On the Level: Top Management
Be Open to New Ideas
I just got back to the office after a week at AWCI’s Industry Executives’ Conference & Committee Meetings in beautiful San Antonio, Texas, home of our beloved Alamo. It was an incredible opportunity to share info
Builder Confidence Remains Firm in September
Builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes remained unchanged at a solid 67 reading in September on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index.
ClarkDietrich Begins Integration of Vinyl Corp. and Strait-Flex into Corporate Brand Identity
ClarkDietrich announced that its Vinyl Corp. and Strait-Flex divisions will be fully integrated into the ClarkDietrich corporate brand identity. The Vinyl Corp. company name will be phased out and its products in
Construction Industry Adds 23,000 Jobs in September
The U.S. construction industry added 23,000 net new positions in September, according to an Associated Builders and Contractors analysis of data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Construction Material Costs Increase 7.4 Percent
The cost of many products used in construction climbed 7.4 percent over the past year due to double-digit increases in commonly used construction materials, according to an analysis by the Associated General Cont
Contractors Remain Upbeat in Q2
Construction contractors remained confident during the second quarter of 2018, according to the latest Construction Confidence Index released by Associated Builders and Contractors.
More than three in four
Diary of a Drywaller: Chapter 11
I tossed a burning cigarette into my wishing well. Watched it turning cold and wet, watched it as it fell.
I climbed the stairway to heaven, but at the top I stopped and found myself in hell.
Dodge Momentum Index Moves Lower in September
The Dodge Momentum Index dropped 2.6 percent in September to 159.5 (2000=100) from the revised August reading of 163.7. The momentum index is a monthly measure of the first (or initial) report for nonresidential
Free ASA Webinar
This complimentary webinar from the American Subcontractors Association examines ways to improve project management communication between GCs and subcontractors specifically as it relates to the project schedu
New Congress Has Unique Opportunity to Work Together to Improve Infrastructure, Develop the Workforce and Reform Immigration
The chief executive officer of the Associated General Contractors of America, Stephen E. Sandherr, released the following statement Nov. 6 in reaction to the fact Democrats appear to have won control of the U.
Economic times in the Canadian wall and ceiling industry vary as much as the geography. Here’s a look at how a few contractors see things—from Quebec in the east to British Columbia on the west coast.
Nobody is seeing construction workers wearing augmented reality headsets while they work on active drywall job sites. But that scene will happen some day. AR, also known as mixed reality, is in its infancy, and i
Rockfon North America Launches New Website
Rockfon North America reintroduces Rockfon.com , providing visitors with intelligent search functionality, responsive design and streamlined navigation to improve their experience and quality across desktop and m
Simplify Your Life
The biggest hindrance to getting things done is workflow clutter. Most people keep too many files, send too many emails and submit too many reports. We live with too many objects, and each creates a touchpoint th
Super Stud Building Products Announces New Website Launch
Super Stud Building Products, Inc., Edison, N.J., announces the launch of its new website, www.buysuperstud.com . The newly designed website greatly improves functionality and performance on both desktop and mobi
The Magic of Momentum
I recently retired after 40-plus years in the construction industry, where I worked primarily as a commercial general construction estimator and project manager. It was a great run. I gained valuable skills, met
A Staffing Matrix for Every Mid-size, Midwest Contractor Office
I (along with many former employers) am pleased as punch to announce that I recently retired after four-plus decades in the construction industry. There were many reasons behind the decision but suffice it to say
Blockchain Is Here
The greatest thing since sliced bread may be the blockchain protocol. One website says it’s “among the fastest-evolving areas of technology.” Some say blockchain will be as revolutionary as the internet. What is
Builder Confidence Remains Firm in August
Builder confidence in the market for newly built single-family homes edged down one point to a solid 67 reading in August on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index.
Business in the West
From California to Idaho, wall and ceiling contractors are in high gear with little, if anything, to slow them down in 2019 and beyond. The usual suspects—labor shortages and soaring materials prices—are among th
ConsensusDocs Coalition Publishes a New Lean Addendum
The ConsensusDocs Coalition is publishing the industry’s first Lean Addendum standard contract document. The ConsensusDocs 305 utilizes lean tools and processes without an Integrated Project Delivery agreement.
Diary of a Drywaller: Chapter 10
Ramona, California. Mountain Top, Master Bedroom, August 2018.
“You aren’t going to tell them what happened during that year and a half that we were separated, are you?” My wife had just read a recent chap
Housing Starts Hold Their Ground in July
Total housing starts inched up 0.9 percent in July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.17 million units, according to data released Aug. 16 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the
Multifamily Builder and Developer Confidence Edged Down Slightly in Q2
Confidence in the multifamily housing market edged down in the second quarter of 2018, according to the Multifamily Production Index released Aug. 23 by the National Association of Home Builders. The MPI dipped t
New Construction Starts in July Slide 9 Percent
At a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $817.4 billion, new construction starts in July fell 9 percent from the elevated pace reported in June, according to Dodge Data & Analytics. The latest month’s decline foll
New Home Sales Edge Down 1.7 Percent in July
Sales of newly built, single-family homes inched down 1.7 percent in July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 627,000 units after an upwardly revised June report, according to data released Aug. 23 by the U.S
The Labor Shortage: Nuisance or Catastrophe?
The bad news: Recently, according to the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, the number of open U.S. construction sector jobs came in at 243,000. This widening gap between available positions and skilled work
U.S. Housing Starts to Reach 1.6 Million Units in 2021
U.S. housing starts are forecast to total 1.6 million units in 2021, according to “Housing: United States,” a report released by Freedonia Focus Reports. Single-unit conventional housing starts, representing both
Builder Confidence Stays at Healthy Level in July
Builder confidence in the market for newly built single-family homes remained unchanged at a solid 68 reading in July on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index.
Construction Adds 19,000 Jobs as Unemployment Plummets in July
The U.S. construction industry added 19,000 net new jobs in July after adding 13,000 net new jobs in June, according to an ABC analysis of data supplied by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The industry has ad
Construction Input Costs Are Mixed in July but Pressure Intensifies on Contractors as Year-over-Year Increases Outstrip Bid Prices
Prices for goods and services used in construction costs were unchanged overall from June to July, but months of steep increases over the past year have squeezed the profits of contractors, whose bid prices have
Diary of a Drywaller: Chapter 9
We are about to make a head-on collision with the facts. We are going to get this said, like it or not. We will tell the truth and share several unexplainable occurrences. Miracles? Miracles that happened. Oh yes
First-Half 2018 Construction Starts Show Mixed Performance Across Top Metropolitan Areas
During the first half of 2018, five of the top 10 metropolitan markets for commercial and multifamily construction starts ranked by dollar volume showed increased activity compared to a year ago, according to Dod
Have a Look at the Manufacturer’s Crystal Ball
Much like the contractor looks to the supplier for his material, so the supplier looks to the manufacturer for the basic building blocks that, along with our people, fuel this amazing engine we call construction.
Traits of the Entrepreneur
Would you like to cultivate an entrepreneurial spirit in your organization? Entrepreneurship is a way of thinking progressively. It can prevent you from settling into a single way of approaching projects and help
Business in the East: Things Could Be Better
Tight margins, rising material prices, fierce competition and an aging workforce are reasons contractors on the East Coast lose sleep. But for many, 2018 has an upside: It is busy or trending that way through thi
Diary of a Drywaller: Chapter 8
Mayan Seaside, Belize, July 2, 2018. Looking back, and considering what management has come to mean, if I were asked to define it in one sentence, I would define it as such: “Figure out what will go wrong unless
U.S. Department of Labor Kicks Off Safe + Sound Week on August 13
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration encourages Americans to commit to workplace safety and health by participating in Safe + Sound Week, Aug. 13-19, 2018.
When Disaster Strikes
All told, 2017 saw what seems like a never-ending string of natural disasters.
Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Nate and Maria caused hundreds of billions of dollars in damage in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico. Ea
AWCI's New President Has Issues
After 40 years in the wall and ceiling industry, Jerry Smith might attest to having seen it all. But he won’t. He is not a “been there, done that” kind of guy.
If anything, he is excited (and honored) to b
Diary of a Drywaller: Chapter 7
Poway, California, 1978
Now the sign has always read
You’d be a fool to go ahead
But you know you’ve always gone
The day has always brought the dawn
Sunny skies have slipped away
The moon’s still followin
Get More Work with Open-Book Accounting
Apparently, we contractors are crooks. Not you and I, of course—we’re golden, but the rest of us are downright nefarious. Don’t believe me? Just flip through the wealth “informational” cable channels and scroll d
Productivity: Doing More with Less
Industrywide, we face a labor shortage.
While not a long-term solution, you can at least partially make up for not enough hands on deck by making each hand more efficient and productive, and so patch the s
Screening for High Performers
The shortage of skilled labor and seasoned construction managers is great. “Seventy percent of construction firms report they are having a hard time filling hourly craft positions,” noted a report last summer by
Q: What can you tell me about wall prioritization?
A: The term is typically used in regard to fire-resistive walls and buildings that fall under the International Building Codes. The inten
A Worthwhile Journey
It has been an honor to have served as president of our association. On the first of July I move to the position of past president and our new president, Jerry Smith, will provide his leadership to our associatio
ABC: Contractors Remain Upbeat
Commercial and industrial construction contractors entered 2018 with abundant confidence regarding sales and staffing levels for the next six months, according to the latest Construction Confidence Index released
Builder Confidence Slips One Point, Remains in Solid Territory
Builder confidence in the market for newly built single-family homes edged down one point to a level of 69 in April on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index but remains on fir
Candidate Recycling Programs:
Would you ever consider sharing talented but mismatched job candidates with the competition? Business consultant Scott Wintrip explains how launching a candidate “recycling” program will expand your talent pool a
Construction Costs Surge in April as New Tariffs and Other Trade Measures Lead to Significant Increases in Material Prices
The cost of goods used in construction jumped in April at the fastest year-over-year rate since 2011, with ongoing increases for a range of building materials, including many that are subject to proposed tariffs
Construction Employers Add 17,000 Jobs in April; Hourly Earnings Rise as Firms Compete for Tight Pool of Labor
Construction employment increased by 17,000 jobs in April and by 257,000 jobs over the past year while firms boosted pay to help recruit new workers, according to an analysis of new government data by the Associa
Contractors in the South Talk Business
From Texas to Florida, contractors in the southern United States are preparing for a busy year ahead. And while margins are trending up in some regions, in others contractors look to new ways to improve efficienc
Diary of a Drywaller: Chapter 6
One Summer Night – Capitola Pier, 1972. The full moon poured through what appeared to be a white hole in the starry night sky. A silhouette of two figures, my wife and I, stood leaning on the rail. Peering eyes f
Jobsite Safety: 21 Ways to Reduce Your Reportables
In April and May, AWCI’s Construction Dimensions reached out to some of the industry’s most successful safety directors to learn how they put together their programs and maintain strong safety cultures. Lo and be
March Construction Starts Advance 11 Percent
New construction starts in March increased 11 percent from the previous month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $785.2 billion, according to Dodge Data & Analytics. The substantial gain followed modest decl
Millennials 10 Years Later
Ten years ago this month, I profiled millennials for AWCI’s Construction Dimensions in a column titled “InSync with the Millennial Generation.” I wrote that millennials are hard-working and thoughtful—“possibly t
Construction Employers Add 228,000 Jobs over the Year Despite Dip in March
Construction employment increased by 228,000 jobs over the past year despite a weather-related dip last month, and the industry’s unemployment rate fell to 7.4 percent, the lowest yet for March, according to an a
Contractors in the North Talk Business
It is busy and it is going to stay that way for many contractors in northern states throughout 2018. Here’s a look at how several AWCI member contractors—from Ohio to North Dakota—are faring now, the challenges t
Diary of a Drywaller: Chapter 5
Union Apprenticeship, 1970–1974. Let me tell you a few more tales of woe from my past as an apprentice. I leave you these bits and pieces of history in order to document them and share some life lessons from my p
You can’t operate on a whim in business. Good strategy is essential, especially your digital marketing strategy. When was the last time you updated your website, published an e-newsletter or shared a company vide
Scheduling: Art or Science?
While some say that project scheduling isn’t brain surgery, others say that brain surgery, by comparison, is but a leisurely stroll through a park.
Most agree, though, that when it comes to scheduling and
Builder Confidence Remains on Solid Footing in March
Builder confidence in the market for newly built single-family homes edged down one point to a level of 70 in March from a downwardly revised February reading on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fa
Construction Employers Add 61,000 Jobs in February and 254,000 over the Year
Construction employment increased by 61,000 jobs in February to the highest level since June 2008 as rising pay rates enabled the industry to attract more workers, according to an analysis of new government data
Construction Employment Rises in 35 States and D.C. from January 2017 to January 2018
Thirty-five states and the District of Columbia added construction jobs between January 2017 and January 2018, while 32 states and D.C. added construction jobs between December and January, according to an anal
Diary of a Drywaller: Chapter 4
The Apprentice? 1970–1974: I was just a kid. Barely 18. I didn’t have much, if any, discipline. As I’ve already admitted, a high school dropout. I didn’t do things the way they should be done, generally speaking.
Future Leaders: Where Will They Come From?
Over the last several years, many of AWCI’s member contractors have voiced the concern that they see no clear candidate to hand the reins when the day comes to retire. Also, they wish there were more young aspira
I hope you have a copy of AWCI’s 100-year commemorative book, “Celebrating 100 Years of Industry Growth with the Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industry.” If you do, here are a few questions you can use alon
U.S. Department of Labor Fixes Error Dating to 2016
Following a review of the requirements put in place in 2016 regarding the “Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses” regulation, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administr
Wells Fargo Survey: Construction Industry Optimism Highest in 20 Years
Construction industry executives are more optimistic about nonresidential construction activity than they have been since the 21st century, according to a nationwide survey of industry contractors and equipment d
Builder Confidence Stays at Strong Level in February
Builder confidence in the market for newly built single-family homes remained unchanged at a healthy 72 level in February on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index.
Diary of a Drywaller: Chapter 3
Preface to Union Apprenticeship, 1970–1974: Last month I promised you an earful on this topic. That is my deliverable. Easy enough. I have a mouthful of things to say. Consequently, I hope to leave you with a hea
Q: Can you help me understand how building code–mandated sustainability requirements are affecting construction demolition and waste?
A: Two existing building codes are having a significant impact on how const
January Construction Starts Slip 2 Percent
The value of new construction starts in January receded 2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $725.9 billion, easing slightly after December’s 13 percent hike, according to Dodge Data & Analytics. The
Time to Celebrate 100 Years
It’s that time again, time for AWCI’s Convention & INTEX Expo, March 24–28, in Florida. This convention is really special because it is the association’s 100th anniversary—a time to celebrate all of the associati
United We Stand
AWCI formed on March 11, 1918, at the Hamilton Hotel in Washington, D.C. Twenty-six men, AWCI’s founding fathers, took a photo together. One of them was Oscar A. Reum of Chicago, the association’s first president
AWCI Elective Education Seminars Will Be Held in Florida at AWCI’s Convention
AWCI is offering three seminars (Exterior Envelope—, Gypsum— and Stucco— Doing It Right ®) on the last day of AWCI’s Convention & INTEX Expo in Florida.
The early bird registration fee for each seminar is $315
AWCI Offers Members Assistance with OSHA’s Respirable Silica Rule
AWCI’s website now offers members a downloadable Word file of “AWCI’s Guideline Template for Respirable Crystalline Silica Control.” The purpose of the plan template is to minimize employee exposure to hazardous
Court of Appeals Upholds OSHA Silica Rule
In a wide-ranging decision issued Dec. 22, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit decisively rejected the arguments made by the American Subcontractors Association and the Constructi
Diary of a Drywaller: Chapter 2
Howard Schultz, the founder of Starbucks as we now know it, is no stranger to hardship. At 7 years old his father broke his ankle at work. In his words, they lived on the “other side of the tracks.” His father wa
Emerging Practice of Prevention through Design and Technology Advances Poised to Help Improve Construction Safety
A new study from Dodge Data & Analytics reveals the engagement with and impact of two critical trends for improving construction safety—technologies used on job sites, and the practice of Prevention through Desig
Estimating: Past, Present, Future
As long as there have been buildings, there have been estimators, even if, initially, the craft consisted only of figuring how many trees to cut for logs or how many stones to gather. It is, in other words, a tim
In AWCI’s 100 years, history is chock full of some amazing inventors. This month I’d like to share my favorite inventor stories with you.
How did I pick my favorites? I’m a storyteller, so I like a good st
Optimism in the Air
The new year is starting quickly. Many contractors have their strategic plans in place for work in progress and sales goals set for 2018. There is optimism in most markets. If we can achieve the margins we want,
Diary of a Drywaller: Chapter 1
Here we go again. Another adventure. Together we will explore the otherwise uncharted. We are about to embark upon a venture into the unknown and unexplored. You and I are going to consider the back and forth of
How Fares Your Wallet?
In presenting his 2018 construction outlook at the Dodge Outlook Executive Conference held in November, Dodge Chief Economist Robert Murray said U.S. construction starts are expected to climb by 3 percent to $765
Listen to Your Elders
Fifty years ago, two trade associations served the majority of North America’s wall and ceiling contractors. The international association of the Wall & Ceiling Industry championed lath and plaster construction.