April 2006

Building Security Tops Comfort, Attractive Design, Fire Safety in Survey

A nationwide survey conducted by Bethesda, Md.–based Society for Fire Protection Engineers reveals that from a list of characteristics that included comfort, fire safety, environmental friendliness and other amenities, security was chosen by more Americans as the most important feature of a building.

Twenty-eight percent of Americans feel building security is the most important feature, while 15 percent of respondents indicated that fire safety is the most important aspect of a building’s design.

"The findings are not a huge surprise to us given the threat from terrorism that we face today,” says Chris Jelenewicz, engineering program manager with SFPE. "But one thing people don’t often think about is how security and fire protection have common goals in building design—protecting life and property.”

As part of National Engineering Week, Feb. 19–25, SFPE is publishing on its Web site, sfpe.org, an article from Fire Protection Engineering Magazine that features how fire protection engineers design ways to balance fire safety and security in a building. "Throughout history, the desire for increased building security has contributed to countless deadly building fires. The most notable fire occurred at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York City in 1911, where locked exit doors contributed to 146 fatalities,” Jelenewicz said. "Although the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire occurred almost 100 years ago, the threat can still exist today if security is not balanced with fire protection. For instance, padlocked exit doors contributed to the deaths of 175 concertgoers at a Buenos Aires nightclub fire in 2004.”

The survey also reveals that 56 percent of Americans think about fire and the dangers of fire either on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. A sizeable 44 percent think about fire just once a year—or less. This finding remains unchanged from 12 months ago, when the same question was asked.

Another noteworthy finding from the survey revealed that 44 percent of Americans feel safer in their home when compared to public and commercial buildings such as schools, churches and offices.

"Although some people may feel safer in their homes, more fire fatalities occur in homes than in other types of buildings,” Jelenewicz said. "Building regulations have stricter fire safety requirements for public buildings than they do for homes. Accordingly, the efforts of fire protection engineers are generally focused on public buildings, which are consequently much safer.” The survey, commissioned by the SFPE and conducted this month by Synovate, polled more than 1,000 American adults. The findings have a margin of error of plus (+) or minus (–) 3 percent.

NOCSA to Develop Applicators Installation Manual

The National One Coat Stucco Association board of directors has announced it is developing an Applicators Installation Manual for One Coat Stucco.

The board authorized Ron Ogawa and Associates to develop the manual from an outline prepared by the board.

The manual is being designed to put forth the most efficient procedures and to have sufficient details that are acceptable to the industry. A number of NOCSA manufacturers have submitted details, drawings, photographs and other technical information to assist Ogawa.

Some of the special sections of the manual will include flashing, substrates, moisture barrier, lath/fastening, mixing, applications, floating and finishes.

The final draft of the manual is expected to be available in late spring.

Dietrich Metal Framing Announces Sublicensing of UltraSteel™

Dietrich Metal Framing, Columbus, Ohio, has signed an exclusive sublicensing agreement with Clark Western for UltraSteel™ metal framing products using patented technology of Hadley Industries PLC. Dietrich has a licensing agreement with Hadley for exclusive rights to manufacture and sell metal framing using the UltraSteel™ technology in North America.

UltraSteel™ is an internationally patented method of altering the characteristics of the base strip steel providing higher strength material. Additional benefits have been verified by independent sources, and the product has received certification by Underwriters Laboratories. The product will improve speed and quality of the building process by allowing for faster and better fastening of both the framing products and wallboard. UltraSteel™ greater rigidity and smoother edges also make handling easier and safer.

Dietrich has begun making UltraSteel™ framing products available in Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia while systematically rolling them out across North America as Dietrich manufacturing facilities convert to the UltraSteel™ process. Clark Western will employ a similar plan to make the product more readily available in the marketplace. Clark, headquartered in Cincinnati, with 14 manufacturing locations, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Marubeni-Itochu Steel America.

USG Introduces Steel Framing System

The Building Components division of United States Gypsum Company is introducing an innovative residential framing system designed as a modern alternative to traditional wood "stick” building methods.

The cold-formed steel framing components, including roof trusses, wall panels and floor panels, are factory manufactured to ensure precision, efficiency and quality. The components can be incorporated individually or as a complete engineered framing system.

USG’s components are delivered to the job site ready to install. Small crews can frame a home in a fraction of the time it takes using traditional methods, allowing builders to reduce costs and increase volume.

U.S. Gypsum is constructing a plant in Tuscaloosa, Ala., and will make the systems available in a few months. When the product is available, it will be available only to key Southern and Southeast markets.

Construction Holds Steady in January

The value of new construction starts in January, at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $658.3 billion, was unchanged from December, according to McGraw-Hill Construction, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies. The pattern of activity by major sector was varied: nonresidential building retreated, residential building stayed even with its December pace, and nonbuilding construction registered moderate growth.

On an unadjusted basis, total construction in January was reported at $46.0 billion, up 8 percent compared to the same month a year ago.

January’s statistics produced a reading of 139 for the Dodge Index (2000=100), the same as the revised level for December. With the January release, the base year for the Dodge Index has been changed from 1996 to 2000. For all of the 2005, the Dodge Index averaged 138 with the new 2000 base year.

"January’s activity came in slightly above the average for 2005, which was a very healthy year for the construction industry,” stated Robert A. Murray, vice president of economic affairs for McGraw-Hill Construction. "The current year should see construction stay close to its 2005 volume, although the mix by major sector is expected to be somewhat different, as nonresidential building and public works pick up the slack from a slowing housing market. January showed a few, but not all, elements of this pattern that’s expected to emerge as the current year proceeds.”

Nonresidential building in January decreased 3 percent to $172.9 billion (annual rate). After showing a strengthening trend during the closing months of 2005, several of the major institutional structure types retreated in January, with school construction down 16 percent and healthcare facilities down 43 percent from a very strong December. Even with the decline, the healthcare facilities category in January continued to see groundbreaking take place for major hospital projects, including a $134 million project in Orlando, Fla., and a $90 million project in Mesa, Ariz.

Murray noted, "Especially during the winter, the construction start statistics can be volatile on a month-by-month basis, and it’s expected that school and healthcare facilities will soon regain the elevated pace witnessed toward the end of last year.”

Other institutional categories with January declines were public buildings, down 15 percent; and amusement-related work, down 22 percent, although the amusement category did include the start of the $100 million Nokia Theater as part of the LA Live development in downtown Los Angeles. On the commercial side, January showed reduced contracting for warehouses, down 10 percent; and hotels, down 50 percent from an exceptionally strong December.

On the plus side, nonresidential building in January featured a 105 percent jump for office construction. Boosting the January office total was groundbreaking for the massive Goldman Sachs headquarters in New York City, at an estimated construction cost of $1.8 billion. Excluding the Goldman Sachs headquarters, office construction in January would still be able to hold steady with its moderately improved pace in December, as January also included the start of large office projects in Houston ($90 million), Silver Spring, Md. ($55 million), and Irvine, Calif. ($50 million). Other nonresidential categories posting January gains were transportation terminals, up 23 percent; churches, up 20 percent; manufacturing buildings, up 5 percent; and stores and shopping centers, up 1 percent.

Residential building in January, at $373.7 billion (annual rate), was essentially the same as December. Single-family housing edged up 1 percent, helped by warm winter weather in parts of the nation.

Murray indicated, "While construction of single-family homes picked up in January, much of the increase was weather-related, and weaker home sales in January supports the belief that homebuilding will gradually settle back over the course of 2006.”

Multifamily housing in January slipped 5 percent, marking the fourth decline in a row after this category reached a peak back in September. Despite recent declines, multifamily housing continues to be supported by high-rise condominiums, as January included the start of seven such projects valued each in excess of $50 million.

On a regional basis, residential building in January showed this performance relative to December: the Midwest, up 9 percent; the South Atlantic, unchanged; the South Central, down 2 percent; the West, down 3 percent; and the Northeast, down 5 percent.

The 8 percent gain reported for total construction on an unadjusted basis, for January 2006 relative to January 2005, was due to this pattern by major sector: nonbuilding construction, up 18 percent; residential building, up 7 percent; and nonresidential building, up 6 percent.

Builder Confidence Virtually Unchanged in March

A one-point decline in the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index for March indicates that housing demand and sales are gradually returning to a sustainable pace that is right in line with our forecasts, said NAHB today.

Noting that the confidence gauge has remained within a narrow two-point range for four consecutive months following a retreat from its peak in mid-2005, NAHB Chief Economist David Seiders attributed March’s slight downshift to eroding affordability conditions as well as a gradual withdrawal of investor demand in some areas.

"Rising interest rates and high rates of home-price appreciation have raised the bar for homeownership to beyond what some families can reach,” he noted. "Meanwhile, a retreat of short-term investors from certain markets is helping restore equilibrium between supply and demand.”

Derived from a monthly survey that NAHB has been conducting for nearly 20 years, the NAHB/Wells Fargo HMI 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 either "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 sales conditions as good than poor.

March’s HMI, at 55, represented a one-point decline from February’s downwardly revised 56 reading, which followed two consecutive months at 57. There was slight erosion of the index’s three components in the latest report, with single-point declines in the gauges for current single-family sales and traffic of prospective buyers and a two-point decline in sales expectations for the next six months. Both the current and expected sales components remained well in the positive range, at 60 and 62, respectively.

Builder confidence declined in all regions but the Midwest in March, where it rebounded seven points to 39 from an exceptionally low point of 32 in February. Even so, the Midwest remained the region with the lowest confidence gauge, while the West remained the region with the strongest builder confidence (at 67) despite a six-point decline that erased a gain equal to that amount in February. The Northeast and South also remained in the positive range, with a two-point decline to 55 and a four-point decline to 58, respectively.

Call for Project Achievement Awards

The Construction Management Association of America announces its annual Call for Project Achievement Award Nominations.

The annual Construction Management Project Achievement Awards program recognizes outstanding achievement in the practice of construction management. The awards program is designed to recognize and promote professionalism and excellence in the management of the construction process. Awards will be given to CM practitioners for projects and programs that reflect this mission.

To be eligible, projects, programs or program phases must be completed during the period starting July 1, 2005 and ending June 30, 2006. This competition is open to all CMAA members and non-members. Multiple entries from one firm are accepted.

All entries must be received by CMAA no later than Friday, June 30, 2006, 11:59 p.m. EDT. Do not fax or electronically submit nominations. Nominations are to be mailed to arrive by this deadline to CMAA Project Achievement Awards Committee, 7918 Jones Branch Drive, Suite 540, McLean, VA 22102.

For more information on the awards and submission requirements, visit www.cmaanet.org/awards.php.

People & Companies in the News

2006 marks the 15th year that All-Wall Equipment Company, Inc., Kirkland, Wash, has been in business. The company’s founder, Jeff Weiler, had worked in the drywall tools industry for 22 years before opening All-Wall in 1991. Weiler thanks his customers for making this milestone possible. "The patronage and input of our customers has helped All-Wall grow and continually adapt to the needs of an ever-changing industry,” Weiler said.

Donald A. McCunniff has been named senior vice president, human resources, Armstrong World Industries, Inc., Lancaster, Pa. McCunniff comes to Armstrong from Honeywell International, Inc. (formerly AlliedSignal, Inc.), where he served in a variety of executive human resources positions.

Chicago Metallic welcomes Megan Nichols as customer service manager, overseeing customer service for all of North America. In her new role, Nichols is tasked with developing and implementing new programs that will help Chicago Metallic continue to stay ahead of its customers’ needs. With more than 12 years of customer service experience, Nichols has supported such major manufacturing companies as CertainTeed Corporation and Environ Products.

Jacques Laine has joined Fraco Products, Ltd., St-Mathias-sur-Richelieu, QC, as director of marketing. As director of marketing, Laine will be responsible of the corporate image of Fraco. He will also maintain relations with media, plan promotions and coordinate trade shows.

Yannick St-Pierre, formerly responsible of the marketing activities, is now in charge of the Asian market.

JLG Industries, Inc., McConnellsburg, Pa., plans to reopen the company’s 340,000 square foot facility in Orrville, Ohio, which was closed in 2003 during the last business downturn. Telehandler product engineering and certain component manufacturing operations currently located at the recently sold New Philadelphia, Ohio, facility will be relocated to the Orrville facility. In addition, North American service parts distribution operations, currently located in McConnellsburg, Pa., will be moved to Orrville. JLG expects to invest approximately $11 million of capital in this operation.

Minuti-Ogle Co., Inc. of Oakdale, Minn., has promoted Joseph E. Warren and Chuck Bertrand.

Warren has been promoted to senior vice president of operations. He has more than 19 years of experience in the construction industry and is a graduate of Michigan Tech University.

Bertrand has been promoted to vice president of finance. He has been a controller in the construction industry for more than 16 years and is a graduate from Minnesota School of Business.

William R. Marler has been appointed architectural manager at NMI Associates, a division of Negwer Materials Inc., St. Louis, Mo. In his new position, Marler promotes NMI Associates and Negwer Materials Inc. to architects in all territories as a full line distributor of construction products and systems. As architectural manager, he communicates with Negwer Materials Inc. personnel and customers to ensure understanding of project scope and intent.

In Memoriam

Robert Louis Maidt, 82, passed away on March 10, 2006, in Oklahoma City, OK. Maidt was 1963–1964 president of the Contracting Plasterers and Lathers International Association, which later became the Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industry.

Maidt was a WW II bomber pilot in the Army Air Corps, flying a B-24.

When he was very young, he joined his father in the family plastering business, which was founded in 1903. By the time he was a teen-ager, Maidt was carrying a Plasterers union card. He took over the business in 1947. Maidt was most proud of his craftsmanship in numerous historic structures in the Oklahoma City area.

He was also proud to have pioneered large-scale concrete pumping in Oklahoma City, in 1976. By 1980, the business was very successful, and his sons-in-law bought controlling interest of Sooner Concrete Pumping Service, Inc.

In the early 1960s, AWCI formed its first regional conferences, at the urging of Maidt, with the Southwest Conference and the Midwest (now Mid-Central) Conference, and this eventually expanded to eight conferences. Later the Midwest and Great Lakes merged to form the Mid-Central, bringing the number of regions to seven.

The regional conferences were intended to open communication between members on a regional level and to help stabilize wages within the defined geographical area of the conference. And, according to Maidt, "It worked!”

Bob Maidt Jr. talked about his father in a 2003 article published in this magazine: "My father was very innovative. He knew there had to be a better way to do some things, and he’d find it. Around 1960, for instance, he had a job that required a lot of cutting of #40 expansion joints. The problem with using existing tools to cut where the four pieces intersected was they left an ugly intersection, with one solid piece running horizontally and two broken, diagonal pieces. They also took 15 minutes to cut. So he invented a one-of-a-kind machine specifically to cut these joints in less than 30 seconds and leave four clean openings at the intersection. We sold the machine five years ago with the rest of the company, so presumably someone is still using it in Oklahoma City someplace (and nowhere else in the world).”