG) has published a flyer with performance data for new SUNGATE® 600 glass. The document also details a new insulating glass unit (IGU) technology by PPG that can help window makers achieve R-5 insulating performance with dual-pane window construction.

Sungate 600 glass is a passive, low-emissivity glass that is designed to help homes retain furnace and solar heat, especially in cold, northern climates. In a standard 3/4-inch residential IGU, Sungate 600 glass has a winter nighttime U-value of 0.29, along with visible light transmittance (VLT) of 72 percent and a solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) of 0.70.

PPG engineered Sungate 600 glass for use with SOLARBAN® solar control, low-e glasses. The data sheet illustrates a dual-pane IGU that incorporates one pane of 3-millimeter Solarban 60 glass on the second (No. 2) surface of the IGU and one 3-millimeter pane of Sungate 600 glass on the fourth (No. 4) surface, separated by a 1/2-inch of argon-filled space.

The dual-pane, dual-coat configuration enables the IGU to achieve R-5 (U-value of 0.22 or better) “center-of-glass insulating” performance. That means window makers can meet new energy-efficiency goals being emphasized by the federal government without incurring the expense and material costs associated with triple-glazed windows.

Visit www.ppgglass.com to download the data sheet for Sungate 600 glass, or call 888-PPG-GLAS (774-4527) to order a printed copy.

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 2011 were $14.9 billion. PPG shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange (symbol:PPG). For more information, visit www.ppg.com.

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Corbin Russwin Introduces CL3100 Series Vandal Resistant Lever Lock

New Haven, Connecticut, March 20, 2012— Providing the ideal solution for high traffic and vandal prone environments, Corbin Russwin is introducing the patented CL3100 Series Grade 1 lever lock designed to keep hospitals and healthcare facilities secure. The lock’s unique construction features true interlocking between the lock body and latch and provides unparalleled strength and durability.

The CL3100 Series exceeds ANSI/BHMA A156.2 Series 4000 Grade 1 cycle test standards by a factor of 10, for greater than 15 million test cycles. The CL3100 Series withstands over 2 times ANSI/BMHA torque force requirements – over 3,000 in/lbs – on a locked lever.

“A hospital or school is no place to compromise on physical security,” said Leslie Saunders, VP, Product Management ASSA ABLOY Architectural Hardware Group. “We designed the CL3100 to address the need for locks in healthcare and educational environments that are subject to severe abuse. The design and robust construction of the CL3100 series provide the durability and reliability these facilities require.”

The design of the lock also makes it flexible: only two components need to be changed to accommodate any of its 18 functions. This results in reduced inventory parts and ease of maintenance for service personnel. Additionally, cylinder removal is simple for easy change-outs, and the CL3100 Series is available with patented and high security key systems from Corbin Russwin as well as compatible with many competitive key systems.

The CL3100 Series fits standard 161 door preps, making it ideally suited for retrofit applications as well as new installations. It is available in 11 architectural hardware finishes and Microshield® antimicrobial coating as well as multiple ADA lever designs and rose designs to accommodate a wide variety of aesthetic requirements.

The Corbin Russwin CL3100 lever lock carries a 10-year limited warranty.

ABOUT CORBIN RUSSWIN
Since 1839, Corbin Russwin has manufactured safe, secure and durable locking hardware. The company offers commercial grade 1 mortise locks, bored locks, exit devices, high security key systems and electromechanical hardware. Architecturally, Corbin Russwin offers products that are both aesthetically pleasing and designed to surpass most performance standards. Visit our website for complete product specifications, http://www.corbinrusswin.com/.

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Construction Employment Declines In 111 Out Of 337 Metro Areas Between January 2011 & 2012 As Key Infrastructure Measures Languish In D.C.

Springfield, Mass.-Conn. Had Largest Percentage Decline, Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla. Lost the Most Jobs, Atlantic City-Hammonton, N.J. and Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, Ore.-Wash. Are Top Gainers

Construction employment declined in 111 out of 337 metropolitan areas between January 2011 and January 2012, increased in 169 and stayed level in 57, according to a new analysis of federal employment data released today by the Associated General Contractors of America. The new construction employment data comes out amid growing concerns within the business community about Washington's failure to enact a number of long-term infrastructure measures.

"The mixed construction employment results reflect the conflict between slowly rebounding private sector demand for construction and declining public sector investments," said Ken Simonson, the association's chief economist. "For every metro area that is adding construction jobs, there is another one where construction employment continues to fall or is stagnant."

The largest job losses were in Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla. (-7,100 jobs, -14 percent), followed by Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, Ill. (-5,200 jobs, -5 percent); Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Deerfield Beach, Fla. (-3,400 jobs, -11 percent) and New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner, La. (-3,300 jobs, -11 percent). Springfield, Mass.-Conn. (-23 percent, -1,800 jobs) lost the highest percentage. Other areas experiencing large percentage declines in construction employment included Anniston-Oxford, Ala. (-20 percent, -200 jobs) and Oshkosh-Neenah, Wis. (-19 percent, -600 jobs).

Atlantic City-Hammonton, N.J. added the highest percentage of new construction jobs (45 percent, 1,700 jobs) followed by Bakersfield-Delano, Calif. (31 percent, 4,000 jobs). Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, Ore.-Wash. added the most jobs (5,300 jobs, 13 percent). Other areas adding a large number of jobs included Denver-Aurora-Broomfield, Colo. (5,000 jobs, 8 percent); Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, Ga. (5,000 jobs, 6 percent); Indianapolis-Carmel, Ind. (4,600 jobs, 14 percent) and Bakersfield-Delano, Calif.

Association officials said that the relatively mixed construction employment numbers would have been much better if Washington wasn't years late in passing a number of key infrastructure measures to fund highway, transit, water and utility maintenance and upgrades. They noted that hundreds of contractors were gathering in Washington, D.C. today to push for action of highway and transit legislation as part of the "Rally for Roads," for example.

"What makes these jobs figures so frustrating is that they could, and should, have been much better," said the association's chief executive officer, Stephen E. Sandherr. "There is a growing sense among the broader business community that the economy is being held back by Washington's failure to reach agreement on legislation everyone agrees is essential."

View construction employment figures by state and rank.

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Construction Materials Prices Accelerate Sharply In February, Forcing Contractors To Pay More For Supplies Amid Weak Demand

Construction Association Cites Wide Array of Materials with Price Increases, While Bid Prices Stagnated; Delay in Passing Highway Funding Will Drive Companies out of Business and Push Project Costs Higher

The cost of construction materials accelerated dramatically in February after moderating for several months, according to an analysis of producer price index figures released today by the Associated General Contractors of America. As a result, construction firms will be forced to pay more for key materials even as demand for construction remains weak, association officials noted.

“Prices for a wide range of construction inputs rose sharply in February, threatening to put contractors out of business and leave public projects underfunded unless materials can be ordered before prices jump further,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Contractors had finally begun to cover the modest increases of the last few months but now many of them are facing increases they may not be able to afford, given the industry’s meager margins.”

Simonson noted that the price index for construction inputs — a weighted average of all materials used in construction plus items consumed by contractors, such as diesel fuel and tires on equipment — rose 0.9 percent in February, more than double the 0.4 percent rise in January. He contrasted that jump with the static-to-falling change in the price index for finished nonresidential buildings — a measure of contractors’ bids. Those indexes were unchanged in February for warehouse, school and office buildings and down 0.2 percent for industrial buildings.

“An unusually wide range of construction materials soared in price last month,” Simonson warned. “In addition, high diesel prices are adding to delivery and operating costs.” Simonson cited increases in the price indexes for diesel fuel, 3.0 percent; wallboard and other gypsum products, 5.1 percent (after a 5.9 percent rise in January); copper and brass mill shapes, 5.9 percent; and architectural coatings, such as paint, 10.5 percent. Other major construction inputs with price rises included steel mill products, 0.6 percent; aluminum mill shapes, 1.9 percent; plastic construction products, 2.3 percent; and paving mixtures and blocks, 2.5 percent. In contrast, the price index for concrete products dipped 0.1 percent in February.

Association officials said the acceleration in materials costs will put further pressure on hard hit construction firms that are competing fiercely for a limited amount of work. Making matters more difficult is that Washington has yet to pass long term infrastructure programs or set long term tax rates, making it hard for firms to predict how much they will earn or pay in taxes.

“With contractors getting squeezed by materials prices, it would certainly be helpful for Congress to enact long-term infrastructure and tax measures,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “Getting the House to pass the Senate-backed transportation bill, for example, would help a lot of firms struggling to survive.”

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ASSA ABLOY Releases New App for iPad Detailing Access Control Locking Products

ASSA ABLOY is pleased to announce the launch of its Security Continuum application for iPad, which simplifies the process of finding the right access control locking solution for any door opening in a facility.

With three main sections on the opening screen, the app gives experienced ASSA ABLOY customers the choice to navigate via the security continuum chart by technology, allows new customers to filter solutions in the ‘Guide Me’ section and provides sales contact information in their market via the map locator.

The first option, to navigate the security continuum by type of technology, enables users to find a product based on what technology and level of security they require. The continuum consists of solutions for keys; keypad, offline, wireless, and online locks and fully intelligent openings. The second option, Guide Me, presents users with a series of questions to narrow down the available products to reach the most appropriate solution for any need. The contact option allows users to locate the closest sales representative that can assist with product questions and selection.

“Whether you’re an integrator who is an expert on ASSA ABLOY’s broad range of access control technologies or a facility manager looking for assistance to guide you through the process of making the right product choice, the app is an easy to use and up-to-date resource,” said Kris Bylan, Marketing & Communications Manager, Architectural Hardware Group at ASSA ABLOY.

Once a user finds the products of choice, they can simply add selections to the My Products list for easy reference, or email them to an ASSA ABLOY Integrated Solutions Specialist for further consultation.

The Security Continuum app is currently available in the iTunes App Store for iPad, with iPhone and Android compatibility to follow.

ABOUT ASSA ABLOY
ASSA ABLOY is the global leader in door opening solutions, dedicated to satisfying end-user demands for security, safety and convenience. For more information visit http://www.assaabloy.com/en/com/.

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Architecture Billings Index Remains Positive for Fourth Straight Month
Highest spike in inquiries for new projects since 2007

Led by the commercial sector, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) has remained in positive territory four months in a row. 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 February ABI score was 51.0, following a mark of 50.9 in January. This score reflects a slight increase in demand for design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 63.4, up from mark of 61.2 the previous month and its highest reading since July 2007.

You can see this press release online here: http://www.aia.org/press/releases/AIAB093699

“This is more good news for the design and construction industry that continues to see improving business conditions,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “The factors that are preventing a more accelerated recovery are persistent caution from clients to move ahead with new projects, and a continued difficulty in accessing financing for projects that developers have decided to pursue.”

Key February ABI highlights:
  • Regional averages: Midwest (56.0), South (51.3), Northeast (51.0), West (45.6)
  • Sector index breakdown: commercial / industrial (55.1), multi-family residential (53.3),institutional (50.3), mixed practice (46.3)
  • Project inquiries index: 63.4

The regional and sector categories are calculated as a 3-month moving average, whereas the index and inquiries are monthly numbers.

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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FMI Releases Q1-2012 Construction Outlook Report
Construction Put in Place Forecasted to Increase 5 percent from 2011

FMI (www.fminet.com), the largest provider of management consulting and investment banking to the engineering and construction industry, releases the first-quarter, 2012 Construction Outlook Report. FMI's forecast for total construction put in place in 2012 is a 5 percent increase compared to 2011, or $826.3 billion. The last time construction put in place was at this level was 2000-2001.

Economic Indicators:
Despite slow growth projections and rising gasoline prices, the GDP is still growing and consumers are still spending, reflected in the Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index® increasing to 70.8 in February compared to 70.4 a year ago. Along with the Federal Reserve's intervention, these factors have served to keep growth slow and inflation in check.

Residential Construction:
In order for residential construction to achieve the 8 percent increase projected and top $264.4 billion in 2012, a number of factors still have to fall into place:

• Reduction in the current inventory of homes
• Lenders willing to lend on reasonable terms
• Steady improvement in hiring

Nonresidential Construction:
Projections indicate a 4 percent increase in nonresidential buildings for 2012, topping $341 billion, with slightly higher growth in 2013 to $361 billion. Nonresidential contractors are facing many of the same problems as residential contractors. In addition, competition is fierce, with low price still the name of the game. Project owners who are ready to restart their building programs are expecting hungry contractors to submit very low bids. One of the keys for growth will be the return of private investment in construction. Additionally, federal, state and local government construction have been dialed back until budgets are in better repair and tax revenues return to levels that are more normal. Research indicates that there are signs this is starting to happen.

To download a copy of the full report, click here. For reprint permission or to schedule an interview with the author, please contact Sarah Avallone at 919.785.9221 or savallone@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
• Compensation Data and 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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Shipments of SOLARBAN 70XL Glass by PPG Surpass 120 Million Square Feet
Environmentally progressive glass specified for more than 160 LEED certified buildings

PPG Industries (NYSE:PPG) announced that it has now shipped 120 million square feet of SOLARBAN® 70XL glass, the industry’s first triple-silver-coated, solar control, low-emissivity (low-e) glass. To date, Solarban 70XL glass has been installed on more than 1,000 buildings in North America, including at least 160 that have been documented for LEED® certification by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Glenn Miner, PPG director, construction, flat glass, said that Solarban 70XL glass is popular not just for its environmental performance, but for its color consistency as well. “From the beginning, development of Solarban 70XL glass was a collaborative effort involving input from architects and PPG experts from research and development and manufacturing,” he said. “Because of their teamwork, we were able to establish a systematic, repeatable approach to formulating and making Solarban 70XL glass so that it looks and performs the same from the first batch of glass to the last.”

Introduced in 2005, Solarban 70XL glass has created a new standard for solar control performance for architectural glasses featuring a clear-glass appearance. With a solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) of 0.27 and visible light transmittance (VLT) of 64 percent, Solarban 70XL glass has a light-to-solar gain (LSG) ratio of 2.37 that remains unsurpassed even more than six years after its introduction.

Solarban 70XL glass has been installed on several buildings that have earned green building of the year awards from the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) Committee on the Environment (COTE). Recent skyscrapers that feature Solarban 70XL glass include RBC Center in Toronto, One Bank of America Tower in Charlotte, N.C., Three PNC Plaza in Pittsburgh and City Center Plaza in Bellevue, Wash.

“Buildings represent the vision and personality of their architects,” Miner said. “At PPG, we understand that specifying the right glass is critical to turning their designs into reality. Architects and building owners value Solarban 70XL glass because the track record shows it places a high premium on aesthetic consistency and solar control performance, just as they do.”

To learn more about Solarban 70XL glass and PPG’s entire collection of CRADLE TO CRADLE CERTIFIED(CM) architectural glass products, visit www.ppgglassbinder.com or call 1-888-PPG-IDEA (774-4332).

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 2011 were $14.9 billion. PPG shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange (symbol: PPG). For more information, visit www.ppg.com.

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Fourth Quarter Indices Show Optimistic Outlook for Apartment and Condominium Market

The Multifamily Production Index (MPI), a leading indicator for the multifamily market released by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) today, showed steady improvement in the apartment and condominium housing market for a sixth consecutive quarter.

The MPI, which measures builder and developer sentiment about current conditions in the multifamily market on a scale of 0 to 100, increased from 47.3 in the third quarter to 48.9 in the fourth quarter—the highest reading since the fourth quarter of 2005.

The index provides a composite measure of three key elements of the multifamily housing market: construction of low-rent units, market-rate rental units and “for-sale" units, or condominiums. The index and all of its components are scaled so that any number over 50 indicates that more respondents report conditions are improving than report conditions are getting worse. In the fourth quarter of 2011, the MPI component tracking builder and developer perceptions of market-rate rental properties recorded an all-time high of 64.3, while low-rent units increased as well to 55.5. For-sale units remained steady at 30.6.

“The apartment and condo sector continues to be a bright spot in the housing market, with the overall index at its highest level in six years,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “The rental components have been the driving force behind the increased index level. And although the for-sale component remains weaker, it is still double what it was just six quarters ago.”

Although improvement has been shown in the multifamily segment, builders and developers say credit restrictions are affecting recovery. “Capital is limited in this current market, and developers are having a difficult time obtaining the credit needed to finance the development of new apartments,” said W. Dean Henry, president of Legacy Partners Residential in Foster City, Calif., and chairman of NAHB’s Multifamily Leadership Board.

Looking forward to the next six months, builder and developer expectations improved in the fourth quarter for all three components: low-rent units, 57.0 (from 50.2 the previous quarter); market-rate rental units, 67.8 (from 67.2); and for-sale properties, 38.7 (from 37.3).

The Multifamily Vacancy Index (MVI), which measures the multifamily housing industry's perception of vacancies, decreased from 35.1 in the third quarter to 34.7 in the fourth quarter. With the MVI, lower numbers indicate fewer vacancies. The MVI has decreased two quarters in a row, and improved considerably since reaching a peak of 70.2 in the second quarter of 2009.

Historically, the MPI and MVI have performed well as leading indicators of U.S. Census figures for multifamily starts and vacancy rates, providing information on likely movement in the Census figures one to three quarters in advance.

For data tables on the MPI and MVI, visit www.nahb.org/mms.

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Miami Commercial Real Estate Market Outperforms the Nation

The National Association of REALTORS predicts Miami commercial vacancy rates in the first quarter will be lower than the national average in all top four sectors. Office, industrial, retail and multifamily will all have lower vacancy rates compared to the average of the other 73 markets tracked in the February Commercial Real Estate Outlook. Particularly stellar is the prediction that Miami will have an impressive 7.6 percent rate, which is more than four points below the national average of 11.7 percent for industrial. Only Orange County and Los Angeles are predicted to have lower vacancy rates. Retail, too, in Miami is forecasted more than 4.5 points lower at 7.3 percent, compared to the national rate of 11.9 percent.

“There was no overbuilding in the South Florida industrial market and almost no new construction during the past three years,” said John Dohm, SIOR, CCIM, 2012 president of RCA MIAMI. “Meanwhile, there is considerable pent-up demand due to lease expirations, the improving economy, and the continued strong trade with the southern hemisphere. These forces combined are causing absorption of existing space and creating demand for additional space to be built. All-in-all the picture is very positive for South Florida and especially the Miami industrial market.”

Further, NAR forecasts lower vacancy rates on a national level in 2013, suggesting an improved economy and commercial market in particular. Forecasts point to significant rent growth. Nationally, multi-family rental growth is predicted to be 4% in 2013 compared to 2.2% in 2011.

New employment data released on March 9th exceeded analysts’ expectations, reporting 227,000 non-farm payroll jobs created in February of this year. The unemployment rate, which is currently nearing 8 percent, is also dropping. The improving job market bodes well for commercial real estate, as it indicates stronger consumer confidence and business expansion.

About MIAMI Association of REALTORS
The MIAMI Association of REALTORS was chartered by the National Association of Realtors in 1920 and is celebrating more than 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 26,000 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 100 international organizations worldwide. MIAMI’s official website is www.miamire.com.

About RCA MIAMI
MIAMI REALTORS Commercial seeks to serve commercial members and to shape and unify the commercial real estate brokerage and service industry in South Florida. With more than 1,200 members, it is the only association of REALTORS dedicated exclusively to commercial real estate interest throughout Miami-Dade County. The Alliance provides member services, including a legislative voice, education opportunities, a code of ethics, and networking opportunities that provide enhancement of commercial REALTORS knowledge base and ability to service their clients. The Alliance conducts the Annual Commercial Real Estate Expo, the largest commercial expo in South Florida.

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Construction Costs Increase in First Quarter 2012
Increased Level of Private Sector Construction Activity is Offset by Decrease in Public Sector Activity

Turner Construction Company announced that the First Quarter 2012 Turner Building Cost Index – which measures costs in the non-residential building construction market in the United States – has increased to a value of 821. This value reflects a 0.37% increase from the Fourth Quarter 2011 and 1.86% increase from the First Quarter 2011.

Karl F. Almstead, the Turner vice president responsible for the Turner Building Cost Index, said, “The economy in the United States has shown signs of slow growth over the past six months. However, the construction market has remained relatively flat as an increase in private sector activity is offset by lower levels of activity in the public sector. Market competition continues to restrain the overall impact of slowly increasing material and labor costs.”

Approximately 90% of Turner’s business is performed under contract arrangements, where Turner provides extensive pre-construction planning services before the contract price is fixed and before construction starts. By providing pre-construction services and utilizing enhanced procurement strategies, Turner effectively manages the market risks associated with cost-related issues.

Turner has prepared the construction cost forecast for more than 80 years. Used widely by the construction industry and Federal and State governments, the building costs and price trends tracked by the Turner Building Cost Index may or may not reflect regional conditions in any given quarter. The Cost Index is determined by several factors considered on a nationwide basis, including labor rates and productivity, material prices and the competitive condition of the marketplace. This index does not necessarily conform to other published indices because others do not generally take all of these factors into account.

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PPG introduces online design and specification binder for architectural glass
Hard-copy binder replaced by up-to-minute, Internet-accessible content

PPG Industries (NYSE:PPG) announced that its Architectural Glass Binder, a fixture in architects’ libraries and offices for generations, is now available in a digital, downloadable format at www.ppgglassbinder.com.

Glenn T. Miner, PPG director of construction, flat glass, said the decision to digitize the binder, which encompasses all the printed material needed to specify or design with PPG glass, reflects the company’s long-standing commitment to “green” building and design.

“For decades, PPG has devoted a significant portion of its research and development capability to engineering products that support green building and design,” Miner explained. “By launching this digital glass specification binder, we are putting those principles into practice by foregoing all the energy, ink and paper use associated with printing, and by providing architects with an online tool that is always up-to-date and is available anywhere they can access the Internet through a computer or mobile device.”

In addition to data sheets, product catalogs and performance data for popular PPG products such as SOLARBAN®, STARPHIRE® and SUNGATE® glasses, the online binder contains technical documents, details for thermal stress and wind load analyses and complete product specifications.

The binder is a gateway to PPG’s expanding array of electronic specification tools such as the Architectural Glass Configurator, Architectural Glass Performance Calculator and a searchable project library tool containing hundreds of product application photos. Sourcing information for PPG CFP CERTIFIED FABRICATOR PROGRAM™ participants, downloadable white papers and dozens of building profiles also are featured. Additionally, architects can use the binder to learn about PPG architectural coatings such as DURANAR®, CORAFLON® and PPG PITTSBURGH PAINTS® brand products.

Visit www.ppgglassbinder.com to bookmark the online PPG Architectural Glass Binder.

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 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 2011 were $14.9 billion. PPG shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange (symbol:PPG). For more information, visit www.ppg.com.

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January Construction Spending Slips From Year-End As Residential Work Surges And Nonresidential Is Mixed Amid Declines In Public Investments
Weather May Have Helped Homebuilding While Nonresidential Spending Shows Impressive Year-over-Year Gains, Construction Economist Notes

Construction spending inched down less than 0.1 percent in January, following a large upward revision in December and November, according to a new analysis of federal data released today by the Associated General Contractors of America. All forms of residential construction did well for the month and year-over-year, while private nonresidential spending was mixed and public construction declined amid continued congressional delays in passing a host of long-term infrastructure and tax measures.

“The strong gains in single-family homebuilding in December and January probably have a lot more to do with the unusually mild weather compared to year-ago conditions, than surging demand for new homes,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Meanwhile, private nonresidential activity dropped after an exceptionally large jump in December, but the January total was still up an impressive 17 percent from a year ago.”

Simonson noted that private residential spending, which climbed 1.8 percent for the month and 6.7 percent compared with January 2011, was higher across-the-board. New single-family construction posted gains of 2.5 percent for the month and 5.5 percent over 12 months; new multi-family construction was up 0.7 percent and 20 percent, respectively; and improvements to existing residential structures moved up 1.3 percent and 6.4 percent.

Private nonresidential spending was at the second-highest level since December 2009, despite the 1.5 percent pullback in January, Simonson noted. The largest private category, power construction—which includes shale-related activity as well as traditional and renewable electric power—dropped 1.8 percent in January but was up a robust 28 percent over 12 months. Simonson also cited large year-over-year gains for the next three-largest types: manufacturing construction (-5.9 percent for the month, +38.5 percent over 12 months); commercial—retail, warehouse and farm—construction (-1.0 percent for the month, +8.5 percent over 12 months); and health care construction (up 1.7 percent and 12.5 percent, respectively).

Simonson noted that public construction spending was nearly flat in January, declining 0.2 percent from December and 0.5 percent from January 2011. Highway and street construction, the largest public category, edged down 0.2 percent for the month but climbed 4.5 percent year-over-year, while other transportation spending—comprising transit, ports, airports and passenger rail—rallied 2.5 percent for the month but tumbled 10 percent from a year ago.

Association officials said that despite growing private sector demand, the construction industry was being held back by partisan gridlock in Washington. They said the fact that Congress has failed to enact a host of long-term infrastructure and tax measures was making it hard for many firms to make business investment and hiring decisions.

“Construction firms fear two things: declining demand and market uncertainty,” said the association’s chief executive officer, Stephen E. Sandherr. “Unfortunately, Washington’s failure to enact long-term investment and tax measures is delivering drop in construction activity and making it impossible for contractors to make investment, hiring and many other fundamental business decisions.”

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PPG debuts SUNGATE 600 glass, R-5 IGU technology at builders’ show

PPG Industries (NYSE:PPG) showcased samples of new SUNGATE® 600 glass at the 2012 International Builders Show in Orlando, Feb. 8-11, along with CLARVISTA® shower glass and a dual-pane, dual-coat insulating glass unit (IGU) technology that enables residential windows to achieve R-5 “center-of-glass” insulating performance.

Sungate 600 glass features a pyrolitic coating developed specifically for application on the exposed room-side (No. 4) surface of an IGU, which optimizes its ability to trap heat from the furnace and winter sun. Consequently, Sungate 600 glass keeps living spaces warmer and reduces energy consumption during the coldest months of the year.

PPG also displayed an IGU made with one 3-millimeter pane of Sungate 600 glass on the fourth (No. 4) surface and SOLARBAN® 60 glass on the second (No. 2) surface, separated by a 1/2-inch air space. The configuration, which can generate significant energy savings compared to monolithic Sungate 600 glass, yields R-5 center-of-glass insulating performance. The R-5 performance standard is being emphasized in federal legislation and adopted in building codes to improve the energy efficiency of single-family homes and multifamily residential buildings. PPG’s dual-pane, dual-coat technology enables window manufacturers to make R-5 windows without multi-cavity IGUs, which can complicate the manufacturing process and add to the cost of windows for builders, remodelers and homeowners.

Clarvista glass for shower doors and other bath and shower use is made with a coating that seals the glass surface, enabling it to resist corrosion caused by heat and humidity. When combined with STARPHIRE® ultra-clear glass by PPG, Clarvista glass produces an exceptionally transparent shower glass, making it ideal for upscale homes, resorts and commercial spas. With proper maintenance, Clarvista glass looks newer for a longer time than do other shower glass products.

To learn more about PPG products displayed at the 2012 International Builders Show, visit www.hibernateinstyle.com or call 1-888-PPG-IDEA (774-4332).

PPG: Bringing innovation to the surface.(TM)

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 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 2011 were $14.9 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 Nonresidential Construction Index for the First Quarter, 2012
Hiring Prospects and Construction-Put-in-Place Improve while Heavy Price Competition Continues

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 report for the first quarter of 2012.

The NRCI gained 7.8 points over last quarter to 58.1 this quarter. This positive move to start the new year is not exactly the sign of a bull market for construction, but continuing confirmation that panelists believe that the construction activity is following the lead of the slowly improving economy. There are good signs in hiring plans for 2012, as well as construction-put-in-place predictions. However, panelists indicate that low project pricing and high competition are still driving the market place.
  • Hiring: A five percentage points increase over this time last year, 42 percent of panelists indicated a zero to five percent increase in full-time direct employees. Additionally, fewer panelists indicated a reduction in salaried employees.
  • Construction Put In Place: Expectations for CPIP are positive but cautious, as 41.3 percent of panelists expect growth of 0.5 to 2.5 percent for 2012.
  • Overall Economy: The component for the overall economy showed the strongest improvement of all index components with a jump from 43.6 last quarter to 68.7 in the first quarter, a 25 point gain. This score reflects the improvement in many economic indicators including the unemployment rate.
  • Nonresidential Building Construction Market Where Panelists Do Business: At just 54.9, the local markets for nonresidential construction are inching ahead. However, panelist responses reflect a perception that their own business is performing a bit better than the overall nonresidential construction market. This indicates that local markets are still very competitive.
  • Cost of Materials: Despite a slow economy, material costs continue to rise, with no panelists indicating material costs were lower than last quarter. The cost of materials component moved down nearly 5 points to 26.2. This factor is continuing drag on the overall index and is likely to raise the cost of projects while lowering profit margins for contractors.
  • Cost of Labor: The cost of labor improved just slightly to 41.5, indicating little change over the score of 40.0 last quarter. However, no panelists indicated they were experiencing lower labor costs.
  • Productivity: Contractors are continuing to make moderate gains in productivity. However, at 52.9, this component is still too weak to offset rising costs for labor and materials.

To download a copy of the full report, click here. For reprint permission or to schedule an interview with the author, please contact Sarah Avallone at 919.785.9221 or savallone@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
  • Compensation Data and 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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