Construction Trends

August 2009

CSI to End Support of MasterFormat™ 95 on December 31, 2009
The Construction Specifications Institute, Alexandria, Va., will cease to license and support MasterFormat™ 95 as of Dec. 31, 2009.

The CSI board of directors voted to stop licensing and supporting MasterFormat 95 during its June 16, 2009, meeting at the CSI Annual Convention in Indianapolis.

"Now that the new edition has been widely accepted by the industry, we felt it was time to complete the transition to MasterFormat™ 2004,” said CSI Executive Director and CEO Walter Marlowe, P.E., CSI, CAE. "As a result, CSI and Construction Specifications Canada will no longer support MasterFormat 95 after Dec. 31, 2009.”

In 2004, CSI and CSC introduced the most significant updates to MasterFormat since the standard was introduced in the 1960s. To meet the industry’s changing needs, MasterFormat 2004 edition features an expanded structure, increasing the number of divisions from 16 to 50, and replaces the five-digit system from previous editions with a six-digit system. It was expanded to accommodate the many new technologies and building practices introduced since its inception and to provide more complete coverage for all types of construction projects.

Many high-profile public agencies, companies, A/E firms, consultants and others have made the switch to the latest edition of MasterFormat, but there are still organizations that have not made the transition. Using two different versions of MasterFormat makes it difficult to correctly classify work results and communicate project information. The continued use of MasterFormat 95 and earlier versions also hinders industry standardization and works contrary to interoperability.

CSI and CSC are working with the MasterFormat sponsors to communicate the decision to the industry, promote the benefits of using the latest version through a communication campaign and transition their products that use MasterFormat.

For more information on MasterFormat, visit www.masterformat.com. MasterFormat 2004 edition is available for purchase on the Web site. Access to real-time updates, a transition guide and a tool to convert MasterFormat 95 numbers to the latest version also are available.

May Construction Holds Steady
At a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $557.8 billion, new construction starts in May were essentially unchanged from April, according to McGraw-Hill Construction, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies. Nonresidential building in May registered a particularly strong performance, led by the start of several large manufacturing plants. At the same time, residential building continued to show a loss of momentum, and the nonbuilding construction sector retreated after April’s elevated activity.
During the first five months of 2008, total construction on an unadjusted basis was reported at $228.3 billion, down 14 percent from the same period a year ago. If residential building is excluded from the year-to-date comparison, new construction starts in the first five months of 2008 increased 7 percent.
The May statistics produced a reading of 118 for the Dodge Index (2000=100), the same as April’s revised level, although 11 percent below the full year average for 2007 at 133.

Nonresidential building in May advanced 26 percent to $264.7 billion (annual rate). Residential building, at $174.4 billion (annual rate), fell 5 percent in May. Single-family housing continued to recede, slipping 2 percent while multifamily housing fell 13 percent.

The 14 percent drop for total construction in the January–May period of 2008, compared to last year, reflected this pattern by sector: residential building, down 40 percent; nonbuilding construction, down 2 percent; and nonresidential building, up 13 percent.

By region, total construction in the first five months of 2008 revealed double-digit declines in three regions: the South Atlantic, down 27 percent; the West, down 23 percent; and the Midwest, down 12 percent. The South Central, down 1 percent, was essentially steady year-to-date; while the Northeast registered a 7 percent increase.

Nonresidential Construction Job Losses Jump in June
Job losses in the nonresidential construction sector surged in June to 11,700, according to the July 2 employment report by the U.S. Labor Department. On a year-over-year basis, nonresidential building construction employment fell by 88,700, or 10.8 percent, to 734,600.

Residential building construction shed 6,800 jobs for the month and 136,400 from June 2008 as employment in this sector now stands at 700,900. Job losses for total private construction, which includes specialty trade contractors, were 79,000 from May to June, and 992,000 over the past 12 months.

Overall, national employment decreased by 467,000 from the previous month and 5,664,000 from June 2008. Since the start of the recession in December 2007, employment has declined by 6,460,000, or 4.7 percent. The nation’s unemployment rate now stands at 9.5 percent—a 26-year high.

"Today’s employment report is a setback for the nation’s economic recovery as job losses far exceeded consensus predictions,” said Associated Builders and Contractors Chief Economist Anirban Basu. "As the overall unemployment rate rose just 0.1 percent, one must consider there was a drop in labor force participation from 65.9 percent in May to 65.7 percent in June showing the impact of poor employment opportunities and a likely rise in discouraged workers.

"There is a bright spot, however. The pace of monthly job losses in the second quarter slowed to 436,000 compared to 691,000 in the first quarter of 2009,” Basu said.

Dryvit Participates in U.S. Senate Green Summit
Dryvit Systems Inc., West Warwick, RI, was selected by the U. S. Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee to represent the state of Rhode Island at the Green Jobs Leadership Summit, held June 17, 2009 in the Russell Senate Office Building, in Washington, D.C. Hosted by the Senate Democratic Caucus, the summit focused on creating clean-energy jobs and supporting the new green economy. A keynote address was delivered by Vice President Joe Biden.

Dryvit was nominated by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) because of the company’s leadership in advancing building-envelope construction methods that reduce energy use and greenhouse gases.

According to Tony Stall, vice president of marketing and sustainability at Dryvit, "… Dryvit is pleased to participate in the Senate Democratic Caucus Green Jobs Leadership Summit, and provide information to our legislators that will assist them in making smart decisions that can quickly and cost effectively reduce our nation’s reliance on non-renewable energy sources and reduce Green House Gas emissions. Most importantly, thousands of people can be put to work using building-envelope-related green technologies that are proven and readily available today, and this work can begin on existing buildings as soon as funding is in place.”

EIMA Names New Executive Director
David A. Johnston has been named the new executive director of the EIFS Industry Members Association, Falls Church, Va.

As executive director, Johnston is responsible for directing all association activities, including coordinating the member-led technical and communications committees, and the newly formed Sustainability Advocacy Committee. He will represent EIMA within national codes and standards development organizations and will work with model codes and standards setting organizations such as ICC, ASHRAE, ASTM, ANSI and others. This will ensure that any codes and standards being created or modified meet EIMA’s criteria of being reasonable, achievable and cost-effective.

In addition, Johnston will be a primary liaison with Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Department of Energy in Phase 3 of EIMA’s ongoing project on wall design and performance, as well as for numerous other initiatives critical to promoting the growth of EIFS as the cladding of choice.

Johnston brings to EIMA a long history of expertise in the technical, regulatory and standards development arenas relating to commercial construction, both at the national and state/local levels. In addition, he has extensive association management experience, having served in a number of management capacities with large national associations based in Washington, D.C.

Prior to joining EIMA, Johnston was director of codes and standards in the codes, standards, and regulatory affairs division of the Building Owners and Managers Association, where he was employed since 2004. Prior to his role at BOMA, Johnston was with the Design-Build Institute of America, where he held various positions. Prior to joining DBIA, he served on the campaign staff of Congressman Tom Davis of Virginia. His previous experience also includes serving as senior director of federal regulatory affairs with the American Institute of Architects and with the Associated General Contractors of America in its Building and Heavy-Industrial Divisions.

Grabber Construction Products Becomes Employee Owned
John Wagner Associates, Inc.’s board of directors have announced the completion of its restructuring plans resulting in JWA, doing business as Grabber Construction Products, or "Grabber,” now being a 100 percent employee owned company.

The GPG division and the Impact Photographics division are incorporated as separate entities and are now effectively owned by the Wagner family.

Brad and Judy Wagner retired last year and Rich Holmberg has announced his retirement at the end of this month. Holmberg served as president of JWA for 25 years.

The JWA ESOP Board of Trustees elected the following new JWA board of directors: Mike Hamilton, Bill Reese, Steve Fletcher, Larry Striegel, Todd Balestrieri, Jack Kroll and Roland Snyder. Holmberg was appointed as a director with emeritus status.

The following individuals have been appointed to the ESOP board of trustees: Trace Boswell, Scott Henderson, Steve Fosdick, Mike Hamilton, Steve Fletcher, Jack Kroll, Bill Reese, Todd Balestrieri, and Roland Snyder.

In other corporate action, the JWA Board of Directors has appointed Jack Kroll as president and CEO, and Roland Snyder as CFO and secretary. Vice presidents are Bill Reese, Mike Hamilton, Steve Fletcher, Todd Balestrieri and Larry Striegel, and Todd Balestrieri is assistant secretary.

The employees of the Impact Photographics and GPG divisions severed their employment with JWA and are now employees of the respective new corporations. The employees of the Grabber Construction Products and Administration divisions remain employees of JWA.

Grabber is an international distributor and manufacturer of quality products for construction professionals. Grabber’s line includes premium fasteners and fastening systems for wood, metal and drywall applications in the commercial and residential construction markets. Grabber also distributes a wide range of proprietary tools, accessories, equipment and building materials to the construction industry.

People & Companies in the News
Roll-Kraft, Mentor, Ohio, has launched a totally new Web site, www.roll-kraft.com. The new features include an instant request for quote button, along with Dr. Resolve, who will write a prescription for remedies to problems with tube and pipe and roll forming applications. There are also videos and photos of products and testimonials from customers. You also can see what the customer has to say about Roll-Kraft products.

ParexLahabra, Anaheim, Calif., has announced the launch of a companion ParexLahabra Inc. and Pecora Corporation warranty. The joint warranty will be offered when Pecora 890 sealant is used in conjunction with certain ParexLahabra branded systems. The Pecora companion warranty will be set to match the length of ParexLahabra warranty when the products are used together.

On Center Software, The Woodlands, Texas, announced that David Moyer has joined the company in the newly created position of channel partner manager. Moyer will be focusing primarily on the improvement of On Center Software’s Solution Provider Network. His duties will also include supporting Integrated Business Partners whose products operate in conjunction with On Center’s products.

Moyer brings with him more than 20 years of experience in the construction software industry. Prior to joining On Center Software, he served as the vice president of sales for Digitek, Inc., a Sage Channel Partner. He also served as the vice president of sales for Sage Software, Construction and Real Estate Division.

Knauf Insulation, Shelbyville, Ind., has announced that George Phelps, the former vice president of government and industry affairs at the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association, is joining Knauf Insulation North America as manager of legislative and product affairs. In his new position Phelps is responsible for positioning Knauf products with regard to various energy efficiency improvement initiatives with federal, state and municipal programs.

During Phelps’ nearly 20-year tenure at NAIMA, he was influential in advocating states adopt more stringent energy codes to improve the energy efficiency of homes and buildings. His legislative knowledge and connectivity with energy efficiency associations and state offices have uniquely qualified him for this newly formed position.

Armstrong Ceilings, Lancaster, Pa., has received two Gold Awards in the Best of Neocon 2009 competition. The Armstrong DC FlexZone™ ceiling grid system won the top prize in the Workplace Technologies category, while the Green Genieä interactive Web tool took the honors in the Software Technologies category. Sponsored by Contract magazine and celebrating its 20th year, the Best of Neocon awards recognize the top new products introduced at the show.