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ASTM to Hold Symposium on EIFS

ASTM International has announced that it will conduct a Symposium on EIFS on October 5-6, 2014 in New Orleans in conjunction with the ASTM E06 Performance of Buildings Committee meeting being in that city. The title of this symposium is “EIFS: Performance, Progress and Innovation.”

Hosting this symposium is the committee’s E 06.58 Subcommittee on EIFS and Related Products, which is chaired Bill Egan of BASF Wall Systems, who is also a member of the EIFS Industry Members Association. Co-chairing the symposium will be Bill Egan and Peter Nelson of Simpson, Gumpertz and Heger. The symposium will be directed toward those professionals who primarily make their livelihood in the EIFS industry and who depend on ASTM standards that govern this industry.

The last ASTM symposium on EIFS was held in 1995 with 14 papers being presented at that time. The symposium on EIFS held previous to that one was in 1992.

In addition to making this announcement, ASTM has issued a Call for Papers, which will be presented at the symposium. Anyone with interest in presenting a paper at this symposium is encouraged to submit an abstract by Oct. 31, 2013. To submit an abstract visit then click on “Go to Abstract Submittal Form” at the top of the page to be prompted through the submission process.

Rising Home Values Impact Affordability in Second Quarter

Nationwide housing affordability slipped several notches as recovering markets witnessed significant firming of home prices in the second quarter, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index, released Aug. 13.

In all, 69.3 percent of new and existing homes sold between the beginning of April and end of June were affordable to families earning the U.S. median income of $64,400. This is down from the 73.7 percent of homes sold that were affordable to median-income earners in the first quarter, and the first time that the measure has fallen below 70 percent since late 2008.

“Housing affordability has been hovering near historic highs for the past several years, largely due to exceptionally favorable mortgage rates and low prices during the recession,” observed NAHB Chairman Rick Judson, a home builder from Charlotte, N.C. “Now that markets across the country are recovering, home values are strengthening at the same time that the cost of building homes is rising due to tightened supplies of building materials, developable lots and labor.”

“Rising home prices signal the improving health in housing markets, and the median price of all new and existing U.S. homes sold in this year’s second quarter, at $202,000, was well ahead of the second quarter 2012 median price of $185,000,” observed NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “Together with rising mortgage rates, this contributed to affordability slipping to the lowest level in more than four years. Such movement would be less concerning were it not for ongoing discussions regarding potential changes to the mortgage interest deduction and federal support for the secondary mortgage market, both of which play enormous roles in keeping homeownership affordable.”

While Ogden–Clearfield, Utah, was rated the nation’s most affordable major housing market for a fourth consecutive quarter, a newcomer—Utica-Rome, N.Y.—claimed the title of most affordable smaller market in the latest HOI.

In the larger metro, 92.8 percent of all new and existing homes sold in this year’s second quarter were affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $70,800. This was slightly lower than the 93.4 percent of homes sold that were affordable to median income-earners in the previous quarter. Meanwhile, just over 97 percent of new and existing homes sold in Utica–Rome in the same period were affordable to families earning that area’s median income of $63,800.

Other major U.S. housing markets at the top of the affordability chart in the second quarter included Indianapolis–Carmel, Ind.; Harrisburg–Carlisle, Pa.; Youngstown–Warren–Boardman, Ohio–Pa.; and Buffalo–Niagara Falls, N.Y., in descending order.

Smaller markets joining Utica at the top of the affordability chart included Kokomo, Ind.; Cumberland, Md.–W.V.; Vineland–Millville–Bridgeton, N.J.; and Bay City, Mich.

For a third consecutive quarter, San Francisco–San Mateo–Redwood City, Calif., held the lowest spot among major markets on the affordability chart. There, just 19.3 percent of homes sold in the second quarter were affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $101,200.

Other major metros at the bottom of the affordability chart included Los Angeles–Long Beach–Glendale, Calif.; Santa Ana–Anaheim–Irvine, Calif.; New York–White Plains–Wayne, N.Y.–N.J.; and San Jose–Sunnyvale–Santa Clara, Calif.; in descending order.

All of the least affordable small housing markets were in California in the latest quarter. At the very bottom of the affordability chart was Santa Cruz–Watsonville, where 30 percent of all new and existing homes sold were affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $73,800. Other small markets at the lowest end of the affordability scale included San Luis Obispo–Paso Robles, Salinas, Napa and Santa Rosa–Petaluma, respectively.

Visit for tables, historic data and details.

Improving Markets List Includes 247 Metros in August

A total of 247 metropolitan areas across 49 states and the District of Columbia qualified for inclusion on the National Association of Home Builders/First American Improving Markets Index for August, released Aug. 6. While this is eight metros shy of the number listed on the IMI in July, it is approximately three times the number of metros that qualified for the list in August 2012.

The IMI identifies metropolitan areas that have shown improvement from their respective troughs in housing permits, employment and house prices for at least six consecutive months. Three new markets were added to the list and 11 dropped from it in August. Newly added metros this month include Kankakee, Ill., along with Atlantic City and Ocean City, N.J.

“In all, 244 metros that were listed as improving in July retained that status in August, and this is an encouraging sign of the continuing housing recovery,” noted NAHB Chairman Rick Judson, a home builder from Charlotte, N.C. “That said, we know that the pace of improvement is being hampered somewhat by challenges that builders and buyers are experiencing with regard to the availability of credit, materials, lots for development and labor.”

“While the number of improving housing markets this August remains well ahead of the same month last year, the index is affected by seasonal softening in home prices just as we saw happen in 2012. The metros that fell off the list this month originally qualified with very small home price improvements that have since slipped back,” explained NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “As house prices return to more normal levels in fully recovered markets, further IMI advancements will be more modest.”

“Even with the small decline in the IMI this month, close to 70 percent of all U.S. metros are represented, and the geographic distribution of entrants continues to be very widespread,” said Kurt Pfotenhauer, vice chairman of First American Title Insurance Company. “These facts should be reassuring to today’s prospective home buyers.”

The IMI is designed to track housing markets throughout the country that are showing signs of improving economic health. The index measures three sets of independent monthly data to get a mark on the top Metropolitan Statistical Areas. The three indicators that are analyzed are employment growth from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, house price appreciation from Freddie Mac and single-family housing permit growth from the U.S. Census Bureau. NAHB uses the latest available data from these sources to generate a list of improving markets. A metro area must see improvement in all three measures for at least six consecutive months following those measures’ respective troughs before being included on the improving markets list.

A complete list of all 247 metros currently on the IMI, and separate breakouts of metros newly added to or dropped from the list in August, is available at

Builder Confidence Rises Three Points in August

Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes rose three points to 59 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index for August, released Aug. 15. This fourth consecutive monthly gain brings the index to its highest level in nearly eight years.

“Builders are seeing more motivated buyers walk through their doors than they have in quite some time,” said NAHB Chairman Rick Judson, a home builder from Charlotte, N.C. “What’s more, firming home prices and thinning inventories of homes for sale are contributing to an increased sense of urgency among those who are in the market.”

“Builder confidence continues to strengthen along with rising demand for a limited supply of new and existing homes in most local markets,” noted NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “However, this positive momentum is being slowed by the ongoing headwinds of tight credit and low supplies of finished lots and labor.”

Derived from a monthly survey that NAHB has been conducting for 25 years, the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index 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 “high to very high,” “average” or “low to very low.” Scores from each component are then used to calculate a seasonally adjusted index where any number over 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as good than poor.

Two of the HMI’s three components posted gains in August. The component gauging current sales conditions rose three points to 62, while the component gauging sales expectations in the next six months gained a single point to 68 and the component gauging traffic of prospective buyers held unchanged at 45.

All but one region saw a gain in its three-month moving average HMI score in August. The Midwest and West each posted six-point increases, to 60 and 57, respectively, while the South posted a four-point gain to 54 and the Northeast held unchanged at 39.
New-Home Sales Jump 8.3 Percent in June
Sales of newly built, single-family homes surged 8.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted, annual rate of 497,000 units in June, their fastest pace in the last five years, according to data released July 24 by HUD and the U.S. Census Bureau.

“New-home buyers are returning to the market in larger numbers as firming prices, shrinking inventories of homes for sale and improving local economies convince them that now is the time to make their move,” said Rick Judson, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders and a home builder from Charlotte, N.C. “Meanwhile, the very low supply of new homes on the market is indicative of the difficulty that builders are having in keeping up with demand due to availability issues with regard to materials, credit, labor and lots for development.”

“The takeaway from this report is that the housing recovery is solidly on track and isn’t going to be derailed by slightly higher mortgage rates,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “After years of fence-sitting, buyers are back and are ready to move forward with an investment in homeownership.” Looking ahead, he said he anticipates further, though more incremental gains in sales through the end of this year.

Three out of four regions saw solid gains in new-home sales activity in June, with the Northeast, South and West posting increases of 18.5 percent, 10.9 percent and 13.8 percent, respectively. The Midwest posted an 11.8 percent decline following an above-trend bump in activity in May.

The inventory of new homes for sale declined to 161,000 units in June, marking a razor-thin, 3.9-month supply at the current sales pace. The months’ supply of homes for sale has not fallen below this level since March 2004.

ConsensusDocs Releases a New Joint Venture Line Item Agreement

ConsensusDocs released a new ConsensusDocs 297 Joint Venture Line Item Agreement that makes it the first standard line item venture agreement that accommodates joint ventures between contractors, construction managers, design-builders, design professionals and other parties. ConsensusDocs is the only publisher of standards construction documents that accommodates a number of formations of joint venture arrangements, which have become increasingly important in today’s design and construction industry. The line item version is a significant addition because many joint ventures divide joint venture responsibilities by specific work order tasks rather than a general percentage of responsibility.

Companies working on joint ventures now have an additional standardized form that simplifies getting contracts signed and work performed. It can be used at the teaming or proposal development stage, as well as for project performance. Line item joint ventures are common for highway or horizontal design and construction work, as it often makes more sense to delineate specific work responsibilities. “Rather than take a one-size fits all approach, our documents provide options that reflect the complexity of today’s contractual relationships in the construction industry,” comments Brian Perlberg, executive director of ConsensusDocs.

ConsensusDocs are the only standard contracts written and endorsed by 39 leading design and construction industry associations. For more information, visit

In Memoriam: Bill Carroll

AWCI member Bill C. Carroll died July 30, 2013, at age 83. Carroll was an honorary member of the Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industry, and his company, Carroll Ventures, Inc. in Albuquerque, was a Lifetime Member of the association. In addition, AWCI presented Carroll with its highest honor, the Pinnacle Award, in 1988, and Carroll served as the association’s president in 1969.

According to his obituary, Carroll founded Bill C. Carroll Co. in 1949 after the death of his father, “and began a lifelong but ever evolving career in the family trade of lath and plastering.” He also founded CBMCO to meet his need for building materials. CMBCO evolved into Red Barn Lumber, which boasted four operations in New Mexico and Colorado. The Red Barn businesses were sold in 1995.

Carroll enjoyed sports throughout his life. He played baseball and football when he was in high school (he was even offered a contract with the Boston Red Sox), and later in life he enjoyed fishing and golf.

Carroll leaves behind his high school sweetheart and wife of 66 years, Charlotte, along with two children and a much extended Carroll (and AWCI) family.

In Memoriam: David F. Kelly

David F. Kelly of Illinois died July 14 at age 82. He was founder of Kelly Plastering Company and Kelly Investments.

Kelly Plastering, an AWCI member since 1975, has been in business since 1966. Kelly grew the business from two to 20-plus employees. Because of his hard work ethic and honest business practices the company quickly gained a reputation as Chicagoland’s fair and dependable plaster shop. In 1991 he sold the company to two of his eight children; Peggy and Dave Jr. Kelly Plastering currently operates out of Frankfort and Western Springs, Illinois. The company has a crew that consists of highly talented and experienced plasterers and artisans, many of whom have been with the company for more than 25 years.

Kelly Plastering, a subcontracting firm that provides residential and commercial plaster, EIFS and stucco, has done work in many of Chicago’s well known structures including Soldier Field, The Shedd Aquarium, The Field Museum, Depaul University and Holy Name Cathedral.

Kelly is survived by his wife of 61 years, Joan, his eight children and 26 grandchildren. His first great-grandchild is due this month.

The family asks that memorials be sent to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, (312) 670.0313 or

People in the News

Acousti Engineering Company of Florida has announced the Next Generation of Acousti Leaders appointed by its board of directors.

Acousti Engineering Company of Florida, a Florida based 67-year-old specialties contractor with more than 22 locations and business units, has appointed the following leaders for the company’s various locations: Don Cornelius (Jacksonville); Robert Cameron (Tampa), Carlos Velasco (Orlando), Jim Reardon (West Palm Beach), Steven Capps (Ft. Lauderdale), Janet Crumpton (Gainesville), Chason Woodbury (Pensacola), Bruno Solari (Miami), Brett Haig (Nashville), Paul Camardella (Virginia) and Josh Mero (Atlanta).

In addition to these newly appointed managers and associate managers, Acousti has opened new locations as follows: Venice (Carl NeedhamRandy KellerJosh RogersBill CarballoEd Patti).

Further, the Acousti board announced the following appointments to vice presidents and regional general managers:

In Houston, Jim Wampler was appointed vice president and Texas regional general manager.

In Orlando, Fla., Randy Keller was appointed vice president and director of corporate operations.

In Raleigh, N.C., Jon Wheeler was appointed vice president and regional general manager for North Carolina, south Carolina, Virginia, Georgia and Tennessee.

In Miami, Bill Carballo was appointed vice president and regional general manager for South Florida.

In Fort Myers, Fla., George Estes, already a vice president, was appointed regional general manager for the West Coast.

Roll-Kraft in Mentor, Ohio has named Sanjay Singh its executive vice president. Singh will serve as a key member of the company’s executive leadership team, participating in all aspects of managing the business and overseeing financial planning for future growth.

The International Code Council Board of Directors has announced that Dominic Sims, CBO, has been appointed to the position of chief executive officer. Sims, who previously held positions as interim CEO and chief operating officer, continues to serve with the full support and confidence of the ICC board. Sims will lead the Code Council and its management team in Birmingham, Ala., Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.

The Gypsum Association, Hyattsville, Md., has announced that Stephen H. Meima has assumed the position of deputy executive director/chief operating officer. In this role he will help strengthen the organization as the gypsum drywall industry’s preeminent resource for leadership, education and objective expertise.

Meima comes to the Gypsum Association from the Design-Build Institute of America where he was the head of marketing and membership. Previous to DBIA, he spent 12 years with global building materials supplier Lafarge, where he served in marketing and communications leadership roles with a purview of the United States and Canada.

Meima has also earned a LEED Green Associate accreditation to enhance his ability to serve building professionals. Prior to Lafarge, from 1996 to 1999, Meima served as director of promotion for the Gypsum Association.

Dryvit Systems, Inc., West Warwick, R.I., has appointed Dean Balcirak as the new regional sales manager for the company’s Northeast region. Balcirak officially began his new position July 29, 2013.

Kimberly Coffield Traverse, interior designer with Schooley Caldwell Associates in Columbus, Ohio, has won the Armstrong “Dream a Little with Clouds and Canopies” contest.

Sponsored by Armstrong Ceiling & Wall Systems, the contest challenged architects and designers to create their own unique piece of art using small pieces of cardboard they received in the mail. The pieces mimicked various colors and shapes from the more than 8,800 different options available in Armstrong Clouds and Canopies ceiling systems.

Contestants were instructed to photograph their creations, upload the photo to their Facebook page, and tag Armstrong Commercial Ceilings. The architect or designer who earned the most “likes” at the end of the promotion won an Apple® iPad®. Traverse received more “likes” than any other contestant and won the iPad.

Companies in the News

USG Corporation, a leading building products company, and its distribution subsidiary, L&W Supply Corporation, accepted David Weekley Homes’ coveted “Partners of Choice” Award at their recent national account meeting. This is the seventh straight year that the L&W Supply branches in Florida have been honored with the award and recognized as a top supplier, the third year for the Building Specialties branches in Texas.

As the nation’s largest privately held residential home builder, according to the May 2013 issue of Professional Builder magazine, David Weekley Homes achieves the highest levels of homeowner satisfaction through its world-class partnerships. In 2004, the home builder implemented its interactive supplier evaluation system, which is used to determine their “Partners of Choice.” Through this process, more than 600 of David Weekley Homes’ team members deliver quarterly ratings to their suppliers based on performance in two key areas: quality and service. The evaluations and ratings, paired with one-on-one discussions, formalized feedback instruments, coaching sessions and action plans, exhibit a true partnership between David Weekley Homes and their national trading partners.

Both L&W Supply (Fla.) and Building Specialties (Texas) received an A,A rating for quality and service, the highest rating a supplier can receive.

Serious Energy, Inc. has sold its QuietRock® soundproofing drywall business to its longstanding industry partner, PABCO Building Products, LLC. PABCO, which has long been a supplier to the QuietRock® business, will continue the manufacture of QuietRock® products at the QuietRock® plant in Newark, Calif.

Phillips Manufacturing Co. has expanded its stucco product offering and increased capacity for production and delivery throughout the South and Southeast regions by adding a facility in Umatilla, Fla.

Phillips Manufacturing has been servicing customers in the Southeastern United States for many years and this acquisition will improve the company’s service model in these areas.

Established in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1955, Phillips is a manufacturer of drywall finishing beads and trims, channels and framing components and stucco accessories with manufacturing and distribution facilities in Arizona, Florida, Nebraska and Ohio.

PAREX USA has announced a new partnership with Steve Pedracine of Plaster Hawk Consulting LLC to expand the Parex architectural and specification efforts in the Minnesota and Wisconsin markets.

Pedracine worked in the Parex technical department from 1990 to 1999 and now returns to partner with the Architectural Sales & National Accounts team to help grow Parex USA’s brand awareness and business opportunities, as well as the company’s national corporate accounts program. He currently serves as the executive director of the Minnesota Lath & Plaster Bureau.

Owens Corning has been honored with the prestigious “A,A” ranking in this year’s “Partners of Choice” Award by David Weekley Homes, the third largest privately held U.S. home builder. Considered the gold standard in the homebuilding industry, the esteemed “A,A” ranking is a measure of world-class excellence in quality and service, and is the home builder’s top designation from its interactive supplier feedback platform.

The National Trading Partner Survey is a key component of the homebuilder’s evaluation process. It measures, evaluates, compares, rates and ranks the quality and service performance of approximately 175 of its suppliers on a quarterly basis. Then through a series of discussions, meetings and coaching calls, David Weekley Homes and its suppliers search for the best way to achieve excellence together. The “Partners of Choice” honors trading partners that receive the highest marks in this comprehensive evaluation as rated by team members from all levels of the builders’ organization over a 12-month period.

Of approximately 175 companies surveyed, only 12 were recognized by receiving an “A,A” award for quality and service this year. Owens Corning has been recognized with the “Partners of Choice” Award from David Weekley Homes each of the past four years.

MiTek Industries (MiTek), a Berkshire Hathaway company and a leading supplier of advanced engineered structural connector systems, equipment, software and services for the building components industry, announced July 30 that it has acquired Benson Industries, LLC. Benson is the global leader in the design, pre-fabrication and installation of custom unitized curtain wall systems for high-end commercial, hotel, residential, governmental, and institutional buildings worldwide. MiTek is a subsidiary of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

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