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Construction Trends

US Demand for Green Building Materials to Exceed $71 Billion in 2015

Demand for green building materials is projected to expand 13.0 percent annually to $71.1 billion in 2015, slightly outpacing the growth of building construction expenditures over that period as green materials continue to account for an increasing share of materials used. While the rising use of green materials will support gains, the most important driver for demand will be the expected rebound in the construction market from low 2010 levels. These and other trends are presented in Green Building Materials, a new study from The Freedonia Group, Inc., a Cleveland-based industry market research firm.

Demand for a number of green building products is expected to post gains in excess of 20 percent annually through 2015, benefiting from greater availability, environmental concern and more stringent regulatory or building code standards, coupled with the rebound in the construction market. Among these products are water-efficient plumbing fixtures and fittings, energy-efficient lighting fixtures, permeable pavement, and concrete that features recycled content. However, with the exception of recycled concrete, the market for most of these materials is fairly small and the additional demand will be relatively modest in value terms.

Through 2015, the largest value gains will be from concrete products featuring recycled content (such as fly ash and blast furnace slag), which will increase nearly $11 billion from low 2010 levels. In addition to the recovery in construction, green concrete products are expected to continue to gain market share because the use of recycled materials in concrete not only reduces the volume of waste sent to landfills, but often enhances the performance of the concrete.

Green floor coverings, which include Green Label Plus-certified carpets and products made from rapidly renewable resources (e.g., bamboo and cork flooring), are the largest source of green building materials demand, accounting for nearly one-quarter of the total market in 2010. Demand for green floor coverings is projected to increase 11.7 percent annually through 2015. However, gains will not match the pace of the rest of the green building materials market, primarily because the majority of floor coverings (including essentially all carpeting products) are already green, limiting opportunities for greater market penetration.

Green Building Materials (published 04/2011, 332 pages) is available for $4,900 from The Freedonia Group, Inc., 767 Beta Drive, Cleveland, OH 44143-2326. For further details, contact Corinne Gangloff by phone 440.684.9600, fax 440.646.0484 or e-mail [email protected]. Information may also be obtained through

U.S. Labor Department Fall Protection Directive Upheld in U.S. Court of Appeals

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit rejected a challenge by the National Roofing Contractors Association to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s December 2010 directive on the use of fall protection in residential construction. The directive withdrew an earlier one that allowed certain residential construction employers to bypass some fall protection requirements.

OSHA’s new directive, Standard 03-11-002, rescinded the Interim Fall Protection Compliance Guidelines for Residential Construction, Standard 03-00-001. Prior to the issuance of this new directive, Standard 03-00-001 allowed employers engaged in certain residential construction activities to use specified alternative methods of fall protection rather than the conventional fall protection required by the residential construction fall protection standard. With the issuance of the new directive, all residential construction employers must comply with 29 Code of Federal Regulations 1926.501(b)(13). Where residential builders can demonstrate that traditional fall protection is not feasible, 29 CFR 1926.501(b)(13) still allows for alternative means of providing protection.

Data from the department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics estimate that an average of 40 workers are killed each year as a result of falls from residential roofs. One-third of those deaths represent Latino workers, who often lack sufficient access to safety information and protections. Latino workers comprise more than one-third of all construction employees.

Construction and roofing companies have until June 16 to comply with the new directive. OSHA has developed training and compliance assistance materials for small employers and will host a webinar for parties interested in learning more about complying with the standard. To view the directive and for more information, visit

March Construction Stays Even With Prior Month

New construction starts in March came in at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $404.9 billion, essentially the same pace as February, according to McGraw-Hill Construction, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies.

While total construction was unchanged from the prior month, this steady pattern came as the result of divergent behavior by construction’s three main sectors. Nonresidential building in March increased sharply, following its subdued activity earlier this year, but declines were registered by housing and nonbuilding construction. Through the first three months of 2011, total construction on an unadjusted basis was reported at $88.0 billion, down 10 percent from the same period a year ago.

The March data produced a reading of 86 for the Dodge Index (2000=100), the same as February. Since 2009, the Dodge Index has hovered within the range of 81 and 96.

While multifamily housing has strengthened in hesitant fashion, single-family housing continues to be stalled.

For nonresidential building, there’s still the downward pull coming from the institutional categories, but on the plus side commercial building seems to have already reached bottom, and the gains for commercial building in March would appear to be a positive development going forward. The note of caution for commercial building is that market fundamentals such as occupancies have only just begun to improve, and banks remain very cautious with regard to lending for new projects.

Nonresidential building in March jumped 25 percent to $165.5 billion (annual rate), while residential building, at $118.1 billion (annual rate), slipped 3 percent

By geography, four of the five major regions showed slight growth for single-family housing in March, with the South Central up 6 percent, the South Atlantic and the Midwest each up 2 percent; and the Northeast up 1 percent. The West was the one region to register a single-family decline, falling 5 percent.

Total construction in the first three months of 2011 was the following: the Northeast, down 30 percent; the South Atlantic, down 24 percent; the Midwest, down 9 percent; the South Central, no change; and the West, up 7 percent.

When comparing the 12 months ending March 2011 to the 12 months ending March 2010, total construction is down 5 percent, as the result of this pattern by sector: nonresidential building, down 9 percent; residential building, down 4 percent; and nonbuilding construction, down 1 percent. By geography, the 12 months ending March 2011 show the South Atlantic, down 16 percent; the Northeast, down 9 percent; the South Central, down 4 percent; the Midwest, no change, and the West, up 3 percent.

Builder Confidence Slips Back a Notch in April

Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes slipped back one notch to 16 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index for April. The index has now held at 16 for five of the last six months.

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 from each component are then used to calculate a seasonally adjusted index where any number over 50 indicates that more builders view sales conditions as good than poor.

Two out of three of the HMI’s component indexes posted declines in April. While the component gauging current sales conditions fell one point to 16, the component gauging sales expectations for the next six months declined three points to 23, its lowest mark since October of 2010. However, the index gauging traffic of prospective buyers rose a single point to 13 in April, marking its highest level since last June.

The South, which is the largest regional housing market represented in the HMI, was primarily responsible for the overall index’s decline this month. While that region dropped four points to 15, the Northeast and Midwest registered two-point gains to 20 and 14, respectively, and the West registered no change from the previous month, at 17.

Spanish E-Verify Website Launched

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service has launched the Spanish version of its E-Verify Web pages.

Visit to view important information for both employees and employers now available in Spanish. USCIS plans to expand the E-Verify Spanish website with additional sections on a recurring basis.

E-Verify is an Internet-based system that allows businesses to determine the eligibility of their employees to work in the United States. E-Verify is fast, free and easy to use.

State of Maryland Adopts International Green Construction Code

Governor Signs into Law First Legislative Adoption in the U.S.
The International Code Council announced May 10 that Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley signed into law legislation passed by the state’s General Assembly adopting the International Green Construction Code as an optional requirement for new construction. Maryland’s adoption of the IGCC, effective in March 2012, will apply to all commercial buildings as well as residential properties more than three stories high. The IGCC is a tool designed for jurisdictions to adopt into laws reducing the environmental impact of construction projects while keeping construction safety measures intact and enforceable.

The Building Codes—International Green Construction Code Act (HB 972)—which was passed by the Maryland General Assembly and enacted into law by Governor O’Malley, authorizes the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development to adopt the IGCC while allowing local jurisdictions to make amendments to the IGCC under certain conditions as long as the local amendment is adopted in accordance with applicable local law.

2011 Safety Award Competition

It is time to submit your application for the Construction Industry Safety Excellence (CISE) Award. This program was established to recognize commendable safety management and safety improvements of owners, constructors, and Local User Councils. The organization will recognize those firms or organizations that have most effectively implemented the recommendations of the CURT Owners’ Safety Blueprint (R-807).

The application deadline is July 22, 2011.

Go to for more information and to download the Award instructions and application.

People in the News

Affiliated Distributors (AD), Wayne, Pa., announces the appointment of Lenin Juarez to board chair of the AMAROK Drywall Division. Juarez succeeds AMAROK Board Chair, Matthew Klein from Kent Gypsum Supply, Inc. whose term as chairman of the AMAROK Board expired at the group’s most recent meeting.

Juarez is the managing partner for Action Gypsum Supply LP in Texas.

Additionally, the AMAROK Board announced the appointment of two additional Board Members: Amanda Montford, vice president, Savannah Drywall, Inc., and Mike Reed, president, Sun Valley Supply, Inc.

The board members thanked outgoing board chair Matthew Klein for his leadership and vision as well as outgoing board members Mike Bean, Western Wholesale, Matt Harter, Harter Company and Craig St. John, Westwood for their years of service on the AMAROK Board.

The Steel Framing Industry Association, Falls Church, Va., conducted its first annual election of officers and directors.

Officers are Bill Courtney from ClarkDietrich Building Systems, who will serve as president; Ray Frobosilo from Super Stud Building Products, Inc., vice president; Scott Segal from MBA Building Supplies, secretary; and Mike Gallo from Steel Structural Systems, treasurer. These four people, along with Robert Wills from AISI, Clint Valleau from Allied Building Products Corp., and John Hinson from Marek Brothers – Dallas are all members of the SFIA Executive Committee.

Other directors are Mark Benz from MB Steel Company, Ken Staub from American Steel Framing, Kennon Whaley from Southeastern Stud & Components, Inc. and Lindsay Howard from The Formetal Company, Inc.

The SFIA is the first and only all-inclusive association focused on promotion, advocacy, education and innovation for the steel framing industry. The primary goal is to unify the industry to expand the market for cold-formed steel framing. Membership categories include steel mills, coil coaters, processors, roll-formers, fabricators, engineers, material distributors; all the way through and including the end-user, the framing contractors.

For more information about joining SFIA, please write to [email protected].

The Gypsum Association, Hyattsville, Md., has elected the following officers from the board of directors for 2011-2012: Leo J. Bissonnette from Georgia-Pacific Gypsum LLC is chairman; Stephen Raley from Gypsum, Temple-Inland is past chairman; John K. Donaldson from CertainTeed Gypsum is first vice-president; Joseph Holmes from USG Corporation is second vice-president; Craig Robertson from National Gypsum Company is treasurer; and secretary is Michael A. Gardner from the Gypsum Association.

All terms are for one year and became effective May 1, 2011.

Companies in the News

Topcon Positioning Systems, Livermore, Calif., on April 27 officially opened Phase 1 of the renovation of the 12-acre acre training and test site and dedicated the new VIP Welcome Center. The test site was also renamed the Topcon Solutions Site.

The new center has a boardroom table, 60” monitor, video conferencing capabilities and advanced audio/visual aids. The center also has a special display of past and present Topcon technology, complete with a museum-quality display of the history of the TPS GNSS board technology.

The Welcome Center was designed to provide the ultimate visitor experience of viewing the Solutions Site. With a wraparound redwood deck, guests have a 360-degree view of all phases of a working job site from surveying to grading to completion.

For the second consecutive year, St. Louis–based Golterman & Sabo has been honored as the top specialty subcontractor in the St. Louis area. The company was named Best Specialty Subcontractor (under $11.5 million in gross revenues) by the American Subcontractors Association Midwest Council. Golterman & Sabo specializes in the installation of specialty building products for commercial buildings and schools.

Subcontractors are nominated and selected for the annual ASA awards by general contractors. Criteria for nomination include bid ethics practice, equitable contract provisions, safety policy and practice, payment practices, jobsite supervision, scheduling coordination, subcontractor relations and administrative procedures.

Founded in 1946, Golterman & Sabo has a rich history in St. Louis. In recent years, the company has completed several high-profile projects including the Purina Event Center in Gray Summit, Mo., and Centene Corporation headquarters in Clayton. Works in progress include the Gateway Arch in downtown St. Louis and the Peabody Opera House (formerly the Kiel Opera House) in St. Louis.

PCI Acquires Global Insulation, Inc.

Performance Contracting Inc. (PCI), Lenexa, Kan., has acquired Global Insulation, Inc., an industrial insulation and sheet metal contractor primarily serving the Ohio Valley electrical utility industry.

The company, whose offices are located in Canton, Ohio, and Washington, Pa., will now operate as PCI Global Insulation. Principal individuals at PCI Global Insulation are Pat Bryne, branch manager, and Dale Crumley, area manager. Both have more than 40 years of experience in the industry. Global Insulation, Inc.’s 10 salaried employees and more than 200 skilled craftsmen will join PCI as well.

The company is currently working on projects in Arkansas, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.

PCI is the largest subsidiary of Performance Contracting Group (PCG). Having served customers for more than 50 years, Performance Contracting Group (PCG) is one of the largest specialty contractors in the United States. It is an employee-owned company that offers more than 25 specialty multi-craft services to the industrial, commercial, and non-residential markets. For more information, visit

Products in the News

Easi-Set WorldWide, Midland, Va., announces completion of a low-to-medium level blast analysis for their SlenderWall architectural precast concrete/steel stud building panel system. The analysis, performed by the Vicksburg, Miss., facility of Applied Research Associates, considered the Department of Defense Unified Facilities Criteria for medium-level blasts at conventional construction standoff distances for a primary-gathering building, and also included the Department of Homeland Security Interagency Security Committee Security Design Criteria for low-level blast requirements.

The analysis concluded that under these blast requirements the SlenderWall panel performed remarkably well and is an extremely viable option as a cladding that is required to withstand a moderate-level blast. Recently, Smith-Midland Corp. of Northern Virginia, a SlenderWall producer, was awarded a contract by the U.S. Army Legal Service Agency (USALSA) to produce an exterior cladding that would meet these blast requirements for an administrative building located on a military base. Smith-Midland won the bid and will be providing SlenderWall as the cladding of choice.

Sto Corp., Atlanta, announces a joint marketing agreement. The program enables contractors to combine StoPowerall Stucco finishes with Quikrete One Coat Fiberglass Reinforced Stucco Sanded and Quikrete Base Coat Stucco-Pump Grade Sanded that is covered by a single warranty.

The terms of the new Sto/Quikrete warranty are the same as the StoPowerwall system warranties: up to 12 years, depending on the system configuration.

New on the ’Net

Contractors and designers may now upload photographs of dome projects using Flex-C Trac® to a Dome Gallery on the Flex-Ability Concepts website. Dome photos can be submitted in any of six categories: entertainment, retail, healthcare, office, residential and other.

The opening of the Dome Gallery follows the recent introduction of an innovative online Dome Calculator to help designers and contractors easily determine the amount and type of Flex-C Trac needed to construct virtually any type of dome configuration.

For more information on the Dome Gallery and Dome Calculator, visit

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