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HUD and CPSC Issue Guidance on Repairing Homes with Problem Drywall

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission issued interim remediation guidance April 2 to help homeowners struggling to rid their properties of problem drywall, also known as “Chinese drywall,” linked to corrosion of metal in their homes such as electrical components.

Based on scientific study of the problem to date, HUD and CPSC recommend consumers remove all possible problem drywall from their homes, and replace electrical components and wiring, gas service piping, fire suppression sprinkler systems, smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms. HUD and CPSC say that taking these steps should help eliminate both the source of the problem drywall and corrosion-damaged components that might cause a safety problem in the home.

This interim remediation protocol is being released before all ongoing scientific studies on problem drywall are completed so that homeowners can begin remediating their homes. CPSC will continue to release its scientific studies as they are completed.

In a related story, it was reported April 9 that a federal judge in Louisiana ruled that a Chinese drywall manufacturer must compensate American homeowners who used its product and are now forced to tear it out.

In the first U.S. trial decision over faulty Chinese drywall, U.S. District Court Judge Eldon Fallon of the Eastern District of Louisiana ordered Taishan Gypsum Company, Ltd., to pay $2,609,129.99 in remediation damages to seven Virginia families. Taishan is headquartered in Tai’an, China, about 250 miles south of Beijing.

ICC, ASHRAE, USGBC and IES Announce Nation’s First Set of Model Codes and Standards for Green Building

Organizations representing building safety professionals, energy and lighting engineers, green building practitioners, architects and technical standards developers have all come together to green the nation’s built environment by establishing a comprehensive model green building code designed to rapidly advance green building practice across the United States.

The International Code Council, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers, the U.S. Green Building Council, and the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America have announced the launch of the International Green Construction Code, representing the merger of two national efforts to develop adoptable and enforceable green building codes. The IGCC provides the building industry with language that both broadens and strengthens building codes in a way that will accelerate the construction of high performance green buildings across the United States.

For decades, ICC and ASHRAE have worked to develop codes and standards that become the industry standard of care for the design, construction, operations and maintenance of residential and commercial buildings in the United States and internationally. In coordination with the efforts of ICC and ASHRAE, USGBC has been leading a nationwide green building movement centered on the LEED Green Building Rating System since LEED was launched in 2000. The convergence of these efforts in the IGCC is perhaps the most significant development in the buildings industry in the past 10 years.

Leveraging ICC’s unrivaled delivery infrastructure to reach all 50 states and more than 22,000 local jurisdictions and ASHRAE, USGBC and IES’s technical strengths, this partnership will accelerate the proliferation of green building codes and standards developed jointly by ICC, ASHRAE and USGBC and IES, across the country and around the globe. The newly launched IGCC establishes a previously unimaginable regulatory framework for the construction of high performance commercial buildings that are safe, sustainable and by the book.

A landmark addition to the technical content of the IGCC is the inclusion of ANSI/ASHRAE/USGBC/IES Standard 189.1, Standard for the Design of High Performance, Green Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings, as an alternate path of compliance. Standard 189.1 is a set of technically rigorous requirements, which, like the IGCC, covers criteria including water use efficiency, indoor environmental quality, energy efficiency, materials and resource use, and the building’s impact on its site and its community. Standard 189.1 was written by experts representing all areas of the building industry, who contributed tens of thousands of man hours. Developed in a little over three years, the standard underwent four public reviews in which some 2,500 comments were received.

ENR Survey Finds Measured Optimism for Construction Industry Recovery through 2011

The construction industry is signaling that industry conditions may begin to improve over the next 10 to 16 months, according to a survey in the March 29 issue of Engineering News-Record (ENR) magazine and on, published by McGraw-Hill Construction. The ENR Construction Industry Confidence Index for the first quarter of 2010 shows that construction and design firm executives are not confident that the industry recession will end in 2010, but a slow and steady recovery is expected into 2011.

The Q1-2010 CICI, which measures industry sentiment for market sectors and trends, is 34 on a scale of 100, where a value of 100 indicates an improving market and a value of 50 indicates a stable market. While still well-below an index of 50, the index shows a distinct improvement over last quarter (up three points from 31 in Q4-2009) and last year (up nine points from 25 in Q1-2009). The index is based on 705 responses to surveys sent to more than 2,000 domestic firms on ENR’s lists of leading contractors and engineering firms.

When assessing the construction market, 68 percent of survey respondents say the current construction market is declining, 26 percent believe it had stabilized, and only 5 percent believe it is improving. However, survey respondents expect the picture to be different in 12 to 18 months, with 44 percent believing the construction market will be improving and another 44 percent believing it will have stabilized.

The CICI survey also asked participants to gauge changes in credit availability for financing projects, and found that securing financing continues to be a challenge. No respondents claimed that credit is much easier to obtain, and only 7.2 percent of respondents said it was somewhat easier to obtain. In contrast, 28.9 percent said it is much tougher to secure credit for project financing; 21.8 percent said that it is only somewhat tougher to obtain; and 42 percent said that credit availability is about the same.

Builder Confidence Improves in April

Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes improved significantly in April as consumers rushed to take advantage of home buyer tax credits set to expire at the end of the month, according to results of the latest National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index, released April 15. The HMI surged four points to 19 in April, its highest level since September 2009.

“Home builders reported some real improvement in current sales activity and traffic of prospective buyers through their model homes over the past month,” said NAHB Chairman Bob Jones, a home builder from Bloomfield Hills, Mich. “While we remain cautious about what future months will bring, it’s great to have this positive momentum at the start of the spring home buying season.”

“An expected surge in buyer activity leading up to the expiration of the home buyer tax credits and a gradually improving economy helped to brighten builders’ view of the marketplace in April,” confirmed NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “Meanwhile, builders have a more neutral view of what may come in the next six months, and are very aware of the many factors that continue to drag on housing at this time—including the critical shortage of credit for new and existing projects, problems with inaccurate appraisals, and the ongoing flow of foreclosed properties on the market. Greater economic growth, particularly in the job market, and the abatement of these housing issues are needed to help move home building to a more sustained recovery.”

Derived from a monthly survey that NAHB has been conducting for more than 20 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 for 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.

The HMI’s four-point gain to 19 this month returned it to where it was in September 2009, just prior to the expiration of the last home buyer tax credit. The component gauging current sales conditions rose by five points to 20—the strongest gain in that index since 2003—while the component gauging traffic of prospective buyers rose a solid four points, to 14. However, the index gauging sales expectations in the next six months registered only a marginal one-point increase to 25, an indication of builders’ continued cautious outlook.

The Midwest and South each registered substantial HMI gains in April, rising five points to 15 and four points to 21, respectively. Meanwhile, the Northeast posted no change at 22 and the West dipped two points to 13.

Construction Employment Increased in March

The nonresidential construction sector in March saw its first monthly increase in employment since 2008, gaining 9,400 jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to the April 2 employment report by the U.S. Labor Department. Year-over-year, the nonresidential construction sector has lost 75,600 jobs, or 10.1 percent of the total workforce. Industry employment stood at 675,100 in March.

Nonresidential specialty trade construction gained 9,400 jobs in March, but year over year has lost 302,400 jobs, or 13.2 percent of employment. Heavy and civil engineering construction employment increased by 6,000 jobs in March, but is still down 89,700 jobs, or 10.1 percent, from March 2009.

The residential building construction sector lost 800 jobs in March and lost 86,600 jobs, or 12.9 percent of employment, over the past 12 months.

Overall, the construction industry gained 15,000 jobs in March, the first increase since June 2007, but is down 701,000 jobs or, 11.1 percent, year over year. The non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for the construction industry was 24.9 percent in March, down from the 27.1 percent unemployment rate in February, but still higher than the 21.1 percent unemployment rate at the same time last year.

Total employment across all industries increased by 162,000 jobs in March, the first six-digit increase since November 2007. Year over year, employment is down by 2,320,000 jobs or 1.8 percent. The unemployment rate stood unchanged at 9.7 percent for a third consecutive month.

February Construction Rises 5 Percent

At a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $440.9 billion, new construction starts in February climbed 5 percent from the previous month, according to McGraw-Hill Construction, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies. Much of the lift was provided by the public works sector, reflecting strength for both transportation and environmental projects. Residential building also showed improvement in February, but nonresidential building slipped back after January’s gain. For the first two months of 2010, total construction on an unadjusted basis came in at $57.2 billion, essentially the same amount as reported during the first two months of 2009.

The February statistics produced a reading of 93 for the Dodge Index (2000=100), up from 89 in January.

“The pattern shown during February is what’s expected for 2010 as a whole—more public works construction, improved activity for residential building, but further weakness for nonresidential building,” stated Robert A. Murray, vice president of economic affairs for McGraw-Hill Construction. “The public works sector in 2009 showed growth for highway and bridge construction, helped by the federal stimulus funding, and more broad-based expansion is expected this year. The positives for housing include low mortgage rates and a shrinking inventory of unsold homes. For nonresidential building, however, the tough environment for project financing remains a substantial constraint.”

Residential building, at $141.3 billion (annual rate), rose 5 percent in February. Single-family housing grew 3 percent, continuing the gradual upward movement that began last spring.

By region, gains for single-family housing were reported in the West (up 1 percent), the South Central (up 2 percent), the Northeast (up 3 percent) and the Midwest (up 14 percent), but the South Atlantic retreated (down 2 percent). Multifamily housing, while still at a very weak level, increased 23 percent in February.

Nonresidential building in February dropped 7 percent to $147.3 billion (annual rate), after posting a 12 percent gain in January. The increase in January was supported by the start of a massive transit complex in lower Manhattan, N.Y., valued at $3.0 billion. February included the start of another huge transportation-related project, in this case $1.1 billion for terminal construction at Los Angeles International Airport. Both projects indicate that transportation terminal work is getting off to a strong start in 2010, although the difference in size between the two projects meant that the transportation terminal category in February dropped 57 percent from an exceptional January. Healthcare facilities also retreated from a strong January, falling 34 percent. While slipping back, the healthcare facilities category in February did see groundbreaking for two large projects—a $214 million hospital in Baton Rouge, La., and a $195 million medical center in Clovis, Calif. February declines were also registered by manufacturing plants, down 24 percent; and churches, down 28 percent.

On the plus side, the nonresidential total in February featured a 25 percent increase for educational buildings. Boosting the educational category was the start of a $650 million biomedical research building in New York, N.Y., and a $99 million university science building in Washington, D.C. The public buildings category in February grew 9 percent, helped by the start of a $75 million historic renovation project for City Hall in New York, N.Y. Other institutional categories with February gains were dormitories, up 19 percent; and amusement-related projects, up 9 percent.

The commercial structure types in February registered strong percentage increases, relative to an extremely low January, but the overall level of activity for commercial building continues to be very weak. The office category in February climbed 45 percent, helped by the start of two large data centers located in Prineville, Ore. ($180 million) and Phoenix, Ariz. ($62 million). Also contributing to February’s office total was a $56 million renovation of a federal office building in Jackson, Miss., and the start of a $50 million Veterans Administration office building in Cleveland. Hotel construction advanced 98 percent from a depressed January, boosted by a $95 million hotel renovation project in Baltimore. Store construction improved 6 percent in February, while warehouses advanced 117 percent, both from very weak activity in January.

The “no change” registered by total construction on an unadjusted basis for the first two months of 2010 compared to 2009 was the result of a varied performance by major sector. Residential building was up 27 percent, with the comparison to the early months of 2009 when single-family housing hit bottom. Also showing a year-to-date gain was nonbuilding construction, climbing 4 percent. Nonresidential building during the first two months of 2010 fell 17 percent. By geography, total construction in the first two months of 2010 showed this behavior: the Northeast, up 31 percent; the Midwest, up 2 percent; the South Atlantic, down 1 percent; the West, down 6 percent; and the South Central, down 11 percent.

Additional perspective is obtained by looking at 12-month moving totals, in this case the 12 months ending February 2010 compared to the 12 months ending February 2009. On this basis, total construction is down 20 percent, reflecting this pattern by sector: residential building, down 21 percent; nonbuilding construction, down 6 percent; and nonresidential building, down 28 percent. By region, the 12 months ending February 2010 showed this behavior for total construction compared to the prior 12 months: the Northeast, down 11 percent; the South Central, down 18 percent; the South Atlantic, down 20 percent; the West, down 22 percent; and the Midwest, down 23 percent.

New-Home Sales Decline in February

Sales of newly built, single-family homes fell 2.2 percent in February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 308,000 units, the Commerce Department reported March 24. While this figure marked a new record low for overall sales activity, only one region, the South, hit its own record low.

In general, poor weather conditions are partly to blame for the very slow pace of new-home sales in February.

While nationwide home sales fell to a record low in February, two out of four regions actually posted gains and all but the South remained above their record lows. Sales inched up 2 percent in the Midwest and 20.8 percent in the West, but declined by a respective 20 percent and 4.6 percent in the storm-battered Northeast and South.

The nationwide inventory of new homes on the market rose by a marginal 1.3 percent in February, to 236,000 units. Due to the slower sales pace, the month’s supply of new homes for sale rose from 8.9 in January to 9.2 in February.

ASA: Chronic Nature of MSDs Would Lead to Over-Reporting on OSHA Form 300

On March 30, 2010, the American Subcontractors Association filed comments urging the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration to “abandon” a proposed rule that would require employers to record musculoskeletal disorders on injury and illness logs.

ASA pointed out that the “chronic nature of MSDs and the subjective nature of MSD symptoms” will force employers to choose between over-reporting MSDs and hiring medical experts to investigate MSD claims, and increase subcontractors’ workers’ compensation costs. Employers, ASA said, “would also have problems determining whether an MSD is work-related.” In addition, “due to the complexity of MSD symptoms,” ASA said, “an employer must send more employees to see a doctor to investigate claims of pain for the Form 300, the employers’ workers’ compensation claims will increase and its [Experience Modification Rating] will go up, even if the employer does not have to report the injury, which will increase its workers’ compensation costs and inhibit the ability to prequalify with new customers.”

ASA told OSHA that employers will have trouble determining whether to log MSDs on the OSHA Form 300, in particular new MSD cases since MSD conditions are chronic. “Must an employer report an MSD regardless of whether it has been previously reported by another firm? If so, how can a firm find this data? If not, OSHA will need to account for over-reporting of MSDs.”

ASA also criticized OSHA for failing to conduct an economic analysis before promulgating the proposed rule, which would have “found that the cost of accurately recording an MSD in accordance with the recordkeeping regulation’s general recording requirements would increase, as would the compliance burden of completing the OSHA Form 300.”

Financial Security of Smaller Federal Projects Would Suffer Under Bond Threshold Change

On April 5, 2010, the American Subcontractors Association told federal regulators that a proposal to exempt more small federal construction projects from the requirement to provide surety bonds would increase the financial risk of the projects at taxpayers’ expense. ASA asked regulators to support the financial stability of smaller federal projects by keeping the threshold for providing surety bonds at $100,000 instead of raising it to $150,000.

Regulators are proposing to adjust the threshold for requiring surety bonds because federal law requires them to adjust acquisition-related thresholds for inflation every five years. ASA pointed out, however, that the extraordinary economic conditions facing the construction industry overcome the arguments in favor of any such increase: “The construction industry has been particularly hard hit by the current Great Recession. Even the most experienced contracting firms have seen their credit worthiness erode.”

Subcontractors typically extend large amounts of credit to federal projects by providing labor, materials and equipment on promises of future payment. Payment bonds required by the federal Miller Act 40 (U.S.C. Section 3131 to 3134) provide a layer of financial security on such projects by allowing subcontractors to file claims in case they are not paid for their properly performed work. Absent such protection, “A subcontractor that experiences slow or no payment from a customer is almost certain to be forced to curtail its own performance, thus endangering the entire construction project,” ASA said. “The Miller Act’s surety bond requirement protects taxpayers, as well as subcontractors and suppliers.”

Surety bonds also increase the financial stability of projects because sureties “vet” the prime contractors to which they provide bonds. “In order to bid on federal government construction, a prime contractor must pre-qualify for a surety bond by meeting the surety’s standards for capital, capacity and character,” ASA noted. Increasing the bond threshold would mean that prime contractors would not have to provide performance bonds on projects between $100,000 and $150,000, removing the surety-provided guarantee that these projects would continue if the prime contractors failed to complete them.

“For these reasons,” ASA said, “we urge the Civilian Agency Acquisition Council and the Defense Acquisition Regulations Council to maintain the Miller Act surety bond threshold at $100,000.”

Employee-Driven Approach Drives Record Safety Performance at CertainTeed Gypsum Facilities

Through a comprehensive approach driven by more than 1,000 employees, CertainTeed Gypsum, Valley Forge, Pa., has achieved record-breaking safety performance. The company, which has more than 30 facilities throughout North America, has logged nearly 3 million work hours with only one lost-time incident. Overall, CertainTeed Gypsum has seen a 92 percent decrease in the number of injury-related incidents over the past seven years.

According to Dean Read, a millwright and 33-year veteran at the company’s Vancouver plant, a bottom-up approach was the key driver behind a safer work environment. Referred to as “autonomous” safety, the approach empowers each employee to take an active role in decisions made at the plant.

“Autonomous safety means that front-line employees can drive and direct changes that might be needed to create a safer work environment,” says Read. “When everyone is involved in the decision-making process, safety programs work.”

The employee-driven program not only creates an open dialogue throughout all levels of the company, it also includes frequent peer-to-peer observation and assessment of assigned tasks. In addition, safety champions at each facility provide local leadership in addressing risks as well as keeping the best safety practices top-of-mind.

CertainTeed Gypsum’s safety performance has received significant praise from parent company, Saint-Gobain. To date, 11 facilities have been inducted into the Millionaires Club, requiring zero lost-time incidents for five consecutive years or 1 million work hours.

People & Companies in the News

Associated Builders and Contractors President and CEO M. Kirk Pickerel announced that he will be leaving the association March 31, 2011, providing time for an effective transition in the association’s leadership. Upon retirement, Pickerel plans to devote time to his favorite activities, including hiking, biking and adventure travel.

Pickerel has served as ABC president and CEO since 2000, directing a national staff of 80 professionals. Prior to that, he was ABC’s vice president of member services from February 1999 to October 2000, and was executive director of ABC’s Southeast Pennsylvania Chapter from 1990 to 1999. He joined ABC in 1983 as membership director of the Virginia Chapter.

A frequent speaker at industry conferences, Pickerel is a longtime active member of the American Society of Association Executives and has earned the organization’s Certified Association Executive designation for his expertise in the management of not-for-profit organizations. Pickerel is a member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Committee of 100, a member of the board of directors of the ACE Mentor program and a member of the Pfizer Small Business Advisory Council. He also serves as a director of the for-profit ABC Services Corp., and is publisher of its monthly magazine, Construction Executive.

West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin announced that Armstrong World Industries is creating 40 to 45 permanent jobs by investing $30 million to $35 million to build a state-of-the-art mineral wool plant on property adjacent to Century Aluminum Co.

Mineral wool is a key raw material used in the manufacture of Armstrong’s acoustical ceiling tiles. The new plant will be an addition to the Jackson County Maritime and Industrial Centre in Millwood, W.Va.

Armstrong chose the Millwood site because of competitive electricity rates and its central location, which is easily accessible to raw material suppliers and other Armstrong ceiling manufacturing locations. The 30,000-square-foot plant will be built on about 18 acres and is scheduled for start-up in mid-2012.

While building the plant will also create temporary construction jobs, Armstrong will begin the hiring process for its manufacturing operations about one year before the plant is scheduled to open, with training programs for new hires.

Armstrong also operates a flooring plant in Beverly, W.Va., that employs nearly 700 people.

Fabcon, a manufacturer of precast concrete wall panels and other precast products that is headquartered in Savage, Minn., has established a sales office in Boston as part of its expansion into New England.

Sales engineer Bryan Hummer leads the Boston office and serves as Fabcon’s primary contact for building owners, contractors, architects and developers in New England. Hummer joined Fabcon as an estimator in 2004 and became assistant sales engineer in 2006. He was promoted to sales engineer and has been developing the New England market since early 2009.

Varco Pruden Buildings, a division of BlueScope Buildings North America, Inc. and a provider of metal building systems that is headquartered in Memphis, Tenn., has named Don Bowen a district manager.

Bowen, who will be based in Mathiston, Miss., will be responsible for the district that includes Mississippi, Western Tennessee and Southeast Louisiana. He will assist Varco Pruden’s network of independent authorized builders in that area with contracting, marketing and building solutions.
Bowen brings more than 30 years of industry experience, including a wealth of knowledge of the Mississippi market.

Products in the News

A new double-walled hybrid composite wall system made from natural fibers and recycled resins received a prestigious Award for Composites Excellence for the use of “green” materials in manufacturing a composites alternative to drywall. The American Composites Manufacturers Association presented its ACE Award for Innovation in Green Composites Technology to Bedford Reinforced Plastics, Bedford, Pa., for the company’s BRP Green Wall.

According to Bedford, the wall has a high humidity tolerance, requires minimum maintenance, is quick and easy to install, and reduces the need for wood studs and fasteners. It also provides for better acoustic insulation, greater impact resistance, and lasts longer than traditional drywall.

Hyde Group companies’ Hyde Tools, Inc. of Southbridge, Mass., and A. Richard of Québec have joined forces to introduce a selection of new tools to North American markets under the HYDE® and Richard brand names. Nearly 900 new products will be showcased at the National Hardware Show early this month, in what Hyde Tools President and CEO Richard M. Clemence calls “a massive, best-of-category roll-out” for North American markets.

The partnership also spawned several new category programs such as the Richard Brand Paint Applicator Retail Program; HYDE® Brand New Paint Prep Category Solutions and HYDE® Airless Spray Demonstrations & Merchandiser.

Uniboard, a North American manufacturer of engineered wood products that is headquartered in Laval, Québec, has been approved as a manufacturer of Ultra Low Emission Formaldehyde particleboard by the California Air Resources Board. Uniboard’s use of ULEF resin in the production of NU Green has earned the company an exemption from the requirements of section 93120.3(b) of the Airborne Toxic Control Measure to Reduce Formaldehyde Emissions from Composite Wood Products.

New on the ‘Net

ALL Erection & Crane Rental Corp. and the ALL Family of Companies announce the complete revision and revamping of their Web site, The fresh design is loaded with new, more user-friendly features. Easier-to-use equipment and parts search functions and new Quick Links make navigation simple. An added feature allows users to search the site by market (construction, roads and bridges, facility maintenance, power generation, and more) and by core discipline (rental, sales, parts, services).

Users may submit a Fast Quote request for purchase or rental and also submit a credit application online. The new site offers a complete inventory of new and used equipment for sale that is searchable by type, make, model, and year, plus a new and used parts list, and downloadable load charts for most equipment. The new Photo Gallery showcases images from notable lifts, historical photos, and job site videos. And any site visitor can enter the online contest to win ALL logo merchandise.

Armstrong Ceilings has created an interactive Environmental Impact Calculator on its Web site to demonstrate the difference the recycling of old ceiling tiles can make.

By simply entering the number of square feet of ceilings to be recycled, visitors are able to view the environmental impact, including the pounds of waste diverted from landfills, tons of virgin raw materials saved, kilowatt hours of energy saved, gallons of potable water saved, and kilograms of carbon-dioxide equivalent greenhouse gases avoided.

The calculator also can display the impact in terms of everyday analogies, such as the number of tires diverted from landfills, pounds of carry-on luggage not carried on, months of electricity needed to power a home, loads of laundry not washed, and miles not driven.

To access the Environmental Impact Calculator, visit

To obtain more information on the Ceiling Recycling Program, visit

The Construction Specifications Institute and Building Systems Design, Inc. announced that the latest update of the BSD SpecLink automated specification writing software includes hundreds of hyperlinks connecting individual specification sections with relevant “green” product information in CSI’s GreenFormat Web-based database.

GreenFormat,, is a Web-based CSI format that allows manufacturers of products used in building construction to describe the properties of their products that are relevant to the issues of sustainability and environmental impact; and provides designers, constructors and building operators with basic information about products that can help meet “green” building requirements.

Manufacturers report the attributes of their products through a comprehensive, online questionnaire. Their entries are then freely available in one place and in a consistent structure to designers, constructors and building operators searching the site. The GreenFormat database currently includes information on more than 1,600 green products, and grows every day.

BSD SpecLink is a specification writing system sold by subscription to architects, engineers and other design professionals. It is used to produce construction specifications for more than 26,000 projects annually across the United States.

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