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FMI Predicts U.S. Construction Put in Place Will Reach $977 Billion in 2014

With construction put in place at the end of 2013 expected to be at $909.6 billion, researchers at FMI predict construction put-in-place growth rates to be slightly ahead of the gross domestic product in 2014. This is according to FMI’s 2014 U.S. Markets Construction Overview, which was released Nov. 11.

Other predictions include the following:

• Residential CPIP is anticipated to grow from $338.2 billion in 2013 to $379.6 billion in 2014.

• Health care CPIP is expected to grow 6 percent in 2014 to $44 billion.

• Manufacturing construction is on the upturn, expected to grow 4 percent in 2014, after its 2 percent drop in 2013.

With moderate growth predicted marketwide, there are key trends to watch that will likely affect various sectors and regions in the United States. Presenting both threats and opportunities are:

• The shift from shale-gas to shale-oil production has led to projections that the United States will produce more oil than it imports by late 2014.

• The federal government’s fiscal difficulties continue to create business uncertainty. Many are worried about the federal debt and the government’s solution to address the problem.

• Implementation of the Affordable Health Act is causing concern, as repercussions are anticipated.

• With baby boomers continuing to retire, succession planning and a search for talent remains one of the industry’s primary challenges.

• Modularization and prefabrication is expected to play an increasingly vital role in improving the productivity of the entire construction value chain.

• As a result of the expansion of the Panama Canal, U.S. coastal infrastructure opportunities will create significant corridors of construction activity starting as early as 2014.

FMI publishes the U.S. Markets Construction Overview annually. To purchase a copy visit

Builder Confidence Down in October

Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes fell two points in October from a downwardly revised reading in the previous month to a level of 55 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index released Oct. 16.

“A spike in mortgage interest rates along with the paralysis in Washington that led to the government shutdown and uncertainty regarding the nation’s debt limit have caused builders and consumers to take pause,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “However, interest rates remain near historic lows and we don’t expect the level of rates to have a major impact on sales and starts going forward. Once this government impasse is resolved, we expect builder and consumer optimism will bounce back.”

Derived from a monthly survey that NAHB has been conducting for 25 years, the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index gauges builder perceptions of current single-family home sales and sales expectations for the next six months as “good,” “fair” or “poor.” The survey also asks builders to rate traffic of prospective buyers as “high to very high,” “average” or “low to very low.” Scores from each component are then used to calculate a seasonally adjusted index where any number over 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as good than poor.

All of the HMI’s three components each fell two points in October. The component gauging current sales conditions registered 58, while the component gauging sales expectations in the next six months posted a reading of 62 and the component gauging traffic of prospective buyers was 44.

NAHB estimates that the seasonally adjusted annual rate of construction for single-family homes was between 620,000 and 630,000 units in September.

NAHB estimates that the pace of construction of multifamily units was an additional 255,000 to 270,000, bringing the anticipated pace of total housing starts in September to between 875,000 and 900,000 units.

“Multifamily starts have been unusually volatile since the beginning of the year, swinging between 250,000 and 400,000 units from month-to-month. We expect some bounce back from the August pace of 263,000 as multifamily starts continue to trend around 300,000 units.”

HMI tables can be found at More information on housing statistics is also available at

Dodge Momentum Index Slips in October

Despite gains in September, the Dodge Momentum Index slipped 0.9 percent in October. It may be a brief departure from improving trends.

The Momentum Index, published by McGraw Hill Construction, is a monthly measure of the first (or initial) report for nonresidential building projects in planning, which have been shown to lead construction spending for nonresidential buildings by a full year. October’s decline brought the Momentum Index to 115.3 (2000=100), down from September’s 116.4, although still well above the reading of 90.8 registered at the end of last year. The latest month’s retreat may be just a brief departure from the broader trend, in this case the steady improvement shown by the Momentum Index from December 2012 through this September. At the same time, it may well be a sign of renewed caution on the part of developers, given the uncertainty about the political and economic environment stemming from the October government shutdown and the debt ceiling deliberations.

The October Momentum Index once again revealed divergent paths for its main parts: new plans for commercial buildings, the more cyclically sensitive of the two components, dropped 2.1 percent while institutional building plans held steady. On the commercial side, a large decline in plans for new offices and stores outweighed strong gains for new hotel development. The stability in institutional plans, meanwhile, was aided by a strong upturn for new healthcare projects.

Architecture Billings Index Surges Higher

Showing a steady increase in the demand for design services, the Architecture Billings Index continues to accelerate, as it reached its second highest level of the year. As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate nine- to 12-month lead time between architecture billings and construction spending. The American Institute of Architects reported the September ABI score was 54.3, up from a mark of 53.8 in August. This score reflects an increase in design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 58.6, down from the reading of 63.0 the previous month.

“The prolonged economic downturn that has affected the design and construction industry has actually resulted in the increased productivity levels as reported by architecture firms,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, Ph.D. “In addition to new approaches to business challenges, a very competitive marketplace, the utilization of new technologies, and a renewed focus on efficiency have architecture firms realizing all-time highs in workplace productivity, and these new efficiencies can greatly benefit clients from a project timeline and budget standpoint.”

Key September ABI highlights including the following:

• Regional averages: West (60.6), South (54.1), Midwest (51.0), Northeast (50.7).

• Sector index breakdown: commercial / industrial (57.9), multifamily residential (55.6), mixed practice (55.4), institutional (50.4).

• Project inquiries index: 58.6.

OSHA Extends Comment Period on Proposed Silica Rule

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has extended the public comment period for an additional 47 days on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Occupational Exposure to Crystalline Silica.

In response to requests for an extension, the deadline to submit written comments and testimony has been extended to Jan. 27, 2014, to allow stakeholders additional time to comment on the proposed rule and supporting analyses.

OSHA also extended the deadline to submit notices of intention to appear at its informal public hearings by an additional 30 days, from Nov. 12, 2013, to Dec. 12, 2013. Public hearings are scheduled to begin on March 18, 2014. The duration of the hearings will be determined by the number of parties who request to appear. The hearings are expected to continue for several weeks.

The notice of proposed rulemaking was published in the Federal Register on Sept. 12, 2013. The proposed rule was made available to the public on OSHA’s website Aug. 23, 2013.

The extended comment period and public hearings will be followed with a post-hearing comment period. Members of the public who filed a timely written notice of intention to appear will be able to submit post-hearing comments to the docket.

Additional information on the proposed rule, including five fact sheets and procedures for submitting written comments and participating in public hearings, is available at Members of the public may comment on the proposal by visiting

Gypsum Association Develops Product Category Rules

The Gypsum Association has completed the development of a product category rules document for North American gypsum boards. The intended application of the PCR is to provide a common set of specific rules, requirements and guidelines for developing ISO 14025 conformance Type III environmental product declarations for North American produced gypsum board products and to specify the underlying requirements of the life cycle assessment in conformance with The International Organization for Standardization 14040 series of LCA standards.

According to Michael Gardner, executive director for the Gypsum Association, “Our members take a serious approach to their individual and collective environmental responsibility. We view the creation of a PCR as one more positive step in that process.”

The PCR was developed in collaboration with FPInnovations, Vancouver, British Columbia, which will serve as the association’s program operator. The scope of this PCR is limited to the environmental performance of North American produced gypsum boards. It does not address either the economic or social aspects of the product.

The Gypsum Association will now proceed to developing a generic EPD for gypsum board. According to Jennifer O’Connor, research leader, sustainability, FPInnovations, “An EPD is a standardized and LCA-based tool to communicate the environmental performance of a product or system. EPDs provide transparent, credible environmental footprint data, allowing buyers to fairly compare one product to another.”

The new PCR for North American Gypsum Boards is available at

New Study Shows Air Sealing Is Essential for All Insulation Types

Building Science Corporation has released a report detailing the results of a multi-year insulation research project. The most significant finding from the report is that sealed walls of the same R-value perform equally well regardless of the type of insulation used.

The study entailed a baseline set of seven test walls using various insulation types, including fiber glass, cellulose, spray foam and extruded polystyrene.

Among other findings of the report are:

• When walls are constructed with the same installed R-value in the stud space, and are air sealed both inside and outside (i.e., there is effectively zero air leakage through the assembly), they exhibit essentially the same thermal performance regardless of the type of insulation material used.

• All of the reference test wall assemblies were subjected to significant temperature differences. Natural convective looping was not noted in any of the wall assemblies.

• Conventional energy models may over-predict the negative energy impact on walls that have a significant interaction effect (e.g., air moving through insulation).

• All wall assemblies experienced a loss in thermal performance due to air movement through the assembly. This is true for all of the assemblies tested, regardless of the type of insulation material used (e.g., cellulose, fiber glass, open cell spray foam, closed cell spray foam or extruded polystyrene).

• Commercially available 2D and 3D heat transfer models provided good predictions of thermal bridging in the assemblies tested, as did the parallel path method described in the ASHRAE Handbook of Fundamentals and other texts.

• Thermal bridging through the framing resulted in a roughly 15 percent decrease in thermal performance regardless of the type of insulation material used in the stud space.

Energy cost and security issues have generated demand for building enclosures that exhibit higher levels of thermal performance. R-value has long been the industry standard for assessing the thermal performance of insulation materials. The findings of this report demonstrate that sealed walls with the same R-value perform equally well regardless of the type of insulation used, whether fiber glass, cellulose, spray foam or extruded polystyrene.

September Construction Starts Climb 13 Percent

New construction starts in September advanced 13 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $556.0 billion. According to McGraw Hill Construction, nonresidential building bounced back after losing momentum in August. For the first nine months of 2013, total construction starts on an unadjusted basis were reported at $379.3 billion, up 2 percent from the same period a year ago. If electric utilities are excluded from the year-to-date statistics, total construction starts in the first nine months of 2013 would be up 11 percent.

The September data raised the Dodge Index to 118 (2000=100), up from 104 in August and the highest reading for the Index so far in 2013. From January through August this year, the Index had hovered within the fairly narrow range of 98 to 107.

“The overall level of construction activity will be affected by the presence of large projects in any one given month, and that was certainly the case in September,” stated Robert A. Murray, vice president of economic affairs for McGraw Hill Construction. “While the extent of September’s gain overstates the current health of construction, the latest month did provide positive news for nonresidential building which continued the up-and-down pattern that’s occurred during 2013. The September gain for nonresidential building reflected the manufacturing plant category posting a strong increase, commercial building staying close to its recently improved pace, and several institutional structure types rising from previously weak levels. After the downward trend that’s been underway from 2009 through the first half of 2013, the institutional building sector may now be starting to stabilize, which is necessary for total nonresidential building to register growth. At the same time, the recent Congressional impasse over federal appropriations for fiscal 2014 and raising the debt ceiling only adds to the sense of uncertainty, which hampers renewed expansion for nonresidential building going forward.”

Nonresidential building in September jumped 24 percent to $182.8 billion (annual rate). The manufacturing plant category soared 289 percent; commercial building in September receded 3 percent following its 4 percent gain in August; hotel construction in September increased 9 percent; while office construction edged up 1 percent. Store construction in September held steady with its August amount. The commercial building total in September was pulled down by a 34 percent drop for warehouse construction.

Institutional building in September advanced 24 percent, rebounding after a 17 percent decline in August. The healthcare facilities category, which has been lackluster for much of 2013, jumped 144 percent. The educational building category in September grew 13 percent. For the smaller institutional categories, both public buildings and churches showed improvement in August, climbing 36 percent and 18 percent respectively. Decreased activity in September was reported for amusement-related projects, down 27 percent; and transportation terminals, down 46 percent.

Residential building in September dropped 6 percent to $203.2 billion (annual rate). Multifamily housing fell 14 percent, pulling back after rising by the same percentage during August. Single-family housing in September slipped 3 percent, registering its first month-to-month decline in dollar terms since January. The September level of activity for single family housing was still healthy by recent standards—up 9 percent from January and 27 percent higher than the average monthly pace reported during 2012.

The 2 percent gain for total construction starts on an unadjusted basis during the January–September period of 2013 reflected a mixed pattern by the three main construction sectors. Nonresidential building matched the amount reported during last year’s first nine months, due to this behavior by segment: commercial building, up 9 percent; manufacturing building, up 1 percent; and institutional building, down 5 percent.

Remodeling Market Continues to Show Growth

The National Association of the Remodeling Industry’s third-quarter Remodeling Business Pulse data of current and future remodeling business conditions continues to soar. Quarter-over-quarter increases are evident in nearly all sub-components measuring remodeling activity.

Entering into the holiday season, which has been a slower season in recent years, remodelers are reporting the highest overall rating on business conditions at 6.41, up from 6.31 reported during the second quarter. This rating has steadily increased in the six quarters NARI has been tracking.

“From the comments on the Remodeling Business Pulse survey, pent-up demand continues to drive the current remodeling market,” says Tom O’Grady, CR, CKBR, chairman of NARI’s Strategic Planning & Research Committee and president of O’Grady Builders, based in Drexel Hill, Pa. “The general sense is that consumers are tired of waiting and feel more secure about spending money, which is also reflected in the higher values in jobs sold.”

Growth indicators in the third quarter of 2013 are as follows (rating is from 1 to 9, where 1 is much worse than a year ago and 9 is much better; 5 is about the same as last year):

• Current business conditions were rated 6.41 (from 6.31 last quarter).

• The number of inquiries up was rated 6.55 (from 6.50 from last quarter).

• Requests for bids remained the same as last quarter, at 6.45.

• Conversion of bids to jobs was rated 6.00 (from 5.91 last quarter).

• The value of jobs sold was rated 6.31 (from 6.12 from last quarter).

One interesting note in this second year of the survey is that going into the fourth quarter of the year, remodelers tend to be more cautious in their outlook—that rating fell 3.2 percent from last quarter, though at 6.12, it’s still higher than the 2012 low of 5.34.

“As we enter the holiday season, inquiries about projects don’t slow, but the conversion rate inquiries to sales tends to, which has been reflected in the last two third-quarter Remodeling Business Pulse surveys,” O’Grady. “It’s hard to judge for sure, after consumers spend money during the holidays, how serious they will be in the new year to get that remodeling project under way.”

Other significant contributors to overall activity include the following:

• Postponed projects continue to be the key factor in remodeling business growth, at 85 percent.

• Improving home prices came in at the secondary, at 72 percent of respondents (up from 65 percent last quarter).

• Certainty about the future moved into the No. 3 spot, at 48 percent (edging out economic growth, which came in at No. 3 in the second quarter).

“Weather continues to impact sales regionally,” O’Grady says. “But another reason that stood out was that successful remodelers spent time refining their processes and skills”

To review the research in its entirety, send your request to

Builder Confidence in the 55+ Housing Market Continues to Improve in Third Quarter

Builder confidence in the 55+ housing market showed continued improvement in the third quarter of 2013 compared to the same period a year ago, according to the National Association of Home Builders’ 55+ Housing Market Index released Nov. 7. All segments of the market—single-family homes, condominiums and multifamily rental—registered strong increases. The single-family index increased 14 points to a level of 50, which is the highest third-quarter number since the inception of the index in 2008 and the eighth consecutive quarter of year-over-year improvements.

“We have seen steady improvement in the 55+ housing sector as buyers and renters are attracted to new homes and communities that offer the lifestyle they desire” said Robert Karen, chairman of NAHB’s 50+ Housing Council and managing member of the Symphony Development Group. “Although the market is significantly stronger than it has been in recent years, we still have a ways to go to get back to full production.”

There are separate 55+ HMIs for two segments of the 55+ housing market: single-family homes and multifamily condominiums. Each 55+ HMI measures builder sentiment based on a survey that asks if current sales, prospective buyer traffic and anticipated six-month sales for that market are good, fair or poor (high, average or low for traffic). An index number below 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as poor than good.

All of the components of the 55+ single-family HMI showed considerable growth from a year ago: Present sales climbed 16 points to 52, expected sales for the next six months rose 11 points to 53, and traffic of prospective buyers increased 10 points to 43.

The 55+ multifamily condo HMI posted a gain of 14 points to 37, which is the highest third-quarter reading since the inception of the index. All 55+ multifamily condo HMI components increased compared to a year ago as present sales increased 15 points to 37, expected sales for the next six months climbed 11 points to 40 and traffic of prospective buyers rose 13 points to 35.

The 55+ multifamily rental indices also showed strong gains in the third quarter as present production increased 17 points to 48, expected future production rose 15 points to 50, current demand for existing units climbed 18 points to 60 and future demand increased 16 points to 60.

“Right now the positive year over year increase in confidence by builders for the 55+ market is tracking right along with other segments of the home building industry,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “And like other segments of the industry, the 55+ market is improving in part because consumers are more likely to be able to sell their current homes, which allows them to buy a new home or move into an apartment that suits their specific needs.”

For the full 55+ HMI tables, visit

FMI Releases 2013 Modularization Study

FMI has released its 2013 study on prefabrication and modularization in construction. The report is based on the survey results from construction managers, general contractors, as well as electrical and mechanical contractors.

As reported, 81 percent say they own their own prefabrication facilities. This figure is down 9 percent since 2010. The decrease in facility ownership could be attributed to inherent challenges within the modularization method, which include the following:

• Selecting the right type of projects for modular construction.

• State rules about large assemblies being transported on roads.

• Locating modular-assembly areas close to construction sites.

• Convincing people that prefabrication and modularized units can
produce superior quality buildings

• Assuring that the work produced meets code.

• Proving that the construction method works and saves money.

• Reducing changes after the work is designed and built.

However, the practice is not dying. Sixty-one percent expect to see growth in prefabrication facilities over the next five years. Industries that require construction of multiple facilities of similar design, such as healthcare, lodging and education, may see faster growth than other sectors. Universally, the following driving forces have the potential to fuel growth:

• Pressure to reduce cost, while achieving a competitive edge.

• The impending lack of skilled construction labor.

• The use of BIM, allowing greater coordination of design with construction.

• The need to increase productivity.

USCIS Launches Redesigned Website

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has redesigned its website, which is available in both English and Spanish. The redesigned website provides customers with a simplified and more user-friendly experience.

The USCIS website incorporates current best practices while introducing a new content management system that will improve functionality and allow for continued enhancements. Some of the improvements to the new website include better navigation menus, a tools section that helps customers complete common electronic transactions, and a more prominent search bar that produces improved results.

The home page also displays a more prominent rotating banner that highlights timely information and introduces alerts that provide important news and other customer notifications at a glance. In response to stakeholder feedback, USCIS has also streamlined the change of address online tool to provide an easier, more efficient process for customers.

The new and improved USCIS website is part of the Department of Homeland Security’s Web strategy to use a common content management system and consolidate the department’s public websites. The agency plans further enhancements in the coming months.

For more information on USCIS and its programs, visit the new website at and to receive email updates or follow us on Facebook (/uscis), Twitter (@uscis), YouTube (/uscis) and the USCIS blog, The Beacon.

New SFIA Case Studies Promote Cold-Formed Steel Framing

The Steel Framing Industry Association has begun publishing a series of
case studies to provide builders and architects with real-world examples of how CFS has been essential to the success of a building project.

Each case study will provide the reader with background on the project design or construction challenges, and then highlight how the unique characteristics of CFS have provided specific benefits. For example, “City Green” shows how the light weight and strength of CFS provider the architectural freedom, enabled the builder to use less material, and shortened the time of construction. “Convent Hill” describes how the strength and sustainability of CFS were combined to enable the architect to achieve design and “green” project objectives. Upcoming case studies will feature a broad mix of non-residential buildings and the full range of benefits from using CFS, including cost savings, durability, sustainability and design flexibility.

For free downloads of the first in the series of SFIA case studies, visit

People in the News

Bob Maxwell has joined Level 10 Construction as a general partner and senior vice president for business development. Maxwell will expand opportunities for the firm within Silicon Valley, as well as in its two new regional offices in San Francisco and San Diego, focusing on the areas of healthcare, life science, education, technology, entertainment, corporate facilities and retail.

Phillips Manufacturing Co. has added two inside sales representatives: Bertha Verdugo in the Phoenix office and JD Welsh in the Omaha headquarters. Jeff Bergstorm also joined the team as sales and marketing support manager.

Armstrong World Industries has announced three changes in the executive management team, effective Nov. 16: Frank Ready, chief executive officer of Armstrong Flooring Products, is retiring after a successful 30 year career. Thomas Mangas succeeds Ready. Mangas has served as chief financial officer of Armstrong since February 2010, leading finance as well as information technology, global business services and process improvement. David Schulz succeeds Mangas. Schulz most recently served as vice president, finance, of Armstrong Building Products. He joined Armstrong in June 2011 after spending 14 years with Procter & Gamble and the J.M. Smucker Company in a range of finance leadership positions.

Companies in the News

The Simpson Strong-Tie Structural Engineering Blog

( has won the top award for Best Corporate Blog, and Parex USA, Inc.’s Envision Campaign received the Platinum award for the Best Integrated Marketing Campaign Architectural/Design in Hanley Wood’s 1st Annual Brand Builder Awards. The Brand Builder Awards recognize the most innovative and effective marketing campaigns throughout the residential and commercial design and construction industry. The competition is designed to honor the organizations that have demonstrated superiority in their ability to develop, create, implement and execute marketing strategies and tactics that define excellence.

Parex USA’s Envision Campaign integrated all of these elements to show architects, builders and applicators that they can utilize Parex USA products to achieve any look they Envision with any shape, any color and any texture. The campaign combined print and digital advertising, 20-page signature brochure, video, revamped websites, media relations and social media.

The Structural Engineering Blog was created to provide a forum for meaningful discussions and resources specifically for structural engineers. The blog includes weekly posts from Simpson Strong-Tie Engineering R&D Manager Paul McEntee on topics including what’s going on in the industry, trends in design and materials, code updates and “sneak peeks” into Simpson Strong-Tie R&D and testing. Structural engineers can subscribe to email notifications at

Fortifiber Building Systems Group announces new milestones in its commitment to environmentally sustainable practices through both its ForeSight® Green Building Program and refinements to its manufacturing operations.

From 2008 to 2012, the manufacturer reduced natural gas usage by 26 percent and electrical usage by 30 percent per square foot produced.

In 2013, the company cut waste output by 265 tons, with more than 65 tons of paper going to local recyclers.

Fortifiber is no newcomer to sustainable environmental practices. In 1996, the company launched is ForeSight Green Building Program, which helps designers, architects and builders make informed decisions in selecting building products. The focus of Fortifiber’s products is to protect the building from the damage that moisture can cause while increasing energy efficiency.

DeWalt has expanded its product offerings built in the United States using global materials to include more than 600 different cordless power tools, hand tools and accessories.

Given a choice between a product made in the United States and an identical one made abroad, 78 percent of Americans would rather buy the American product, according to a 2013 survey by the Consumer Reports National Research Center.

DeWalt began production of its American-built cordless power tools in its 75,000-square-foot Charlotte Manufacturing Operations facility in early October, using global materials. DeWalt’s investment in the revamped facility will help boost the local economy and create more than 250 new jobs.

For more information on DeWalt’s initiative to build products in the United States using global materials, and to view a full list of product offerings, visit

Products in the News

CertainTeed has integrated its entire gypsum product line into ecoScorecard™ and SmartBIM® online tools, helping architects and designers measure the environmental impact of products and materials against the major environmental rating systems. Both platforms make it easier to leverage the benefits of CertainTeed’s high-performance gypsum products, while eliminating the time-intensive and costly manual research and analysis of green building projects.

ecoScorecard provides architects and designers with the ability to search and evaluate products based on environmental characteristics, including 1,200 unique attributes across 20 green building rating systems. The free online system automatically updates as rating systems change and offers easy access to the documentation required for project submittals.

Allowing architects and designers the ability to gauge environmental performance throughout the design process, the SmartBIM Tool featuring ecoScorecard is a plug-in for use with Autodesk Revit® and Trimble SketchUp®. The tool embeds all of the environmental data included in ecoScorecard into the product’s BIM object.

To access ecoScorecard information for CertainTeed gypsum products, visit


RIDGID® announces the new, a single, global company website built with enhanced benefits for end users.

Featuring a responsive design to work on any Internet-enabled device, the new website dynamically scales larger and smaller depending on the device type and its orientation (horizontal or vertical) when in use. Additionally, the website boasts a cleaner, simplified navigation and product registration, along with improved product and distributor search capabilities. The most exciting new feature is the ability for customers to review, rate and ask questions about specific products. In addition to helping professional tool users research which tools to purchase and how to use them, this information will help shape future development of RIDGID products and accessories.

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The Dodge Momentum Index, issued by Dodge Construction Network, rose 3% in December to 186.6 (2000=100) from the revised November reading of 181.5. Over the month, commercial planning grew 1.0%

The construction sector added 17,000 employees in December and continued to raise wages at a faster clip than other industries, the Associated General Contractors of America reported in an analysis