September 2005

AISI Invigorates Effort to Develop Design Standards for Cold-Formed Steel Framing

The American Iron and Steel Institute announced Aug. 5, 2005, that the Committee on Framing Standards has approved a plan to better focus and strengthen its efforts to develop design standards for cold-formed steel framing. Central to this plan is the dividing of the former General Provisions and Design Methods Subcommittee into two subcommittees, one on General Provisions and one on Design Methods.

Don Allen, technical director of the Steel Stud Manufacturers Association and director of engineering development for the Steel Framing Alliance, will continue to chair the General Provisions Subcommittee. The General Provisions Subcommittee retains responsibility for the General Provision standard and the Product Data standard, and oversees the activities of the Product Standard, Corrosion and Durability, and Fire, Sound and Thermal task groups.

Dr. Roger LaBoube, teaching professor of civil engineering at the University of Missouri-Rolla and director of the Wei-Wen Yu Center for Cold-Formed Steel Structures, will chair the Design Methods Subcommittee. The Design Methods Subcommittee assumes responsibility for the Header Design standard, Lateral Design standard, and Wall Stud Design standard, and oversees the activities of the Header Design, Lateral Design and Wall Stud Design task groups.

The AISI Committee on Framing Standards is an ANSI-accredited, consensus standards body that develops, maintains, and improves AISI design and installation standards with the purpose of eliminating regulatory barriers and increasing the reliability and cost competitiveness of cold-formed steel framing.

The AISI serves as the voice of the North American steel industry in the public policy arena and advances the case for steel in the marketplace as the preferred material of choice. AISI also plays a lead role in the development and application of new steels and steelmaking technology. AISI is comprised of 32 member companies, including integrated and electric furnace steelmakers, and 118 associate and affiliate members who are suppliers to its customers of the steel industry. AISI’s member companies represent approximately 75 percent of both U.S. and North American steel capacity. For more news about steel and its applications, view AISI’s Web site at www.steel.org.

Wallboard Shipment Volume Announced for Second Quarter of 2005
The United States gypsum board industry shipped a total of 9.220 billion square feet of material during the second calendar quarter (April–June) of 2005, according to statistics complied by the Gypsum Association. During the same period, Canadian manufacturers shipped 922 million square feet of material.

During the first six months of 2005, U.S. manufacturers have shipped a total of 17.788 billion square feet of material, and Canadian manufacturers have shipped 1.724 billion square feet of material.

Degussa Wall Systems Acquires Acrocrete
Degussa Walls Systems, Jacksonville, Fla., announced July 26, 2005, that it has acquired Acrocrete, a manufacturer of EIFS, stucco and coatings. Founded in 1988, Acrocrete has served the Southeast United States focusing primarily in the commercial and multifamily market segments.

USG to Build Manufacturing Plant
United States Gypsum Company, Chicago, will build a new Sheetrock® Brand Gypsum Panel manufacturing plant in Washingtonville, Pa. The state-of-the-art facility is valued at approximately $180 million.

Located in North Central Pennsylvania, the new plant is designed to operate the world’s largest wallboard manufacturing line, with the capacity to produce approximately one billion square feet of wallboard annually. The facility will be built on a 186-acre site, and initially employ about 150 people. Construction of the new plant is scheduled to begin in 2006, with completion in the first half of 2008.

The new facility will produce wallboard using recaptured gypsum, use 100 percent recycled paper for the surfaces of the finished wallboard products, recycle 100 percent of its production waste and feature a closed-loop liquid effluent system, which translates to zero discharge into nearby waterways.

BPB Products Win ADEX Awards
BPB America received five Awards for Design Excellence from Design Journal, an international trade publication for interior designers, architects and facility managers.

The ADEX judges rolled out the red carpet to bestow its highest honor, the Platinum Award, for four BPB products, and a BPB ceiling panel received a Gold Award.

Target Contracting Wins Excellence in Construction Award
DISCA Executive Director Don Morrice presented DISCA’s 2005 Excellence in Construction Award to Target Contracting, Inc. of Englewood Cliffs, N.J., for its Temple Sinai project in Summit, N.J. Ken Greene, project manager, submitted the job for consideration and accepted the award at Mayfair Farms at the Joint Membership Meeting of DISCA, BCA/NJ and AGC/NJ on June 7, 2005.

The project of approximately 29,000 square feet consisted of two existing buildings. A 1910 wood-framed building required extensive renovation that included the replacement of wood joists, sub floors, drywall partitions and ceilings, acoustic ceilings, windows and doors, a fire separation wall for its entire length and height between the existing building and the new adjacent structure. The other existing building, built in 1964, required the addition of structural wood beams to reinforce the existing structure and also required new drywall partitions, light coves, soffits and acoustic ceilings, doors, etc.

International Energy Conservation Code 2004: The Right Thing to Do
By Robin Bectel
Director of Communications
North American Insulation
Manufacturers Association

The International Code Council met in July in Detroit to finalize the 2004 International Energy Conservation Code and International Residential Code. Opponents of energy efficiency say the 2004 IECC will add to the cost of a home and price some buyers out of the market. In reality, the code could lower the cost of the house, both upfront and over the life of the home. The 2004 IECC promotes good building practice and is a strong step forward in energy efficiency. Consider the reasons why energy efficient homes are so important. Today’s buildings use more than 39 percent of the nation’s energy, and energy costs are skyrocketing. A recent Harvard study found that 46 million American households are inadequately insulated by even the 2000 IECC standards. Poor energy efficiency translates to massive amounts of fuel being wasted. How much? Try 76 supertankers of crude oil every year—wasted because of poor energy efficiency in homes. This wasted energy results in preventable air pollution that directly impacts our public health and costs our economy billions of dollars each year in healthcare costs and lost time at work due to pollution-related illnesses.
 
The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that increasing energy efficiency could cut national energy use by 10 percent or more by 2010 and about 20 percent by 2020, with net economic benefits for consumers and businesses. This is the right thing to do. We need a more efficient minimum energy code now to reduce costs and protect our energy supply.
 
Home builders suggest that the increased codes would mean more building materials and more expense to purchase a home. However, the exact opposite is true. The 2004 IECC can be done with standard materials, including 2-by-4 walls and all types of insulation, coupled with insulating sheathing, at little or no extra cost. If builders choose to use advanced framing techniques to accommodate the higher levels of insulation, they could find themselves using substantially less wood, which also positively affects costs. This is both good building practice and good for business.
 
Further, the availability of low-income housing is irrelevant if owners cannot afford the monthly cost to live in that home. According to the Alliance to Save Energy, a 25 percent reduction in energy costs would bring 1,182,000 additional housing units nationwide within the standard affordability guideline of 30 percent of income for housing costs.
 
Currently, costs to correct energy inefficiency are passed to weatherization programs. The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program is funded with $1.88 billion federal tax dollars. This program offers financial assistance to more than 5 million low-income households who need help with home heating and cooling bills. This is a poor solution for inefficiently built homes. We need to start building them better today.
 
The code is developed to create a minimum quality standard for building practice and a sustainable product. The 2004 IECC removed the requirement to calculate the window-to-wall area ratio as was the case in previous codes. Since this ratio was eliminated, the higher R-values were suggested to compensate and maintain a strong envelope over the lifespan of a home. The 2004 IECC also enhances compliance by reducing the number of climate zones from 19 to eight.

Ultimately, most buildings are built to just the minimum specified requirements of the code. Therefore, it is vital that the code reflect a sufficient and sound building practice to protect owners in their long-term investment. A home should be built to last 70 to 100 years. If government programs are currently subsidizing housing/buildings that are energy inefficient, then our building practices need to be improved. Energy use continues to rise, as does our dependency on foreign energy sources. Strong steps are essential to reduce our energy consumption and waste. Ratifying the 2004 IECC code is the right thing for the building industry, the environment, our public health and the economy. Let’s start building homes that will still be saving energy in the next century and continuing to put money back in the homeowner’s pocket.

People & Companies In the News
Topcon, Livermore, Calif., announces two promotions. Joe Brabec will serve as Topcon’s chief technology officer, and Jamie Williamson will serve as senior vice president of sales and marketing.

Sto Corp., Atlanta, has formed a business alliance with Cortec Corporation, a Minnesota-based manufacturer of specialty protection coatings and products that mitigate the effects of corrosion. The agreement will utilize established mortars, coatings and enhanced claddings products from Sto Corp.

RoboToolz®, Mountain View, Calif., announces that Robert C. Eichelberg has joined the company as regional sales director. In his new position, Eichelberg will assume responsibility for the Northeast, the Upper Midwest and the Ohio Valley regions.

The C. H. Hanson Company has relocated its corporate headquarters to Naperville, Ill., from its former facility in Franklin Park, Ill. The new facility allows C.H. Hanson to consolidate its offices, manufacturing and warehousing into one location. The new facility is situated on 20 acres. The space includes 15,000 square feet of office space, 80,000 square feet devoted to manufacturing and warehousing, and offers enough land to double the size of their operations.

Hacker Industries, Inc., Newport Beach, Calif., announces that Idaho-based Lite-Crete, LLC is its newest licensed applicator. Lite-Crete, LLC will supply products from Hacker Industries, Inc. throughout Northern Idaho and Eastern Washington.

In Memoriam Joe McClain, one of the most respected members of the industry in Northern California, passed away Aug. 9, 2005, at age 61after a short struggle with cancer. McClain served in the U.S. Air Force from 1961 to 1965 as a crew chief on a KC135 Tanker. He then worked in the building material business, working for both a dealer and a steel stud manufacturer. For the last 16 years he was the sales manager for San Francisco Gravel. "SFG handles everything you can need in the drywall and plastering industry, and Joe was an expert,” said Burke Nicholson, president of the Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industry and CEO of Bayside Interiors, Inc., Fremont, Calif. "If you needed a special product that you’d never heard of, Joe either knew where to get it or where to find out about it. He was the kind of guy you could always count on and always thought of others and how he could help.” McClain was active in Northern California Drywall Association, AWCI, East Bay Plasterers Association and the San Francisco Plasterers Association. Builder Confidence Remains Strong
Builder confidence in the market for new single-family homes edged down somewhat in August but remained well within the elevated range that has characterized the past 17 months, according to the Aug. 15 National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index. The August HMI reflects a four point decline—from 76 to 72—in the component that measures current sales activity. The component that measures builder expectations for sales over the next six months was unchanged at 77, and the component that measures traffic of prospective buyers declined five points from 55 to 50. Builder confidence measures declined slightly in three of the four regions of the country. Only the Northeast, with a rise from 69 to 71, showed an increase. In the Midwest, the confidence gauge declined from an upwardly revised 48 to 45, and in the West it dropped from 88 to 85. The South registered a slight decline from a downwardly revised 74 in July to 73 in August.