Construction Trends

December 2006

Three-Year Study Will Determine the Optimal EIFS Solution
Kicking off a historic, joint three-year analysis to determine the optimal performance of exterior insulation and finish systems, the EIFS Industry Members Association has teamed with the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Building Technology, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and the Charleston, S.C., School District to establish a Natural Exposure Test Facility at the Baptist Hill High School in Hollywood, S.C.

With the project overseen by USDOE and ORNL engineers, the Baptist Hill High School facility was constructed utilizing a variety of EIF systems on disparate walls, each of which was clad with a consistent EIFS finish to ensure that the structure remains aesthetically consistent on the exterior.

The goal of the study is to investigate and monitor the thermal and moisture performance of walls with the new technology involving the fluid-applied air/moisture barriers and to factor the outside weather conditions into a hygrothermal computer-modeling program that will assist architects, engineers and builders in the selection of wall assemblies appropriate for the geographic region. The emphasis will be on energy savings, the reduction of greenhouse gases, lowering the cost of utilities and making structures more comfortable.

"We see this study as an important step in assisting the architectural and building communities to devise carefully considered solutions in the selection of EIFS wall assemblies,” said Stephan E. Klamke, EIMA’s executive director. "By taking into consideration local climatic and atmospheric data and applying it to the performance of various wall assemblies, we believe we can create a useful tool that ensures the optimal EIF system will be selected that will yield the greatest long-term performance. We are extremely excited about the data that USDOE and ORNL will capture over the course of this study and what it will contribute to the selection of appropriate EIFS wall assemblies in the future.”

The NET Facility will feature various panels that incorporate diverse wall assemblies. Everything from conventional EIFS and ventilated EIFS assemblies, to various types of moisture drainage systems, to brick, cement board siding and stucco will be featured on the project. Data will be captured on their performance and will be plotted in the computer model to determine optimal performance characteristics for the South Carolina climate conditions for each of the system types featured. The same approach could be applied to glean relevant data in other climate conditions as well.

The project has also been supported by Buffington Homes, L.P., the contractor for the project, Applied Building Sciences, the project architect and engineer, and National Building Science Corporation, the project coordinator. Other contributing companies included CertainTeed, DuPont, Fortfiber and Jeld-Wen.

"EIMA is grateful to all the organizations that will contribute their time, energy and talents to this important analysis,” Klamke said. "We eagerly await the findings of the study and the long-term benefit it will provide to the building and architectural communities.”

CMAA Foundation Study Proposes New Analytical Approach to Risk Management
A major new research project funded by the Construction Management Association of America Foundation has recommended a new structure for identifying construction risk, assigning probabilities to different risks, and developing a disciplined mathematical approach to planning for risk mitigation.

Titled Owners Risk Reduction Techniques Using a CM, the study was undertaken in response to the long-standing need throughout the industry for a more precise approach to predicting and controlling risk. It was executed by Dr. Ali Touran, P.E. of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Northeastern University in Boston.

Construction projects of all sizes and types have traditionally been subject to cost overruns and delays arising from a variety of sources, including unrealistic estimates of costs and risks at early stages of the projects. Many projects today experience overruns of the same type, and to the same degree, that projects were encountering decades ago—hence, in Dr. Touran’s view, the necessity for a fresh approach to risk analysis and mitigation.

The "Agency” Construction Manager, acting as the owner’s agent and responsible solely to the owner, is in the best position to lead an effective risk analysis process, the study concludes.

Owner risks, the study states, are fundamentally different from those borne by others in the construction process. "Many of the risks borne by the contractor have been allocated to him by the owner through the construction contract. The owner, however, has to deal with other types of risks during all phases of project development,” the study says. This research also concludes that "traditional methods of coping with project risks and uncertainties mainly consist of establishing contingency budgets, which are estimates as a percentage of various project components.”

This approach has a number of shortcomings. "Some owners have realized that it will not be realistic to come up with a single ‘number’ for the project estimate very early in the project’s lifecycle,” the study says. "At best, given the multitude of uncertainties, one can come up with a range of values for the project cost and finish time. Arriving at a reasonable range for project costs can only be achieved by following a systematic examination and evaluation of cost and schedule assumptions and pricing of all the major risks and opportunities that potentially can affect the project.”

The CMAA Foundation study outlines an approach to risk analysis based on probabilistic risk assessment and realistic "pricing” of the risks identified. It includes a "risk catalog” that can be used as a checklist in the risk identification process.

Moreover, the study examined who is best positioned to perform risk analysis, and when the analysis should be conducted.

A survey of construction managers asked at what point in the project life-cycle risk analysis is done. Most participants cited the end of preliminary engineering, followed by the end of conceptual design.

"In many cases, if the original analysis has been done carefully (say, at the end of preliminary engineering), the consequent analyses can be done quickly and efficiently with a fraction of effort,” the report notes.

The Agency CM has a key role in the risk analysis process, the study observes. "Agency CM is purely advising the owner that his foremost loyalty and dedication is to the owner and the owner’s interests,” says the report. "This unique relationship will be of paramount importance in the process of risk management. In fact, compared to other team participants, the Agency CM is arguably the most effective for managing project risks because the CM’s interest is at no point at odds with the owner’s.

"In many cases, the CM is brought on board early in project development. The owner can benefit from an experienced construction manager that is present in the project since the beginning and understands the implications of various decisions regarding scope, budget and schedule.”

The full report can be downloaded at www.cmaanet.org/ejournal.php. Additional information about the CMAA Foundation is available at www.cmaanet.org/foundation.php.

Survey Reveals Top Workplace Pains
Americans believe construction workers (24 percent) have had the most painful occupation over the last 100 years—and still do today, according to the "America Hard at Work Poll” commissioned by BC Powder as part of its 100th anniversary.

But it does not matter if their jobs require computers and calculators or hard hats and hammers—the survey shows most Americans experience nagging aches and pains at work. The survey was commissioned as part of BC Powder’s centennial anniversary, which is dedicated to paying tribute to the hardworking Americans who helped build the country.

Designed to provide insights into America’s "labor pains,” BC’s survey discovered an overwhelming majority of people (70 percent) experience on-the-job discomfort, with nearly one-fifth (19 percent) suffering daily. Additional findings include the following:

• Back pain (74 percent) ranks as the No. 1 complaint among American workers—holding true for both office employees and those whose jobs require more physical labor.

• Muscle pain (67 percent) and headaches (52 percent) were close runners-up as the most frequent on-the-job aches.

• Nearly one-third of respondents (29 percent) say their productivity has been affected by pain at work during the past year.

• Most respondents (33 percent) said bosses/management are their biggest sources of emotional stress at work, followed closely by co-workers (29 percent).

• More than one in four respondents consulted a physician or specialist in the past six months about their aches and pains. And, more women (33 percent) than men (21 percent) sought professional care.

• The overwhelming majority of respondents (92 percent) consider themselves to be hard workers.

"During the last century, the workforce has evolved with technological advances to help all professions—whether firemen or teachers—prevent pain at work,” says Dr. Charles W. Crawford, a noted southern historian and history professor at The University of Memphis. "However, even though Americans have invented time- and labor-saving processes and machines, many men and women are still working just as hard, if not harder, and feeling the pain of their labors.

"In contrast to the first half of the 20th century, we have more people in low-activity, high-pressure jobs,” Crawford says. "But we still have countless workers whose livelihoods depend on their physical abilities, strength and endurance. BC’s poll found construction workers had the most painful occupation during the last 100 years—and still do today. While new technologies have made some occupations more efficient than a century ago, the poll shows Americans recognize other professions still require a substantial amount of physical labor.”

Over the last 100 years, BC has relieved the aches and pains of countless American workers. While the workplace has evolved significantly during the last 100 years, BC still continues to make life less painful and help people return to work faster. To find out more about how to celebrate with BC, visit www.bcpowder.com.

BC Powder, which offers temporary relief for discomfort associated with headaches, minor body aches and fever, is from GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare. GSK Consumer Healthcare is one of the world’s largest over-the-counter consumer healthcare products companies. 2005 Workplace Injury, Illness Rates Show Overall Lowest Rate Ever Recorded

The rate of workplace injuries and illnesses in the private industry declined in 2005 for the third consecutive year, the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported Oct 19. The BLS Workplace Injuries and Illnesses in 2005 report, available from www.osha.gov, noted that nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses declined from the previous year—to 4.6 cases per 100 workers in 2005, compared to 4.8 cases in 2004.

In the construction industry, however, the incidence rate of injuries and illnesses was 6.3 cases per 100 full-time workers in 2005, relatively unchanged from 2004. Specialty trade contractors (NAICS 238), defined as those establishments whose primary activity is performing specific functions involved in building construction, such as masonry, roofing, electrical, plumbing, and painting, accounted for the majority of both employment (64 percent) and of injury and illness cases (68 percent) and reported the highest rate of injuries and illnesses (6.8 cases per 100 workers) among the three-digit NAICS industries within construction.

The number of cases and the incidence rates remained relatively unchanged in 2005 for the two remaining three-digit NAICS industries within construction—construction of buildings (NAICS 236) and heavy and civil engineering construction (NAICS 237). Among four-digit NAICS industries within specialty trade contractors, workers employed in foundation, structure, and building exterior contractors (NAICS 2381) reported the highest rate in 2005 at 8.5 cases per 100 workers. Of the eight industries within NAICS 2381, rates ranged from 6.8 cases per 100 workers for masonry contractors (NAICS 238140) to 13.4 cases per 100 workers for framing contractors (NAICS 238130) in 2005.

Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao issued the following statement about the report: "The announcement that workplace injuries and illnesses in 2005 were at an all-time low is more good news for America’s workers and reflects the department’s effective worker health and safety strategy: 1) compliance assistance; 2) health and safety partnerships with labor, and; 3) targeted, aggressive enforcement against bad actors.”

Wallboard Shipment Volume Announced for 3Q 2006
According to statistics compiled by the Gypsum Association, the United States gypsum board industry shipped a total of 8.362 billion square feet of material during the third calendar quarter (July–September) of 2006. During the same period, Canadian manufacturers shipped 802 million square feet of material.

During the first nine months of 2006, U.S. manufacturers have shipped a total of 27.394 billion square feet of material, and Canadian manufacturers have shipped 2.607 billion square feet of material.

Builder Confidence Improves in November
Suggesting stabilizing conditions in the nation’s single-family housing market, home builder confidence in November edged up for the second consecutive month, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index, released Nov. 16. The HMI gained two points from the previous month to stand at 33.

"More and more builders are seeing light at the end of the tunnel,” said NAHB President David Pressly, a home builder from Statesville, N.C. "Our members are telling us that the market is steadying after a significant downward correction. On the demand side, we look for sales to stabilize and gradually move up in the coming months.”

"With home prices leveling off, mortgage interest rates remaining near historic lows, energy prices declining and the economy continuing to generate solid growth in employment and household income, affordability is now on the mend and many consumers recognize that home buying conditions have improved,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Seiders.

"Builders are picking up on this change in market momentum.” Derived from a monthly survey that NAHB has been conducting for almost 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.

All three component indexes moved higher in November, including a one-point gain in the current sales index, to 33. The component gauging sales expectations for the next six months rose four points to 46 and the component gauging traffic of prospective buyers moved up three points from last month, to 26.

"Looking ahead, builder outlook is perking up,” said Pressly. "With builders continuing to offer significant sales incentives and affordability on the rise, home shoppers have greater opportunities today than they have had for several years, making this an opportune time to buy.”

On a regional basis, the HMI for builders in the Northeast rose two points to 37 and posted a two-point gain in the South, to 40. The HMI for builders in the Midwest and West declined by two points to 16, and by one point to 34, respectively.

Remodeling Market Strengthens in 3Q
Remodeling activity picked up in the third quarter of 2006, according to the National Association of Home Builders’ Remodeling Market Index.

The current market conditions index increased from 45.6 to 47.8 on a seasonally adjusted basis, and future expectations moved up by nearly two points to 45.4. The RMI measures remodeler perceptions of market demand for current and future residential remodeling projects.

"Though market strength varies across the country, we are pleased to see a rebound in remodeling activity,” said Remodelors™ Council Chairman Vince Butler, CGR, CAPS, GMB, a remodeler from Clifton, Va. "The trillions of dollars in homeowner equity combined with the growing age of the housing stock means that the remodeling market will remain relatively strong in the face of a slower housing market.”

Current market conditions in the South and West jumped back into the positive range, up to 51.1 and 51.4, respectively. The future market conditions in both areas increased by more than six points to 50.4 in the South and 56.8 in the West. In the Northeast, current market conditions remained the same at 46.6 while future conditions increased to 47.7. Current conditions in the Midwest grew from 41.3 to 45.4 while future conditions moved from 40.6 to 38.3.

The RMI component for owner-occupied units increased from 49.0 to 51.4 in the third quarter, while the component for renter-occupied units decreased slightly from 39.0 to 38.8 during the same period. In the future expectations index, the component for owner-occupied units moved from 47.2 to 45.0 and the renter-occupied component jumped dramatically from 28.8 to 37.1. Rental-property remodeling accounts for a third of all remodeling expenditures.

"While growth of remodeling activity slowed as new home construction has declined, we still anticipate a strong year in the remodeling market,” said NAHB Chief Economist Dave Seiders. "We currently forecast $233 billion in home remodeling spending for 2006, up from $215 in 2005.”

The RMI "special questions” section asked about energy efficiency and green remodeling trends. Of remodeling companies surveyed, 25 percent saw an increase in demand for energy features within the last three months, compared with 69 percent who saw no change.

Of common energy-saving materials installed within the last three months, the most popular were low-energy windows (86 percent), insulated exterior doors (69 percent), upgraded insulation (65 percent), and ceiling fans (59 percent). Overall, 62 percent of remodeling companies use recycled or recyclable products in remodeled homes.

Green Is the New Color for Fall, NAHB Says
When the nation’s homeowners greeted the first day of fall, they also braced themselves for an anticipated hike in their heating bills. Now, the National Association of Home Builders Model Green Home Building Guidelines are allowing more and more builders and remodelers to help their customers embrace green building concepts by providing a blueprint for successful design and construction.

NAHB’s guidelines allow local building industry associations to provide green building education and certification customized to each region’s geography, building style and buyer demand—and that demand is looking greener and greener as the days get cool.

All green homes are characterized by their light footstep—from site selection to the judicious use of resources like water and building materials, but they’re more commonly known for their energy efficiency. It’s an important consideration as gas, oil and electric bills skyrocket.

A graphic of green home features is available on NAHB’s Web site at www.nahb.org/greeninnovation. Consumers have been clicking on this resource as they consider remodeling plans—or their next new home.

Increased consumer demand for green building methods is fueling the launch of green building programs all over the country as home buyers look for ways to be energy efficient and water thrifty. Programs based on the NAHB Model Green Home Building Guidelines are going strong in St. Louis—where more than 100 green homes are under construction—as well as a number of other jurisdictions, including Durham, N.C.; Albuquerque, N.M.; Dallas; Kansas City and Cleveland.

Last month, the first statewide program based on NAHB’s guidelines, Green Built Michigan, was launched. Launches are also planned in suburban Philadelphia, Boston, Arizona, Minneapolis–St. Paul, Las Vegas and the greater Baltimore area, among others.

Earlier this year, NAHB commissioned a survey of its members and discovered that by the end of 2007, half its members will include green building practices in their home building projects.

AWCI–Colorado Rewards Quality
The Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industry–Colorado held its annual Excellence in Construction Quality Awards program on Sept. 14, 2006. Awards were given to members of the organization in three categories: Acoustical/Specialty Ceiling, Commercial Drywall and Residential Drywall. There was also a Grand Champion award for the member who’s project was the best overall winner of all categories.

The award winners were selected by a panel of judges made up of construction industry professionals.

The 2006 winners are as follows:

• Grand Champion: South Valley Drywall, Inc., Littleton, Colo.

• Acoustical/Specialty Ceilings: Heart- land Acoustics & Interiors, Inc., Englewood, Colo.

• Commercial Drywall: The Corcoran Company, Ft. Collins, Colo.

• Residential Drywall: South Valley Drywall, Inc., Littleton, Colo.

People & Companies In the News
Frost & Sullivan selected 3M Acoustic Solutions (3M), makers of Thinsulate™ Acoustic Insulation, as the recipient of the 2006 North American Acoustic Nonwovens Growth Strategy Leadership of the Year Award for its innovative products and business strategies that have fuelled a growth rate higher than market average in the North American acoustic nonwovens markets.

Jack Armstrong, director of building and construction for BASF, accepted a New Jersey Clean Energy Leadership Awards for the BASF Better Home, Better Planet Initiative: Near-Zero Energy Home in Paterson, N.J., an energy-efficient demonstration home designed to highlight the BASF products that help create high-performance, near-zero energy homes. The ceremony recognized BASF along with a select group of New Jersey businesses and community leaders who have made significant contributions in the field of energy efficient and renewable energy technologies.

Production of the 100,000th boom lift in North America by JLG Industries, Inc. was cause for celebration at JLG’s Shippensburg, Pa., facility. The machine that earned the special status was a JLG® Model 400S. Shippensburg Plant Manager Jason Watkins gave the keys to the boom lift to JLG’s Sales & Marketing Group represented by Craig Paylor, senior vice president, marketing.

Lenox® Industrial Tools announced that the East Longmeadow, Mass.–based company has partnered with Richard Childress Racing and driver Jeff Burton in a multi-year sponsorship agreement beginning with the 2007 Nascar Cup season. Lenox will be an associate sponsor throughout the season on Burton’s No. 31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet. The Lenox logo will appear on the rear quarter panels of the car just behind the rear wheels.

Lenox also will serve as the primary sponsor of the No. 31 in two races during the 2007 season.

Marshalltown of Marshalltown, Iowa, has promoted Dan Kester to the position of vice president of sales and marketing for Marshalltown Company. Kester has been with Marshalltown for more than five years serving as director of marketing and most recently director of operations. He will assume his new duties in January 2007.
Kester replaces Jim Stormont, who will retire at the end of 2006. Stormont has been with Marshalltown Company for the past five years and has been instrumental in the company’s growth and success.

Reward Wall Systems Inc., a manufacturer of insulating concrete forms, has moved its Omaha, Neb., production to Diversified Plastic Corporation in Nixa, Mo. The Nixa plant will distribute Reward ICFs primarily in the central Midwest.

Structus Building Technologies of Bend, Ore., was featured as Central Oregon’s Business Success Story of the Year at the 3rd annual Bend Venture Conference on Oct. 20. President Bill Scannell spoke before an audience of 250 entrepreneurs, angel investors and venture firms from throughout the Northwest.
Structus established its operations in Bend six years ago, and has experienced significant revenue growth year after year. With more than 70 employees, the company touts the region’s strong manufacturing workforce, high level executive recruitment opportunities and invaluable local business resources among the reasons for its continued success.

USG Corporation, Chicago, has elected Jose Armario, president of McDonald’s Latin America, to its board of directors effective Jan. 1, 2007.
Armario has served as president of McDonald’s Latin America since 2003.
Like all of the other members of the USG board of directors besides its chairman and CEO, Armario has also been determined to be independent, as defined by USG and NYSE standards.