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TradeWinds

Industry News List

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Slight Contraction for Architecture Billings Index
Institutional building sector continues to struggle the most

After six months of steadily increasing demand for design services, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) paused in November. As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate nine to twelve month lead time between architecture billings and construction spending. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the November ABI score was 49.8, down from a mark of 51.6 in October. This score reflects a slight decrease in design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 57.8, down from the reading of 61.5 the previous month.

“Architecture firms continue to report widely varying views of business conditions across the country. This slight dip is likely just a minor, and hopefully temporary, lull in the progress of current design projects,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “But there is a continued uneasiness in the marketplace as businesses attempt to determine the future direction of demand for commercial, industrial, and institutional buildings.”

Key November ABI highlights:

  • Regional averages: South (52.0), Midwest (51.6), West (50.2), Northeast (47.5)

  • Sector index breakdown: multi-family residential (55.2), mixed practice (53.1), commercial / industrial (48.6), institutional (47.7)

  • Project inquiries index: 57.8

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
Founded in 1857, members of the American Institute of Architects consistently work to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings, neighborhoods, and communities. Through nearly 300 state and local chapters, the AIA advocates for public policies that promote economic vitality and public well being. Members adhere to a code of ethics and conduct to ensure the highest professional standards. The AIA provides members with tools and resources to assist them in their careers and business as well as engaging civic and government leaders, and the public to find solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation and world. Visit www.aia.org.

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Construction Employers Add 17,000 Jobs In November As Sector's Employment Hits Highest Level Since August 2009; Unemployment Rate Hits 8.6 Percent
Industry Adds 178,000 Jobs During the Past 12 Months As Construction Spending Hit Four-Year High in October, But Construction Employment Remains Nearly 1.9 Million Below April 2006 Peak Level

Construction employers added 17,000 jobs in November as the sector’s employment hit the highest level since August 2009, and the industry unemployment rate fell to 8.6 percent, according to an analysis of new government data by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials noted that the new employment figures come as construction spending levels hit a four-year high in October.

“While these new employment figures are very encouraging, growth remains uneven by segment, region and time period,” said Ken Simonson, the association's chief economist. “There are likely to be continuing variations in growth between homebuilding, private nonresidential and public sector.”

Construction employment totaled 5,851,000 in November, an increase of 178,000 from a year earlier, Simonson noted. But while employment grew by 3.1 percent during the past year, construction employment remains nearly 1.9 million below the sector’s April 2006 peak. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate for workers actively looking for jobs and last employed in construction declined from 12.2 percent in November 2012 to 8.6 percent last month.

Nonresidential construction firms added 7,900 new jobs in November while residential firms added 8,400 jobs. While every segment of the construction industry added jobs in November, heavy and civil engineering firms – which are most likely to perform federal construction work – added the least amount, only 200 jobs. Meanwhile residential specialty trade contractors added the most new jobs during the past month, 7,100.

The number of unemployed construction workers dropped from 988,000 in November 2012 to 706,000 in November 2013, a decline of 282,000. Yet the industry added only 178,000 new jobs during the same timeframe. Many unemployed construction workers appear to be leaving the sector’s workforce, either for jobs in other industries or to retire, Simonson noted. He added that the shrinking pool of available construction workers may be one reason so many firms report having a hard time finding qualified workers.

Association officials said that the new employment figures highlight a number of challenges facing the industry. As the sector expands, more firms are likely to struggle to find qualified workers amid declining investments in secondary career and technical education programs. In addition, the heavy and civil engineering construction sector continues to struggle amid uncertainty about federal investments in infrastructure and other construction programs.

“Many contractors are wondering if the sector will continue to expand and, if it does, how they are going to find enough qualified workers,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “Investing in infrastructure projects will help the industry continue to grow while encouraging more secondary students to pursue career and technical training will help make sure those new jobs get filled.”

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Homeowners Place High Premium on Walkable Communities and Mixed-use Developments
Billings at residential architecture firms growing in nearly every sector

There has been a pronounced shift in housing and neighborhood preferences over the last decade, with strong and growing demand for infill development, mixed-use projects, access to public transportation, and high-density development. There is also an emerging desire for communities that promote a healthy lifestyle through more pedestrian-friendly design and increased access to recreational activities.

Residential architecture firms across the country are reporting steadily improving business conditions, with remodeling activity leading the way, followed by improvement in every building sector with the exception of second homes and vacation housing. These findings are from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Home Design Trends Survey for the third quarter of 2013 that focused on community and neighborhood design.

“With a revival in interest in urban living, there has been a marked transition in what people are looking for in their communities” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “Providing easy access to retail, entertainment, transportation, employment, and other elements associated with urban living environments will be a key factor as to whether communities can maintain their relevance and appeal.”

Related: AIA Podcast Retrofitting Suburbia: Urban Design Solutions for Redesigning Suburbs

AIA Home Design Trends Survey highlights
 

Community design elements 2013 2012
   
Infill development 67% 64%
Access to public transportation 65% 59%
Mixed-use developments 58% 45%
Multi-generational housing 51% 50%
Greater recreational opportunities 49% 40%
Higher density development 45% 50%
   
Popular Home Exteriors Features 2013 2012
   
Low maintenance exterior materials 72% 70%
Front porches 40% 41%
Windows (number and size) Sustainable roofing 34% 24%
Contemporary design 32% 23%
Simpler exterior detailing 13% 18%
Single story homes 11% 17%

(% respond. report. popularity of feature “increasing” minus % report. “decreasing”; Q3)

Housing market business conditions

AIA Home Design Survey Index for Q3 2013 (any score above 50 is positive)

  • Billings: 63

  • Inquiries for new projects: 68

Baker noted, “These are the best conditions at residential architecture firms since prior to the housing bubble bursting. The increased project activity has also generated growing levels of project backlogs that can keep current staff fully employed without any new work coming in.”
 

Specific construction segments 2013 2012
   
Additions / alterations 63% 58%
Kitchen and bath remodeling 58% 51%
Custom / luxury home market 30% -0.80%
Move-up home market 29% -8%
First-time buyer / affordable home market 10% 5%
Townhouse / condo market 12% -8%
Second / vacation home -18% -39%

(% of respondents reporting sector “improving” minus % reporting “weakening”; Q3)

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 kitchen and bath trends (March 2014), overall home layout and use (June 2014), and specialty rooms and systems (September 2014).

About The American Institute of Architects
Founded in 1857, members of the American Institute of Architects consistently work to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings, neighborhoods, and communities. Through nearly 300 state and local chapters, the AIA advocates for public policies that promote economic vitality and public well being. Members adhere to a code of ethics and conduct to ensure the highest professional standards. The AIA provides members with tools and resources to assist them in their careers and business as well as engaging civic and government leaders, and the public to find solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation and world. Visit www.aia.org.

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Simpson Strong-Tie Launches Expanded Literature Library Mobile App

Simpson Strong-Tie, the leader in engineered structural connectors and building solutions, has just released a greatly expanded version of its popular Literature Library Mobile App. Now, users can download all of the company’s catalogs, fliers and technical bulletins to their mobile devices.

With this new and improved app, users can create a custom library of Simpson Strong-Tie® literature on their mobile device, bookmark the pages they use most, and pinch and zoom in on documents for close-up viewing. In addition, all downloads can be viewed on the go -- without Wi-Fi or cellular connection.

Once the library is created, each catalog is fully searchable by keyword, including product name, number or description. Many catalogs include an interactive table of contents that let users go directly from the table to the product page with one tap. Users can also zoom in to view drawings and tables in detail.

Watch a video on the Simpson Strong-Tie website www.strongtie.com/litlibrary to learn more about the new features.

The free Simpson Strong-Tie Literature Library mobile app can be downloaded to an iPhone® and iPad® from the App Store℠. It will be available soon for Android™ from Google Play™.

About Simpson Strong-Tie Company Inc.
For more than 55 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 structural products are recognized for helping structures resist high winds, hurricanes and seismic forces. The company’s extensive product offering includes engineered structural connectors, fasteners, fastening systems, lateral-force resisting systems, anchors and products that repair, protect and strengthen concrete. From product development and testing to training and engineering and field support, Simpson Strong-Tie is committed to helping customers succeed. For more information, visit the company’s website at www.strongtie.com.

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ConsensusDocs Releases Industry First Design-Build Joint Venture Agreement and a Teaming Agreement

Today, ConsensusDocs released a new Design-Build Joint Venture Agreement and a new Teaming Agreement. As the first industry standard joint venture for design-build, the document fills an important need. Constructors, architects and engineers are increasingly using joint venture relationships on projects utilizing the design-build project delivery method. Many potential joint venture relationships, which can be filled by constructors, design professionals or multiple permutations of those parties can use this new contract document. The new document helps parties address issues such as licensing and insurance requirements, as well as risk allocation issues. The new Teaming Agreement helps parties memorialize roles and responsibilities in submitting a project bid or proposal.

“Companies working on joint ventures now have two additional standardized forms that help simplify getting contracts signed and work performed. “The new Teaming Agreement provides standard terms and conditions for those parties wanting to create a team for submitting a proposal under the traditional building method,” states Kory D. George, partner at Woods & Aitken LLP and chair of the ConsensusDocs joint venture working group. “The Joint Venture Agreement was drafted specifically to address the unique contracting relationship required for a design-build project, and provides the team with a good contractual basis for delivering a better project.”

ConsensusDocs is the only publisher of standards construction documents that accommodates a number of formations of joint venture arrangements, which have become increasingly important in today’s design and construction industry. ConsensusDocs are the only standard contracts written and endorsed by 40 leading design and construction industry associations. For more information, visit www.ConsensusDocs.org.

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Nonresidential Construction Continues To Gain Jobs In November

"November is the third consecutive month nonresidential construction experienced job growth, which is positive after seeing losses April through August."—ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu.

National construction employment expanded by 17,000 jobs in November, according to a Dec. 6 report by the U.S. Department of Labor. Nonresidential construction added 7,700 positions on a monthly basis, contributing nearly half (45.2 percent) of the overall gain in construction employment.

The national construction unemployment rate was 8.6 percent on a non-seasonally adjusted basis, down from 9 percent in October and 12.2 percent one year ago.

“It is encouraging to see nonresidential construction employment build on the momentum experienced in September and October,” said Associated Builders and Contractors Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “November is the third consecutive month nonresidential construction experienced job growth, which is positive after seeing losses April through August.”

Across all industries, the nation added 203,000 jobs. The private sector expanded by 196,000 jobs and the public sector gained 7,000 jobs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ household survey, the national unemployment rate fell to 7 percent in November, down from 7.3 percent in October. This represents the lowest unemployment rate since November 2008. However, this is partially due to a dismal 63 percent labor force participation, which is only a slight rebound from October’s historic low of 62.8 percent.

“Despite the increase in November, labor force participation is still down compared to before the government shutdown,” Basu said. “This helps explain one of the economy’s central contradictions: a growing lack of available construction workers in parts of the country in the midst of a soft labor market.

“Despite these problematic labor force dynamics, there was significant improvement in the types of jobs gained in November,” said Basu. “For example, leisure and hospitality and retail trade, two low-wage sectors, accounted for nearly half of October’s job growth. But in November, the sectors accounted for less than 20 percent of new jobs.”

Every construction segment produced additional employment opportunities in November.

  • Nonresidential building construction employment rose by 2,300 jobs for the month and is up by 19,900 jobs, or 3 percent, since November 2012.

  • Residential building construction employment grew by 1,300 jobs in November and is up 21,300 jobs, or 3.7 percent, on an annual basis.

  • Nonresidential specialty trade contractors added 5,400 jobs for the month and have gained 39,500 jobs, or 1.9 percent, since the same time last year.

  • Residential specialty trade contractors gained 7,100 jobs in November and have added 81,200 jobs, or 5.4 percent, since November 2012.

  • Heavy and civil engineering construction added 200 jobs in November and is up by 15,600 jobs, or 1.8 percent, on a year-over-year basis.

To view the previous Employment report, click here.

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Nonresidential Construction Spending Inches Higher

"The October data suggest nonresidential construction spending could regain a certain degree of momentum during the months ahead, though the long-anticipated acceleration in spending is unlikely to occur until after the first quarter of 2014." —ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu.

Nonresidential construction spending increased 1.6 percent on a monthly basis in October after declining 1.3 percent in September, according to the Dec. 2 release by the U.S. Census Bureau. (This release contained two months of data because of the federal government shutdown.) On a year-over-year basis, nonresidential construction spending is down 0.7 percent through October. Spending totaled $575.563 billion for the month on a seasonally adjusted, annualized basis.

"As expected, construction spending was hindered by a combination of elevated uncertainty and delayed procurement resulting from the government shutdown," said Associated Builders and Contractors Chief Economist Anirban Basu. "The October data suggest nonresidential construction spending could regain a certain degree of momentum during the months ahead, though the long-anticipated acceleration in spending is unlikely to occur until after the first quarter of 2014."

Thirteen of 16 nonresidential construction subsectors posted increases in spending in October.

  • Public safety-related construction spending grew 5.6 percent, but has declined 1.2 percent on a year-over-year basis.

  • Amusement and recreation-related spending was up 1.8 percent on a monthly basis, but is 1 percent lower than the same time last year.

  • Conservation and development spending was up 6.7 percent for the month, but is down 7.2 percent for the year.

  • Lodging spending grew by 1.2 percent on a monthly basis and is up 17.5 percent on a year-over-year basis.

  • Religious spending grew 2.2 percent for the month, but is down 12.6 percent compared to the same time last year.

  • Education-related construction spending expanded 8.1 percent for the month, but is down 12.6 percent on a year-over-year basis.

  • Commercial construction spending increased 2.8 percent in October and is up 4.4 percent on a year-over-year basis.

  • Water supply spending edged up 1.1 percent for the month and is 14.3 percent higher than the same time last year.

  • Health care-related construction spending was up 1.8 percent for the month but is down 0.6 percent for the year.

Spending in the following three nonresidential construction subsectors was down in October.

  • Sewage and waste disposal-related construction spending declined 2.6 percent for the month, but has grown 4.5 percent on an annual basis.

  • Construction spending in the power category declined 3.7 percent on a monthly basis and is down 15.1 percent for the year.

  • Communication-related construction spending fell 8.2 percent for the month and is down 16.1 percent on a yearly basis.

For more information visit www.abc.org

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Nonresidential Construction Index Drops in Fourth Quarter

FMI (www.fminet.com), a leading provider of management consulting and investment banking* to the engineering and construction industry, announces the release of the 2013 Fourth Quarter Nonresidential Construction Index report. The NRCI shows a 2.9 point drop in the fourth quarter to 57.4. However, the score is still ahead of fourth quarter 2012 by 1.9 points. An NRCI of more than 50 indicates growth, therefore the fourth quarter score still indicates modest improvement in the industry.

One of the reasons cited for the slight decline is the political infighting and uncertainty. Proceeding with caution by investors seems to be the new norm.

Productivity continues to slide. The 48.6 score is at its lowest since the second quarter of 2008. Ultimately, attention to productivity and profit margins will be key to sustaining growth going forward.

Building construction continues to improve since 2012. However, growth is still unsteady as the numbers have slipped 7.5 points to 64.1 this quarter. Material and labor cost also continues to rise causing the overall NRCI to fall.

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 Avallone at 919.785.9221 or savallone@fminet.com. Media may also request a copy of the 2014 overview by clicking here.

About FMI:
FMI is a leading 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:

  • Strategic Advisory

  • Market Research and Business Development

  • Leadership and Talent Development

  • Project and Process Improvement

  • Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Consulting*

  • Compensation Benchmarking and Consulting

  • Risk Management 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.

*Investment banking services provided by FMI Capital Advisors, Inc., a registered broker-dealer and wholly owned subsidiary of FMI.

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Rare Spike In Public Outlays Sends Construction Spending To Four-Year Peak In October Despite Declines In Private Residential, Nonresidential Markets

Totals for 10 Months Combined Show Jump in Residential Since 2012, Flat Nonresidential and Drop in Public Categories; Association Officials Urge Prompt Completion of Water Resources Bill, Transportation Funding

An unusual surge in public construction in October pushed total construction spending to its highest level since May 2009 despite a dip in both private residential and nonresidential activity, according to an analysis of new Census Bureau data by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials urged lawmakers in Washington to make water and surface transportation investment a top federal priority.

“Nearly every category of public construction increased in October, according to the preliminary Census figures, although for the first 10 months of 2013 combined, public spending continues to lag the 2012 year-to-date total,” said Ken Simonson, the association's chief economist. “Meanwhile, residential spending slipped for the month but still showed strong year-to-date gains, and nonresidential spending remained stuck in neutral.”

Construction put in place in October totaled $908 billion, 0.8 percent higher than in September. But figures for August and July were revised down below levels that initially exceeded the current October estimate. The total for the first 10 months of 2013 was 5.0 percent above the year-to-date mark for the same months in 2012.

Public construction spending jumped 3.9 percent for the month but trailed the 2012 year-to-date total by 2.8 percent. The two largest public components were mixed: highway and street construction increased 0.6 percent in October and 0.3 percent year-to-date, while educational construction leaped 8.5 percent for the month but fell 8.5 percent year-to-date, Simonson said.

Private residential spending slid 0.6 percent for the month but still climbed 17 percent year-to-date. New single-family construction decreased 0.6 percent in October but soared 30 percent in the first 10 months of 2013 compared with 2012. New multifamily spending advanced 2.2 percent in October and 46 percent year-to-date.

Private nonresidential spending edged down 0.5 percent for the month and up 0.8 percent year-to-date, Simonson observed. The largest private nonresidential category, power—including oil and gas as well as electricity—plunged 5.7 percent and 5.8 percent over the two time periods. But the next three niches in size—manufacturing, commercial (retail, warehouse and farm), and office—rose for the month and year-to-date.

“Construction will likely display varied patterns in the next several months,” Simonson said. “Multifamily construction will keep burgeoning but single-family homebuilding may stall. Private nonresidential spending should benefit from more power, energy and manufacturing work. Public construction remains threatened.”

Association officials said Congress and the administration should keep public construction from returning to its recent slump by quickly completing Water Resources Development legislation that has already passed both houses and passing a new surface transportation bill next year that funds repairs to deteriorating highway, bridge and transit infrastructure. They added that any new transportation bill must include provisions to adequately fund the nearly depleted federal Highway Trust Fund.

“If Congress can act in a bipartisan way on transportation funding as it did on the Water Resources bill, it can avoid a cliff-like drop in highway spending,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer.

For more information visit www.agc.org

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ASSA ABLOY, CertainTeed Corporation Team Up to Tackle Classroom Acoustics

ASSA ABLOY and CertainTeed Corporation are teaming up as part of an industry-first collaboration to address acoustical challenges in classroom settings — a critical factor in ensuring strong student performance. Representing global leadership in door opening solutions, gypsum board, ceilings and insulation solutions, the collaboration leverages world-class building science and technical expertise to create recommendations for interior spaces that meet or exceed the most stringent acoustical requirements.

According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), proper acoustics are critical for students’ ability to understand familiar words and learn new information. The new alliance between ASSA ABLOY and CertainTeed has uncovered easily accessible solutions to address these acoustical challenges and reduce the sound reverberation that further complicates noise issues.

“The convergence of these two building industry powerhouses represents an unprecedented approach in optimizing acoustics in educational settings,” said Eric Nilsson, vice president of Corporate Marketing for CertainTeed Corporation. “We look forward to deepening this collaboration by leveraging our collective expertise, while tapping the global resources of our parent company Saint-Gobain to make a true material difference in how students learn.”

ASSA ABLOY and CertainTeed are designing and testing interior solutions that provide exceptional acoustical control between classrooms, music rooms, administrative offices, bathrooms and hallways. Through preliminary research, the collaboration has demonstrated significant acoustical improvements by creating a holistic solution that integrates CertainTeed’s SilentFX® noise-reducing gypsum board, Sustainable Insulation® fiberglass batt insulation and Symphony® m mineral fiber ceiling panels with door and frame systems, including components, from ASSA ABLOY Group brands CECO Door, CURRIES, PEMKO or SMP Specialty Doors. Each of the design configurations align with targeted Sound Transmission Class (STC) ratings as well as stringent requirements of the American National Standards Institute, LEED® for Schools, Collaborative for High Performance Schools, GREENGUARD Gold, and 2012 International Green Construction Code.

The enthusiasm is mutual, as shared by Stacey Callahan, vice president of marketing and innovation for ASSA ABLOY: “This landmark collaboration between CertainTeed and ASSA ABLOY places the needs of education front and center. The standard we are setting for the built environment is ‘head of the class’ in form and function – a superior solution that exceeds the expectations of our (or education’s) stakeholders.”

To learn more about the collaboration between ASSA ABLOY and CertainTeed visit us at Greenbuild 2013 in Philadelphia. ASSA ABLOY— booth 3559 and CertainTeed/Saint-Gobain-- booth 1411. To access free continuing education courses dedicated to interior acoustics, visit www.certainteed.com/buildingknowledge.

About Saint-Gobain North America at Greenbuild
The Saint-Gobain North America family of brands at Greenbuild 2013 includes CertainTeed, SAGE, ADFORS, and two products from Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics - Green Glue and Thermalbond®. In a wide variety of verticals – from education to healthcare and beyond - Saint-Gobain North America offers a number of products and solutions that do everything from improve indoor air quality to reduce noise pollution – ultimately making “Life’s Material Difference.” We encourage you to visit sgnagreen.com to learn more about these brands and products, and learn more about Saint-Gobain North America.

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.

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Builder Confidence Holds Steady in November

Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes was unchanged in November from a downwardly revised level of 54 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) released today. This means that for the sixth consecutive month, more builders have viewed market conditions as good than poor.

“Given the current interest rate and pricing environment, consumers continue to show interest in purchasing new homes, but are holding back because Congress keeps pushing critical decisions on budget, tax and government spending issues down the road,” said NAHB Chairman Rick Judson. “Meanwhile, builders continue to face challenges related to rising construction costs and low appraisals.”

“Policy and economic uncertainty is undermining consumer confidence,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “The fact that builder confidence remains above 50 is an encouraging sign, considering the unresolved debt and federal budget issues cause builders and consumers to remain on the sideline.”

Derived from a monthly survey that NAHB has been conducting for 25 years, the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index gauges builder perceptions of current single-family home sales and sales expectations for the next six months as “good,” “fair” or “poor.” The survey also asks builders to rate traffic of prospective buyers as “high to very high,” “average” or “low to very low.” Scores from each component are then used to calculate a seasonally adjusted index where any number over 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as good than poor.

The HMI index gauging current sales conditions in November held steady at 58. The component measuring expectations for future sales fell one point to 60 and the component gauging traffic of prospective buyers dropped one point to 42.

The HMI three-month moving average was mixed in the four regions. No movement was recorded in the South or West, which held unchanged at 56 and 60, respectively. The Northeast recorded a one-point gain to 39 and the Midwest fell three points to 60.

Editor’s Note: The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index is strictly the product of NAHB Economics, and is not seen or influenced by any outside party prior to being released to the public. HMI tables can be found at www.nahb.org/hmi. More information on housing statistics is also available at http://www.housingeconomics.com/

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Architecture Billings Index Slows Down
Multi-family residential and commercial sectors still thriving

Following three months of accelerating demand for design services, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) reflected a somewhat slower pace of growth in October. As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate nine to twelve month lead time between architecture billings and construction spending. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the October ABI score was 51.6, down from a mark of 54.3 in September. This score reflects an increase in design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 61.5, up from the reading of 58.6 the previous month.

“There continues to be a lot of uncertainty surrounding the overall U.S. economic outlook and therefore in the demand for nonresidential facilities, which often translates into slower progress on new building projects,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “That is particularly true when you factor in the federal government shutdown that delayed many projects that were in the planning or design phases.”

Key October ABI highlights:

  • Regional averages: West (55.9), South (54.4), Midwest (51.6), Northeast (49.7)

  • Sector index breakdown: multi-family residential (57.0, commercial / industrial (53.7), mixed practice (53.2), institutional (50.2)

  • Project inquiries index: 61.5

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
Founded in 1857, members of the American Institute of Architects consistently work to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings, neighborhoods, and communities. Through nearly 300 state and local chapters, the AIA advocates for public policies that promote economic vitality and public well being. Members adhere to a code of ethics and conduct to ensure the highest professional standards. The AIA provides members with tools and resources to assist them in their careers and business as well as engaging civic and government leaders, and the public to find solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation and world. Visit www.aia.org.

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Developers' Sentiment About Multifamily Market Off Recent Peak, but Remains Positive

The Multifamily Production Index (MPI), released today by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), reached 54 in the third quarter, seven points lower than a spike in the second quarter but the seventh consecutive reading above 50.

The MPI measures builder and developer sentiment about current conditions in the apartment and condominium market on a scale of 0 to 100. 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.

The MPI 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. Although all three components fell from 2013 peaks in the second quarter, all remain above 50. The MPI component tracking builder and developer perceptions of market-rate rental properties dipped three points to 64, remaining above 50 for 12 straight quarters; while the components for low-rent and for-sale units declined from highs in the second quarter, both settled at 50.

"Multifamily developers remain positive about where the market is right now, despite the dip in the index," said W. Dean Henry, CEO of Legacy Partners Residential in Foster City, Calif., and chairman of NAHB's Multifamily Leadership Board. "There are challenges still facing the industry such as availability of labor and rising cost of some building materials, but the demand for apartments and condos is strong enough for developers to proceed in most markets."

The Multifamily Vacancy Index (MVI), which measures the multifamily housing industry's perception of vacancies, dropped two points to 40, with lower numbers indicating fewer vacancies. After peaking at 70 in the second quarter of 2009, the MVI improved consistently through 2010 and has been fairly stable since 2011.

"The multifamily industry has recovered significantly from its trough in 2009 and is getting close to reaching equilibrium," said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. "NAHB's forecast calls for continued improvement through 2015, but at a decreasing rate."

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.

ABOUT NAHB: The National Association of Home Builders is a Washington-based trade association representing more than 140,000 members involved in home building, remodeling, multifamily construction, property management, subcontracting, design, housing finance, building product manufacturing and other aspects of residential and light commercial construction. NAHB is affiliated with 800 state and local home builders associations around the country. NAHB's builder members will construct about 80 percent of the new housing units projected for this year.

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Bluebeam Software to Show CMiC Connect 2013 User Group How to Leverage New Bluebeam Module
Bluebeam’s bFX Technology Complements CMiC Project Management Application

Bluebeam® Software, leading developer of PDF-based markup, measurement and collaboration solutions for construction and other technical industries, will be exhibiting at the CMiC Connect 2013 15th Annual User Group Conference. Bluebeam will be demonstrating how the company’s flagship solution, Revu®, complements CMiC’s enterprise construction management software to give users a flexible interface to download, markup and save PDF project documents.

This year’s CMiC user conference theme is ‘Convergence,’ addressing how multiple devices, team members, processes and technologies can merge to provide competitive advantages. The CMiC Bluebeam Module, which relies on Bluebeam File Exchange, or bFX®, protocol technology, gives CMiC Project Management users the additional ability to use Revu to markup CMiC documents and drawings. Revu enables users to open PDF files from a remote location, such as the CMiC Project Management portal, place markups including measurements, comments and symbols on a PDF document, and then save the changes that will post back to the CMiC document as a revision to the original PDF, while never affecting the PDF content layer.

“Revu is designed with the flexibility to enhance existing technology ecosystems like CMiC’s,” said Patrick Keller, Bluebeam’s Director of Product Management. “The CMiC Bluebeam Module enables users to seamlessly leverage Revu’s markup and measurement capabilities on a PC or tablet PC, share changes more quickly with team members and track revision history on CMiC documents so project partners can work without limits.”

CMiC Connect 2013 is taking place at the Phoenician Resort in Scottsdale, AZ from November 17th through November 20th. Bluebeam will be demonstrating how Revu is streamlining workflows and enabling project teams to design better, faster and paperlessly from 8:30am-3:30pm MST on Monday, November 18th and from 8:00am-3:00pm MST on Tuesday, November 19th. More information about CMiC Connect 2013 can be found online by visiting
http://www.cmicglobal.com/connect.html.

Bluebeam Software products are sold direct and through a global network of authorized resellers. For more information, visit www.bluebeam.com.

About CMiC
CMiC is the leading provider of complete, integrated and advanced enterprise level software solutions for construction and capital projects. For nearly four decades, CMiC has partnered with the largest and most technologically progressive architectural, engineering and construction firms in North America, gaining detailed insight into the unique business needs of the industry. From that experience, CMiC has created CMiC Open Enterprise v10x, the most advanced construction and capital project software solution ever developed. Combining an incredibly flexible technological infrastructure with a philosophy of total integration, CMiC Open Enterprise v10x lowers costs, improves productivity and increases interoperability.

About Bluebeam Software, Inc.
Bluebeam Software makes smart, simple solutions for paperless workflows based on the PDF format. Founded in 2002 in Pasadena, California, Bluebeam's award-winning PDF creation, markup and collaboration solutions are used today by the world's top architectural, engineering and construction firms, oil and gas companies, manufacturers, as well as government agencies and municipalities for dramatically improved workflow and more sustainable, paperless operations. Bluebeam supports customers in over 65 countries directly through its account services team in addition to a global reseller network. For more information, visit www.bluebeam.com.

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Deloitte Again Names Bluebeam Software to the 2013 Technology Fast 500™ List
Bluebeam’s Document Management and Collaboration Solutions Earn the 288th spot on US Fastest Growing Technology Firms List

Bluebeam® Software, leading developer of PDF-based markup and collaboration solutions for technical industries, is being recognized for the second year in a row on Deloitte’s 2013 Technology Fast 500™ list. Bluebeam ranks 288th on the 2013 list which includes the 500 fastest growing technology, media, telecommunications, life sciences and clean technology companies in North America.

“Bluebeam’s innovative document-centric collaboration technologies enable leading design and general contracting firms to increase productivity by over 60% and open the doors of the world’s largest buildings faster,” said Richard Lee, President and CEO of Bluebeam Software. “Our customers challenge us to push the limits of digital project communication and we provide the solutions they need to work without limits.”

Behind Bluebeam’s incredible growth is the widespread adoption of flagship solution, Bluebeam Revu®, which is used by the world’s top architecture, engineering, construction, oil and gas, and manufacturing firms to take project communication digital. Revu combines powerful electronic markup and measurement capabilities with an integrated cloud-based collaboration solution, Bluebeam Studio™, enabling project teams to go paperless, save time and money and reduce the risk of costly miscommunication. Revu users electronically share project information by marking up 2D and 3D PDFs with customizable, industry-standard annotations that can be stored, shared and reviewed in the cloud with project partners around the world in real time or anytime from a desktop, tablet PC or iPad.

“The 2013 Deloitte Technology Fast 500 companies are exemplary cases of those spurring growth in a tough market through innovation,” said Eric Openshaw, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP and U.S. technology, media and telecommunications leader. “This year’s list is a who’s who of companies behind the most exciting and innovative products and services in the technology space. We congratulate the Fast 500 companies and look forward to what they do next.”

Bluebeam Software products are sold direct and through a global network of authorized resellers. For more information, visit www.bluebeam.com.

About Deloitte’s 2013 Technology Fast 500™
Technology Fast 500, conducted by Deloitte LLP, provides a ranking of the fastest growing technology, media, telecommunications, life sciences and clean technology companies – both public and private - in North America. Technology Fast 500 award winners are selected based on percentage fiscal year revenue growth from 2008 to 2012.

In order to be eligible for Technology Fast 500 recognition, companies must own proprietary intellectual property or technology that is sold to customers in products that contribute to a majority of the company's operating revenues. Companies must have base-year operating revenues of at least $50,000 USD or CD, and current-year operating revenues of at least $5 million USD or CD. Additionally, companies must be in business for a minimum of five years, and be headquartered within North America.

About Bluebeam Software, Inc.
Bluebeam Software makes smart, simple solutions for paperless workflows based on the PDF format. Founded in 2002 in Pasadena, California, Bluebeam's award-winning PDF creation, markup and collaboration solutions are used today by the world's top architectural, engineering and construction firms, oil and gas companies, manufacturers, as well as government agencies and municipalities for dramatically improved workflow and more sustainable, paperless operations. Bluebeam supports customers in over 65 countries directly through its account services team in addition to a global reseller network. For more information, visit www.bluebeam.com.

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Builder Confidence in the 55+ Housing Market Continues to Improve in Third Quarter

Builder confidence in the 55+ housing market showed continued improvement in the third quarter of 2013 compared to the same period a year ago, according to the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) latest 55+ Housing Market Index (HMI) released today. All segments of the market—single-family homes, condominiums and multifamily rental—registered strong increases. The single-family index increased 14 points to a level of 50, which is the highest third-quarter number since the inception of the index in 2008 and the eighth consecutive quarter of year over year improvements.

“We have seen steady improvement in the 55+ housing sector as buyers and renters are attracted to new homes and communities that offer the lifestyle they desire” said Robert Karen, chairman of NAHB’s 50+ Housing Council and managing member of the Symphony Development Group. “Although the market is significantly stronger than it has been in recent years, we still have a ways to go to get back to full production.”

There are separate 55+ HMIs for two segments of the 55+ housing market: single-family homes and multifamily condominiums. Each 55+ HMI measures builder sentiment based on a survey that asks if current sales, prospective buyer traffic and anticipated six-month sales for that market are good, fair or poor (high, average or low for traffic). An index number below 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as poor than good.

All of the components of the 55+ single-family HMI showed considerable growth from a year ago: present sales climbed 16 points to 52, expected sales for the next six months rose 11 points to 53 and traffic of prospective buyers increased 10 points to 43.

The 55+ multifamily condo HMI posted a gain of 14 points to 37, which is the highest third-quarter reading since the inception of the index. All 55+ multifamily condo HMI components increased compared to a year ago as present sales increased 15 points to 37, expected sales for the next six months climbed 11 points to 40 and traffic of prospective buyers rose 13 points to 35.

The 55+ multifamily rental indices also showed strong gains in the third quarter as present production increased 17 points to 48, expected future production rose 15 points to 50, current demand for existing units climbed 18 points to 60 and future demand increased 16 points to 60.

“Right now the positive year over year increase in confidence by builders for the 55+ market is tracking right along with other segments of the home building industry,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “And like other segments of the industry, the 55+ market is improving in part because consumers are more likely to be able to sell their current homes, which allows them to buy a new home or move into an apartment that suits their specific needs.”

For the full 55+ HMI tables, please visit nahb.org/55hmi.

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Construction Employers Add 11,000 Jobs In October As Sector’s Employment Hits 50-Month High Following Five Consecutive Months Of Job Growth
Industry’s Unemployment Rate Drops to 9 Percent as Firms Appear to Suffer Little Short-Term Impact from 16-Day Federal Government Shutdown and Worries About Lack of Skilled Workers Re-Emerge

Construction employment hit a 50-month high as employers added 11,000 jobs in October, the fifth consecutive month of sector job gains, and the industry unemployment rate fell to 9 percent, according to an analysis of new government data by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials said that the new employment figures indicate there was little nationwide short-term impact from the federal government shutdown and cautioned that skilled worker shortages are likely to grow as the industry continues to expand.

“After some very dramatic declines and years of sluggish growth, the construction industry is slowly adding jobs,” said Ken Simonson, the association's chief economist. “The federal government shutdown did not appear to have undermined construction job growth in the short term probably because it did not significantly impact projects that were already underway.”

Construction employment totaled 5,834,000 in October, an increase of 185,000 from a year earlier, and is now at the highest level since August 2009. Simonson noted that the October increase was the fifth consecutive month of construction job growth. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate for workers actively looking for jobs and last employed in construction declined from 11.4 percent in October 2012 to 9 percent last month.

Nonresidential construction firms added 6,600 new jobs in October while residential firms added 4,800 jobs. Within the nonresidential sector, heavy and civil engineering firms – which are most likely to perform federal construction work – added only 200 jobs. The modest increase for that sector was likely caused by declining public sector demand and not the federal shutdown, Simonson noted.

As the industry continues to add new jobs, many firms report they are having a hard time finding qualified workers to fill key positions. The number of unemployed construction workers has declined at a faster rate than the industry has added jobs as laid-off workers either retire or found work in other sectors. During the past three years, the number of unemployed construction workers has declined by 712,000 while construction firms have added 323,000 new jobs, the association’s chief economist said.

Association officials said another reason construction employers were worried about finding enough qualified workers is the limited number of career and technical education and training programs that exist. They noted that many school districts have eliminated vocational education programs, during the past several decades. They said they were preparing a series of proposals to increase the number of career and technical education and training opportunities that they will release later this year.

“While we have a long way to go before construction employment hits pre-recession levels, we need to take steps now to keep up with growing demand,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “The last thing we want is for the lack of qualified workers to undermine the sector’s recovery.”

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FMI Predicts U.S. Construction Put in Place Will Reach $977 Billion in 2014
Firm Releases Annual U.S. Markets Construction Overview

FMI, a leading provider of management consulting and investment banking* to the engineering and construction industry, announces the release of its 2014 U.S. Markets Construction Overview. With construction put in place at the end of 2013 expected to be at $909.6 billion, researchers at FMI predict CPIP growth rates to be slightly ahead of the GDP in 2014.

Other predictions include:

  • Residential CPIP is anticipated to grow from $338.2 billion in 2013 to $379.6 billion in 2014.

  • Health care CPIP is expected to grow 6 percent in 2014 to $44 billion.

  • Transportation construction should finish 2013 with an 8 percent

  • increase; 2014 predictions show a decrease to 7 percent growth.

  • Manufacturing construction is on the upturn, expected to grow 4 percent in 2014, after its 2 percent drop in 2013.

  • Sewage and waste CPIP should reach $21.3 billion in 2014.

With moderate growth predicted marketwide, there are key trends to watch that will likely affect various sectors and regions in the U.S. Presenting both threats and opportunities are:

  • The shift from shale-gas to shale-oil production has led to projections that the U.S. will produce more oil than it imports by late 2014.

  • The federal government’s fiscal difficulties continue to create business uncertainty. Many are worried about the federal debt and the government’s solution to address the problem.

  • Implementation of the Affordable Health Act is causing concern, as repercussions are anticipated.

  • With baby boomers continuing to retire, succession planning and a search for talent remains one of the industry’s primary challenges.

  • Modularization and prefabrication is expected to play an increasingly vital role in improving the productivity of the entire construction value chain.

  • As a result of the expansion of the Panama Canal, U.S. coastal infrastructure opportunities will create significant corridors of construction activity starting as early as 2014.

FMI publishes the U.S. Markets Construction Overview annually. To purchase a copy visit www.fminet.com/resources. Members of the media may request a complimentary PDF file of the Overview by clicking here. For more information about FMI’s Overview, please contact Kelley Chisholm at 919.785.9215 or kchisholm@fminet.com.

In addition, each quarter FMI produces its Construction Outlook that supplements the Overview. If you would like to receive an electronic copy of the quarterly Construction Outlook, please email us at outlook@fminet.com.

About FMI
FMI is a leading 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:

  • Strategic Advisory

  • Market Research and Business Development

  • Leadership and Talent Development

  • Project and Process Improvement

  • Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Consulting*

  • Compensation Benchmarking and Consulting

  • Risk Management 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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CertainTeed Gypsum Products Now Available in ecoScorecard™, SmartBIM® Tools for Green Building Projects

CertainTeed has integrated its entire gypsum product line into ecoScorecard™ and SmartBIM® online tools, helping architects and designers measure the environmental impact of products and materials against the major environmental rating systems. Both platforms make it easier to leverage the benefits of CertainTeed’s high-performance gypsum products, while eliminating the time-intensive and costly manual research and analysis of green building projects.

“Our gypsum product innovations are manufactured with a focus on environmental responsibility, research and development – minimizing environmental impacts to the greatest extent possible,” said Dave Engelhardt, president of CertainTeed Gypsum. “It made sense to partner with ecoScorecard and SmartBIM to provide a much less time-consuming and inexpensive way to access the many third-party rating systems and green standards that assist with the product specification process.”

ecoScorecard provides architects and designers with the ability to search and evaluate products based on environmental characteristics, including 1,200 unique attributes across 20 green building rating systems. The free online system automatically updates as rating systems change and offers easy access to the documentation required for project submittals.

Allowing architects and designers the ability to gauge environmental performance throughout the design process, the SmartBIM Tool featuring ecoScorecard is a plug-in for use with Autodesk Revit® and Trimble SketchUp®. The tool embeds all of the environmental data included in ecoScorecard into the product’s BIM object.

The newly incorporated gypsum products join CertainTeed’s catalog of insulation and ceilings solutions on ecoScorecard—providing an integrated resource for information on the company's diverse interior product offering.
To access ecoScorecard information for CertainTeed gypsum products, visit http://certainteedgypsum.ecoscorecard.com.

Offering a broad range of gypsum and finishing products for interior and exterior needs, CertainTeed Gypsum has served the North American building industry for more than 80 years and is a subsidiary of Saint-Gobain, the world’s leading producer of gypsum products. This, in combination with the full range of affiliated CertainTeed Corporation building products, provides architects, contractors, builders and dealers one partner to provide service and support for commercial and residential building projects. For more information, go to certainteed.com/gypsum.

About CertainTeed
Through the responsible development of innovative and sustainable building products, CertainTeed, headquartered in Valley Forge, Pa., has helped shape the building products industry for more than 100 years. Founded in 1904 as General Roofing Manufacturing Company, the firm's slogan "Quality Made Certain, Satisfaction Guaranteed," quickly inspired the name CertainTeed. Today, CertainTeed® is North America’s leading brand of exterior and interior building products, including roofing, siding, fence, decking, railing, trim, insulation, gypsum, and ceilings.

A subsidiary of Saint-Gobain, the world’s largest building products company, CertainTeed and its affiliates have more than 5,700 employees and more than 60 manufacturing facilities throughout the United States and Canada. Recognized as a 2009 and 2010 ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, CertainTeed earned the 2011 and 2012 ENERGY STAR Sustained Excellence Award, the highest level of recognition for outstanding contributions to protecting the environment through energy efficiency. The group had total sales of approximately $3.3 billion in 2012. www.certainteed.com

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Star Building Systems Launch Corporate Rebranding

Star Building Systems announces new corporate rebrand. After 85 years in business, Star refreshes their brand's image using new marketing strategies to build current and new connections with their clients.

Star's brand update consists of a refreshed logo, launch of a new website and blog, and new social media opportunities to increase engagement. These marketing strategies' will further Star's relationship with their audience and give their publics beneficial tools and information within the industry.

"After 85 years of building quality products, we were ready for a refreshed brand to drive us into the future," Jeff Koos, brand and marketing manager says. "We want to be on the forefront of technology and industry standards, and we are excited that our new brand and media outlets will push us there."

The products of Star will not change as part of the company's new look and initiatives. With 85 years of quality and professional experience, Star's rebrand will be a continuation of the level of service they provide to their builders.

See our transformation at http://blog.starbuildings.com/see-the-transformation.

About Star Building Systems:
Star Building Systems was founded in 1927 as Star Manufacturing Company by D.H. Rowland. In the 1930s, Star being to manufacture steel metal buildings and later became Star Building Systems. In 2006, Robertson-Ceco Corporation was purchased by NCI and Star Building Systems became an NCI Company. Ownership by NCI has resulted in expanded product lines and increased manufacturing capability, enabling Star to meet the market demands in a tough, competitive environment. For more information, call 1-800-879-7827, or visit www.starbuildings.com.

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FMI Releases 2013 Modularization Study

FMI, a leading provider of management consulting and investment banking* to the engineering and construction industry, announces the release of its 2013 study on prefabrication and modularization in construction. The report is based on the survey results from construction managers, general contractors, as well as electrical and mechanical contractors.

As reported, 81 percent say they own their own prefabrication facilities. This figure is down nine percent since 2010. The decrease in facility ownership could be attributed to inherent challenges within the modularization method, which include:

  • Selecting the right type of projects for modular construction

  • State rules about large assemblies being transported on roads

  • Locating modular-assembly areas close to construction sites

  • Convincing people that prefabrication and modularized units can produce superior quality buildings

  • Assuring that the work produced meets code

  • Proving that the construction method works and saves money

  • Reducing changes after the work is designed and built

However, the practice is not dying. Sixty-one percent expect to see growth in prefabrication facilities over the next five years. Industries that require construction of multiple facilities of similar design, such as healthcare, lodging and education, may see faster growth than other sectors. Universally, the following driving forces have the potential to fuel growth:

  • Pressure to reduce cost, while achieving a competitive edge

  • The impending lack of skilled construction labor

  • The use of BIM, allowing greater coordination of design with construction

  • The need to increase productivity

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 Avallone at 919.785.9221 or savallone@fminet.com.

About FMI:
FMI is a leading 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:

  • Strategic Advisory

  • Market Research and Business Development

  • Leadership and Talent Development

  • Project and Process Improvement

  • Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Consulting*

  • Compensation Benchmarking and Consulting

  • Risk Management 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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Remodeling Market Index Climbs For Second Quarter in a Row

The Remodeling Market Index (RMI) continued to climb at a modest pace in the third quarter of 2013 rising two points to 57, the highest reading since the first quarter of 2004, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

An RMI above 50 indicates that more remodelers report market activity is higher (compared to the prior quarter) than report it is lower. The overall RMI averages ratings of current remodeling activity with indicators of future remodeling activity. The RMI’s current market conditions index rose from 54 in the previous quarter to 58, the highest reading since the creation of the RMI in 2001, driven partly by rising existing home sales.

“The growth in home equity and home sales prompted home owners to remodel as they prepare to move or undertake upgrades that they put off during tough times,” said NAHB Remodelers Chairman Bill Shaw, GMR, GMB, CGP, a remodeler from Houston. “NAHB Remodelers looks forward to continuing our tradition of professional service and craftsmanship as the housing recovery makes progress.”

All three major components of the RMI’s current market conditions index increased in the third quarter. Major additions and alterations increased from 51 to 55, minor additions and repairs from 55 to 58 and maintenance and repair from 57 to 59. The future market indicators component of the RMI remained even with the previous quarter reading of 56.

Regionally, the RMI has registered two consecutive quarters of gains in the Northeast, Midwest and West. In the South, the RMI edged down slightly in the third quarter after a five point gain the previous quarter. All four regions were above 50 and higher in the third quarter than in the first quarter of 2013.

“In addition to existing home sales, which support remodeling activity as owners fix up their homes before and after a move, remodeling has benefitted from rising home values,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “This boosts home equity that owners can tap to finance remodeling projects. We expect existing home sales and house prices to increase, but at a slower rate over the next year, so the demand for remodeling services should also increase, but more gradually over that period.”

For more information about remodeling, visit www.nahb.org/remodel.

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