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Construction Trends

Mold Doesn’t Discriminate

Contrary to popular belief, climate is not a good gauge for mold risk, according to a ranking of states at risk for mold contamination on commercial and residential property. Areas with dry climates like Nevada and Arizona made it to the top 10 while some Gulf States did not come close.

Because mold damage is now excluded or severely limited on standard property insurance, concerns about the financial impact of a mold outbreak in a home or business continue to rise.

In the relative hazard ranking model developed by American Risk Management Resources and now being used by Greenguard Environmental Institute, “dry states” (Oklahoma, Kansas) intermingle with predictably high-risk mold zones (Florida, South Carolina), but Texas beat them all (see table at right).

The GEI/ARMR relative hazard ranking model was developed by comparing mold losses on insurance claims with premiums paid on property and liability coverage in each of the 50 states. The hazard ranking model does not yet reflect claims associated with 2005 hurricanes that struck the Southeastern United States. Wisconsin has the lowest relative mold loss rate, which is one-50th the loss rate in Texas based on the relative frequency of insurance claims.

According to Carl Smith, CEO/executive director of GEI, a non-profit organization working with lenders and developers on mold risk mitigation techniques, many buildings and houses in dry climates develop mold issues when moisture is nurtured within walls and windows that are tightly sealed off from consistently hot conditions outside.

As mold decreases property values, it could force many owners into default, forcing mortgages into a “non-performing loan” category, the worst-case scenario for lenders. That classification causes a negative chain reaction from ratings agencies, regulatory authorities and shareholders.

GEI has a mold risk reduction program, based on a compilation of best practices that GEI has proposed as an American National Standards Institute standard. The proposed standard has been preliminarily reviewed by the Environmental Protection Agency and piloted with several building owners. Building consultancies review and assess properties based on the standard; once this is successfully completed, property owners can apply to GEI for certification under the Greenguard Mold Protection Program™. Once a property is certified, it can be promoted to lenders, insurers and prospective tenants.

For more information on the Greenguard Mold Protection Program, call 800.789.0419 or write to [email protected].

DHS Highlights Best Practices for Maintaining Legal Workforces

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has announced a new initiative and best business practices to help employers ensure they are building legal workforce through voluntary partnerships with the government.

Called the ICE Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers (IMAGE), the program is designed to build cooperative relationships between government and businesses to strengthen hiring practices and reduce the unlawful employment of illegal aliens. The initiative also seeks to accomplish greater industry compliance and corporate due diligence through enhanced federal training and education of employers.

As the criminal prosecution of worksite violations has increased in recent years, DHS has been flooded by requests from employers seeking information on how to avoid hiring illegal aliens. Image is a partnership program that seeks to provide answers to these questions and help employers comply with the law.

Under this program, ICE will partner with companies representing a broad cross section of industries in order that these firms may serve as charter members of Image and liaisons to the larger business community. As part of this program, businesses must also adhere to a series of best practices including the use of the Basic Pilot Employment Verification Program, administered by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. To date more than 10,000 employers across the United States are using the Basic Pilot Employment Verification to check the work authorization of their newly hired employees.

“New employers are signing up to use the Employment Verification Program every day,” said USCIS Director Emilio Gonzalez. “It’s an indication that more and more employers are committed to making sound hiring decisions and in the process preventing unauthorized people from working in the United States.”

What benefit does Image hold for employers? ICE will provide training and education to Image partners on proper hiring procedures, fraudulent document detection and anti-discrimination laws. ICE will also share data with employers on the latest illegal schemes used to circumvent legal hiring processes. Furthermore, ICE will review the hiring and employment practices of Image partners and work collaboratively with them to correct isolated, minor compliance issues that are detected.

Those companies that comply with the terms of Image will become “Image certified,” a distinction that ICE believes will become an industry standard. Participation in Image will help companies reduce unauthorized employment and minimize identity theft. An Image participant can better protect the integrity of its work force by helping ensure that employees are who they represent themselves to be.

What is expected from companies that seek to participate in Image? As a first step, companies must agree to a Form I-9 audit by ICE. They must also use the Basic Pilot Employment Verification program when hiring employees. This Internet-based system, which is free to employers and available in all 50 states, provides an automated link to federal databases to help employers determine the eligibility of new hires. For more information on this program and other USCIS verification programs, visit the USCIS Web site at

In order to become Image-certified, partners must also adhere to a series of best practices. These include the creation of internal training programs for completing employment verification forms and detecting fraudulent documents. Image partners must also arrange for audits by neutral parties and establish protocols for responding to no-match letters from the Social Security Administration. ICE is also asking employers to establish a tip line for employees to report violations and mechanisms for companies to self-report violations to ICE. A full list of best practices can be found at

DHS strongly encourages employers to review IMAGE program materials available at

On Aug. 14, the American Subcontractors Association filed comments with DHS concerning its proposal to redefine the procedures employers use to determine the immigration status of employees and potential employees.

CEMCO and MarinoWare Form Alliance

California Expanded Metal Products Co., City of Industry, Calif., and MarinoWARE, Plainfield, N.J., have formed an alliance that will create one of the largest ventures in manufacturing cold-formed steel framing and metal-lath systems in the country.

Named Expedius, the new alliance will capitalize on both company’s multiple locations to create a national presence, as well as introduce a wide range of steel-framing products. The companies plan to introduce a range of new products together, besides also collaborating on R&D, advertising and marketing.

More information about the Expedius alliance is at or

NOVA Chemicals and Dietrich Metal Framing Form Joint Venture

NOVA Chemicals Corporation and Dietrich Metal Framing, a Worthington Industries company, have formed a 50:50 joint venture that will develop and manufacture durable, energy-saving composite construction products and systems.

The joint venture combines Dietrich’s expertise in light-gauge steel framing with NOVA Chemicals’ expandable polystyrene technology to produce strong, efficient building systems for residential and light commercial use.

The joint venture is expected to be fully operational by January 2007 and will have offices in Pittsburgh. Andy Claypole, currently director of NOVA Chemicals’ Building and Construction business, will be president and general manager of the new joint venture.

AWCI Member Talks Small Business with California Governor

California Gov. Schwarzenegger highlighted his administration’s work on behalf of businesses and successful fight to protect California’s Enterprise Zones during an Aug. 18 roundtable with business owners. Carol Kimmel Schary, owner of AWCI member Nathan Kimmel Company, participated in the nine-person roundtable discussion, where business owners in the Enterprise Area told the governor how the tax credits and other parts of this program were helpful in their businesses.

Going around the room, the participants discussed other challenges in the area such as homeless encampments, how to attract more business to the area, the continuation of the program, and how the program can be marketed to the business owners in a better manner. Schary suggested that the marketing plan should be presented to Realtors and business owners in a more concentrated way so it is better understood. She also suggested a more user-friendly application so more people would be able to use the program.

“My administration has worked hard to improve the business climate and helped create almost 600,000 new jobs by reforming workers’ compensation, cutting taxes, passing responsible budgets, vetoing job-killer bills and increasing the number of Enterprise Zones,” Gov. Schwarzenegger responded. “By using incentives like hiring credits or sales tax credits, these zones help draw business investment to economically depressed areas. Enterprise Zones lead to more jobs, less poverty and long-term economic stability.”

Less than a month after the roundtable meeting, on Sept. 12 Gov. Schwarzenegger signed AB 1835, which raises California’s minimum wage to $8 an hour by Jan. 1, 2008.

Currently, the minimum wage is $6.75 an hour. The $1.25 increase in the minimum wage will be phased in, with an increase of 75 cents on Jan. 1, 2007, and an increase of 50 cents on Jan. 1, 2008. The last time the minimum wage was raised was in January 2002.

Until Schwarzenegger signed the bill, Massachusetts was the only state with a law in place that would make the minimum wage $8 an hour by 2008. Both states now share the distinction of having the nation’s highest minimum wage.

CMAA Updates Code of Ethics, Adopts New Definitions of Industry Roles
The Construction Management Association of America has updated its Code of Ethics to embrace a wider range of professional services, and simultaneously endorsed a new set of definitions of key industry processes and functions.

Key changes to the Code of Ethics expand its scope to include program management as well as construction management, a recognition of the growing acceptance of program management as a vital service needed by construction owners nationwide.

The new code also makes clear that its subscribers include both individual practitioners and corporations. The language referring to conflicts of interest has been simplified to read, “I will endeavor to avoid conflicts of interest; and will disclose conflicts that, in my opinion, may impair my objectivity or integrity.”

The code also binds CMAA members to pursue continued professional development both for themselves and for fellow practitioners. In addition, it stipulates that a professional construction manager or project manager “will only accept assignments for which (I) am qualified by my education, training, professional experience and technical competence … (and) will assign staff to projects in accordance with their qualifications and commensurate with the services to be provided.”
The complete text of the new CMAA Code of Ethics can be found online at

In adopting the new code, the CMAA board of directors also recognized that developments in the construction industry have led to uncertainty about the proper roles of project participants, and released a new set of industry definitions to address this issue:

Delivery System. The process selected to execute a construction project for the purpose of assigning responsibilities and risk to the project team.

Construction Management. A professional management practice consisting of an array of services applied to construction projects and programs through the planning, design, construction and post-construction phases for the purpose of achieving project objectives including the management of quality, cost, time and scope.

Agency Construction Management. A professional service that can be applied to all delivery systems, in which the CM acts as the owner’s principal agent, responsible to the owner for managing the planning, design, construction and post-construction phases, or portions thereof. The CM represents the interests of the owner in its dealings with other construction professionals, and with other private and public entities.

Construction Management At-Risk. A delivery system that entails a commitment by the CM for construction quality, time and cost. The CM provides professional management assistance to the owner prior to construction, and during construction the construction manager holds subcontracts for construction, guaranteeing schedule and maximum cost of construction.

AISI Test Procedures for Cold-Formed Steel Approved as National Standards

The American Iron and Steel Institute, Washington, D.C., announces that 12 test procedures for cold-formed steel members, connections and assemblies have been approved as the American National Standards by the American National Standards Institute. These test procedures are widely used by the construction industry and research institutes for determining material strength, developing new products and verifying design provisions. AISI’s Committee on Specifications developed the test procedures.

Among the 12 test procedures, four are newly developed. These include test methods for determining the web crippling strength of cold-formed steel beams; distortional buckling of cold-formed steel hat-shaped columns; flexural testing of cold-formed steel hat-shaped beams; and determining strength value for a roof panel-to-purlin-to-anchorage device connection.

The other eight test procedures were published previously.

The approved test procedures are as follows. The information in parentheses indicates the order number of that particular test procedure. (Note: Test procedures AISI TS-1 to AISI TS-7 are published in the AISI Cold-Formed Steel Design Manual, 2002 edition, which is available for purchase on the Shop AISI section of AISI’s Web site at Test procedures AISI TS-8 to AISI TS-12 can be purchased as individual documents on Shop AISI at

The following test procedures are available through the AISI Cold-Formed Steel Design Manual, 2002 Edition (SGO3-2 or SGO3-3):

• Rotational-Lateral Stiffness Test Method for Beam-to-Panel Assemblies (AISI TS-1-02).

• Stub-Column Test Method for Effective Area of Cold-Formed Steel Columns (AISI TS-2-02).

• Standard Methods for Determination of Uniform and Local Ductility (AISI TS-3-02).

• Standard Test Methods for Determining the Tensile and Shear Strength of Screws (AISI TS-4-02).

• Test Method for Mechanically Fastened Cold-Formed Steel Connections (AISI TS-5-02).

• Standard Procedures for Panel and Anchor Structural Tests (AISI TS-6-02).

• Cantilever Test Method for Cold-Formed Steel Diaphragms (AISI TS-7-02).

Order these individually by number indicated in parentheses:

• Base Test Method for Purlins Supporting a Standing Seam Roof System (TS-8-04).

• Standard Test Method for Determining the Web Crippling Strength of Cold-Formed Steel Beams (TS-9-05).

• Test Method for Distortional Buckling of Cold-Formed Steel Hat-Shaped Columns (TS-10-05).

• Method for Flexural Testing Cold-Formed Steel Hat-Shaped Beams (TS-11-05).

• Test Procedure for Determining a Strength Value for a Roof Panel-to-Purlin-to-Anchorage Device Connection (TS-12-05).

July Construction Slips 3 Percent

The value of new construction starts retreated 3 percent in July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $626.9 billion, according to McGraw-Hill Construction, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies. For the first seven months of 2006, total construction on an unadjusted basis was reported at $399.4 billion, up 4 percent compared to the same period a year ago.

The July statistics lowered the Dodge Index to 133 (2000=100), down from a revised 137 for June. After peaking at 151 in April, the Dodge Index has now fallen for three straight months.

Residential building in July dropped 7 percent to $318.5 billion (annual rate). Since the start of 2006, residential building has fallen 17 percent in dollar terms, with much of the decline taking place from May through July. Single-family housing in July retreated 6 percent, which was due to this regional performance: the South Central, down 1 percent; the Midwest, down 4 percent; the South Atlantic, down 6 percent; the Northeast, down 8 percent; and the West, down 9 percent.

The cost of financing continued to rise in July, as the 30-year fixed mortgage rate edged up to 6.8 percent from June’s 6.7 percent; this series has since settled back in August to 6.5 percent. Multifamily housing in July dropped 9 percent, the third decline in a row after a very strong April. Even with reduced activity, the month of July included construction starts for six projects valued each at $75 million or greater. These projects were located in Las Vegas ($144 million), Honolulu ($115 million), Miami ($104 million), Kapolei, Hawaii ($97 million), Brooklyn, N.Y. ($88 million), and New Rochelle, N.Y. ($75 million).

Nonresidential building, at $184.1 billion (annual rate), slipped 4 percent in July. The largest percentage decline was reported for hotel construction, which dropped 70 percent from a June that included the start of the massive Encore at Wynn project in Las Vegas. The first seven months of 2006 still showed hotel construction up a considerable 136 percent versus the same period a year ago. Substantial declines in July were also posted by transportation terminals, down 61 percent; warehouses, down 36 percent; and amusement-related projects, down 28 percent. For transportation terminals, the decline was relative to a June that included the start of two large airport terminal projects, and July saw contracting for this category return to a more typical pace.

On the plus side for nonresidential building, July featured a substantial gain for healthcare facilities, up 59 percent. Healthcare facilities achieved a record high in 2005, and this year has seen an up-and-down pattern, with July coming in as the second strongest month after May. Large hospital projects reported as construction starts in July were located in Elgin, Ill. ($280 million), Milwaukee ($200 million), Wauwatosa, Wis. ($117 million), and Camden, N.J. ($111 million).

Store construction also had a strong July, rebounding 26 percent after a sluggish June to a level more consistent with the activity registered over the past year. Manufacturing plants in July were up 21 percent, reflecting a boost from the start of a $300 million oil refinery in California and a $95 million ethanol plant in Michigan.

School construction, the largest nonresidential category by dollar volume, bounced back 17 percent in July as it provided more evidence that it remains on an upward track. Office construction in July grew 3 percent, helped by groundbreaking for a $215 million project in Chicago and a $65 million project in Windsor, Conn.

July gains were also posted by two of the smaller institutional categories—public buildings, up 17 percent; and churches, up 1 percent.

The 4 percent gain registered by total construction during the January–July period of 2006, compared to 2005, was the result of this behavior by sector: residential building, down 2 percent; nonresidential building, up 15 percent; and nonbuilding construction, up 12 percent.

By geography, total construction in the first seven months of 2006 was the following: the South Central, up 10 percent; the West, up 8 percent; the Midwest, up 4 percent; the Northeast, unchanged; and the South Atlantic, down 1 percent.

CertainTeed Insulation Group Honored as Vendor of the Year

Drywall distributor cooperative Amarok, Inc. recently presented Certain-Teed’s Insulation Group, Valley Forge, Pa., with its Vendor of the Year Award for 2005. The award was given in recognition of CertainTeed’s outstanding and ongoing support of Amarok.

The criteria used to determine the winner included vendor survey results, revenue generation, cooperation in resolving member issues, meeting participation, and MarketTracks advertising support, as well as ease of working with the Amarok staff.

Learn Important Building and Fire Code Concepts at ICC Institutes

Building and fire safety professionals can expand their code knowledge at two International Code Council education institutes scheduled for this fall.

The Fire Prevention Institute includes sessions on high-piled combustible storage, fire protection systems, hazardous materials and means of egress in commercial buildings. Attendees will learn how to effectively apply provisions of the 2006 International Fire and Building Codes.

Attendees of the Plan Review Institute will learn how to perform exceptional structural, non-structural and residential plan reviews based on the 2006 International Building and Residential Codes. They also will discover how to increase their efficiency in determining if a set of plans complies with the 2006 I-Codes and perform plan reviews in an organized, step-by-step fashion.

The Fire Prevention Institute is Oct. 23–26 in Las Vegas, and the Plan Review Institute is Nov. 6–9 in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Both institutes offer continuing education units (CEUs), AIA learning units (LUs) and Health, Safety and Welfare (HSW) credits. All participants receive comprehensive manuals to reference during the event and to use as a resource back on the job. Registration also includes a continental breakfast, lunch and refreshments.

To register for these institutes online, visit

For more information, call ICC at 888.ICC.SAFE (422.7233), ext. 33818.

People & Companies in the News

Fabcon, Savage, Minn., named Steve Duncan as director of field operations for its Minnesota facility. Duncan, who has more than 20 years of experience in the construction industry, will oversee all aspects of field construction activities with special attention to safety, communication, innovation, quality and profitability.

Negwer Materials Inc. has added Travis Stevener as an acoustical sales representative. Based in St. Louis, Mo., Stevener focuses on sales for Negwer’s acoustical division. His duties include entering orders, performing project quotes and project follow-up, and assisting with submittals.

Jeff DeSantis is the new western sales manager for Palfinger Articulating Cranes. His region of responsibility is for all of the United States west of the Mississippi River and the four Western Canadian Provinces. DeSantis joins Palfinger with more than 15 years’ experience in the crane industry. He is based out of his office in Silverton, Ore.

Several key promotions have been announced by the executive management of Topcon Positioning Systems, Livermore, Calif.

Peter Wallace, former national sales manager-survey, has been promoted to director of sales-survey.

Murray Lodge, former national sales manager-construction, will assume the position of director of sales-construction.

Steve Briggs, previously in the product group as senior manager for institutional accounts, moved to the sales department as networks and OEM sales manager.

In Memoriam

Ben Schuemann, founder and owner of the B.C. Schuemann Co., Battle Creek, Mich., from 1946 until 1992, passed away Aug. 20 at the age of 87.

Schuemann served on the board of directors of the Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industry and was one the first members when the association started.

The Schuemann company offered lath and plaster, drywall, acoustical ceilings, demountable partitions, office furniture, light-gauge steel framing, and exterior insulation and finish systems.

Said his grandson, Carl Schuemann: “He volunteered a lot of his time for the association and the industry in the 1960s. He was very proud of the association and cherished the many friends he met throughout the country.”

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