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Construction Trends

ABC: 2012 Will Be a Slow Year for Construction

Associated Builders and Contractors on Nov. 17 released its 2012 economic forecast for the U.S. commercial and industrial construction industry. “ABC’s analysis of construction trends indicates 2012 will be a year of gradual progress as advances in private construction are partially offset by ongoing declines in publicly financed construction,” said ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu.

“Nonresidential construction spending is expected to grow 2.4 percent in 2012 following a 2.4 percent decrease in 2011,” Basu said. “The pace of recovery in the nation’s nonresidential construction industry remains soft and 2012 is positioned to be a year of slow gain. The first half of 2012 may be particularly challenging, a reflection of the soft patch in economic activity experienced during much of the first half of 2011.

“ABC’s national Construction Backlog Indicator, which stood at 8.1 months for both the second and third quarters of 2011, is not expected to advance substantially and likely will remain in the vicinity of 8 months of backlog for much of 2012,” said Basu. “However, backlog is one month higher from the same time last year. A backlog of less than 8 months is associated with construction spending declines, while a backlog exceeding 8 months is statistically associated with future construction spending increases. Today’s level of backlog is consistent with flat construction spending.

“Nonresidential building construction employment is expected to increase 0.4 percent in 2012 following lackluster 0.6 percent growth in 2011,” Basu said. “Employers will continue to seek increased productivity among existing workers in order to boost weak industry margins.

“There may be a degree of relief for construction contractors with respect to materials prices. In 2011, prices for construction inputs rose 7.5 percent,” said Basu. “ABC expects 2012 materials prices will rise 4.7 percent. Despite a sluggish construction recovery, input prices are likely to remain elevated as global investors retain significant ownership in commodities and hedge against risks emerging from Europe, the United States, China and Brazil.

“The direction of the U.S. dollar will play a major role in determining construction input prices in 2012. However, the dollar’s direction is far from obvious,” Basu said. “Although the nation continues to run a large trade deficit, which implies further deterioration in the value of the dollar over time, investors often race to dollar-denominated assets during times of global financial stress. We are in one of those times now, which could keep the dollar inflated in 2012. While this would create a more challenging environment for U.S. exporters, it would likely result in lower construction materials prices.”

“For the most part, 2011 has been disappointing. However, recent economic news has been more positive, including data regarding the gross domestic product, business investment and exports,” Basu said. “If the U.S. economy continues to progress, eventually this will translate into more vigorous recovery in the nation’s nonresidential construction sector.

“Many prominent forecasters expect GDP to expand less than 3 percent next year. The economic recovery in the United States to date cannot sustain brisk expansion without the participation of real estate and construction activities,” Basu said. “With office vacancy rates still high, job creation still slow and lending still disciplined, 2012 is not positioned to be a year of significant progress in private investment. Public construction spending continues to decline in many communities across the United States.

“ABC anticipates ongoing improvement in the volume of privately financed construction as economic conditions gradually improve and lending institutions become more comfortable lending to deep-pocketed investors operating in stable contexts,” said Basu. “More importantly, certain leading indicators have turned the proverbial corner, including ABC’s Construction Backlog Indicator. This forward-looking measurement has shown slow but steady improvement in the commercial/institutional construction category, presently associated with a backlog of 8.4 months.

“Much of the growth in recent years has emerged from publicly financed projects, including projects related to the U.S. stimulus package passed in February 2009,” Basu said. “With the impact of stimulus-funded projects steadily declining, the U.S. nonresidential construction sector will become increasingly dependent on privately financed projects for growth.

“However, certain segments are better poised for growth than others. Leading the way in recent months has been construction related to the nation’s power industry, which ABC projects to expand 11.4 percent during the course of 2011,” said Basu. “The driving force for the United States appears to be in energy, and the growth of this economic segment has been evident in a number of states, including Texas, Oklahoma, North Dakota and Pennsylvania. ABC expects power construction to continue to lead the way with a projected 9 percent increase in spending in 2012.

“Health care represents another likely candidate for economic expansion. This is true for a number of reasons, including thawing credit markets, the nation’s demographics and health care reform, which will continue to increase the number of Americans with insurance and therefore enhance utilization,” Basu said. “Because of this, ABC projects health care construction spending to increase by 8 percent in 2012.

“In many communities across the nation, industrial contractors can be characterized as busy, or at least increasingly occupied, while commercial contractors generally have struggled with overcapacity in 2011,” said Basu. “However, following several years of decreased spending, ABC expects lodging and office construction to progress in 2012.

“Unfortunately, the impact of tight state and local government budgets will continue in 2012,” Basu said. “A number of key categories closely linked to state and local government spending are expected to decrease in 2012, including educational spending, edging down 4 percent. Overall, ABC forecasts public nonresidential construction spending will slip 2 percent in 2012.”
Forecast Puts Robust Cement Consumption Off Until 2014
Job creation is key to improving many economic indicators, and its reduction translates into a longer wait for the construction and cement recovery. Even with an economic recovery, construction levels will remain at new floor levels and lead to relatively flat cement consumption until 2014, according to the most recent economic forecast from the Portland Cement Association, Skokie, Ill., released Nov. 17.

PCA revised its cement consumption forecast to increases of 1.1 percent in 2011, 0.5 percent in 2012 and 7.4 percent in 2013—roughly half of the previous forecast. According to the report, large structural issues exist in each construction sector that will slow recovery.

“The Great Recession was construction focused. Residential, nonresidential and state discretionary construction levels collapsed,” Edward Sullivan, PCA chief economist said. “Despite economic growth, the residential sector, for example, will continue to be plagued by a large volume of foreclosures, tight lending standards and weak new home prices. I don’t see a rebound in most of that market until 2014.”

Recovery for the construction industry is tied to general economic growth and job creation. Job creation will reduce, and eventually eliminate, the adverse impacts of foreclosures, tight lending standards, commercial occupancy and leasing rates as well as the severity of state fiscal conditions. However, because the impediments to a construction recovery are so large, even if an acceleration in economic growth and job creation occurs on a sustained basis, the benefits will not materialize quickly.

According to Sullivan, nonresidential construction will also remain low until 2013, and lack of assured federal funding will drag down the public sector until 2014.
First National Green Building Code Has Been Approved
The International Green Construction Code, which was approved in early November 2011 after two years of development, applies to all new and renovated commercial buildings and residential buildings over three stories high.

The historic code sets mandatory baseline standards for all aspects of building design and construction, including energy and water efficiency, site impacts, building waste, and materials.

Although the final code won’t be published until March 2012, many local and state governments have begun to officially adopt it.

The new code differs from Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design in that it creates a mandatory “floor”—enforceable minimum standards on every aspect of building design and construction that now must be reached.

LEED certification, on the other hand, is voluntary. Although many buildings now strive for it, there are more that don’t. The new code will thus raise the standards for all buildings.

Also to qualify for LEED, designers choose from a menu of options. They may choose to address certain aspects of energy efficiency, such as lighting, for example, while leaving others out.

Setting a “floor” through the code creates the opportunity for LEED-certifications to push toward higher “ceilings,” where buildings are awarded for truly reaching greater levels of performance, rather than receiving awards for what are increasingly expected standards.

Mandatory requirements of the new green code include the following:

Materials—A minimum of 50 percent of construction waste must be diverted from landfills, and at least 55 percent of building materials must be salvaged, recycled-content, recyclable, biobased or indigenous. Buildings must be designed for at least 60 years of life, and must have a service plan that justifies that.

Energy efficiency—Total efficiency must be “51 percent of the energy allowable in the 2000 International Energy Conservation Code,” and building envelope performance must exceed that by 10 percent. It sets minimum standards for lighting and mechanical systems, and requires certain levels of submetering and demand-response automation.

Indoor air quality—It addresses radon, asbestos, VOCs, sound transmission and daylighting.

Commissioning, Operations—It requires extensive pre- and post-occupancy commissioning and education of building owners and maintenance employees.

Every project is also required to choose an additional “elective,” which pushes the envelope for the developer further. Once they choose it, it’s enforceable. There’s a long menu of elective choices, including whole-building life-cycle assessment to more stringent recycled-content.

Local governments and states have the choice of adopting the code, but once they do, it’s enforceable. They can add their own requirements on top of the code that address local concerns such as stormwater management or lighting pollution control.

To help implement the code, IgCC includes a “cookbook” approach for smaller buildings to follow and a more flexible approach for large buildings.

AISI Publishes Code of Standard Practice for CFS Structural Framing, 2011 Edition

The American Iron and Steel Institute announced Nov. 16 that it has published AISI S202-11: “Code of Standard Practice for Cold-Formed Steel Structural Framing, 2011 Edition.” The publication addresses trade practices for the design, fabrication and installation of cold-formed steel structural framing products. It is an update to the previous edition that was published in 2006 as a Practice Guide. Of significance, the 2011 edition has been approved by the American National Standards Institute as an American National Standard and incorporates the truss responsibilities that were previously published in Supplement 2 to the “North American Standard for Cold-Formed Steel Framing – Truss Design, 2007 Edition.” The 36-page AISI S202-11 is available for downloading free of charge at AISI’s website at

The publication is endorsed by the Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industry, Structural Building Components Association, Steel Framing Alliance, Steel Framing Industry Association and the Steel Stud Manufacturers Association.
Final Rule Bans Hand-Held Cell Phone Use by Drivers of Large Trucks
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced Nov. 23 a final rule specifically prohibiting interstate truck and bus drivers from using hand-held cell phones while operating their vehicles. The joint rule from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration is the latest action by the U.S. Department of Transportation to end distracted driving.

The final rule prohibits commercial drivers from using a hand-held mobile telephone while operating a commercial truck or bus. Drivers who violate the restriction will face federal civil penalties of up to $2,750 for each offense and disqualification from operating a commercial motor vehicle for multiple offenses. Additionally, states will suspend a driver’s commercial driver’s license after two or more serious traffic violations. Commercial truck and bus companies that allow their drivers to use hand-held cell phones while driving will face a maximum penalty of $11,000. Approximately four million commercial drivers would be affected by this final rule.
Greenbuild: Growing Green Building Market Supports 661,000 Green Jobs in the United States

Green jobs are now firmly established in the design and construction work force, according to an October study released by McGraw-Hill Construction. According to the study, 35 percent of architects, engineers and contractors report having green jobs today, representing 661,000 jobs and one-third of the industry work force. That share is expected to increase over the next three years, with 45 percent of all design and construction jobs being green by 2014.

The research also shows the following:
• AEC workers report green jobs on the rise at levels that match the McGraw-Hill Construction Dodge green building market sizing:

• 35 percent of AEC firms focus on green jobs today, in line with the green building market share of 35 percent in 2010.

• 45 percent of AEC firms expect to have green jobs by 2014, in line with the green building market share of 48 percent–50 percent by 2015.

• Trades jobs (carpenters, HVAC/boilermakers, electricians, concrete/cement masons, and plumbers) are expected to see the greatest growth in green jobs; 15 percent of trades today are green jobs, and

this is expected to increase to 25 percent in three years.
• Green jobs yield advantages such as more opportunity (42 percent) and better career advancement (41 percent), according to respondents.

• Training is essential for getting and maintaining green jobs—30 percent of green job workers say they needed major training when they started, and most report that formal education and training programs will continue to be needed. Hiring firms agree—71 percent of hiring decision makers maintain that being green-certified increases competiveness.

DOL Seeks to Improve Job Opportunities for Americans with Disabilities

The U.S. Department of Labor is proposing a new rule that would require federal contractors and subcontractors to set a hiring goal of having 7 percent of their work forces be people with disabilities, among other requirements. The department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs invites public comment on this proposal, which was published in the Dec. 9 edition of the Federal Register.

OFCCP’s proposed rule would strengthen the affirmative action requirements established in Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 obligating federal contractors and subcontractors to ensure equal employment opportunities for qualified workers with disabilities. The proposed regulatory changes detail specific actions contractors must take in the areas of recruitment, training, record keeping and policy dissemination—similar to those that have long been required to promote workplace equality for women and minorities. In addition, the rule would clarify OFCCP’s expectations for contractors by providing specific guidance on how to comply with the law.

Although Section 503 regulations have been in place for decades, the current unemployment rate for people with disabilities is 13 percent, one and a half times the rate of those without disabilities. Even more discouraging, data published last fall by the department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics show stark disparities facing working-age individuals with disabilities, with 79.2 percent outside the labor force altogether, compared to 30.5 percent of those without disabilities.

Establishing a 7 percent hiring goal for the employment of individuals with disabilities would be a tool for contractors to measure the effectiveness of their affirmative action efforts and thereby inform their decision-making. The proposed rule also would enhance data collection and record-keeping requirements—including for documentation and processing of requests for reasonable accommodation — in order to improve accountability. Additionally, it would ensure annual self-reviews of employers’ recruitment and outreach efforts, and add a new requirement for contractors to list job openings to increase their pools of qualified applicants.

To read the notice of proposed rulemaking or submit a comment, visit the federal e-rulemaking portal at Comments also can be submitted by mail to Debra Carr, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, U.S. Department of Labor, Room C-3325, 200 Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20210. All comments must be received by Feb. 7, 2012, and should include identification number (RIN) 1250-AA02.

October Construction Jumps 12 Percent

The value of new construction starts advanced 12 percent in October to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $469.8 billion, according to McGraw-Hill Construction, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies. Much of the upward push came from nonresidential building, which was lifted by the start of a massive manufacturing project as well as by broader strengthening across several structure types. Also contributing to the total construction gain in October was a slight increase for the housing sector. Meanwhile, nonbuilding construction in October stayed even with its elevated September amount, helped by the start of several large electric power plants. Through the first ten months of 2011, total construction on an unadjusted basis came in at $355.6 billion, down 3 percent from the same period a year ago.

The October data produced a reading of 99 for the Dodge Index (2000=100), up from September’s 89, and the highest level so far this year.

Nonresidential building in October climbed 36 percent to $180.0 billion (annual rate), McGraw-Hill reported. The manufacturing plant category soared 740 percent, and office construction posted a large percentage gain, climbing 58 percent. Warehouse construction increased 34 percent while store construction continued to languish, sliding 15 percent.

On the institutional side of the nonresidential market, the amusement-related category jumped 98 percent. Gains were also posted by the public buildings category, up 39 percent; and churches, up 8 percent. The largest institutional category, educational buildings, slipped 3 percent in October and healthcare facilities retreated 8 percent. The transportation terminal category in October dropped 35 percent, following its heightened volume in September.

Residential building, at $129.7 billion (annual rate), grew 2 percent in October, according to McGraw-Hill. Multifamily housing continues to be one of the brighter categories for construction in 2011 as it climbed 5 percent in October. Through the first 10 months of 2011, the top five metropolitan areas in terms of the dollar volume of multifamily starts were the following: New York, N.Y., Washington, D.C., Boston, Dallas–Ft. Worth and Chicago. Single-family housing edged up 1 percent and has seen very gradual upward movement after retreating during the first four months of this year. During the
January–October period of 2011, the regional pattern for single-family housing showed this performance: the South Atlantic, no change; the South Central, down 3 percent; the West, down 4 percent; the Midwest, down 7 percent; and the Northeast, down 13 percent.

The 3 percent shortfall for total construction on an unadjusted basis during the January–October period of 2011 was due to weaker activity across the three major sectors. Nonresidential building fell 6 percent year-to-date as a 15 percent decline for institutional building outweighed a 5 percent gain for commercial building and a 52 percent increase for manufacturing building. Residential building was down 1 percent year-to-date, with single-family housing retreating 4 percent while multifamily housing grew 13 percent. Nonbuilding construction was also down 1 percent year-to-date, the result of a 17 percent slide for public works combined with an 87 percent jump for electric utilities. By geography, total construction starts during the first 10 months of 2011 relative to last year performed as follows: the West, up 8 percent; the South Atlantic, up 5 percent; the South Central, down 5 percent; the Northeast and Midwest, each down 12 percent.

Builder Confidence Rises Three Points in November

Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes rose by three points to 20 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index for November, released Nov. 16. The gain builds on a revised three-point increase in October, and brings the confidence gauge to its highest level since May 2010.

“While this second solid monthly gain on the builder confidence scale is encouraging, the overall measure remains quite low due to the many challenges that home building continues to face with regard to the high number of foreclosures, the difficulties of obtaining construction financing and accurate appraisals, and the restrictive lending environment that is discouraging potential buyers,” said Bob Nielsen, NAHB chairman and a home builder from Reno, Nev. “These problems must be addressed so that housing can contribute to economic and job growth the way it has in the past.”

“This second consecutive gain in the HMI is evidence that well-qualified buyers in select areas are being tempted back into the market by today’s extremely favorable mortgage rates and prices,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “We are anticipating further, gradual gains in the builder confidence gauge heading into 2012 due to these pockets of improving conditions that are slowly spreading.”

Each of the HMI’s three component indexes continued to build on gains registered in the previous month in November. The component gauging current sales conditions rose three points to 20 (its highest level since May 2010) while the component gauging future sales expectations rose two points to 25 (its highest level since March 2011). The component gauging traffic of prospective buyers rose one point to 15, which was its highest point since May 2010.

The HMI rose in three out of four regions in November, with a three-point gain to 17 registered in the Northeast, an eight-point gain to 23 registered in the Midwest, and a two-point gain to 21 registered in the South. After posting a big increase in October, the West returned to trend this month with a six-point decline to 15.

ABI Climbs Three Points in October

After a sharp dip in September, the Architecture Billings Index climbed nearly three points in October.

As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate nine- to 12-month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending.

The American Institute of Architects reported that the October ABI score was 49.4, following a score of 46.9 in September. This score reflects an overall decrease in demand for design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 57.3, up from a reading of 54.3 the previous month.

“An increase in the billings index is always an encouraging sign,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, Ph.D., Hon. AIA. “We’re seeing some regions and some construction sectors move into positive territory. But there continues to be a high level of volatility in the marketplace with architecture firms reporting a wide range of conditions from improving to uncertain to poor. It’s likely we will see a similar state of affairs in the coming months.”

Key October ABI highlights include the following:

• Regional averages: Northeast (51.7), South (49.1), Midwest (47.7), West (43.5).

• Sector index breakdown: commercial / industrial (53.5), multi-family residential (51.3), institutional (47.3), mixed practice (42.0).

• Project inquiries index: 57.3.

Note that the regional and sector categories are calculated as a 3-month moving average, whereas the index and inquiries are monthly numbers.

New-Home Sales Rise 1.3 Percent in October

Sales of newly built, single-family homes inched up 1.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 307,000 units in October. That bodes well for new construction down the road.

According to data from the U.S. Commerce Department, “The gain is from a downwardly revised rate in the previous month, and marks the best pace of new-home sales activity since this May.”

“Builders have been seeing some marginal improvement in sales activity over the past few months, particularly in select markets where consumer confidence is higher due to improved economic conditions,” according to the National Association of Home Builders.

“The report (released Nov. 18) is right in line with our forecast for modest and gradual improvement in sales activity through the remainder of the year,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “Particularly encouraging is the fact that builders continue to hold down their inventories to match the current sales rate, with the number of new homes for sale now down to a sustainable, 6.3-month supply.”

Regionally, new-home sales held unchanged in the Northeast and gained 22.2 percent in the Midwest and 14.9 percent in the West in October. The South was the only region to post a decline, of 9.5 percent.

Meanwhile, the nationwide inventory of new homes for sale held at an all-time record low of just 162,000 units in October, which is a 6.3-month supply at the current sales pace, according to NAHB.
OMNOVA Solutions Sells North American Commercial Wallcovering Assets to J. Josephson

Omnova Solutions, Fairlawn, Ohio, announced Dec. 13 that it had sold certain assets of its North American commercial wallcovering business to J. Josephson, Inc., a private commercial wallcovering producer based in New Jersey. The sale includes printing cylinders, certain equipment, trademarks, contracts and other assets associated with Omnova’s domestically produced commercial wallcovering brands. The sale excludes Omnova’s Columbus, Miss., manufacturing facility. Omnova’s North American wallcoverings, with approximately $29 million in sales, are sold through distributors into various commercial markets including hospitality, corporate office, healthcare, retail and education.

Under the agreement, Omnova will continue to manufacture commercial wallcovering products for J. Josephson for a period of approximately 12 to 15 months as part of an orderly transition of production from Omnova’s Columbus plant to the J. Josephson plant in South Hackensack, N.J.

Concurrent with the transfer of commercial wallcovering production to J. Josephson, Omnova will consolidate manufacturing of coated fabric, film, ICS and specialty products made at its Columbus plant into its other domestic and international decorative products facilities. Following the 12 to 15 month transition, Omnova plans to cease manufacturing in Columbus, but the Company will continue its Decorative Products distribution operations at the site, including customer service and technical support.

Under key terms of the transaction, Omnova will receive approximately $10 million in cash and three years of royalty payments for future sales of Omnova-based patterns. In addition, Omnova will retain approximately $7 million in net working capital and the cash flow associated with those assets. This will be partially offset by Columbus plant transition and manufacturing wind-down costs over the next 12 to 15 months.

New York Expands Design-Build Authority

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office announced Dec. 12 that he had signed legislation aimed at creating tens of thousands of jobs through $1 billion of targeted and accelerated investment in key infrastructure projects around the state. Prior to bringing the bill before the legislature, the governor, Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver announced they had reached a proposed three-way agreement on legislative and executive proposals to create jobs and cut taxes for middle class residents. The high level of bipartisan support mustered for the bill virtually ensured its passage.

While job creation and tax reform is the emphasis, significant expansion of the state’s design-build authority is a key component of the law. Design-build is an integrated approach that delivers design and construction services under one contract with a single point of responsibility. Owners select design-build to achieve best value while meeting schedule, cost and quality goals. New York State has long resisted the use of design-build on public projects. Until now, only public universities were authorized to use the delivery method.

Under the new law, the Department of Transportation, Thruway Authority, Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, Department of Environmental Conservation and the Bridge Authority will use design-build project delivery for the first time.

People in the News

Roll-Kraft, Mentor, Ohio, has added Juergen Hack to the staff at Roll-Kraft Ltd. in Ontario, Canada, as an account manager.

Hack comes to Roll-Kraft from ECO Solutions FT, Inc. His experience there was as technical business development manager, opening up markets across Canada and in the United States through direct sales and agent and distribution networks.

Dur-A-Flex®, East Hartford, Conn., has named David Hughes vice president of Marketing, Research & Development. In his new role, Hughes will direct Research & Development with a focus on new innovative applications and product rollouts. He will also oversee Dur-A-Flex’s marketing efforts, which include the tradeshow channel, lead generation program and product management.

The EIFS Industry Members Association, Falls Church, Va., has hired Scott Robinson as manager of public affairs.

As EIMA’s manager of public affairs, Robinson will monitor legislative and regulatory initiatives; advocate the association’s positions where appropriate before federal and state agencies, officials and industry stakeholders; and analyze the potential effect of legislative and regulatory proposals on the EIFS industry. Additionally, he is responsible for media relations.

Companies in the News

Fabcon, Savage, Minn., is celebrating 40 years of innovation. Founded in 1971, Fabcon provides wall panels, highway traffic barriers, columns and sound walls for commercial and residential construction.

Fabcon, an ISO 9001 registered manufacturer, produces and installs precast concrete wall panels and other precast products, including highway barriers, concrete columns and sound walls. Fabcon operates production facilities in Minnesota, Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania, and serves customers throughout the Midwestern and Eastern United States and Canada.

Hilti, headquartered in Tulsa, Okla., achieved a top ranking in the Great Place to Work Institute’s international best employer survey. This comes on the heels of Hilti having achieved top rankings in both national and European employer surveys conducted by the Great Place to Work Institute.

For the first time in company history Hilti is ranked among the best employers worldwide by the international Great Place to Work Institute. Hilti placed 15th in the “multinational workplaces” category and was the second-highest ranked European company on the list.

Niles Building Products, headquartered in Niles, Ohio, has opened its new distribution facility in Dallas Forth Worth.

The Distribution Center is located at 609 Avenue R, Grand Prairie, TX 75050. NBP will be servicing customer pick up business there as well as establishing route truck deliveries for outlying areas. The facility will be managed by Mike Fisher.

In the first quarter of 2012, Wind-lock, which is headquartered in Leesport, Pa., will begin stocking and shipping from its new distribution center in Reno, Nev., the company’s first facility in the West.
The warehouse will be stocked with a full complement of products to service the Western half of the United States.

Wind-lock plans to have the warehouse operational by the end of March 2012.

Products in the News

The Bilco Company, New Haven, Conn., has announced that new Building Information Modeling objects are available for the company’s complete line of specialty access products.

Available for download from the company’s website ( as well as, BIM models are designed with built-in properties that allow architects to customize the product to output a model that meets their specific design requirements. Models are in Revit format and are available for roof hatches, automatic fire vents and floor access doors in both single and double leaf design configurations. In addition, Bilco currently offers CAD details, submittal drawings and three-part specifications on their website.

Parex USA, Inc., Anaheim, Calif., has acquired the exclusive global rights to market, sell and manufacture the Variance product line under a long term licensing agreement with Variance Finishes, LLC.

Variance products are specialty acrylic finishes used for interior and exterior environments and are similar to the Parex USA Select Finish line. Going forward the Variance products and the Select Finish products will be merged together and will be marketed under the Variance brand and sold as a Parex USA product.

Rob Knight, president of Variance Finishes, LLC, will join Parex USA as the product development manager for the Variance product line.

New on the ’net

Residential and commercial insulation contractors can now access one place online for insulation application equipment and aftermarket services. CertainTeed Machine Works, formerly known as Unisul®, has launched a new page on the CertainTeed website——which features a comprehensive online representation of the company’s offerings in an easier to navigate format. The name change reflects the growing variety of product options for contractors and the company’s association with CertainTeed Corporation.

Headquartered in Winter Haven, Fla., CertainTeed Machine Works was acquired by CertainTeed under the Unisul name in 1999. The company specializes in blowing and fireproofing machines, spray foam equipment, vacuums, accessories, equipment installation and maintenance, as well as standard and custom designed truck, trailer and cart mounted spray foam systems. CertainTeed Machine Works will continue using Unisul as a brand name in a limited capacity.

Engineering News-Record, McGraw-Hill Construction’s publication and website, has launched a redesigned career center, ENR Industry Jobs at, now featuring a database of more than 100,000 construction industry positions for construction managers, engineers, architects, designers, and trade and laborer professionals.

Employers benefit from many new options to compete for the industry’s best talent, promote their companies as great places to build or start a career, and recruit for specific positions. The site offers Featured Employer programs, and employers can also proactively search the résumé database for candidates based on their qualifications.

Job seekers can now connect directly with employers, build and post their résumés and search for jobs.

Irwin Tools, Huntersville, N.C., has extended its online services for Spanish-speaking tradesmen with—a full-service Spanish-language resource with easy access to IRWIN’s product information, promotions and retail channels, along with customer service. The Spanish-language website also includes Irwin’s full line catalog, product reference guides and product manuals for Irwin’s brands.

Irwin’s Spanish-language Website also offers testimonials, store locators and online purchase options, as well as simple ways for IRWIN customers to provide feedback and ask questions.

The U.S. Green Building Council has launched its online App Lab ( as part of its LEED Automation Program. The lab launched with eight applications, developed by LEED Automation Partners, and is designed for use with Internet browsers, tablets, smartphones and other devices.

The App Lab is a searchable catalog of third-party apps that are integrated with LEED data. Each app is a fully functional software tool that has been enhanced to provide LEED project teams and administrators integration with LEED Online and address the LEED certification process. These tools are already being used and are now capable of interacting directly with USGBC’s LEED Online system.

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