Construction Trends

September 2008

Certification Bodies Announced for LEED Green Building Rating System
As a part of the broader vision for LEED V3, the certification bodies for the LEED Green Building Rating System have been announced. Well-known and respected for their role in certifying organizations, processes and products to ISO and other standards, they are: • ABS Quality Evaluations, Inc.
• BSI Management Systems America, Inc.
• Bureau Veritas North America, Inc.
• DNV Certification.
• Intertek.)
• KEMA-Registered Quality, Inc.
• Lloyd’s Register Quality Assurance Inc.
• NSF-International Strategic Registrations.
• SRI Quality System Registrar, Inc.
• Underwriters Laboratories-DQS Inc.

In the spirit of the most successful LEED projects, this evolution in the certification process is being undertaken as an integrated part of a major update to the technical rating system, which will debut in January as LEED 2009. The update will also include a comprehensive technology upgrade to LEED Online aimed at improving the user experience and expanding its portfolio management capabilities.

Currently, all LEED project submissions are reviewed by USGBC with the support of independently contracted reviewers. In alignment with its vision of market transformation, beginning in January 2009, the U.S. Green Building Council, developers of LEED, will move administration of the LEED certification process to the Green Building Certification Institute, a non-profit organization established in 2007 with the support of USGBC. Working together with the selected certification bodies, GBCI will deliver a substantially improved, ISO compliant certification process that will be able to grow with the green building movement.

GBCI currently administers the LEED Accredited Professional program, in alignment with ANSI requirements for professional certifications.

Code Council Creates Sustainable Building Technology Committee for Its Growing Portfolio of Green Initiatives
The International Code Council Board at its July 19 meeting approved the creation of a Sustainable Building Technology Committee to support its many ongoing efforts in green, sustainable and safe construction.

The SBTC will provide an open forum for discussion of sustainability and ensure that Code Council members and stakeholders have a key voice in the critical debate. The SBTC will be charged with the following: • Developing proposed code changes and analysis/response of related changes proposed for the Code Council family of codes and standards, • Participating in the development of council guidelines to assist members and jurisdictional authorities in implementing sustainable construction practices in their communities, • Providing input on related council programs such as green training and a green certification program for First Preventers, code officials who ensure buildings are safe and energy efficient, • Serving in an advisory role to the council’s board of directors regarding the development of new International Codes or Standards in support of sustainable construction practices.

To learn more about the council’s proactive green initiatives, go to www.iccsafe.org/green.

First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit Web Site Draws More Than 100,000 Visitors
A newly launched Web site, www.federalhousingtaxcredit.com, has attracted more than 100,000 visitors, indicating that there is a strong interest among consumers to take advantage of a temporary $7,500 tax credit for the purchase of a first home, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

"The initial response is encouraging,” said NAHB President Sandy Dunn, a home builder from Point Pleasant, W.Va. "This could be the trigger that helps move prospective first-time buyers off the fence and back into the market. But it won’t last forever.”

The tax credit is among several provisions included in landmark housing legislation enacted into law in July that will help get housing and the economy back on their feet.

The Web site contains useful information on how the tax credit works, including eligibility requirements. To date, the site has attracted 116,000 unique visitors, or about 10,000 per day. It includes details and questions and answers on how home buyers can use the credit and is divided into four sections:

• Tax Credit at a Glance. This provides a brief overview on how the credit works.

• Frequently Asked Questions. A clear to read question and answer format contains basic information about the tax credit, including the definition of a first-time home buyer, what type of homes qualify for the tax credit, what are the income limits to qualify, payback provisions and more.

• The Law’s Other Provisions. In addition to the tax credit, this section summarizes a number of provisions in the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 that will help prevent foreclosures, reinvigorate the housing market and strengthen the nation’s economy.

• Home Buyer Resources. Provides online resources to make the buying process smoother.

Department of Energy Study Finds EIFS Outperforms Brick, Stucco and Other Wall Claddings Exterior insulation and finish systems outperformed brick, stucco, and cementitious fiberboard siding in Department of Energy tests measuring energy efficiency, moisture intrusion, and temperature control in identical, side-by-side field installations.

Based on the study, EIFS (including EIFS with drainage) is the exterior cladding of choice for achieving the key building performance goals of energy efficiency, temperature and moisture control in mixed, coastal Zone 3 climates. The study further states that EIFS does not absorb moisture nor retain heat as do brick and stucco. EIFS also controls heat flow more efficiently.

The DOE, through the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Building Technologies Program, and the EIFS Industry Members Association, sponsored the study conducted by researchers at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Key findings of the study gathered by ORNL researchers between January 2005 and June 2007 include the following:

• EIF systems with 4 inches of foam outside the stud cavity, a liquid applied water-resistive barrier coating and no insulation in the stud cavity was the best performing wall configuration.

• EIF systems absorb little moisture and maintain a consistent, acceptable moisture level within the cladding despite varying outdoor conditions.

• EIFS with drainage and a liquid applied water-resistive barrier coating readily disperse liquid water and moisture introduced by flaws in the building envelope.

• Liquid applied water-resistive barrier coatings outperform sheet goods. In addition, EIFS with water-resistive barrier coatings performed significantly better than other claddings that used building paper or spun-bonded polyolefin membranes.

Simulated building envelope defects were introduced into some of the wall panels during the moisture study. The goal was to assess the performance of cladding assemblies to water penetration, the impact on the performance of wall systems from wall orientation on moisture infiltration; and type of water-resistive barriers used (such as sheet barriers versus liquid applied) and different exterior cladding systems (like EIFS and brick).

In the testing, EIFS drainage layers comprised of vertical ribbons of adhesive and a liquid applied water-resistive barrier provided the most effective method for managing bulk water intrusion into the cladding cavity.

Saint-Gobain Expands R&D Center
Saint-Gobain conducted a groundbreaking ceremony July 28 to mark the start of work on the expansion of its Research & Development Center in Northboro, Mass. The $15 million expansion is expected to be completed next spring.

The expansion will provide permanent space for 160 employees currently based in temporary trailers, as well as space for up to 40 new employees. The project will add more than 61,000 square feet of laboratory, office and meeting space. Thirty new jobs will be created, bringing the total workforce in Northboro to 340 employees.

The Northboro site is the largest of Saint-Gobain’s four worldwide research centers, which together employ 3,500 people and have an annual research budget of $620 million. The center specializes in research into building materials, plastics, ceramics and abrasives, as well as the development of technology to promote energy efficiency in buildings.

The Northboro site was previously expanded in 2003, when one building was converted from manufacturing to research activities.

Upon completion, this building will apply to become certified under the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED® program. The building has also been designed to adhere to Saint-Gobain’s rigorous worldwide energy efficiency standards for new company buildings. Another special feature will be the use of Saint-Gobain’s own building products, particularly those of its subsidiary CertainTeed, which will provide ceilings, gypsum wallboard, insulation, roofing and foundation products. Window glass for new building will also be manufactured by Saint-Gobain.

The groundbreaking ceremony was attended by state and local officials and top Saint-Gobain executives from throughout North America.

Georgia-Pacific Joins U.S. EPA SmartwaySM Transport Partnership
Georgia-Pacific Consumer Products has joined the SmartWaySM Transport Partnership, an innovative collaboration between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the freight industry designed to increase energy efficiency while significantly reducing air pollution.

By continually working to improve freight operations, Georgia-Pacific will contribute to the partnership’s goal of reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 33 million to 66 million metric tons and nitrogen oxide by up to 200,000 tons annually by 2012.

Launched in February 2004, the SmartWay Transport Partnership aims to achieve fuel savings of up to 150 million barrels of fuel per year, equivalent to taking about 12 million cars off the road. The Partnership brings together major freight shippers, trucking companies, railroads, logistics companies and trade/professional associations to pursue mutually beneficial efficiencies that result in emissions reductions and other environmental improvements, as well as cost savings to the companies. The Partnership currently has more than 450 partners.

For information about the SmartWay Transport Partnership visit www.epa.gov/smartway.

Mirant to Supply Synthetic Gypsum to Lafarge Beginning in 2010
Lafarge, a North American diversified supplier of construction materials, and Mirant Corporation, a U.S.-based competitive energy company, have signed a long-term agreement under which Mirant, beginning in 2010, will supply synthetic gypsum to Lafarge’s gypsum drywall manufacturing facility in Buchanan, N.Y.

Lafarge will invest in an upgrade of its Buchanan plant, which will enable it to manufacture a full line of gypsum products using this environmentally-friendly material. The supply agreement will also ensure Lafarge’s access to a critical raw material used in its building products. Upon scheduled completion in 2010, the gypsum board manufactured in this plant will exceed 99 percent recycled content by weight and may contribute toward satisfying credits under LEED®.

With the addition of the Buchanan plant, nearly all of the gypsum board manufactured by Lafarge in North America will be made with 100 percent recycled paper and recycled gypsum. Currently, Lafarge’s Silver Grove, Ky., plant and Palatka, Fla., plant qualify for this distinction.

Mirant will transport the synthetic gypsum to Lafarge’s Buchanan facility from its Morgantown and Chalk Point electric generating stations in Maryland. Synthetic gypsum is a byproduct created from the sulfur dioxide removal technology currently being constructed at Mirant’s Maryland power plants as part of the company’s $1.6 billion investment in air pollution control technologies.

CEMCO and MarinoWARE® Form Eastern-States Sales Agreement
California Expanded Metal Products Co. has entered into a formal agreement with Marino\WARE for Marino\WARE to manufacture and sell SureBoard in the Eastern United States.

This agreement will make the product is available nationwide. Marino\WARE will manufacture SureBoard from its East Chicago, Ind., plant.

CEMCO aligned with Marino\WARE in August 2006 to form one of the largest ventures in manufacturing cold-formed steel-framing and metal-lath systems in the country. Named Expedius, the alliance has capitalized on both companies’ multiple locations to create a national presence, as well as introduced a wide range of steel-framing products.

Manufacturing is expected to be under way at the Indiana plant this month.

Gypsum Association Video Wins Award
The Gypsum Association’s recently revised video, The Miracle Mineral, and the association’s video production contractor, Production Outfitters, Inc., of Albuquerque, N.M., have each received a 2008 Videographer Award of Distinction. The Videographer Awards project is administered and judged by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals. AMCP is an international organization that consists of several thousand marketing, communication, advertising, public relations, media production and freelance professionals who have entered AMCP programs.

The goal of the Videographer Awards is to identify and recognize the video artisans who excel in the scope of their own environment. During the past 12 years, thousands of production and communication professionals have entered their best and most creative work.

Winners were selected from 166 categories under the headings of television productions, video productions and new media. The Award of Distinction was awarded for projects that exceeded industry standards. The Miracle Mineral was submitted for consideration in the Instructional category of the Videographer Awards.

Copies of the video may be purchased by accessing the Gypsum Association Web site at www.gypsum.org.

SBIC Announces Its 2008 Beyond Green™ High-Performance Building Awards Program
The Sustainable Buildings Industry Council is now accepting applications from both the public and private sector for the 2008 Beyond Green™ High-Performance Building Awards. The awards recognize the initiatives that shape, inform and catalyze the market for high-performance buildings, as well as the real-world application of high-performance design and construction practices. All application materials are available on the council’s Web site, www.sbicouncil.org. The application deadline for the 2008 awards program is Oct. 15, 2008. An independent, impartial jury of industry leaders will select the winning entries.

The 2008 Beyond Green™ Awards program is a key part of SBIC’s commitment to the design, construction and maintenance of high-performance buildings. Awards will be given in two categories: High-Performance Buildings (Category A) and High-Performance Initiatives (Category B). Applicants are challenged to demonstrate the successful application of the whole building approach and to show how they maintained the proper balance of the eight design objectives (accessible, aesthetic, cost-effective, functional, historic, productive, safe/secure and sustainable) that make up a high-performance building. High-Performance Buildings entries may be commercial, government, institutional, residential, and school buildings. High-Performance Initiatives may be policy programs, educational initiatives, consumer awareness efforts, research product development and new construction processes.

Award winners will be invited to present their projects in Washington, D.C., in January 2009, in conjunction with an awards reception. Additional recognition will include regional and national media exposure, an announcement on SBIC’s Web site and in its newsletter, a handsome plaque and inclusion in future SBIC educational programs. Winning entries will also be published on the Whole Building Design Guide (www.wbdg.org), which is maintained by the National Institute of Building Sciences. The Whole Building Design Guide receives more than 250,000 visitors and delivers more than 1.7 million downloads per month.

BASF Corporation is sponsoring the 2008 Beyond Green™ High-Performance Building Awards.

June Construction Slips 1 Percent Nationwide
New construction starts in June retreated 1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $552 billion, according to McGraw-Hill Construction, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies.

Nonresidential building fell 12 percent after its elevated May pace, pulling down the volume of total construction. Meanwhile, residential building registered a modest 2 percent gain in June, and a more substantial 19 percent increase was reported for nonbuilding construction.

During the first six months of 2008, total construction on an unadjusted basis came in at $282.1 billion, down 16 percent from a year ago. If residential building is excluded, new construction starts in the first six months of 2008 were up 3 percent. The June statistics produced a 117 reading for the Dodge Index (2000=100), compared to May’s 118.

Nonresidential building in June was $233.2 billion, a 12 percent decline that followed a 32 percent jump in May. Much of May’s strength came from the start of a massive $3.8-billion oil refinery expansion in Indiana. June also included the start of a major refinery project, a $1.9-billion refinery addition in Michigan, which though considerable in scope, was smaller than the entry for May. Reflecting the impact of these two refinery projects, the manufacturing plant category in June fell 43 percent.

The June retreat for manufacturing plants was made somewhat less severe by the start of a $250-million steel mill in Alabama. The commercial categories showed a mixed performance in June. Store construction revealed a further loss of momentum, slipping 3 percent, and a similar 2 percent decline was reported for warehouses. On the plus side, hotel construction jumped 35 percent in June, boosted by the groundbreaking for a $270-million hotel in Uncasville, Conn., and a $226-million convention center hotel in Indianapolis.

Office construction also witnessed expansion in June, rising 4 percent with the help of a $140-million office project in Washington, D.C.

The institutional categories in June showed a 33 percent pullback for healthcare facilities, following heightened activity in the previous two months. Amusement-related construction in June dropped 31 percent. The educational building category showed more growth in June, climbing 8 percent with the push coming from the start of several large high school projects, including a $186-million high school in Newton, Mass.

During the first half of 2008, nonresidential building registered a 6 percent gain compared to last year. The manufacturing plant category surged 132 percent, lifted by the large refinery projects in May and June, plus a $7-billion refinery expansion in Texas reported as a January start. Hotel construction advanced 37 percent during the first half of 2008, aided by the start of three very large hotel/casino projects at the outset of 2008, located in Las Vegas and Atlantic City.

Office construction during the first half of 2008 was steady in dollar volume and included groundbreaking for World Trade Center Towers 2, 3 and 4 in New York City, each valued in excess of $1 billion.

Showing the impact of the difficult economic climate were stores and warehouses, with year-to-date declines of 25 percent and 32 percent, respectively. The institutional categories in the first half of 2008 included dollar volume gains for educational buildings, up 2 percent; amusement-related construction, up 3 percent; healthcare facilities, up 4 percent; public buildings, up 23 percent; and dormitories, up 30 percent. Reduced activity for the January-June period was reported for transportation terminals, down 7 percent; and churches, down 16 percent.

Residential building, at $179 billion, rose 2 percent in June as the result of moderate improvement for multifamily housing. Helped by start of three large projects in New York City, plus the start of a $139-million residential complex in Salt Lake City, multifamily housing in June climbed 11 percent.

However, single-family housing slipped an additional 1 percent, as the lengthy correction for home building remains very much in progress.

For the first half of 2008, residential building was down 39 percent from the same period a year ago. Single-family housing during this time fell 38 percent, reflecting the following regional performance: he West, down 48 percent; the South Atlantic, down 40 percent; the Midwest, down 38 percent; the South Central, down 30 percent; and the Northeast, down 22 percent. Particularly large dollar volume declines for single-family housing were reported by these states: Nevada, down 59 percent; Utah, down 59 percent; California, down 52 percent; Georgia, down 51 percent; and Arizona, down 49 percent.

The construction start statistics indicate that during the first half of 2008 there were 12 multifamily projects valued at $100 million or more, compared to 21 such projects during the first half of 2007.

For total construction, the 16 percent drop reported for the United States in the first half of 2008 reflected double-digit declines in three regions—the South Atlantic, down 28 percent; the West, down 26 percent; and the Midwest, down 11 percent. The South Central was down a more moderate 4 percent year-to-date while the Northeast stood apart from the other regions by advancing 5 percent.

Steel Framing Alliance Head Accepts Post at IISI
The Steel Framing Alliance, Washington, D.C., has announced that Larry W. Williams has resigned as president of the SFA, and will leave the organization Sept. 1, 2008, in order to join the International Iron and Steel Institute in Brussels, Belgium, as general manager, maket development and sustainability.

As president of SFA for the past five years, Williams has led the steel framing industry’s market development efforts in both the residential and commercial markets in the United States and Canada.

"Larry has done a tremendous job leading SFA and he certainly will be missed,” said Don Moody, chairman of the SFA board and general manager, Light Gauge Framing Development, NUCONSTEEL. "Larry understood the changing market dynamics of the industry and in recent years managed a transition of the organization’s focus from trade association activities to product management and marketing initiatives.”

During his tenure at SFA, Williams led advancements in the competitiveness of steel framing through insurance discounts and technical initiatives, as well as implementation of the industry’s technical field marketing program. Also during this time, SFA membership grew from 300 to 1,500 architects, engineers, builders, contractors, distributors, stud and component fabricators, tool and equipment manufacturers, steel producers and zinc producers.

Williams was also a key member of the industry’s post-Katrina hurricane response program, and developed collaborative relationships with other organizations and government agencies ranging from structured partnerships, cooperative agreements and industry consolidations.

A search for Williams’ replacement is under way. In the interim, a team comprised of AISI senior management and representatives of SFA’s board of directors will work with the SFA staff to ensure smooth operations while a search for the new president is underway.

People & Companies In the News
BASF, Florham Park, N.J., has launched a Spanish version of www.highperformancecommunity.com to serve the North American Spanish speaking building and construction community. Those interested in learning more about BASF’s solutions for sustainable, energy efficient and durable construction systems can easily click the "En Español” tab to access all information in their native language.

Fabcon, Savage, Minn., has appointed Craig Wassenaar as chief financial officer.

Wassenaar brings extensive experience in accounting and finance in several industries including manufacturing, retail, consumer products and public accounting. Prior to joining Fabcon, Wassenaar was engaged by Sun Capital, with responsibilities including finance, accounting, treasury, risk management, budgeting, strategic planning, information systems and legal.

Supporters Turn to Innovative Ways to Help Their Favorite Nonprofits This Holiday Season
With gas prices rising and the housing market already in a slump, charities across the nation are bracing themselves for declining contributions this holiday season and people are looking toward innovative and free ways to help their favorite causes.

There is a solution! More than 60,000 nonprofits have partnered with a new Yahoo-powered search engine called GoodSearch.com, and online shopping mall GoodShop.com, to enable their supporters to generate donations just by searching the Internet or shopping online. What makes the system so compelling is that it doesn’t cost the users a thing.

Consumers are helping their favorite causes by shopping at GoodShop.com where they can choose from more than 700 top online retailers including Target, Apple, Macy’s, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble, and Orbitz among others. The shopping experience and the prices are exactly the same as going to the retailer directly, but by going through GoodShop, up to 37 percent of the purchase price is donated the user’s favorite cause.

Similarly, with every search conducted on GoodSearch.com, approximately one penny is donated to the user’s favorite charity. It’s used exactly like any other search engine and the pennies add up quickly – just 500 people searching four times a day will raise around $7,300 in a year, and it doesn’t cost the users a thing!

• Supporters of the ASPCA are shopping on GoodShop and searching on GoodSearch, to date raising more than $16,000 to help animals in need!

• A single purchase placed at retailer Giaiam.com resulted in a $284 donation to the Motion Mania Dance Theater in Maryland!

• The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation has earned more than $8,500!

• An order placed at Adobe Software earned Capri Elementary School in California $191!

If you would like to know organizations in your area using GoodSearch, contact jj.ramberg@goodsearch.com and you will be provided with a list.