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TradeWinds

Industry News List

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Construction Employment Increased In 41 States During The Past Year, But 29 States And D.C. Lost Jobs In The Sector Between February And March
California and Idaho Have Largest 12-Month Gains, West Virginia and Mississippi Have Biggest Declines for the Year; California and Mississippi Top Monthly Rankings, Texas and Arkansas Shed Most Jobs in March

Even as construction firms added jobs in 41 states between March 2014 and March 2015, construction employment declined in 29 states and the District of Columbia between February and March, according to an analysis today of Labor Department data by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials cautioned that ongoing D.C. gridlock over how to pay for needed infrastructure improvements and declining demand for oil-related projects likely contributed to so many states shedding construction jobs last month.

“While the year-over-year data remains relatively positive, it is troubling to see so many states losing construction jobs during the past month,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “As energy firms cancel or delay projects and Congressional action on transportation and other infrastructure measures remains stalled, many construction firms appear to be reducing headcount, at least temporarily.”

California added more new construction jobs (46,300 jobs, 6.9 percent) between March 2014 and March 2015 than any other state. Other states adding a high number of new construction jobs for the past 12 months included Texas (39,300 jobs, 6.2 percent), Florida (37,400 jobs, 9.7 percent), Washington (18,900 jobs, 12.1 percent) and Illinois (16,600 jobs, 8.4 percent). Idaho (14.8 percent, 4,800 jobs) added the highest percentage of new construction jobs during the past year, followed by North Dakota (12.1 percent, 4,000 jobs), Washington and Colorado (10.4 percent, 14,500 jobs).

Nine states shed construction jobs during the past 12 months while construction employment was unchanged in D.C. West Virginia (-2,400 jobs, -7.2 percent) and Mississippi (-2,400 jobs, -4.7 percent) were tied for the most construction jobs lost. Other states that lost a high number of construction jobs for the year were Indiana (-1,900 jobs, -1.6 percent), Ohio (-1,400 jobs, -0.7 percent) and Nebraska (-600 jobs, -1.6 percent.)

Texas (-5,800 jobs, -0.9 percent) lost the most construction jobs between February and March. Other states experiencing large monthly declines in total construction employment included Ohio (-4,500 jobs, -2.3 percent), Kentucky (-4,100 jobs, -5.4 percent), Georgia (-3,500 jobs, -2.2 percent) and Arkansas (-3,400 jobs, -6.9 percent). Arkansas lost the highest percent of construction jobs, followed by Kentucky, West Virginia (-4.3 percent, -1,400 jobs) and New Mexico (-3.0 percent, -1,300 jobs).

Nineteen states added construction jobs during the past month, while construction employment was unchanged in Maine and Montana. California (7,300 jobs, 1.0 percent) added the most jobs, followed by Florida (6,500 jobs, 1.6 percent), Illinois (3,600 jobs, 1.7 percent) and Washington (2,800 jobs, 1.6 percent). Mississippi (2.3 percent, 1,100 jobs) had the highest percentage increase for the month, followed by Delaware (2.0 percent, 400 jobs), Nevada (2.0 percent, 1,300 jobs) and Illinois.

Association officials said the industry’s recovery was at risk amid weakening demand and urged Congress and the Obama administration to act quickly to figure out a way to pay for and pass legislation to repair aging roads, bridges and transit systems, as well as other public infrastructure. They added that road users should visit www.DriveBetterRoads.org to share their stories of bad road conditions and urge Washington to act.

“The construction industry has clearly hit a soft patch,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “Passing needed infrastructure measures will certainly help keep construction employment levels from backsliding.” View the state employment data by rank and state. View state employment map.

 

For more information visit www.agc.org.

 

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Architecture Billings Index Accelerates in March
Highest levels of demand continue in to be South, lowest in Northeast

For the second consecutive month, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) indicated a modest increase in design activity in March. 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 March ABI score was 51.7, up from a mark of 50.4 in February. This score reflects an increase in design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 58.2, up from a reading of 56.6 the previous month.

VIDEO: Economic update for Q2 2015

“Business conditions at architecture firms generally are quite healthy across the country. However, billings at firms in the Northeast were set back with the severe weather conditions, and this weakness is apparent in the March figures,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “The multi-family residential market has seen its first occurrence of back-to-back negative months for the first time since 2011, while the institutional and commercial sectors are both on solid footing.”

Key March ABI highlights:

  • Regional averages: South (54.5), Midwest (51.0), West (50.4), Northeast (45.8)

  • Sector index breakdown: institutional (53.2), commercial / industrial (53.0), multi-family residential (49.7), mixed practice (46.2)

  • Project inquiries index: 58.2

  • Design contracts index: 52.3

The regional and sector categories are calculated as a 3-month moving average, whereas the national index, design contracts 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 recently released White Paper, Designing the Construction Future: Reviewing the Performance and Extending the Applications of the AIA’s Architecture Billings Index on the AIA web site.

About The American Institute of Architects
Founded in 1857, the American Institute of Architects consistently works 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 wellbeing. 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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Builder Confidence Rises Four Points in April

Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes in April rose four points to a level of 56 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) released today.

“As the spring buying season gets underway, home builders are confident that current low interest rates and continued job growth will draw consumers to the market,” said NAHB Chairman Tom Woods, a home builder from Blue Springs, Mo.

“The HMI component index measuring future sales expectations rose five points in April to its highest level of the year,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “This uptick shows builders are feeling optimistic that the housing market will continue to strengthen throughout 2015.”

Derived from a monthly survey that NAHB has been conducting for 30 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 for 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.

All three HMI components registered gains in April. The component charting sales expectations in the next six months jumped five points to 64, the index measuring buyer traffic increased four points to 41, and the component gauging current sales conditions rose three points to 61.

Looking at the three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores, the South rose one point to 56 and the Northwest held steady at 42. The Midwest fell by two points to 54 and the West dropped three points to 58.

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 nahb.org/hmi. More information on housing statistics is also available at housingeconomics.com.

 

For more information, visit www.nahb.org

 

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Construction Employment Declined By 1,000 Jobs In March As Industry’s Unemployment Rate Hit 9.5 Percent Amid Decling Public Sector Demand
Residential Construction and Public Works Sectors Drag Down Construction Employment Levels for First Time in 14 Months, Association Officials Call on Washington to Fund and Pass Needed Infrastructure Repairs

Construction declined by 1,000 in March but is still up by 282,000 compared to the prior year, as the sector's unemployment rate fell to 9.5 percent, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials noted that declining demand for residential and public sector projects offset gains in other areas to contribute to the overall month job losses.

“After 14 months of steady job gains, construction employment suffered in March,” said Ken Simonson, the association's chief economist. “Except for multifamily construction, home building remains weak and government officials just can’t seem to find a way to pay for needed repairs to a host of aging facilities.”

Construction employment totaled 6,344,000 in March, compared to 6,345,000 in February and 6,062,000 in March 2014, Simonson noted. Residential building and specialty trade contractors lost 2,800 jobs (-0.1 percent) since February but added 136,300 jobs (6.0 percent) over 12 months. Within the residential sector, however, results were split, with residential building contractors adding 3,700 jobs for the month while residential specialty trade contractors lost 6,500 jobs compared to February.

Nonresidential contractors—building, specialty trade, and heavy and civil engineering construction firms—hired a net of 1,100 workers for the month and 145,000 (3.8 percent) since March 2014. As with the residential sector, the nonresidential employment sector varied by segment. The nonresidential and specialty trade contractors and nonresidential building contractors added a combined 5,000 jobs for the month. But heavy and civil engineering contractors—who typically perform public sector projects like highway construction—lost 3,900 jobs since February.

The employment figures are consistent with February spending data released earlier this month which showed declining investments in residential and public sector construction projects offsetting growing demand for private, nonresidential construction. Simonson noted that the industry’s recovery would continue to suffer if public sector investments continue to decline and the residential market remains weak.

“The threat of funding cuts for needed public infrastructure will continue to impact firms’ ability to add more employees to the payroll,” Simonson added.

Association officials urged Congress and the Obama administration to find a way to finance and pass needed long-term infrastructure measures to address aging transportation, energy and water systems. They noted that the association recently launched a nationwide effort called #DriveBetterRoads designed to encourage elected officials to boost funding for aging highways and bridges, for example.

“Construction workers shouldn’t have to lose their jobs because of Washington’s inability to address our growing infrastructure needs,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “More significant, the overall economy shouldn’t have to suffer from the negative impacts of greater traffic, poorer road conditions, unreliable power grids and unsafe drinking water.”

 

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Construction Employment Increases In 278 Out Of 358 Metro Areas Between February 2014 & 2015 As Private Sector Demand Offsets Emerging Challenges
Dallas-Plano-Irving, Texas and Wenatchee, Wash. Top Growth List; New Orleans, La. and Monroe, Mich. Experience the Largest Actual and Percentage Declines for the Year

Construction employment expanded in 278 metro areas, declined in 36 and was stagnant in 44 between February 2014 and February 2015, according to a new analysis of federal employment data released today by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials said the job gains come as private sector demand, particularly for multi-family housing, offset declining public-sector investments, labor shortages and the challenges of a slowing global economy and declining oil prices.

“Construction firms continue to add new jobs at a pretty steady clip in most parts of the country,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist, noting that the share of metro areas with construction employment gains was the highest since 2006. “The question is whether declining oil prices, global economic challenges, labor shortages and Washington gridlock will undermine future job gains in the sector.”

Dallas-Plano-Irving, Texas added the largest number of construction jobs in the past year (12,800 jobs, 11 percent), followed by Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colo. (11,600 jobs, 14 percent), Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, Wash. (10,100 jobs, 14 percent) and Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas (8,900 jobs, 5 percent). The largest percentage gains occurred in Wenatchee, Wash. (38 percent, 600 jobs), Lake Charles, La. (29 percent, 3,700 jobs), Beaumont-Port Arthur, Texas (27 percent, 4,700 jobs), Atlantic City-Hammonton, N.J. (25 percent, 1,000 jobs) and Bay City, Mich. (25 percent, 200 jobs).

The largest job losses from February 2014 to February 2015 were in New Orleans-Metairie, La. (-2,700 jobs, -9 percent), followed by Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula, Miss. (-1,900 jobs, -18 percent), Cleveland-Elyria, Ohio (-1,700 jobs, -6 percent), and Gary, Ind. (-1,200 jobs, -8 percent). The largest percentage decline for the past year was in Monroe, Mich. (-23 percent, -700 jobs) followed by Weirton-Steubenville, W.Va.-Ohio (-19 percent, -400 jobs), Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula, Miss. and El Centro, Calif. (-17 percent, -500 jobs).

Association officials welcomed the job gains but cautioned that a number of emerging challenges could impact future employment increases. They added that while the global economic slowdown and fluctuating oil prices were difficult to control, workforce shortages and declining public-sector investments are challenges that can be addressed. The association outlined measures to improve the supply of qualified construction workers in its Workforce Development Plan, and is using its #DriveBetterRoads campaign to push for more public-sector infrastructure investments, for example.

“There are steps the industry and public sector officials can take to help improve the supply of qualified workers and increase public-sector demand for construction,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “A number of these measures, however, require Congress and the Obama administration to work together, make some difficult choices and provide leadership; things that have all been in short supply in Washington for too long.”

View construction employment figures by state, rank and map.

 

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ConsensusDocs Coalition Announces 2015 Contract Content Advisory Council Leadership

ConsensusDocs, a coalition of 40+ organizations committed to identify and utilizing construction best practices and fair contracts, announces the 2015 Contract Content Advisory Council leadership.

Melissa A. Beutler, Esq., Vice President Risk Management of Big-D Construction in Las Vegas, Nevada, and Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. (ABC) representative, was elected as the 2015 Council Chair.

Robert H. Pratt, Vice President and Principal of Demand Construction Services, Inc. in Denver, Colorado, and American Society of Professional Estimators (ASPE) representative was elected as the 2015 Council Vice Chair.

"I look forward to continuing the great momentum and progress the Coalition has achieved in the past seven years," states Chair Beutler. "The Council is currently working on an aggressive schedule to review and update, where necessary, the entire library of 100+ contract documents. The comprehensive review process will ensure that ConsensusDocs remains current with industry best practices and leading trends. We plan to release the new documents in 2016."

Philip E. Beck, Esq., Partner at Smith, Currie & Hancock LLP in Atlanta, GA and The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) representative is the immediate past Chair, after serving a very successful year as Chair in 2014-15.

ConsensusDocs are the only standard contracts written by 40+ organizations representing designers, owners, contractors, subcontractors, and sureties. Users receive a comprehensive set of contracts via a cloud-based technology platform that provides 24/7, anytime, anywhere access with easy editing in Microsoft Word®.

Simply put... ConsensusDocs help you build a better way!

For more information, visit ConsensusDocs.org.

 

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Construction Materials Prices Expand in March

Prices for inputs to construction industries expanded 0.8 percent in March, the largest monthly increase in more than two years, according to the April 14 producer price index release by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Prices have now expanded for two consecutive months after declining during the prior six; however input prices are down 3.6 percent on a year-over-year basis. March marks the fourth consecutive month year-over-year input prices have declined, the longest such streak since 2009. Crude petroleum prices fell 4 percent in March and have fallen in eight of the previous nine months.

“Although overall construction materials prices rose for the month, prices for more categories of materials decreased than increased, including sharp monthly declines in the price for softwood lumber and iron/steel,” said Associated Builders and Contractors Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “On a year-over-year basis, deflationary pressures are even more apparent as crude petroleum prices are down 55 percent and natural gas is down 45 percent, despite an increase in gas prices in March.

“Though U.S. nonresidential and residential segments continue to expand, global construction volumes remain suppressed by widespread weakness in Asia, Europe and Latin America,” said Basu. “With the U.S. dollar likely to get stronger over the next few months as domestic interest rates begin to rise, there is little likelihood of significant increases in construction input prices over the next six to nine months. Overall producer prices managed to increase 0.5 percent on a monthly basis, the first increase since June 2014. This reading serves to increase the likelihood that the Federal Reserve will begin to increase short-term interest rates later this year.”

Only two of the key materials prices increased in March.

  • Fabricated structural metal product prices inched 0.4 percent higher for the month and have expanded 1.3 percent on a year-over-year basis.

  • Natural gas prices expanded 1.5 percent in March, but are down 45.3 percent from the same time one year ago.

Nine of the 11 key construction inputs did not expand for the month.

  • Prices for plumbing fixtures fell 0.3 percent in March but are up 2.5 percent on a year-over-year basis.

  • Prices for prepared asphalt, tar roofing, and siding fell 0.4 percent for the month and are down 0.2 percent on a year-ago basis.

  • Iron and steel prices fell 2.5 percent in March and are down 11.5 percent from the same time last year.

  • Steel mill products prices fell 1.9 percent for the month and are 4.8 percent lower than one year ago.

  • Softwood lumber prices fell 4.1 percent and are 7.4 percent lower than one year ago.

  • Nonferrous wire and cable prices remained flat on a monthly basis and grew 2.5 percent on a yearly basis

  • Crude petroleum prices fell 4 percent in March and are down 55 percent from the same time last year.

  • Crude energy materials prices fell 1.4 percent in March but are 43.7 percent lower year over year.

Concrete products prices remained flat in March and are up 4.1 percent on a yearly basis.


Housing Production Edges Up 2 Percent in March

Nationwide housing starts rose 2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 926,000 units in March from an upwardly revised February reading, according to newly released data from the U.S. Commerce Department.

Single-family housing production rose 4.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 618,000 in March while multifamily starts dropped 2.5 percent to 308,000 units.

“Today’s reading demonstrates that the housing industry continues to make gains at a gradual pace,” said NAHB Chairman Tom Woods, a home builder from Blue Springs, Mo. “There are still some price sensitive buyers who remain on the fence.”

“Builders are being careful not to add inventory beyond expected demand, especially as they struggle with increasing costs for lots, labor and materials,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “However, pent-up demand, low mortgage interest rates and a growing economy should keep the housing industry moving forward throughout the rest of the year.”

Regionally, combined single- and multifamily starts increased the Northeast and Midwest, with respective gains of 114.9 percent and 31.3 percent. Housing production dropped 3.5 percent in the South and 19.3 percent in the West.

Led by a drop in the volatile multifamily sector, overall permit issuance declined 5.7 percent in March to a rate of 1.039 million. Multifamily permits fell 15.9 percent to a rate of 403,000 while single-family permits rose 2.1 percent to 636,000.

Regionally, the Northeast registered a permit gain of 39.8 percent, while the Midwest, South and West posted respective losses of 4.4 percent, 14.2 percent and 4.3 percent.

For more information on the National Association of Home Builders visit www.nahb.org.

 

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Construction Spending In February Increases From Year Earlier But Inches Down From January; Multifamily And Manufacturing Segments Lead Sector

AGC Officials Say New Efforts like #DriveBetterRoads are Designed to Encourage Federal Officials to Make Needed Investments in Aging Public Infrastructure to Boost Overall Economic Growth

Construction spending inched down in February from January levels but increased from a year earlier, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials noted that the latest construction figures were held back by declining demand for single family homes and declining public sector investment levels.

“Private multifamily and nonresidential construction increased on both a monthly and year-over-year basis, while single-family and public construction spending retreated last month but still advanced from year-ago levels,” said Ken Simonson, the AGC's chief economist. “Similarly mixed results are likely to recur throughout 2015 as the economy continues to grow but potential homebuyers remain hesitant and governments face difficult trade-offs on spending priorities.”

Construction spending in February totaled $967 billion at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, less than 0.1 percent lower than in January but 2.1 percent higher than in February 2014, Simonson noted. The divergent totals were reflected as well in major segments. Private residential spending in February dipped 0.2 percent from January and 2.1 percent from a year earlier, while private nonresidential spending increased 0.5 percent for the month and 5.9 percent year-over-year. Public construction spending decreased 0.8 percent from January and increased 3.1 percent from February 2014.

“Because severe weather in winter months can distort month-to-month comparisons, looking at the first two months of 2015 combined, compared with the same span of 2014, provides a more realistic picture of construction activity,” Simonson added. “Among private construction segments, both new multifamily construction and manufacturing construction jumped 30 percent between the first two months of 2014 and 2015. These sectors should remain hot all year.”

Two-month totals for other major categories were mixed. Spending on private office construction soared 19 percent, commercial (retail, warehouse and farm) projects rose 17 percent and new single-family housing increased 11 percent. But the largest private nonresidential segment, power (including oil and gas fields and pipelines), tumbled 17 percent. The top two public categories were little changed, with educational construction down 0.7 percent and highway spending up 1.5 percent compared to January and February 2014.

Association officials noted that the new construction spending data shows that political gridlock in Washington is undermining the industry’s recovery. Combined with shrinking demand for new single-family home construction, the drop in public sector investments contributed to the slight decline in construction spending levels between January and February. They added that the association’s new #DriveBetterRoads campaign is designed to encourage Congress and the Obama administration to work together to pass new infrastructure and public construction investments.

“The last thing federal officials should be doing is undermining our recovery by neglecting critical public infrastructure like roads, bridges and clean water systems,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer.

For more information on Associated General Contractors of America Association visit www.agc.org.

 

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ConsensusDocs Releases Updated Owner and Trade Contractor Agreement

The ConsensusDocs 850 Agreement Between Owner and Trade Contractor is the latest release in the 100+ document library of standard contracts written by a coalition of 40+ industry associations. The standard contract document was updated to reflect today's construction needs. The agreement allows an owner to contract with a builder when construction management (CM) agency is used (and not a single general contractor). This agreement can be used for multi prime, CM, Agency, or Owner acting as its own CM. This contractual arrangement is appropriate when construction management services are provided externally by a CM or by the owner itself.

"Projects using multiple prime contractors, sophisticated Owners acting as their own CM, and Owners who elect to use agency CM will all greatly benefit from this updated standard construction contract – the first industry contract document to explicitly address all of these project approaches," states Phil Beck, Chair of the ConsensusDocs Content Advisory Council and Partner at Smith, Currie & Hancock LLP.

One significant change provides quicker payment to early-finishing specialty trade contractors when the trade contract work is complete, rather than the project's overall completion.

ConsensusDocs standard contracts are written and endorsed by 40+ organizations representing designers, owners, contractors, subcontractors, and sureties to be fair to all parties and provide better project results. Users receive a comprehensive catalog of 100+ contracts via a technology platform with easy editing in Microsoft Word® via the cloud or desktop.

Simply put... ConsensusDocs help you build a better way!

For more information, visit ConsensusDocs.org.

 

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PPG Glass Education Center adds video about specifying large IGUs
Video discusses factors to consider when building with large panels of insulated glass

PPG Industries has posted a new video about specifying large insulated glass units (IGUs) in the PPG Glass Education Center, an online education portal that helps architects, specifiers, students and construction industry professionals learn more about designing, specifying and building with glass.

In the six-minute video, Paul DiCesare, PPG manager of architectural quality assurance, flat glass, discusses seven factors that can impact how large IGUs are specified and PPG recommendations for addressing such factors, including:

  • Wind Load: Center-of-glass deflection—the physical bowing of glass caused by wind load—can affect the comfort of building occupants and cause IGUs to lose support where the edges meet the frame assembly.

  • Thermal Stress: Because of their long perimeters, large IGUs have a greater risk for thermal stress breaks, which occur when the center of glass becomes hotter than the edge.

  • Heat Treating: Large glass units typically need to be heat-treated to resist wind loads and thermal stress breaks, but heat treating also increases the potential for glass distortion

  • Fabrication: Because of their size, large IGUs are more difficult to manage throughout the fabrication process and tend to experience more problems with spacer and seal ruptures, distortion, and damage within the sealed air cavity.

  • Weight: The sheer weight of large IGUs can increase the chance of damage during fabrication, so it is essential to work with glazing contractors and glass fabricators that have the capabilities, equipment and experience to handle them properly.

  • Field Issues: It is important that glazing contractors keep safety in mind. That means having enough people with experience and the right equipment on hand to prevent injuries and glass breakage when large IGUs are handled in the field.

  • Glazing: Large IGUs require glazing systems specifically designed to support the weight of the glass. Glazing costs vary, so it's important to weigh the cost of a glazing versus the benefit it provides.

Launched in 2013, the PPG Glass Education Center is a growing library of glass technical information that serves as an objective, user-focused online resource for glass and building industry professionals. Content is updated regularly based on the most frequently-asked questions PPG fields on its website, during sales calls and through its call center.

To watch the video on the PPG Glass Education Center, visit www.educationcenter.ppg.com. For more information about PPG’s full collection of architectural glass products approved by the CRADLE TO CRADLE CERTIFIED(CM) program, visit www.ppgideascapes.com or call 1-888-PPG-IDEA (774-4332).

PPG: BRINGING INNOVATION TO THE SURFACE.®

PPG Industries' vision is to be the world’s leading coatings company by consistently delivering high-quality, innovative and sustainable solutions that customers trust to protect and beautify their products and surroundings. Through leadership in innovation, sustainability and color, PPG provides added value to customers in construction, consumer products, industrial and transportation 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 nearly 70 countries around the world. Reported net sales in 2014 were $15.4 billion. PPG shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange (symbol: PPG). For more information, visit www.ppg.com

 

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Construction Put In Place to Grow 8 Percent in 2015
Firm Releases Q1 Construction Outlook

Total construction put in place for 2015 is predicted to grow 8 percent according to the latest report from FMI. This supports earlier FMI predictions that CPIP will top $1 trillion in 2015, something the market has not seen since 2008. This indicates that the economy is on track for a resilient recovery.

“The current growth cycle appears to be broad-based and sustainable,” says Randy Giggard, managing director of research services for FMI. “Most of the new construction activity is in the private sector. Projects dependent on government spending, especially those involving infrastructure, continue to be at the mercy of politics.”

Geographically, larger cities are experiencing strong construction growth due in part to increases in rents and declining inventory for housing and office space. The sectors expected to experience the highest growth rate are:

  • Lodging construction – 16 percent CPIP growth

  • Commercial construction – 15 CPIP growth

  • Manufacturing construction – 11 CPIP growth

  • Office construction – 11 CPIP growth

  • Residential construction – 9 percent CPIP growth

To download a copy of the current Construction Outlook, click here. To receive the report on a quarterly basis, please email outlook@fminet.com. Contact Sarah Avallone for reprint permission at 919.785.9221 or via email, savallone@fminet.com.

About FMI:
FMI is the leading provider of management consulting, investment banking* and people development services to the engineering and construction industry. FMI services 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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Garland Releases New Sustainable Solutions Brochure
Garland recently introduced a newly designed Sustainable Solutions brochure and an accompanying interactive version to help customers easily identify long-lasting, durable and eco-responsible building envelope solutions.

The Garland Company, Inc. has long been at the forefront of sustainable design, promoting the importance of longevity and energy efficiency in increasing the overall life-cycle value of the building envelope. As a part of that commitment, Garland recently redesigned its Sustainable Solutions brochure and developed an interactive version to introduce building owners, facility managers, architects, and other design professionals to Garland’s comprehensive offering of long-lasting, durable and eco-responsible building envelope solutions. The interactive version can be viewed at http://www.garlandco.com/brochure.

The brochure includes a comparative analysis of sustainable solution benefits, highlighting various roof systems’ potential for likelihood of achieving LEED® points, energy savings and inclusion of recycled content among other sustainable attributes. There are small blue icons placed throughout the digital version that link to additional content, including comprehensive product descriptions, application videos and project profiles.

According to Brian Lambert, Garland’s director of products and systems, “Sustainable design is no longer synonymous with green roofs, but is more deeply rooted in the performance, life-cycle value, energy savings and overall environmental impact the products have on the building itself and the surrounding environment. This new literature helps clarify the options available to achieve sustainable design.”

The Garland Company, Inc. is one of the worldwide leaders of quality, high-performance roofing and building envelope solutions for the commercial, industrial and institutional markets. For over 100 years, Garland has continually developed unique product and service offerings that have raised the bar of performance while exceeding the individual needs of customers throughout the world. Today, our network of over 200 local building envelope professionals is strategically positioned throughout the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom to provide quality building envelope solutions for single and multi-property facilities. The Garland Company Inc., headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, is an ISO 9001:2008 certified company.

For more information, visit www.garlandco.com or call 800.321.9336.

 

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Construction Employment Increased In 45 States And D.C. During The Past Year, 33 States Add Jobs Between January And February
Texas and North Dakota Have Largest 12-Month Gains, Mississippi Has Biggest Percent and Total Declines for the Year; California and Mississippi Top Monthly Rankings, New York and Alaska Shed Most Jobs in February

Construction firms added jobs in 45 states and the District of Columbia between February 2014 and February 2015 while construction employment increased in 33 states between January and February, according to an analysis today of Labor Department data by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials noted that growing labor, funding and regulatory challenges may impact future jobs gains, however.

“Construction employment continues to recover in many parts of the country even as some markets have a hard time stabilizing,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “States like Nevada and Mississippi continue to experience significant monthly swings in construction employment as the recovery struggles to take hold in certain hard hit markets.”

Texas added more new construction jobs (44,600 jobs, 7 percent) between February 2014 and February 2015 than any other state. Other states adding a high number of new construction jobs for the past 12 months included California (43,400 jobs, 6.5 percent), Florida (29,600 jobs, 7.7 percent), Washington (18,000 jobs, 11.6 percent) and Colorado (16,900 jobs, 12.3 percent). North Dakota (14.7 percent, 4,800 jobs) added the highest percentage of new construction jobs during the past year, followed by Idaho (14.3 percent, 5,000 jobs), Colorado and Washington.

Four states shed construction jobs during the past 12 months while construction employment was unchanged in Delaware. Mississippi lost the highest percentage and total number of jobs (-4,400 jobs, -8.7 percent). The other states that lost construction jobs for the year were Indiana (-1,500 jobs, -1.2 percent), West Virginia (-700 jobs, -2.1 percent) and Maine (-300 jobs, -1.2 percent.)

Thirty-three states added construction jobs between January and February. California (11,200 jobs, 1.6 percent) added the most jobs, followed by Colorado (3,900 jobs, 2.6 percent), North Carolina (3,900 jobs, 2.1 percent) and Ohio (2,900 jobs, 1.5 percent). Mississippi (3.1 percent, 1,400 jobs) had the highest percentage increase for the month, followed by North Dakota (3 percent, 1,100 jobs), South Carolina (3 percent, 2,500 jobs) and Colorado.

Seventeen states and the District of Columbia lost construction jobs for the month. New York (-3,800 jobs, -1.1 percent) lost the most construction jobs between January and February. Other states experiencing large monthly declines in total construction employment included Pennsylvania (-2,500 jobs, -1.1 percent), Maryland (-1,500 jobs, -1 percent), Nevada (-1,300 jobs, -2percent) and Wisconsin (-1,300 jobs, -1.2 percent). Alaska (-3.8 percent, -700 jobs) lost the highest percent of construction jobs. Other states with large monthly declines in the percentage of construction employment included Rhode Island (-2.4 percent, -400 jobs), New Hampshire (-2 percent, -500 jobs) and Nevada.

Association officials said growing labor, regulatory and funding challenges could have a significant impact on the construction industry in the near future. Growing shortages of qualified construction workers are causing challenges for many employers. Meanwhile, flawed new regulatory measures and uncertainty about the future of federal funding for transportation and other infrastructure threaten the sector’s recovery.

“Even as the construction industry continues to expand in most places, the sector remains vulnerable to the growing threats of labor shortages, funding challenges and expanding regulatory burdens,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. View the state employment data by rank, state and map.

 

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New Study Finds That Osha Officials Underestimated Cost Of Silica Rule For Construction Industry By $4.5 Billion A Year, Adding To Growing List Of Concerns About The Flawed Rule
Estimate One of Several Examples of How Agency Fundamentally Misunderstands Construction Industry, Raising Questions About Overall Rule, Officials Say

A new report released today by the Construction Industry Safety Coalition (CISC) found that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) proposed silica standards for U.S. construction industry will cost the industry $5 billion per year—roughly $4 .5 billion per year more than OSHA’s estimates. The coalition cautioned that the flawed cost estimates reflect deeper flaws in the rule and urged the federal agency to reconsider its approach.

OSHA’s proposed rule, intended to drastically reduce the permissible exposure limit (PEL) of crystalline silica for the construction industry, has been underestimated by the Agency to cost the construction industry about $511 million a year. The new estimates released today by CISC estimate that the costs to the industry will actually be approximately 10 times the OSHA estimate—costing nearly $5 billion a year.

The cost and impact analysis from OSHA reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of the construction industry. The OSHA analysis included major errors and omissions that account for the large discrepancies with the CISC report. The CISC report estimates that about 80% of the cost ($3.9 billion/year) will be direct compliance expenditures by the industry such as additional equipment, labor and record-keeping costs. The remaining 20% of the cost ($1.05 billion/year) will come in the form of increased prices that the industry will have to pay for construction materials and building products such as concrete block, glass, roofing shingles and more. OSHA failed to take into account these additional costs to the construction industry that will result from the proposed standard, which will then be passed down to customers in the form of higher prices.

Not only will the proposed rule be more costly than originally estimated, but it would translate into significant job losses for the construction industry and the broader economy. The CISC estimates that the proposed regulation would reduce the number of jobs in the U.S. economy by more than 52,700 yearly. That figure includes construction industry jobs, jobs in related industries such as building material suppliers, equipment manufacturers and architects, as well as losses in non-construction sectors. Additionally, the losses are full time employee positions. Factoring in the many part-time or seasonal jobs, that number could increase to close to 80,000 positions lost.

“We are deeply concerned about the misguided assumptions and cost and impact errors that OSHA has relied upon in creating this proposed rule that will significantly affect our industry,” said NAHB Chairman Tom Woods, a home builder from Blue Springs, Mo. “This report reveals the critical need for OSHA to withdraw its proposed rule until it can put forth a technologically and economically feasible rule that also works to improve industry workers health and safety.”

“This report clearly demonstrates OSHA’s lack of real world understanding of the construction industry and raises serious questions about their ability to responsibly craft industry standards,” said ABC Vice President of Government Affairs Geoff Burr. “We hope that this report will lead OSHA to withdraw its proposed rule and work more closely with the construction industry to emphasize compliance with the current standard.”

“These errors raise serious and significant questions about many of the other assumptions the agency relied upon in crafting its new rules,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the chief executive officer of the Associated General Contractors of America. “We need measures in place that are going to allow all of us to continue the significant improvements in silica safety the industry has made, and the sad truth is that the agency’s rule is too riddled with errors to do that.”

"The assumptions that were made by OSHA in developing this rule are completely off base and we hope this report adequately tells the truth of what this rule will truly mean to the construction industry. We believe the current silica rule has done a fantastic job of reducing related illnesses so much so that it is still declining every year and current projections have it being eliminated over time," according to Jeff Buczkiewicz, President of the Mason Contractors Association of America. "Our industry needs a rule that is based on real world construction site scenarios that is not technologically and economically infeasible to implement and this report clearly shows that this rule does not fit that bill."

The full CISC report, which was also submitted to OSHA, can be found at: www.nahb.org/silicareport.

The members of the CISC include: The American Road and Transportation Builders Association, American Society of Concrete Contractors, American Subcontractors Association, Associated Builders and Contractors, Associated General Contractors, Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industry, Building Stone Institute, Concrete Sawing & Drilling Association, Construction & Demolition Recycling Association, Distribution Contractors Association, Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute, International Council of Employers of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers, Leading Builders of America, Marble Institute of America, Mason Contractors Association of America, Mechanical Contractors Association of America, National Association of Home Builders, National Association of the Remodeling Industry, National Demolition Association, National Electrical Contractors Association, National Roofing Contractors Association, National Utility Contractors Association, Natural Stone Council, The Association of Union Constructors and the Tile Roofing Institute.

 

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New Home Sales Rise 7.8 Percent in February

Sales of newly built, single-family homes rose 7.8 percent in February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 539,000 units from an upwardly revised January reading, according to newly released data by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau. This is the highest sales pace since February 2008.

“Today’s numbers are a great start to the spring buying season,” said Tom Woods, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Blue Springs, Mo. “Hopefully, this is an indicator of how the rest of the year will fare.”

“Most sales activity continues to be among existing home owners who are trading up to new construction and taking advantage of low mortgage rates,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “First-time home buyers remain absent from the market, restricted by tight lending conditions.”

The inventory of new homes for sale was at 210,000 in February, which is a 4.7-month supply at the current sales pace.

Regionally, new home sales increased 152.9 percent in the Northeast and 10.1 percent in the South. Sales dropped 6 percent in the West and 12.9 percent in the Midwest.

For more information visit www.nahb.org

 

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Associated General Contractors Of America Introduces New Officers To Lead Construction Industry

Chuck Greco of Houston-based Linbeck Group Will Serve as President; Contractors from South Dakota, Texas and Massachusetts Will Help Lead Trade Group

The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) today announced the new officers who have been selected to lead the nation’s largest construction trade association. Chuck Greco, chairman of Houston, Texas-based Linbeck Group, will serve as president; Mark Knight, president of Webster, S.D.-based Foothills Contracting Inc., will serve as senior vice president; Art Daniel, president and COO of Cedar Hill, Texas-based A.R. Daniel Construction, Inc. will serve as vice president; and Joe Stella, president of Wakefield, Mass.-based P.J. Stella Construction Corp., will serve as treasurer.

“During the course of my career I have had countless opportunities to observe just what a positive impact this association has had on our business and our industry,” said Greco, AGC’s new president. “Our ultimate goal is to build a more successful industry for the future and to be recognized as the talented professionals we are and the meaningful contribution we make to the built environment every day.”

As president, Greco will lead the officers in a national effort to address growing workforce shortages, improve the productivity of the nation’s construction companies and help builders succeed in the ever-changing economic and political environment. Among the top issues the officers will address are the proliferation of new, and often ineffective, regulatory burdens, the need for new infrastructure investments and the continued adoption by the industry of new technology and new approaches to completing projects. The officers will serve in these positions until March 2016, at which point Knight will move into the position of president.

AGC is the largest and oldest national construction trade association in the United States, and represents more than 26,000 firms, including 6,000 of America’s leading general contractors, and over 9,800 specialty-contracting firms. More than 11,000 service providers and suppliers are associated with AGC through a nationwide network of 93 chapters. AGC represents contractors on Capitol Hill, and within federal agencies and the courts, in addition to providing the latest educational resources technological tools of the trade.

Read more about the new officers here.

 

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Architecture Billings Index Improves in February
Strongest demand for institutional project types

After its first negative score in ten months, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) showed a nominal increase in design activity in February, and has been positive ten out of the past twelve months. 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 February ABI score was 50.4, up slightly from a mark of 49.9 in January. This score reflects a minor increase in design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 56.6, down from a reading of 58.7 the previous month.

“The health of the institutional market has been the key factor for positive business conditions for the design and construction industry in recent months, and it is encouraging to see that sector remain on solid footing,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “However, we’re seeing some slowing in the other major construction sectors. Design billings for residential projects had its first negative month in over three years, and commercial design billings have seen only modest growth in recent years.”

Key February ABI highlights:

  • Regional averages: South (52.5), Midwest (50.2), Northeast (48.0), West (46.7)

  • Sector index breakdown: institutional (52.2), commercial / industrial (51.4), multi-family residential (48.9), mixed practice (45.3)

  • Project inquiries index: 56.6

  • Design contracts index: 50.0

The regional and sector categories are calculated as a 3-month moving average, whereas the national index, design contracts 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 recently released White Paper, Designing the Construction Future: Reviewing the Performance and Extending the Applications of the AIA’s Architecture Billings Index on the AIA web site.

About The American Institute of Architects
Founded in 1857, the American Institute of Architects consistently works 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 wellbeing. 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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Housing Affordability Edges Up in the Fourth Quarter

Slightly lower interest rates and home prices in markets across the country contributed to a slight increase in nationwide housing affordability in the fourth quarter of 2014, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI) released today.

In all, 62.8 percent of new and existing homes sold between the beginning of October and end of December were affordable to families earning the U.S. median income of $63,900. This is up from the 61.8 percent of homes sold that were affordable to median-income earners in the third quarter.

The national median home price declined from $220,800 in the third quarter to $215,000 in the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, average mortgage interest rates decreased from 4.35 percent to 4.29 percent in the same period.

“This upturn in affordability for the final quarter of 2014 is a positive development and is in line with what we are hearing from builders in the field that more prospective buyers are starting to move forward in the marketplace,” said NAHB Chairman Tom Woods, a home builder from Blue Springs, Mo."

“Affordable home prices, historically low mortgage rates and an improving job market will release pent-up demand and help keep the housing market moving forward in the year ahead,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe.

Syracuse, N.Y. claimed the title of the nation’s most affordable major housing market, as 92.8 percent of all new and existing homes sold in the fourth quarter of 2014 were affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $67,700.

Also ranking among the most affordable major housing markets in respective order were Akron, Ohio; Dayton, Ohio; Harrisburg-Carlisle, Pa.; and Scranton-Wilkes-Barre, Pa; the latter two of which tied for fourth place.

Meanwhile, Cumberland, Md.-W.Va. topped the affordability chart among smaller markets in the final quarter of 2014. There, 96.2 percent of homes sold during the fourth quarter were affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $54,100. Other smaller housing markets at the top of the index include Kokomo, Ind.; Wheeling, W.Va.-Ohio; Binghamton, N.Y.; and Salisbury, Md.

For a ninth consecutive quarter, San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, Calif. was the nation’s least affordable major housing market. There, just 11.1 percent of homes sold in the fourth quarter were affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $100,400.

Other major metros at the bottom of the affordability chart were Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, Calif.; Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine, Calif.; San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif.; and New York-White Plains-Wayne, N.Y.

All five least affordable small housing markets were in California. At the very bottom was Napa, where 12 percent of all new and existing homes sold were affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $70,300. Other small markets included Santa Cruz-Watsonville, Salinas, Santa Rosa-Petaluma, and San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles; in descending order.

Please visit nahb.org/hoi for tables, historic data and details.

Editor’s Note: The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI) is a measure of the percentage of homes sold in a given area that are affordable to families earning the area’s median income during a specific quarter. Prices of new and existing homes sold are collected from actual court records by Core Logic, a data and analytics company. Mortgage financing conditions incorporate interest rates on fixed- and adjustable-rate loans reported by the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

The NAHB/Wells Fargo HOI is strictly the product of NAHB Economics, and is not seen or influenced by any outside party prior to being released to the public.

 

For more information visit www.nahb.org

 

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