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TradeWinds

Industry News List

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Remodeler Confidence Remains in Positive Territory

Remodeler confidence improved to 59 in the second quarter of 2015 as the country sprang back from the severe winter, according to the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) Remodeling Market Index (RMI).

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 was 59 in the Northeast, 61 in the Midwest, 57 in the South and 61 in the West.

“The confidence in the remodeling industry has been in positive territory for nine quarters in a row as the entire housing industry’s situation continues to improve,” said NAHB Remodelers Chair Robert Criner, GMR, GMB, CAPS, a remodeler from Newport News, Va. “With an increase in existing home sales, remodelers received more signed contracts and calls for pricing.”

Major additions gained steam in the second quarter of 2015, rising to 57 from 54. Rising from 56 in the previous quarter to 61, smaller remodeling jobs continued to show strength. Overall, the current market conditions of the RMI rose one point to 59 this quarter.

The RMI’s future market conditions index rose to 58 from 55 in the previous quarter. Two of its subcomponents—calls for bids and appointments for proposals—gained five or more points from the previous quarter’s reading while the amount of work committed for the next three months and the backlog of jobs remained steady.

“The rebound in remodeler confidence tracks the overall arc of the housing industry as it gains strength through new and existing home sales,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “Gains in the RMI are tempered by ongoing labor shortages for work on remodeling projects.”

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

 

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Construction Employment Declines In Half Of The States Between May And June As Congress Seeks New Way To Pay For Needed Transportation Upgrades
Illinois and Rhode Island Have Biggest Declines for the Month, Delaware and New York Have Largest Gains between May and June; Ohio and West Virginia Have Biggest Annual Declines, Idaho and California Add Most

Construction employment declined in 25 states between May and June even as 39 states and the District of Columbia added construction jobs between June 2014 and June 2015, according to an analysis today of Labor Department data by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials noted that the monthly construction employment declines come as Congress continues to search for ways to pay for new highway and transit investments.

"While the year-over-year totals remains relatively positive, the monthly construction employment figures are troubling,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Investing in transportation infrastructure will make it easier for many firms involved in highway and transit construction to add new staff.”

Illinois (-4,700 jobs, -2.2 percent) shed more construction jobs during the past month than any other state, followed by New Jersey (-4,600 jobs, -3.0 percent); Ohio (-3,700 jobs, -1.9 percent) and Florida (-3,100 jobs, -0.7 percent). Rhode Island (-4.5 percent, -700 jobs) list the highest percentage of construction jobs between May and June, followed by Vermont (-3.3 percent, -500 jobs); New Jersey and New Mexico (-2.7 percent, -1,100 jobs).

Twenty-four states added construction jobs between May and June, while construction employment was unchanged in Wyoming and the District of Columbia. New York (3,300 jobs, 0.9 percent) added the most construction jobs. Other states adding a high number of construction jobs included Minnesota (2,600 jobs, 2.4 percent) and Connecticut (2,200 jobs, 3.8 percent). Delaware (4.3 percent, 900 jobs) added the highest percentage of construction jobs during the past month followed by Connecticut, Hawaii (3.7 percent, 1,200 jobs) and Arkansas (3.5 percent, 1,700 jobs).

Eleven states shed construction jobs during the past 12 months with West Virginia (-12.8 percent, -4,300 jobs) losing the highest percent of construction jobs. Other states that lost a high percentage of jobs for the year included Rhode Island (-9.6 percent, -1,600 jobs); Mississippi (-7.9 percent, -3,900 jobs) and Ohio (-7.9 percent, -3,900 jobs). The largest job losses occurred in Ohio, West Virginia and Mississippi.

California added more new construction jobs (47,000 jobs, 7.0 percent) between June 2014 and June 2015 than any other state. Other states adding a high number of new construction jobs for the past 12 months included Florida (25,200 jobs, 6.4 percent), Texas (18,900 jobs, 2.9 percent), Washington (15,300 jobs, 9.7 percent) and Michigan (14,000 jobs, 9.8 percent). Idaho (12.9 percent, 4,600 jobs) added the highest percentage of new construction jobs during the past year, followed by Nevada (11.1 percent, 7,000 jobs); Michigan; Arkansas (9.7 percent, 4,400 jobs) and North Carolina.

Association officials said one of the challenges facing the construction industry is uncertainty about future federal funding levels for highway and transit repairs and improvements. Noting that the Senate is expected to vote on a new long-term surface transportation bill later today, they urged members of both parties to work together to address growing problems with the country’s aging transportation infrastructure.

“Passing a long-term highway and transit bill will provide the kind of funding certainty many construction firms need to expand payrolls and invest in new equipment,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “The series of short-term transportation funding extensions Congress has passed has clearly had a negative impact on the construction industry’s recovery.”

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

 

For more information visit www.agc.org

 

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IMETCO’s New Latitude Brochure Showcases Expanded Panel Offering

IMETCO® recently redesigned its Latitude brochure, providing customers with an expanded panel profile offering and a refreshed design that includes a custom profile sketch pad. The new marketing piece showcases various design possibilities and technical product information.

IMETCO’s (Innovative Metals Company, Inc.) new Latitude brochure features updated renderings of our expanded profile offerings, including new standard profiles as well as deep fluted profiles. The refreshed design includes a custom profile sketch pad and offers various design possibilities and technical product information.

“Over the years, our engineering team has developed many unique profiles while working with designers on custom projects. This marketing piece truly showcases the wide breadth of capabilities available with the Latitude panel,” explained Josh Younger, marketing specialist at IMETCO.

The brochure can be downloaded online or a printed copy can be requested by calling 800.646.3826.

IMETCO is a leading manufacturer of premier metal products for the building envelope, delivering performance-inspired systems tailored to every project. IMETCO offers a full range of high-performance metal roofing, metal wall, and metal edge systems and accessories that provide a virtually limitless realm of aesthetic possibilities. Additionally, IMETCO provides high-quality custom metal solutions for designers whose visions extend beyond our standard product offering. IMETCO is also the exclusive supplier of United Zinc™, the only architectural zinc manufactured domestically. With specialty manufacturing capabilities, including curving, tapering, perforating and field forming, IMETCO continually distinguishes itself as a leader in the metal construction industry. Driven by a collective desire to provide exceptional service at every opportunity, IMETCO pledges to communicate, promise and deliver innovative solutions, dedicated support, professional engineering services, and products manufactured to the highest quality standards. IMETCO is headquartered in Norcross, Georgia. For more information, visit www.imetco.com.

 

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Architects, International Code Council Ink Five-Year Collaborative Agreement
Memorandum of Understanding Covers Wide Range of Building Code Issues

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and The International Code Council (ICC) today announced an agreement to collaborate across a wide range of initiatives ranging from code development and compliance to sustainability and energy conservation to increasing building code knowledge among architects.

"Our combined membership, consisting of practicing design professionals, code officials, and the building industry representatives, supports the development of codes and standards that protect the health, safety and welfare of the public at large,” said AIA CEO Robert Ivy, FAIA. “Through this significant agreement, both the AIA and the ICC agree to work more closely to achieve our common goals.”

“Building safety and performance requires a team of professionals to address the challenges we face in today’s built environment. Design professionals and code officials, working in collaboration with other industry partners represent the best approach for achieving the public good and advancing building science through regulatory tools like the I-codes,” according to Dominic Sims, CBO, CEO of The International Code Council

Among the common objectives under the five-year AIA-ICC Memorandum of Understanding:

  • Model Code Development: The AIA and ICC will form partnerships to cooperate in the development of the family of I-Codes.

  • Education and Training: The AIA and ICC will develop and provide access to educational courses and, working with industry partners, the AIA and ICC will promote focus on codes training to future generations.

  • Advocacy: The AIA and ICC will establish joint activities to develop and initiate advocacy campaigns for important issues relevant to architects and code officials.

  • Engaging member groups: ICC and the AIA will provide opportunities to connect internal member committees and working groups.

  • Communications: The AIA and ICC will actively communicate news and information that is relevant to both organizations’ members.

Digital Transformation: The AIA and ICC will provide resources that support information and technology initiatives focusing on the interface between architects, the Codes, code officials and other industry professionals in the design and construction process.

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.

About the International Code Council
The International Code Council is a member-focused association. It is dedicated to developing model codes and standards used in the design, build and compliance process to construct safe, sustainable, affordable and resilient structures. Most U.S. communities and many global markets choose the International Codes.

 

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Institutional Project Demand Drives Architecture Billings Index to Highest Mark Since 2007
After years of torrid growth, multi-family housing design showing signs of slowing

Paced by continued demand for projects such as new education and healthcare facilities, public safety and government buildings, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) increased in June following fluctuations earlier this year. 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 June ABI score was 55.7, up substantially from a mark of 51.9 in May. This score reflects an increase in design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 63.4, up from a reading of 61.5 the previous month.

“The June numbers are likely showing some catch-up from slow growth earlier this year. This is the first month in 2015 that all regions are reporting positive business conditions and aside from the multi-family housing sector, all design project categories appear to be in good shape,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “The demand for new apartments and condominiums may have crested with index scores going down each month this year and reaching the lowest point since 2011.”

Key June ABI highlights:

  • Regional averages: Midwest (57.2), South (54.9), West (50.7) Northeast (50.4)

  • Sector index breakdown: institutional (59.1), mixed practice (54.7), commercial / industrial (51.6) multi-family residential (47.0)

  • Project inquiries index: 63.4

  • Design contracts index: 52.5

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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DuPont™ Tyvek® ThermaWrap™ R5.0 Now Available at Lower Price
New Pricing Plan Could Reduce Consumer Price by More than One-Third

DuPont™ Tyvek® ThermaWrap™ R5.0, a breathable air and water barrier that also provides continuous exterior insulation, is now available to consumers at a lower cost.

While ultimate pricing authority lies with dealers and distributors, DuPont has made a pricing change with the goal that consumers may benefit from a sale price that is more than a third less than the original pricing. To do this, DuPont has offered a suggested retail price of $133 per roll (freight charges not included).

DuPont Building Innovations introduced Tyvek® ThermaWrap™ R5.0 to the market in the fall of 2013. This addition to the DuPont product portfolio helps builders achieve higher R-value wall assemblies, improving energy efficiency while helping to reduce the chance of water accumulation in the wall, which can lead to mold and water damage that may occur when using other non-vapor permeable exterior insulation products.

DuPont Building Innovations, a strategic business unit of DuPont, is a driving force in the transformation of the building and construction industry through its use of building and materials science to solve emerging needs and create value for its commercial and residential customers. The company maintains its industry-leading position by applying innovative thinking to the development of energy-saving weatherization systems and beautiful and long-lasting surfacing solutions. DuPont Building Innovations’ best-known products and premier brands include: DuPont™ Corian® solid surface, DuPont™ Zodiaq® quartz surface, DuPont™ Tyvek® Weatherization Systems and a broad portfolio of garden and landscaping products.

DuPont (NYSE: DD) has been bringing world-class science and engineering to the global marketplace in the form of innovative products, materials, and services since 1802. The company believes that by collaborating with customers, governments, NGOs, and thought leaders we can help find solutions to such global challenges as providing enough healthy food for people everywhere, decreasing dependence on fossil fuels, and protecting life and the environment. For additional information about DuPont and its commitment to inclusive innovation, please visit http://www.dupont.com.

 

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GAF Helps Develop Insulation EPD

GAF, North America’s largest roofing manufacturer, continues to focus on ensuring that its products and processes support the fast-developing certifications and standards in the green building community.

In November of 2013, GAF was the first—and remains the only—TPO manufacturer to complete an NSF-ISO compliant Type III Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) for its EverGuard® TPO and EverGuard Extreme® roofing products. An EPD is an internationally recognized, standardized method used to analyze and communicate the life cycle assessment of environmental and human health impacts of products or services. Impacts addressed include energy use, emissions to air, soil, and water, and waste generation. In addition to this milestone in sustainability efforts, a recent independent study shows that GAF TPO is the best and longest-lasting product on the market (visit www.tporesults.com to see the performance results of all major TPO manufacturers).

Recently, GAF supplied data to and supported the efforts of PIMA (the Polyisocyanurate Insulation Manufacturers Association) to achieve third party-verified ISO-compliant Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) for polyisocyanurate (polyiso) roof and wall insulations. According to PIMA, “These EPDs document that the energy-savings potential of polyiso roof and wall insulation over a typical 60-year building life span is equal to up to 47 times the initial energy required to produce, transport, install, maintain, and eventually remove and dispose of the insulation. In addition to a high return on embodied energy, the EPDs document that polyiso roof and wall insulation offer high unit R-value per inch, zero ozone depletion potential, recycled content, opportunity for reuse, and outstanding fire performance.” The PIMA polyiso roof and wall EPDs were developed based on ISO-compliant LCA studies conducted by thinkstep (formerly PE International) and are now available to architects and designers at [link]. Building materials with EPDs are now contributing to credits in green building rating systems around the world, including LEED® in North America, BREEAM in the UK, and, most recently, Green Star in Australia. They can be used in modeling building energy savings in tools like Athena Impact Estimator, which is supported by GAF. For copies of the EPDs, please go to the PIMA website at www.polyiso.org.

About GAF
Founded in 1886, GAF is the largest roofing manufacturer in North America. The company’s products include a comprehensive portfolio of steep-slope and commercial roofing systems, which are supported by an extensive national network of factory-certified contractors. Its success is driven by its commitment to Advanced Quality, Industry Expertise, and Solutions Made Simple. GAF was the first roofing manufacturer to offer a Lifetime limited warranty on all of its laminated shingles, which then evolved with the introduction of the GAF Lifetime Roofing System by extending the Lifetime coverage beyond just the roofing shingles.

 

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Horton Releases First STC-35 Door For Hospital Environment

The new Acoustic STC-35 ICU Swing™ Door from Horton Automatics is the first door designed to meet the stringent demands of hospital applications, according to Jed Foglesong, Global Product Manager. Intended primarily for interior use in the ICU and CCU, the STC-35 manual swing door features wide glass panels for unobstructed viewing of patients and an improved handle design to prevent jamming due to continuous use.

The STC-35 rated door assemblies feature hollow aluminum extruded material filled with 0.5” sponge rubber for effective sound absorption, meeting the ASTM E90 Standard Test for Laboratory Measurement of Airborne Sound Transmission of Building Partitions.

“The cam lift mortise-style hinge lifts the door as it is opened to keep the bottom seal from dragging on the floor,” Foglesong said. “It’s a nice feature because, with less friction, it makes the door easier to move from the open to close position, easing access to patients when you need it most.”

These manual swing doors are available with a clear or dark bronze anodized finish for added protection and style. Special finishing options are available.

The door assembly is available as a single (left-hand and right-hand), equal pair (left-hand/righthand), and as un-equal pair (left-hand/right-hand). All models are specified with sturdy, impact-resistant 9/16” thick glass panels to meet the STC-35 rating.

Horton Automatics offers the industry’s broadest selection of manual and automatic doors for the healthcare environment. To learn more about the new STC-35 ICU Swing Door or any of our other ICU/CCU products, please visit www.hortondoors.com or Ashley Estrada at Ashley_Estrada@OverheadDoor.com

 

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New Strong-Rod™ Systems Offer Seismic and Wind Design Solutions for Light-Frame, Mid-Rise Wood Construction

With the new Simpson Strong-Tie® Strong-Rod™ continuous rod tiedown systems, featuring new code-listed components and optimized rod-run assemblies, Designers have cost-effective and code-tested options for light-frame, mid-rise wood construction.

The Strong-Rod Anchor Tiedown System for shearwall overturning restraint (ATS) and Strong-Rod Uplift Restraint System for roofs (URS) address many of the design challenges specifically associated with mid-rise buildings that must withstand seismic activity or wind events. These systems are designed to restrain both lateral and uplift loads, while maintaining reasonable costs on material and labor.

Strong-Rod ATS solutions address the many design considerations necessary for ensuring proper performance against shearwall overturning, such as rod elongation, wood shrinkage, construction settling, shrinkage compensating device deflection, incremental loads, cumulative tension loads and anchorage.

Strong-Rod URS solutions focus on effective performance against roof uplift, taking into account factors such as rod elongation, wood shrinkage, rod-run spacing, wood top-plate design (connection to roof framing, reinforcement at splices, bending and rotation restraint) and anchorage.

“It’s complicated designing multi-story buildings for these conditions. We want to share our testing and design expertise with Designers so they have the safest building possible with materials specifically designed for this application,” said Tim Ellis, Simpson Strong-Tie product manager. “With our new Strong-Rod systems product offering, we are delivering streamlined and innovative system solutions that are code compliant and cost competitive.”

New cost-saving components in Strong-Rod systems include expanding aluminum take-up devices for rods up to 1-3/4” diameter and increased shrinkage capacity, and coming soon, RTUD5 and RTUD6 ratcheting take-up devices designed for 5/8"- and 3/4"-diameter threaded rod, respectively. Once the RTUD take-up devices are installed on top of bearing plates, a series of internal threaded wedges enable the device to ratchet down the rod as the wood structure shrinks but engage the rod in the reverse direction when under tensile loading, ensuring continuous engagement and enabling the rod system to perform as designed. Unlike similar products, the RTUD can be attached using nails or screws.

To support Designers as they determine the most appropriate solution for their mid-rise project, Simpson Strong-Tie offers:

  • A new Strong-Rod™ Systems Design Guide (F-L-SRS15) that provides Designers with critical information about the specific challenges and solutions available to address shear wall overturning restraint and roof uplift restraint. The 68-page guide explains three methods of specification and includes design considerations and checklists. This new guide is now available in print or for download.

  • A new Strong-Rod Systems webpage that features an interactive 3D graphic of a mid-rise building under construction, showcasing ATS and URS runs in a continuous load path.

In addition, Simpson Strong-Tie is helping Designers solve the challenges with anchoring rod systems into shallow podium concrete slabs. “We have completed three years of testing to help Designers with tested practical solutions for concrete podium slab anchorage. Anchor reinforcement details, along with patent-pending Shallow Anchor Rod Kits, make design and installation easy while developing much higher loads both mid-slab and near-edge,” said Ellis.

Customers interested in receiving more information about Strong-Rod systems can call 800-999-5099 and visit www.strongtie.com/srs.

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 strongtie.com and follow us at facebook.com/strongtie or at twitter.com/strongtie.

 

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Architecture Billings Index Returns to Positive Territory
Institutional project category sees greatest demand for design services

Led by growing demand for new schools, hospitals, cultural facilities and municipal buildings, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) increased in May following its second monthly drop this year. 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 May ABI score was 51.9, up from a mark of 48.8 in April. 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 a reading of 60.1 the previous month.

“As has been the case for the past several years, while the design and construction industry has been in a recovery phase, we continue to receive mixed signals on business conditions in the marketplace,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “Generally, the business climate is favorable, but there are still construction sectors and regions of the country that are struggling, producing the occasional backslide in the midst of what seems to be growing momentum for the entire industry.”

Key May ABI highlights:

  • Regional averages: South (54.6), Midwest (52.3), West (49.9) Northeast (45.2)

  • Sector index breakdown: institutional (55.2), mixed practice (52.5), commercial / industrial (48.3) multi-family residential (45.9)

  • Project inquiries index: 61.5

  • Design contracts index: 53.4

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 Falls Two Points in May

Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes in May dropped two points to a level of 54 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) released today. It is a nine-point increase from the May 2014 reading of 45.

“Despite this month’s slight dip, builder confidence in the new home market remains above the 50-point benchmark,” said NAHB Chairman Tom Woods, a home builder from Blue Springs, Mo. “Overall, the second quarter of 2015 is shaping up to be very solid.”

“Consumers are exhibiting caution, and want to be on more stable financial footing before purchasing a home,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “On the bright side, the HMI component measuring future sales expectations has been tracking upward all year, mortgage rates remain low, and house prices are affordable. These factors should spur the release of pent-up demand moving forward.”

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.

The index’s components were mixed in May. The component charting sales expectations in the next six months rose one point to 64, the index measuring buyer traffic dropped a single point to 39, and the component gauging current sales conditions decreased two points to 59.

Looking at the three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores, the South and Midwest each rose one point to 57 and 55, respectively. The Northeast fell by one point to 41 and the West dropped three points to 55.

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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Housing Production Jumps 20.2 Percent in April

Nationwide housing starts rose 20.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.135 million units in April from an upwardly revised March reading, according to newly released data from the U.S. Commerce Department. This is the highest level of housing production since November 2007.

Both housing sectors registered production gains this month. Single-family housing starts increased 16.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 733,000 in April while multifamily starts rose 27.2 percent to 402,000 units.

“Our builders tell us that consumers are slowly returning to the market,” said NAHB Chairman Tom Woods, a home builder from Blue Springs, Mo. “This month’s report shows release of pent-up demand and evidence of a sustainable housing recovery.”

“The April gains make up for the production dips we saw in the past two months, but single-family housing is still only about halfway back to what could be considered a normal market,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “With low interest rates and affordable home prices, we expect more upward momentum in the months ahead.”

Combined single- and multifamily starts were up in three out of the four regions in April. The Northeast posted an 85.9 percent gain, the Midwest rose 27.8 percent and the West increased 39 percent. Housing production dropped 1.8 percent in the South.

Overall permit issuance rose 10.1 percent in April to a rate of 1.143 million.

Multifamily permits registered a 20.5 percent gain to a rate of 477,000 while single-family permits increased 3.7 percent to 666,000.

Regionally, the Northeast, South and West posted respective permit gains of 38.8 percent, 9.9 percent and 3 percent. Permits dipped 1.3 percent in the Midwest.

 

For more information visit www.nahb.org

 

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Construction Group Calls For Better Safety Measures As New Data Shows Nearly Half Of Road Contractors Suffered Car Crashes In Work Zones
Construction Officials Urge Summer Travel Motorists to Stay Alert While Driving through Work Zones, Noting Drivers and Passengers are More Likely to Be Hurt or Killed in Work Zone Accidents Than Workers

Forty-six percent of highway contractors reported that motor vehicles had crashed into their construction work zones during the past year, according to the results of a new highway work zone study conducted by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials urged summer travel motorists to stay alert while driving through work zones, noting that drivers and passengers are more likely than highway workers to be hurt or killed in work zone accidents.

“If the thought of saving someone else’s life isn’t enough to get you to slow down, just remember that you and your passengers are more likely to suffer in a highway work zone crash than anyone else,” said Tom Foss, president of Brea, Calif.-based Griffith Company and the chairman of the association’s Highway and Transportation Division. “In most work zones, there just isn’t enough margin for error for anyone to speed through or lose focus.”

Foss said that 41 percent of contractors reported that motor vehicle operators or passengers were injured during work zone crashes this past year, and 16 percent of those crashes involved a drive or passenger fatality. Highway work zone crashes also pose a significant risk for construction workers, Foss, noted. He said 16 percent of work zone crashes injure construction workers and 9 percent of those crashes kill them.

Work zone crashes also have a pronounced impact on construction schedules and costs, Foss said. He noted that 26 percent of contractors reported that work zone crashes during the past year have forced them to temporarily shut down construction activity. Those delays were often lengthy, as 48 percent of those project shutdowns lasted two or more days.

Association officials said that 69 percent of contractors nationwide feel that tougher laws, fines and legal penalties for moving violations in work zones would reduce injuries and fatalities. In addition, 80 percent of contractors said that an increased use of concrete barriers will help reduce injuries and fatalities. And 70 percent of contractors nationwide agree that more frequent safety training for workers could help. They added that many firms and the association have crafted these types of highway safety programs.

But Foss suggested that the best way to improve safety was for motorists to be more careful while driving through highway work zones. “With the summer travel seasons starting this weekend, our message to every motorist is this: when you see construction signs and orange barrels, take your foot off the gas, put the phone down and keep your eyes on the road,” Foss said.

The work zone safety study was based on a nationwide survey of highway construction firms the association conducted in March and April of this year. Over 800 contractors completed the survey nationwide. View the national and Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Indiana, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington highway construction zone survey results.

 

For more information visit www.agc.org

 

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Architecture Billings Remain Stuck in Winter Slowdown
Regional business conditions continue to thrive in the South and West

Riding a stretch of increasing levels of demand for thirteen out of the last fifteen months, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) dropped in April for the second month this year. 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 April ABI score was 48.8, down sharply from a mark of 51.7 in March. This score reflects a decrease in design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 60.1, up from a reading of 58.2 the previous month.

“The fundamentals in the design and construction industry remain very healthy,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “The fact that both inquires for new projects and new design contracts continued to accelerate at a healthy pace in April points to strong underlying demand for design activity. However, April would typically be a month where these projects would be in full swing, but a severe winter in many parts of the Northeast and Midwest has apparently delayed progress on projects.”

Key April ABI highlights:

  • Regional averages: South (55.8), West (52.9) Midwest (49.9), Northeast (43.2)

  • Sector index breakdown: institutional (51.8), mixed practice (51.8), multi-family residential (49.0), commercial / industrial (48.9)

  • Project inquiries index: 60.1

  • Design contracts index: 53.1

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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Construction Firms Add 45,000 Jobs In April; Industry’s Unemployment Rate Hits 7.5 Percent As Number Of Unemployed Workers Drops To 14-Year
Residential and Nonresidential Construction Sectors Add Jobs, But Worker Shortages Are Likely to Expand as Industry Continues to Add Jobs during the Coming Months, Economist Warns

Construction firms added 45,000 jobs in April and 280,000 over 12 months, as the sector's unemployment rate fell to a nine-year April low of 7.5 percent, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials noted that even as the industry continues to expand, growth has been erratic and inconsistent.

“Construction employment resumed strong growth in April after slipping in March and is now growing at more than double the growth rate for total nonfarm employment,” said Ken Simonson, the association's chief economist. “Nevertheless, job growth remains spotty with the nonresidential building sector losing jobs even as other construction sectors expanded.”

Construction employment totaled 6,384,000 in April, compared to 6,338,000 in March and 6,103,000 in April 2014, Simonson noted. Residential building and specialty trade contractors added 23,600 jobs (1 percent) since March and 153,300 jobs (6.7 percent) over 12 months. Within the residential sector residential building contractors added only 2800 jobs for the month while residential specialty trade contractors added 20,800 jobs compared to March.

Nonresidential contractors—building, specialty trade, and heavy and civil engineering construction firms—hired a net of 20,800 workers for the month and 126,100 (3.3 percent) since April 2014. As with the residential sector, the nonresidential employment sector varied by segment. Nonresidential specialty trade contractors added 20,200 jobs for the month while heavy and civil engineering contractors—who typically perform public-sector projects like highway construction—added 8,400 jobs since March. But nonresidential building construction employment declined by 7,800 for the month and is up only 16,600 (2.4 percent) for the year.

Simonson added that the number of unemployed construction workers, 652,000, is at the lowest level since 2001. The construction economist cautioned that reports of construction worker shortages are likely to grow over the coming months. “With construction employment likely to continue to expand for the foreseeable future, labor conditions are likely to get even tighter.”

Association officials urged Congress and the Obama administration to act on the series of measures the group outlined in its Workforce Development Plan. Those measures are designed to make it easier for construction firms, local not-for-profits and school systems to establish construction training and education programs.

“The last time the sector’s unemployment level was this low construction firms were scrambling to find enough workers,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “While the labor situation isn’t as dire as it was back in 2006, Washington must act soon before more firms struggle to find enough workers to meet demand.”

 

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Click to view Kirksey's 2015 Construction Cost Update

 

 

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Gilbane's Spring 2015 Construction Economics Report
 

 

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Bullitt Center becomes third certified ‘living’ building to feature PPG glass
Advanced PPG glass now on nearly half of seven certified ‘living’ buildings worldwide

PPG Industries announced that Bullitt Center, Seattle, has become the third building constructed with PPG glass to meet the LIVING BUILDING CHALLENGE(TM) (LBC) standard, the world’s most rigorous green design and construction standard.

Touted as the “greenest commercial office building in the world,” the six-story, 52,000-square-foot structure features triple-glazed insulating glass units (IGUs) that incorporate two lites of SOLARBAN® 60 low-emissivity (low-e) glass to provide window system U-values as low as 0.17. The IGUs are part of an advanced curtain wall system, equipped with floor-to-ceiling windows, that enables Bullitt Center to draw 80 percent of its lighting needs from the sun. The center’s interior and exterior doors and laminated skylights also are fabricated from Solarban 60 glass.

STARPHIRE® ultra-clear glass by PPG frames the building’s signature design element, an “irresistible stairway” that invites occupants to climb steps instead of riding the elevator by providing panoramic views of downtown Seattle and Puget Sound. As the industry’s most transparent commercial architectural glass, Starphire glass can generate visible light transmittance of up to 91 percent in thicknesses from 3 to 19 millimeters.

Jim Hanford, building performance specialist for The Miller Hull Partnership and the Bullitt Center design team, said Solarban 60 glass was chosen for its ability to facilitate the building’s energy and daylighting demands.

“We specified Solarban 60 [glass] because it provided the best balance of thermal performance, solar control and daylighting performance,” he explained. “To allow daylight deep into the floor plate, we knew we would need large glass areas with high visible light transmittance. To offset the heating load penalty of the large glass areas, we wanted to get the lowest possible heat rate loss, and that meant using a product such as Solarban 60 [glass] with argon-fill in the insulating glass units.

“Because we have a long history of using Solarban 60 [glass], on other projects, we knew we would be comfortable with how it looked on the building,” he added.

 

 

Bullitt Center is fortified with a rooftop photovoltaic array that generates 230,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year, a ground-source geothermal heat exchange system and radiant floor heating and cooling systems. Together with a 56,000-gallon rainwater collection cistern, greywater reclamation, a green roof and dozens of other sustainable design strategies, the Bullitt Center renews or generates, on-site, more than 100 percent of the energy it needs to function.

PPG architectural glass products are included in two other certified living buildings: The Phipps Conservatory Center for Sustainable Landscapes in Pittsburgh and the Energy Lab at Hawaii Preparatory Academy in Kamuela. There are only seven certified living buildings in the world.

PPG is the first and only U.S. float glass manufacturer to earn recognition through the CRADLE TO CRADLE CERTIFIED(TM) program for its products, and it offers more architectural glasses certified through the program than does any other float glass manufacturer. To learn more about high-performance PPG glass, visit www.ppgideascapes.com or call 1-888-PPG-IDEA (774-4332).

About the Bullitt Foundation
Established in 1952, the Bullitt Foundation is dedicated to safeguarding the natural environment by promoting responsible human activities and sustainable communities in the Pacific Northwest, including Washington, Oregon, Idaho, western Montana (including the Rocky Mountain range), coastal Alaska from Cook Inlet to the Canadian border, and British Columbia. For more information, visit www.bullittcenter.org.

About The Miller Hull Partnership
Founded in 1977, The Miller Hull Partnership specializes in award-winning, performance-based design for public and private buildings that actively engage their communities through simple, innovative and authentic designs. Capabilities include architecture, master planning, interior design and space planning. The firm, which is widely recognized for timeless designs that elevate the ordinary and provide lasting value for public buildings, educational environments and private residences, is a recipient of the National Firm Award from the American Institute of Architects. For more information, visit www.millerhull.com.

About the Living Building Challenge
Administered by International Living Future Institute, the Living Building Challenge requires buildings to comply with 20 imperatives in seven performance categories including place, energy, water, health and happiness, materials, equity and beauty. Certification is based on actual – rather than modeled or anticipated – performance, and projects must meet all assigned imperatives for at least 12 consecutive months prior to evaluation to earn full program certification. The program’s mission is to encourage the creation of living buildings, landscapes and communities in countries around the world while inspiring, educating and motivating a global audience about the need for fundamental and transformative change.

 

PPG: Bringing innovation to the surface.(TM)

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 and follow @PPGIndustries on Twitter.

 

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PPG to debut color selector tool, e-binder app at AIA Convention 2015
Key DURANAR coatings ingredient, KYNAR 500 resin, also to celebrate 50 years

 

PPG Industries’ coil and building products coatings group will introduce the PPG Metal Coatings Online Color Selector Tool and digital Architectural Metal Coatings Binder app at AIA Convention 2015, the annual gathering of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), in Atlanta, May 14-16.

The color selector tool features digital versions of all 90 colors in the PPG Architectural Liquid and Powder Coatings Color Guide and each of the 80 colors in the PPG Building Products Coil Coatings Color Guide. Visitors can access large swatches of all 170 extrusion and coil coatings colors – which include the ability to click to full-screen views – and filter searches by color family or brand name such as DURANAR®, Duranar ULTRA-COOL®, DURASTAR® and CORAFLON® coatings.

The free Architectural Metal Coatings Binder application, available from the APPLE® APP STORE(SM) online store, enables access to fully updated catalogs, product brochures and data sheets for the entire roster of PPG liquid and powder coil and extrusion coatings. It includes color guides and technical documents for PPG metal coatings, along with white papers, case studies and sourcing information for members of the PPG CAP CERTIFIED APPLICATOR PROGRAM® group and for PPG-approved extrusion applicators and coil coaters.

Another in-booth highlight will be a mini-house constructed by PPG to demonstrate how products such as Duranar, Duranar ULTRA-Cool and Duranar VARI-COOL® coatings are used to protect and beautify metal building products. The display will showcase PPG glass and paint products as well.

PPG also celebrates a half-century of partnership with Arkema, as the only original and continuous licensee of the highly recognized, oft-recommended and universally trusted KYNAR 500® polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) resin made by Arkema. Today, Kynar 500 FSF® resins are a key component in every Duranar fluoropolymer coating.

To learn more, visit PPG at booth 851, log onto www.ppgideascapes.com or call 1-888-PPG-IDEA (774-4332).

PPG: Bringing innovation to the surface.(TM)

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 and follow @PPGIndustries on Twitter.

 

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Simpson Strong-Tie Sponsors The Tech Challenge 2015

Simpson Strong-Tie is sponsoring The Tech Challenge 2015, an annual team design challenge for children in grades 4-12 presented by The Tech Museum of Innovation located in San Jose, California from January 1 to April 26, 2015. The Tech Challenge introduces and reinforces the science and engineering design process with a hands-on project geared toward solving a real-world problem.

The Tech Challenge 2015 invites teams to build a scaled structure that supports live load and is earthquake safe. The structures will be placed on a test rig for a series of three 20-second simulated earthquakes. In between each earthquake simulation, the teams will have one minute to repair the structure to help ensure it survives the remaining earthquakes.

Teams will be judged on creativity, thought process, design and construction, teamwork, documentation and adherence to the spirit of the challenge.

“The Tech Challenge 2015 is a great forum for educating students and the general public about the importance of building safe, strong structures. Simpson Strong-Tie is committed to doing just that with our structural building products. We’re happy to support The Tech as an Underwriting Sponsor of this event,” said Jeremy Gilstrap, vice president of engineering at Simpson Strong-Tie.

“The Tech is grateful to Simpson Strong-Tie for its support of The Tech Challenge and our mission of inspiring the innovator in everyone,” says Tim Ritchie, President and CEO of The Tech. “We hope the kids learning about seismic engineering in this year’s competition decide to pursue STEM careers and go on to make the world a better, safer place through technology and innovation.”

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 strongtie.com and follow us at facebook.com/strongtie or at twitter.com/strongtie.

 

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IMETCO’s New Website Features Improved Functionality, Sleek New Design

IMETCO® recently redesigned its website, providing customers with improved navigation and a more user-friendly interface. The sleek new design allows customers to quickly and easily access technical product information and architectural details.

 

 

IMETCO recently redesigned its website, improving navigation and functionality throughout and creating a more user-friendly interface so customers can quickly and easily access technical product information and architectural details.

The sleek new design features a scrolling homepage with links to specifications and details, warranty and product literature requests as well as a growing library of project photos illustrating IMETCO’s wide range of capabilities as a building envelope solutions provider. There is also a navigation bar across the top of the website with links detailing IMETCO’s expansive line of products, services and additional resources.

“During the design process, we were determined to come up with a layout that highlights the beauty and versatility of metal. Additionally, we improved the functionality of the site so that we can continuously evolve this marketing tool moving forward,” explained Josh Younger, marketing specialist at IMETCO.

IMETCO is a leading manufacturer of premier metal products for the building envelope, delivering performance-inspired systems tailored to every project. IMETCO offers a full range of high-performance metal roofing, metal wall, and metal edge systems and accessories that provide a virtually limitless realm of aesthetic possibilities. Additionally, IMETCO provides high-quality custom metal solutions for designers whose visions extend beyond our standard product offering. IMETCO is also the exclusive supplier of United Zinc™, the only architectural zinc manufactured domestically. With specialty manufacturing capabilities, including curving, tapering, perforating and field forming, IMETCO continually distinguishes itself as a leader in the metal construction industry. Driven by a collective desire to provide exceptional service at every opportunity, IMETCO pledges to communicate, promise and deliver innovative solutions, dedicated support, professional engineering services, and products manufactured to the highest quality standards. IMETCO is headquartered in Norcross, Georgia.

For more information, visit www.imetco.com or call 800.646.3826.

 

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