January 2006

Turner Corporation Forecasts Increase in Construction Costs for 4Q 2005

The Turner Corporation, a general builder with 46 offices across the United States, announced Dec. 8, 2005, that construction costs in the fourth quarter of 2005 are projected to increase over the third quarter of 2005. According to the Turner Building Cost Index, the fourth quarter 2005 index will rise to 746, showing a 2.75 percent increase over the third quarter 2005 index of 725 and a 9.71 percent increase over the fourth quarter 2004 index of 674.

According to Karl F. Almstead, the Turner vice president responsible for the Cost Index: "Material prices continue to drive cost escalation. Steel, cement (concrete), copper gypsum wallboard and petroleum based products are all experiencing cost increases and shortages in some areas due to domestic demand for finished products and global demand for raw materials. The competition for labor is intensifying in active markets creating additional pricing pressure. Although the impact of the rebuilding following the Gulf hurricanes has not yet settled through the construction industry, the influence of energy prices is being felt in the industry.”

Turner has made its quarterly forecast for more than 50 years. Used widely by the construction industry and federal and state governments, the building costs and price trends tracked by the Turner Building Cost Index may or may not reflect regional conditions in any given quarter. The Cost Index is determined by several factors considered on a nationwide basis—labor rates and productivity, material prices and the competitive condition of the marketplace. This index does not necessarily conform to other published indices because others do not generally take all of these factors into account.

Degussa Wall Systems Announces Expansion Plans

Degussa Walls Systems, Jacksonville, Fla., announced Dec. 9, 2005, that it plans to significantly expand operations at its Lancaster, Texas, manufacturing site.

The expansion will include the addition of a new, fully equipped, 65,000-square-foot state-of-the-art manufacturing facility, bringing the total manufacturing area at the site to 100,000 square feet.

According to Kevin Sullivan, director of manufacturing for Degussa Construction Chemicals Operations, Inc., the process flow will be much improved.

The expansion is slated to begin in January 2006 and scheduled to be completed by April 1, 2006.

ICF Solutions, Inc. Announces Acquisition of Greenblock Worldwide Corporation

ICF Solutions, Inc., Stuart, Fla., announced Nov. 29, 2005, that it has completed the acquisition of Colorado-based Greenblock Worldwide Corporation, a privately held insulated form manufacturing, sales and marketing company.

Insulated concrete forms are a "stay in place” insulated wall forming system made of three primary components: expanded polystyrene foam, rigid plastic ties and reinforced poured concrete. The use of ICFs began more than a half century ago in Europe and is continuing to gain popularity throughout the construction industry.

ICF Solutions will relocate Greenblock’s corporate functions to its headquarters in Stuart, Florida while maintaining a production/fulfillment office in the Colorado Springs area. The company will also begin executing an aggressive sales and marketing plan geared at converting builders and contractors from conventional framing to ICF technology.

CertainTeed Holds Company’s First Safety Day

CertainTeed Corporation, Valley Forge, Pa., and its more than 7,000 employees across the nation honor their commitment to health and safety by celebrating the first annual CertainTeed Health and Safety Day on Nov. 15, 2005. A leading North American manufacturer of building products for more than 100 years, CertainTeed is steadfast in building a world-class culture with an unwavering emphasis on health and safety for every employee.

CertainTeed employees recognized the day by adopting a safety pledge and a personal safety action plan that encompasses work, off-the-job and family action plans. Each of the company’s 40 plants as well as the corporate offices made a variety of health and safety activities available to its workers, including on-site health fairs, safety and emergency planning sessions, site litter pick-up, storm drain labeling and more.

Construction Remains Steady in October

The value of new construction starts in October, at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $668.5 billion, was essentially unchanged from September’s revised amount. According to McGraw-Hill Construction, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies, October showed gains for nonresidential building and nonbuilding construction that offset a moderate decline for the housing sector. Through the first 10 months of 2005, total construction on an unadjusted basis was reported at $550.5 billion, a 9 percent increase relative to the previous year. The October statistics produced a reading of 201 for the Dodge Index (1996=100), the same level as September. From June through October, the Dodge Index averaged 203, up 10 percent from the 184 mean reported during the first five months of 2005.

Nonresidential building in October rebounded 8 percent to $176.3 billion (annual rate). Education-related building, the largest nonresidential category by dollar volume, increased 12 percent. Also advancing in October was the amusement and recreational category, climbing 59 percent. Institutional categories with a reduced volume of construction starts for October were healthcare facilities, down 1 percent; public buildings, down 17 percent; and transportation terminals, down 50 percent. The commercial sector was mixed in October. Moderate growth was shown by stores, up 2 percent; and offices, up 7 percent. Losing momentum in October were hotels, down 2 percent; and warehouses, down 34 percent. The manufacturing plant category soared 188 percent.

Residential building in October slipped 6 percent to $381.9 billion (annual rate). While down from September’s elevated pace, October was still 2 percent higher than the average for the previous nine months. Single-family housing in October retreated 5 percent, as this robust market appears to be settling back very gradually. Multifamily housing in October dropped 8 percent from a very strong September.

The 9 percent gain for total construction during the first 10 months of 2005 reflected the following performance by major sector: residential building, up 14 percent; nonbuilding construction, up 8 percent; and nonresidential building, up 1 percent.

People & Companies In the News

Jim Romesburg has accepted the position of technical applications consultant for Degussa Wall Systems, headquartered in Jacksonville, Fla., and will be located in Kansas City, Mo. As a TAC, Romesburg will be responsible for providing field technical assistance for any and all activities related to the installation of Degussa Wall Systems products/systems in the Midwestern region.

Michael Rosenzweig has joined Denver-based Johns Manville as senior vice president, corporate development and general counsel. Rosenzweig, who will report directly to Steve Hochhauser, JM’s chairman, president, and chief executive officer, will lead the company’s Corporate Development, Legal, and Risk Management & Loss Control organizations. He will also be a member of JM’s senior leadership team.

Negwer Materials Inc., St. Louis, Mo., has added Tina Geurkink as an inside salesperson in the company’s Cape Girardeau location, and Jody Underwood has joined the company as a yard manager for the company’s Cape Girardeau location.

Primarily responsible for inside sales, Geurkink also assists with human resources and accounting. Her position includes billing, safety, sales and dispatch.

Bringing to Negwer more than seven years of experience in outside sales, Underwood is responsible for the company’s growth and expansion in the southeast Missouri market. As yard manager, Underwood oversees all yard operations, including safety, sales, human resources and accounting.

The Steel Network announces the release of the first ICC-Evaluation Service Report specifically for light steel framing vertical deflection clips, ICC-ESR-1903. ICC-ESR-1903, the first report created for steel framing vertical deflection clips, is available for download at www.steelnetwork.com and www.icc-es.org.

USG Corporation, Chicago, has announced several senior-level management changes in order to continue its record-setting operating performance, build new platforms for growth and continue working toward a fair resolution of its Chapter 11 case.

The changes, which became effective Jan. 1, 2006, recognize four senior USG executives for their outstanding achievements. The executives and their new positions are as follows:

- James S. Metcalf, president and chief operating officer, USG Corporation.
- Edward M. Bosowski, executive vice president and chief strategy officer, USG Corporation; and president, USG International.
- Dominic A. Dannessa, vice president, USG Corporation; and executive vice president, manufacturing, Building Systems.
- Fareed A. Khan, vice president, USG Corporation; and executive vice president, sales and marketing, Building Systems.

Metcalf will oversee USG’s North American operating subsidiaries, including United States Gypsum Company, USG Interiors, Inc., CGC Inc., USG Mexico and L&W Supply Corporation in the manufacture, sales, marketing and distribution of gypsum, ceilings and related products.

Bosowski will direct USG’s overall growth plan and strategy, international operations and the strategic technology, supply chain and growth functions.

Dannessa will oversee United States Gypsum Company and USG Interiors, Inc. manufacturing operations, as well as manufacturing administration, synthetic gypsum strategy and paper strategy.

Khan will have responsibility for sales, national accounts, marketing, customer relationship management and specialty products.