December 2007

Crane Composites Acquires Owens Corning’s Composite Panel Business
Crane Composites, Inc. a division of Crane Co. that is located in Channahon, Ill., has acquired the composite panel business of Owens Corning. The acquired business, a portion of the Fabwel segment of Owens Corning’s Composite Solutions unit, had sales of $40 million in 2006.

The Goshen, Ind., operation currently supplies quality gloss fiberglass exterior side wall panel products to the recreational vehicle market and other related industries. In addition, Crane Composites will acquire the related technical center in Elkhart, Ind.

In addition to the acquisition, Crane Composites has two other locations in the Goshen area that manufactures exterior sidewall panels.

New International Training Center Hosts Masonry Camp and Apprentice Contest
The new $30 million, 25-acre training campus of the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers opened with a flurry of activity this summer, including double sessions of Masonry Camp, and the International Apprentice Contest. The dedication ceremony included the naming of the two-building campus as John J. Flynn BAC/IMI International Training Center in honor of the current BAC president and IMI co-chair who made it a reality.

At August’s Masonry Camp, intern architects and apprentice masons got hands-on time with plastering materials and methods, along with other crafts, and experienced each other’s professions by working on a design/build challenge. For both architect and craftworker, plaster is a highlight. IMI covers conventional three-coat plaster, two-coat veneer plaster, restoration mold making and casting, plus an introduction to Venetian decorative interior finish. Instructor Mike Hooper used copies of original Louis Sullivan plaster medallions to illustrate plaster restoration arts, and touched on plaster’s advantages for environmental and mold issues.

"They didn’t realize how much skill it takes,” he says.

In September, more than 100 BAC apprentices tested their skills at the International Apprentice Contest, held in conjunction with the center’s dedication.

The Plaster Contest included a ceiling application, veneer plaster with scratch and double coats, smooth finish, a ceiling cornice and EIFS installation around a window. Contestants, who had to bring their own cornice templates, were judged in a number of areas, including workmanship, production value, following proper safety procedures and the integrity of construction.

For details on the International Apprentice Contest or to learn more about the new BAC/IMI International Training Center, go to www.bacweb.org or www.imiweb.org.

September Construction Slides 9 Percent
New construction starts fell 9 percent in September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $573.5 billion, according to McGraw-Hill Construction, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies. Reduced contracting was reported for nonresidential building, while residential building managed to edge up slightly.

Through the first nine months of 2007, total construction on an unadjusted basis came in at $475.6 billion, down 11 percent from the same period a year ago. If residential building is excluded, new construction starts during the January–September period of 2007 would be up 4 percent relative to last year.

Nonresidential building, at $206.9 billion (annual rate), fell 6 percent in September. Most responsible for the decline was a steep 77 percent pullback for the manufacturing building category, which had been lifted in August by the start of a $3.5 billion facility to process plutonium for use in nuclear power plants. Excluding this huge project, nonresidential building in September would be up 16 percent and the manufacturing building category would be up 60 percent.

Hotel construction soared 75 percent in September from a lackluster August, office construction advanced 22 percent, and store construction climbed 14 percent. Warehouse construction, down 26 percent, ran counter in September to the upward trend for the other commercial categories.

The institutional structure types in September also showed increases. The educational building category climbed 14 percent, strengthening after the sluggish contracting during the previous two months. The second major institutional category, healthcare facilities, climbed 7 percent in September. The smaller institutional categories showed growth for amusement-related projects, up 22 percent; public buildings, up 12 percent; and churches, up 5 percent. Transportation terminal projects in September dropped 34 percent.

During the first nine months of 2007 nonresidential building increased 3 percent compared to last year. Manufacturing buildings showed a substantial 33 percent jump in dollar volume. For the commercial categories, store construction advanced 13 percent, continuing to show resilience in the face of the housing correction, and office construction rose 7 percent. Warehouse construction was down 3 percent year-to-date, and hotels retreated 9 percent. On the institutional side, gains were reported for educational buildings, up 3 percent; and public buildings, up 25 percent. Weaker activity was shown by healthcare facilities, down 10 percent; with additional declines for transportation terminals, down 6 percent; amusement-related projects, down 12 percent; and churches, down 13 percent.

Residential building in September grew 1 percent to $247.8 billion (annual rate), supported by a 29 percent increase for multifamily housing. The broad trend for multifamily housing during 2007 has been downward, but September included groundbreaking for five multifamily projects, each valued in excess of $100 million. At the same time, single-family housing weakened further in September, dropping 6 percent, and has now fallen in eight of the first nine months of 2007.

The 11 percent retreat for U.S. total construction during the first nine months of 2007 was the result of decreased activity across all five major regions, with this pattern by geography: the South Central and Midwest, each down 9 percent; the Northeast, down 10 percent; the South Atlantic, down 11 percent; and the West, down 13 percent.

Bruce Quigley Is Ultimate Tradesman
Bruce Quigley of Clarkston, Mich., was named America’s Top Tradesman by winning the Irwin Ultimate Tradesman Challenge at the National Championship event in Phoenix on Nov. 11, 2007, with a total time of 20.40. Quigley won a new 2007 Ford F-150 pick-up truck customized by Roush Performance and a dream barbeque with Jamie McMurray and the #26 Irwin race team at his home. The contestants had to measure, mark and drill a piece of lumber, using Irwin tools, in just seconds.

Quigley beat out finalists Marc Williams of Seattle and Zach Snider of Charlottesville, Va., for the title. Williams and Snider came in second and third place respectively.

By winning the timed challenge, Quigley had the opportunity to select from 26 Irwin tool bags, one of which had the ultimate prize of $1.26 million. Quigley selected a bag containing $20,000.

Structus Receives Manufacturing Excellence Award
Structus Building Technologies, Inc., Bend, Ore., was recognized for its leadership, innovation and manufacturing accomplishments at the Economic Development for Central Oregon annual awards on Oct. 24. Structus President Bill Scannell and Chief Operating Officer Dave Slavensky accepted the award on behalf of the company.

"Structus embraces the three key criteria for the Manufacturing Excellence Award: process excellence, product innovation and a culture that supports continuous improvement,” asserts EDCO Executive Director Roger Lee. "The company has really been a process improvement evangelist in the region, encouraging companies in other sectors to adopt the principles of lean manufacturing. This kind of leadership has a real impact on Central Oregon’s economic success.”

For the last three years, Slavensky and his manufacturing team have been instrumental in moving Structus toward greater efficiencies and product quality. In addition, Slavensky helped to establish the High Desert Enterprise Consortium, a community of independent manufacturing businesses committed to helping each other continually strengthen their competitive position against the world’s best companies.

Saint-Gobain Plants Honored for Safety

Twenty-two CertainTeed and Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics manufacturing sites in the United States recently received awards for safety performance in 2006 from The Society of the Plastics Industry’s Occupational Health and Environmental Issues Committee.

The Distinguished Safety Award, (the highest award given by SPI), recognized sites without an OSHA recordable injury or illness in 2006: Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics in Beaverton, Mich.; Clearwater, Fla.; Mickleton, N.J.; Poestenkill, N.Y.; Seattle, Wash.; and Taunton and Worcester, Mass.

The SPI Achievement Award was earned by the Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics plants in Bridgewater, N.J.; Elk Grove, Ill.; Hoosick Falls, N.Y.; Garden Grove, Calif.; and Ravenna, Ohio. These facilities operated without an injury or illness resulting in lost time or restricted work activity.

Two facilities were honored with an Award of Merit for having a days-away-from-work, days of restricted activity or job transfer (DART) rate lower than the national average for their industry and a DART rate reduction of at least 20 percent compared to their previous rate. These sites are the Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics facility in Bristol, R.I., and the CertainTeed facility in Social Circle, Ga.

Three Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics plants— in Granville, N.Y.; Portage, Wis.; and Wayne, N.J.—and five CertainTeed facilities—in Buffalo, N.Y.; Jackson, Mich.; Lodi, Calif.; Waco, Texas; and Williamsport, Md.—received a Special Recognition Award for having safety performance in 2006 better than the national average for their Standard Industrial Classification Code.

Call for Entries: NAHB National Green Building Awards
Entries are now being accepted for the 2008 NAHB National Green Building Awards. Each year, the National Association of Home Builders recognizes individuals, companies and organizations for excellence in residential green design and construction practices and for green building program and advocacy efforts.

The awards will be presented at a gala dinner as part of the 10th anniversary of the NAHB National Green Building Conference in New Orleans, May 11–13, 2008.

Building entries can be scored to the green home certification system of the applicant’s choice. However, to facilitate judging, all single-family homes must also be scored to the NAHB Model Green Home Building Guidelines, which are available at nahb.org/gbg.

Award categories include Green Building Program of the Year; Green Advocate of the Year; Outstanding Green Marketing Program; and Green Project of the Year, awarded in four categories: Single-Family, Multifamily, Development and Remodeling.

All award applications are available online at nahb.org/gbawards, but entries must be submitted by mail. The application includes instructions for including photographs and other graphics. Applications are due Jan. 30, 2008, and all entrants must be NAHB members.

Study Details Increasing Environmental Awareness, Investment by Commercial Real Estate Industry

A national survey of the commercial real estate sector reveals that nearly two-thirds of respondents have allocated funds for green initiatives, while the majority said that their sustainability investment will increase in 2008.

Findings of the study by the Building Owners and Managers Association International, ALM’s Real Estate Media Division, and the U.S. Green Building Council were released on Nov. 7 at Greenbuild 2007, the annual conference and expo sponsored by the USGBC.

Other findings included the following:

Green buildings boast occupancy rates between 75 percent and 100 percent for a majority of those responding. For 21 percent of respondents, the increase is due directly to green initiatives. 60.8 percent of responding executives claimed a return on their green investment.

Respondents were almost evenly split on whether local municipalities should mandate energy efficiency in buildings. Many felt that any mandate should be offset by incentives or apply only to new construction.

Maintaining a green building is not typically more expensive than a comparable non-green building asset.

The survey focused on the application of green methodologies and technologies in existing commercial buildings, and on the financial and marketing benefits of these efforts.

To obtain a copy of the complete survey and results, visit www.globest.com/green.

Ownership of "Green” Homes Expected to Increase Rapidly
McGraw-Hill Construction, part of The McGraw-Hill Companies, released The Green Homeowner SmartMarket™ Report on Oct. 22, providing insight into the mindset of the "green” homeowner and the homeowner remodeler using green products. The report was produced in conjunction with the National Association of Home Builders

The major findings of the report include the following:

The market for true green homes is expected to rise from $2 billion to up to $20 billion over the next five years. (Definition of a True Green Home: True Green Homes are defined more narrowly as homes that contain elements in three of five environmental building categories: Energy Efficiency, Indoor Air Quality, Water Efficiency, Resource Efficiency and Site Management.)

Standard homes are becoming increasingly green, with homeowners using green products for 40 percent of their remodeling work.

Most Americans find out about green homes through word-of-mouth, followed by television and the Internet.

Green homeowners are happy with their homes and are recommending them at rates significantly higher than recommendation levels of other industries.

Homeowners are buying green homes because they are concerned about the health of their families, as well as to reduce energy and other home operating costs.

Education and awareness of green ranks as the most important obstacles, slightly higher even than the additional first costs associated with building green.

"Our findings are particularly powerful because they point to the reasons behind the market trends we’re seeing of the increasing number of green homes,” said Harvey M. Bernstein, vice president of industry analytics, alliances and strategic initiatives for McGraw-Hill Construction. "People are spreading the word about their green homes, which is most effective because that’s how buyers are hearing about the opportunities of green. It’s a cycle that is bearing out in the marketplace.”

McGraw-Hill Construction found in prior studies that residential builders and the commercial industry believed that the additional costs of green were by far the most significant challenge to more rapid growth in green building. But for homeowners, this survey shows that while costs and the availability of green homes are still an obstacle, the most important issue is lack of awareness.

"This information gap is actually a great opportunity for the industry, as well as for the media, nongovernmental organizations and government itself to provide more effective communication of the advantages of green homes,” added Bernstein.

The size of the homeowner remodeling market that is using green products is large: 40 percent of homeowners remodeling their houses are doing so with green products, especially their windows and heating and cooling systems.

"This study reinforces the need for the steps we have already taken to help "green” the home building and remodeling market,” said Ray Tonjes, chair of the Green Building Subcommittee for the National Association of Home Builders.

"We’re almost finished with the first consensus-based standard for green home building and remodeling, we’ve significantly expanded our education offerings and we’re launching the NAHB National Green Building Program. NAHB is bringing green to the mainstream,” Tonjes said.

For more information on The Green Homeowner SmartMarket™ Report, go to www.analyticsstore.construction.com.

USGBC Launches Two Web Sites
The U.S. Green Building Council, with the support of a $1 million donation from United Technologies Corp., has launched www.greenbuild365.org to transform green building education through global, online access.

Greenbuild365.org will feature free and fee-based courses on green building technologies and innovations, along with practical training to prepare professionals to successfully apply LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification to building design, construction and operation.

In other news, USGBC has re-launched its Web site, www.usgbc.org, with more user friendly features. Visitors will find everything they need with fewer clicks and less clutter while exploring the tens of thousands of pages of content available at www.usgbc.org.

Highlights of the Web site include a resource section designed to make LEED® project credit templates more accessible; easier access to online reference guides and LEED reference documents; more resources for members and chapters; a USGBC store to purchase workshop materials and publications; and a more comprehensive listing of educational offerings and workshops.

Aegis Launches New Web Site
Aegis Metal Framing, LLC, Chesterfield, Mo., has launched a new Web site, www.aegismetalframing.com, aimed to assist building professionals.

The Web site was redesigned with the entire building team in mind to provide tools such as case studies, an interactive detail library and automated specification writing. Architects, engineers, contractors and fabricators can find useful tools for the complete building process, from estimating to final product. These tools will help drive out costs, reduce labor, and achieve attractive, innovative designs.

Contractors can locate a fabricator from our North American network, watch an installation video, obtain an installation guide or learn more about cold-formed metal framing products.

Aegis Metal Framing has created an interactive detail library to assist the building team in selecting the optimum connection for a broad array of building conditions. The interactive tool allows building professionals to view products, fasteners and assemblies in both AutoCAD and PDF formats.

People & Companies in the News
Typar Weather Protection System, Old Hickory, Tenn., has hired Dennis Scott to be the Western regional sales manager for its Typar product line. Scott, who has extensive sales, marketing and management experience in the construction industry, will handle the 13 western states from his office outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. His responsibilities will include working with current distributors, dealers and builders using Typar customers, as well as developing growth opportunities for several new products developed for building envelopes.

Georgia-Pacific LLC, Atlanta, has named William A. "Bill” Frerking vice president and chief sustainability officer. He previously was chief counsel for the company’s building products businesses.

In this newly created position, Frerking is responsible for the company’s overall sustainability efforts, including working with Georgia-Pacific’s business units and procurement and staff groups to develop and implement sustainability strategies, goals, measurement and reporting. He also will represent the company in sustainability discussions with customers and other groups.

Frerking joined Georgia-Pacific in 2006 from Koch Cellulose, where he had served as vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary since 2004.

CertainTeed Gypsum, a Saint-Gobain subsidiary headquartered in Valley Forge, Pa., plans to build a new, state-of-the-art plant in Las Vegas, Nev., for the manufacture of ready-mix joint compounds, setting-type joint compounds and powdered textures. The company broke ground on the 100,000-square-foot plant in October and will begin production in late 2008.

Rolf J. Persson is the new managing director at Alimak AB, Skellefteå, Sweden. He replaces Nils-Erik Häggström, who will be working as group business area manager, industrial.

For the last five years Persson has been managing director of the company Franke Futurum and before that, production manager for four years in the same company.