GAF Expands Consumer Outreach with Duck Dynasty

GAF has expanded its consumer outreach through a multiplatform advertising campaign based around A&E Network’s top-rated program, Duck Dynasty. The media campaign was built around the company’s in-program appearance, with digital advertising on the show’s A&E website and the debut of a new national television commercial featuring the company’s distributor and contractor channel partners.

“Our partnership with Duck Dynasty provides us with a new avenue for reaching our consumers and promoting our Master Elite Contractors, GAF Premier Roofing Dealers, and GAF Pro-Grade Master Distributors in a unique way, while continuing to build the GAF brand,” explains Paul Bromfield, senior vice president of marketing and business development at GAF. “Our Timberline Shingles are the No. 1-selling shingles in North America, and were hand-picked by the Robertsons. Airing during a top show with such high viewership supports our position as the industry’s preferred brand, and builds on the brands of our contractors and distributors.”

Airing on A&E on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. EST, record-breaking Duck Dynasty is currently television’s most-watched nonfiction cable series. More than 11 million viewers tune in weekly to follow the Robertsons and their family-operated duck call business, Duck Commander.

In the Feb. 19 episode, GAF contractors used Timberline Lifetime Roofing Shingles to replace the aging roof of cast members Jep and Jessica Robertson’s home while featuring prominently branded GAF roofing materials. Simultaneously, the Robertson men were tasked with laying down a concrete pathway in front of the home, which resulted in a “race the roofers” home makeover challenge. The race was, of course, won by GAF’s professional contractor team in the single-day challenge.

The first segment of the show directly segued into the national debut of GAF’s commercial during the show’s initial commercial break. The 30-second advertisement highlights GAF Master Elite Contractors, GAF Premier Roofing Dealers, and GAF Pro-Grade Master Distributors. Television advertising will continue through the show’s current season.

Value of New Construction Fell 13 Percent in January

The value of new construction starts fell 13% in January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $485.0 billion, according to McGraw Hill Construction, a division of McGraw Hill Financial. The downturn followed a healthy performance in December, which was the third highest month for total construction starts during 2013. January’s retreat encompassed all three main construction sectors, with moderate declines reported for nonresidential building and housing, as well as a more substantial loss of momentum for nonbuilding construction (public works and electric utilities) after a particularly robust December. On an unadjusted basis, total construction starts in January came in at $34.1 billion, down 5% from the same month a year ago.

The January statistics lowered the Dodge Index to 103 (2000=100), compared to a revised 118 for December and below the average Index reading of 110 for all of 2013. “The year 2014 began slowly, due to behavior specific to each of the three main construction sectors,” stated Robert A. Murray, chief economist for McGraw Hill Construction. “Nonresidential building in 2013 advanced 7%, but the progress was occasionally hesitant, including sluggish activity at the end of last year that carried over into January. At the same time, the prospects for continued growth for nonresidential building during 2014 are generally positive, helped by receding vacancies for commercial properties and some improvement in the fiscal health of state governments. Residential building in 2013 climbed 24%, but towards the end of last year growth began to decelerate as mortgage lending to first-time homebuyers remained stringent. The January slowdown for housing was due in part to tough winter weather conditions, yet the deceleration in recent months bears watching going forward. Nonbuilding construction in 2013 dropped 12%, as the steep pullback by electric utilities outweighed surprising growth for public works. Last year’s nonbuilding performance was also quite volatile on a month-to-month basis, including strong activity in December that’s now been followed by a sharp reduction in January. With 2014 not likely to see the same volume of very large public works projects reach the construction start stage, nonbuilding construction is expected to register another decline this year, and January’s downturn is part of that broader trend.”

Nonresidential building in January dropped 6% to $157.3 billion (annual rate), and was down 7% from last year’s average monthly pace. The commercial building sector in January fell 13%, with declines from the prior month shown by hotels, down 43%; and warehouses, down 3%. Hotels and warehouses posted strong percentage growth during 2013, with each rising 29%, and the sluggish activity in January is viewed as a pause in what’s expected to be continued growth for both structure types during 2014. Cushioning the January decline for the commercial building sector was a 21% increase for office construction, helped by groundbreaking for such projects as a $125 million corporate headquarters in Houston TX, a $66 million office park in Mountain View CA, and a $44 million office building in Raleigh NC. Store construction in January improved 4%, reflecting the start of a $30 million shopping mall in Lakeland FL and a $25 million department store in Las Vegas NV. The manufacturing plant category had a strong January, jumping 44%, due to the impact of two very large projects – a $1.2 billion propane dehydrogenation facility in Texas and a $450 million oil refinery expansion in North Dakota.

The institutional building sector in January decreased 12%, as the recent signs of stability after a lengthy five-year decline continue to be tenuous. The educational building category receded 3%, although the month did include the start of several large university-related projects – a $155 million renovation to an academic building at Princeton University in Princeton NJ, a $100 million business school at Baylor University in Waco TX, and a $92 million science and laboratory facility at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville TN. Healthcare facilities in January dropped 17%, as this structure type continues to show an up-and-down pattern on a monthly basis, keeping renewed growth in a sustained manner on hold. The smaller institutional categories in January were mixed, with reduced activity reported for transportation terminals (down 31%) and amusement-related work (down 20%), while public buildings (up 6%) and religious buildings (up 58%) showed improvement from depressed levels in December. The decline for the amusement category was relative to a very strong December, which included the start of the $763 million Vikings Multipurpose Stadium in Minneapolis MN. Large project support for the amusement category was also present in January, coming from $90 million estimated for a new facility at the Disney Animal Kingdom in Lake Buena Vista FL, as part of a larger $500 million project at that theme park.

Residential building, at $204.7 billion (annual rate), slipped 2% in January. The retreat came as the result of a 6% decline for single family housing, which has now settled back for three months in a row. The January single family decline was widespread geographically, with this pattern for the five major regions relative to December – the South Central, down 13%; the Northeast and West, each down 6%; the Midwest, down 3%; and the South Atlantic, down 2%. Murray noted, “Harsh weather conditions in January played some role in the sluggish single family performance, in combination with the recent pickup in mortgage rates and the tight lending environment as it relates to first-time homebuyers. Still, it’s expected that single family construction should soon regain upward momentum, given the very low inventory of new homes for sale and what’s anticipated to be a strengthening economy and jobs picture.”

Multifamily housing in January grew 12%, staying on the broad upward track that began back in 2010. Large projects that supported the January increase were led by a $400 million condominium and apartment building in New York NY, as this metropolitan area continues to see very large multifamily projects reach groundbreaking. Other large multifamily projects reported as January starts were located in Washington DC ($90 million), Miami FL ($69 million), Minneapolis MN ($54 million), and Dallas TX ($50 million).

Nonbuilding construction in January plunged 32% to $123.0 billion (annual rate), following its 40% surge in December. New electric utility work dropped 61% from the elevated pace witnessed in December, returning to the downward path that was present for much of last year. Although January did include the start of an $800 million natural gas-fired power plant in Pennsylvania, this was not enough to avert the category’s steep drop for the month. The public works sector overall in January was down 25%, with declines across most of the project types. While January did include the start of a $153 million highway paving project in Texas and the $126 million deck replacement of the Pulaski Skyway in New Jersey, highway and bridge construction for the month fell 35%. Other January declines were reported for river/harbor development, down 26%; miscellaneous public works (site work, mass transit, and pipelines) down 13%; and water supply systems, down 5%. Sewer construction was the one public works category to register an increase in January, rising 21%, with the lift coming from such projects as a $173 million sewer tunnel in Hawaii.

The 5% decline for total construction starts on an unadjusted basis for January 2014 relative to January 2013 was due to this performance by sector – nonresidential building, down 6%; residential building, up 8%; and nonbuilding construction, down 19%. By geography, total construction starts for January 2014 relative to January 2013 showed declines in four of the five major regions – the West, down 15%; the South Atlantic, down 9%; the South Central, down 5%; and the Midwest, down 3%. The Northeast was the only region to register a year-over-year gain for January 2014, advancing 15%.

Useful perspective can be obtained by looking at twelve-month moving totals, in this case the twelve months ending January 2014 versus the twelve months ending January 2013, which lessens the volatility present in one-month comparisons. For the twelve months ending January 2014, total construction starts were up 5%, due to this pattern by sector – nonresidential building, up 6%; residential building, up 22%; and nonbuilding construction, down 13%. By geography, the twelve months ending January 2014 showed the following behavior for total construction starts – the Northeast, up 16%; the Midwest and West, each up 9%; the South Central, up 2%; and the South Atlantic, down 5%.

The Tapco Group Enhances Its Website

The Tapco Group has enhanced its website. With easy navigation and interactive elements, Tapco’s website is geared to help builders, architects, remodelers, homeowners, distributors, and contractors easily find the in-depth information they need to choose premium products that meet their unique needs. Creating a compelling online experience, Tapco’s site has tools customers and prospects can use to learn about product applications and trends, design home exteriors using “virtual remodeling,” and find out where to purchase products.

Built for intuitive navigation, Tapco’s website features 10 main pages for its flagship brands, from Inspire Roofing and Foundry Siding to Kleer Trimboard and Mid-America Siding Components. Tapco covers home building and remodeling needs from the ground up—and so does its new site. Unlike the catalog-style websites of many companies, Tapco’s site is as innovative as its products. Each Tapco brand page is a window into a world of information—from product features, benefits, and options to application ideas, detailed literature, and valuable resources—all designed to help visitors select the right residential and commercial solutions. While giving customers a clear view of the many benefits their brands offer, Tapco’s engaging site also lets them experience the beauty and authenticity of Tapco’s low-maintenance products up-close.

To help people achieve their goals, Tapco’s site offers useful online tools and resources and allows navigation by brand, product, or audience—including architect, contractor, homeowner, and distributor—so finding what’s relevant to each visitor is a breeze. The site also shows how Tapco products work together to enhance homes. Tapco’s Idea Gallery and Resource Corner showcase product applications, highlight trends and news, and offer access to helpful product videos on YouTube’s “Tapco TV” channel. Customers can also register product warranties online in a snap.

Tapco’s interactive Virtual Remodeler empowers everyone—from homeowners to builders—to create their own signature look for any home exterior by just viewing the screen for design choices. To get started, anyone can upload photos of their home or choose from Tapco’s House Gallery of pre-formatted images to create a dream home. The exciting Idea Portfolio displays Tapco products on a range of real homes to assist in creative project planning and implementation.

A wealth of information is at everyone’s fingertips on Tapco’s site. Architects, contractors, and distributors can quickly learn about continuing education from Tapco and instantly access ARCAT 3-Part specs, technical bulletins, CAD details, testing information, installation instructions, and video playlists for Tapco brands. To see product innovations firsthand, website visitors can learn where Tapco Vans are touring and where tradeshows and conferences are happening. In addition, the enhanced, updated “Where to Purchase” feature directs visitors on where to purchase the products. Tapco is dedicated to making communication with stakeholders, from customers to partners, a top priority. Their fresh, innovative website is another way Tapco is working progressively to enhance communication worldwide. With continuous updates and enhancements planned into the future, Tapco promises to make its website content even more valuable, enriching every customer’s learning and purchasing experiences.

Charge Devices On the Go

Stanley's 140 Watt Portable Power Inverter

Stanley’s 140 Watt Portable Power Inverter

The new Stanley 140 Watt Portable Power Inverter provides power on the go to charge cell phones, laptops, DVD players, gaming devices and more. Just plug the power cord into a vehicle’s 12 Volt DC port (cigarette lighter) and enjoy the convenience of household outlets and a USB port. The additional USB port allows you to charge and power smart phones, tablets and much more from just about anywhere. The 140 watt power inverter includes two electrical household style outlets and a USB port. With an easy to install mounting kit, the inverter attaches to carpeted surfaces with hook and loop adhesive or slides in and out of a bracket that can be mounted to the dash inside a vehicle.

Firestone Names 2014 Master Contractor Award Winners

Firestone Building Products Co. LLC has announced 251 firms across the country earned the 2014 Master Contractor Award. From within the network of more than 3,000 Firestone Building Products Red Shield Licensed Roofing Contractors, these top firms have demonstrated excellence in the areas of installation, quality of work and customer service. Collectively, the winners installed more than 235 million square feet of warranted Firestone Building Products roofing systems on new and reroof projects in 2013.

The Master Contractor Program annually presents three distinct industry awards:

Master Contractor Award
The Master Contractor Award recognizes top Firestone Building Products licensed contractors on the basis of total square footage installed and quality points accumulated for outstanding inspection ratings on roofing installations completed in 2013 covered by the Red Shield™ Warranty, including: RubberGard EPDM, UltraPly TPO, asphalt and metal roofing systems.

Firestone Building Products also added two categories this year. The first for sustainability, which awards points for including Firestone Building Products SkyScape Vegetative Roof System, PLATINUM PV Program or SunWave Daylighting System. The second category for underlayments, which awards points when warranted projects include V-Force Vapor Barrier Membrane, CLAD-GARD Underlayment or BASEGARD SA Base Sheet.

A contractor must complete a minimum of four Red Shield warranted jobs annually. To qualify, Master Contractors also must have a Preferred Quality Incidence Rating (QIR) that does not exceed three times the average QIR for Red Shield Contractors. QIR is determined by the annual number of quality incidents per million square feet of roofing under warranty.

Inner Circle of Quality Award
Master Contractors are eligible for the Inner Circle of Quality Award by installing a minimum of four warranted Firestone Building Products roofing systems in each of the last five years, maintaining at least two million square feet of Firestone Building Products roofs under warranty and achieving an annual QIR of 2.0 or less.

President’s Club Award
Master Contractors who have accrued the highest number of quality points for superior inspection ratings and total square footage of Firestone Building Products Red Shield warranted roofing system installations completed over the past year earn the distinguished President’s Club Award.

“At Firestone Building Products, we are dedicated to optimizing the roof and building envelope to achieve maximum facility performance. The annual Master Contractor Program recognizes top-tier firms for their high-quality workmanship and long-term roofing system performance,” says Tim Dunn, president of Firestone Building Products. “Master Contractor, Inner Circle of Quality and President’s Club honorees are our best partners in the industry because of their commitment to building excellence.”

View a complete listing of Master Contractors.

CNA Recognizes Insurance Agencies with Commitment to Construction

CNA Financial Corp. has announced the members of its 2014 Construction Leader Board. The company selected 28 agencies from more than 1,000 construction-focused agencies throughout the United States.

“CNA is committed to growing profitably within the construction industry and to deepening relationships with our best producers,” says John Tatum, CNA’s senior vice president, Construction. “The idea behind Leader Board is to recognize those agencies that have also demonstrated their commitment to construction and provide them with the tools they need to continue to grow and succeed in the future.”

The 2014 Construction Leader Board members include:

    Anchor Insurance & Surety, Portland, Ore.

    Barmore Insurance Agency, Houston

    Bowen, Miclette & Britt Insurance Agency, Houston

    Brown & Brown, Lisle, Ill.

    Dawson Companies, Cleveland

    E.J. Wells Insurance Agency, Westford, Mass.

    Gans & Smith Insurance Agency, Longview, Texas

    Halcyon Underwriters, Maitland, Fla.

    HUB International, Metarie, La.

    IMA Inc., Denver, Colo.

    INSURICA, Oklahoma City, Okla.

    InterWest Insurance Services, Sacramento, Calif.

    Lawley Insurance, Buffalo, N.Y.

    Moody Insurance Agency, Denver

    Neace Lukens, Cincinnati

    PayneWest Insurance, Missoula, Mont.

    Sihle Insurance Group, Altamonte Springs, Fla.

    T.P. Daley Insurance Agency, West Springfield, Mass.

    The Cashion Co., Little Rock, Ark.

    The Charles L. Crane Agency, St. Louis

    The Manuel Lujan Agencies, Albuquerque, N.M.

    Thomas & Farr Agency, Monroe, La.

    TIBCO, Montgomery, Ala.

    Time Insurance Agency, Austin, Texas

    United Valley Insurance Services, Fresno, Calif.

    Wells Fargo, Louisville, Ky.

    Wells Fargo, Albuquerque, N.M.

    Wells Fargo, San Carlos, Calif.

    CNA’s Construction Leader Board was developed in 2012 to recognize and reward top-producing construction agencies who have demonstrated their commitment to the industry.

    Benefits of being a Construction Leader Board agency include enhanced access to services and resources offered by CNA.

Radiant Barrier Combines Energy Efficiency with Moisture Protection

Huber Engineered Woods has released its ZIP System radiant barrier.

Huber Engineered Woods has released its ZIP System radiant barrier.

The most recent innovation from Huber Engineered Woods combines superior strength and stiffness, moisture resistance, and now a radiant heat barrier. The new ZIP System radiant barrier incorporates the signature ZIP System technology with radiant heat protection.

ZIP System radiant barrier combines the energy-efficiency benefits of radiant barrier with the superior moisture protection and simple installation of ZIP System sheathing. The panels are now available for national distribution.

ZIP System radiant barrier panels block up to 97 percent of radiant heat transfer which can lower attic temperatures by as much as 30 degrees. The all-in-one sheathing allows for a faster, more efficient installation, providing an instant 180-day rough dry-in. Homeowners also can reap the benefits of ZIP System Radiant Barrier, as the roof panels reduce home cooling costs up to 12 percent.*

ZIP System radiant barrier roof panels are available in 1/2-, 5/8-, and 7/16-inch thicknesses. ZIP System roof panels eliminate the need for felt paper, resulting in a more efficient building process.

*All testing. Testing was done in accordance with ASTM standard and test methods. The Florida Solar Energy Center/University of Central Florida Publication #FSEC-EN-15-87 titled “Radiant Barriers: A Question & Answer Primer.” Studies represent cases in the Southeast and may not be representative of other regions. Savings also depend on the amount of heat the roof and attic contribute to a home’s cooling load.

Portable Generator Provides Job-site Flexibility

Honda Power Equipment's EB2000i portable generator

Honda Power Equipment’s EB2000i portable generator

Honda Power Equipment recently introduced the new EB2000i, an all-new 2000 watt portable generator equipped with a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) to meet the Electrical Test Lab and OSHA compliance throughout the country. Based on the extremely popular consumer EU2000i generator model, the new EB2000i maintains key performance attributes of the EU series unit while adding a 120V/20A GFCI receptacle, which provides greater flexibility for most work site applications.

Similar to the EU2000i, the new EB2000i offers inverter power with a maximum output of 2,000 watts with Honda’s fuel-efficient Eco-Throttle. The Eco Throttle feature allows the generator to conserve fuel by varying engine rpm to produce only the power required to operate the equipment, improving fuel economy. Additionally, the EB2000i can operate from four to nine hours without the need for refueling, allowing the potential for working all day without interruption.

Hapco Inc. is a full sales and service center for Honda Power Equipment and stocks Honda’s complete line of generators for roofing professionals. When paired with the BAK RiOn Hand Welder, roofing repairs can be done without the use of building power.

Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation Releases February Confidence Index

The Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation has released the February 2014 Monthly Confidence Index for the Equipment Finance Industry (MCI-EFI). Designed to collect leadership data, the index reports a qualitative assessment of the prevailing business conditions and expectations for the future as reported by key executives from the $827 billion equipment finance sector. Overall, confidence in the equipment finance market is 63.3, the second highest index in two years and off slightly from last month’s two-year index high of 64.9.

When asked about the outlook for the future, MCI survey respondent Valerie Hayes Jester, President, Brandywine Capital Associates, Inc., said, “I am optimistic that there is increasing demand for equipment and therefore financing to acquire that equipment. The brutal winter experienced by a significant portion of this country has slowed down many projects that would have been in progress by now. I am hoping that the last third of this quarter will show the signs we had experienced at year end, as demand increased.”

February 2014 Survey Results:
The overall MCI-EFI is 63.3, a decrease from the January index of 64.9.

    When asked to assess their business conditions over the next four months, 21.2% of executives responding said they believe business conditions will improve over the next four months, down from 33% in January. 72.7% of respondents believe business conditions will remain the same over the next four months, up from 61% in January. 6.1% believe business conditions will worsen, up from 5.6% who believed so the previous month.

    24.2% of survey respondents believe demand for leases and loans to fund capital expenditures (capex) will increase over the next four months, down from 36% in January. 69.7% believe demand will “remain the same” during the same four-month time period, up from 61% the previous month. 6.1% believe demand will decline, up from 2.8% who believed so in January.

    31.3% of executives expect more access to capital to fund equipment acquisitions over the next four months, up from 25% in January. 65.6% of survey respondents indicate they expect the “same” access to capital to fund business, down from 75% in January. 3.1% expect “less” access to capital, up from no one who expected less access the previous month.

    When asked, 40.6% of the executives reported they expect to hire more employees over the next four months, an increase from 33% in January. 53% expect no change in headcount over the next four months, down from 58.3% last month. 6.3% expect fewer employees, down from 8.3% who expected fewer employees in January.

    3% of the leadership evaluates the current U.S. economy as “excellent,” relatively unchanged from 2.8% last month. 93.8% of the leadership evaluates the current U.S. economy as “fair,” down slightly from 94.4% last month. 3% rate it as “poor,” also relatively unchanged from last month.

    34.4% of the of survey respondents believe that U.S. economic conditions will get “better” over the next six months, a decrease from 41.7% who believed so in January. 59.4% of survey respondents indicate they believe the U.S. economy will “stay the same” over the next six months, an increase from 55.6% in January. 6.2% believe economic conditions in the U.S. will worsen over the next six months, an increase from 2.6% last month.

    In February, 56.3% of respondents indicate they believe their company will increase spending on business development activities during the next six months, an increase from 55.6% in January. 43.8% believe there will be “no change” in business development spending, an increase from 39% last month. No one believes there will be a decrease in spending, a decrease from 5.6% who believed so last month.

February 2014 MCI Survey Comments from Industry Executive Leadership:

    Bank, Small Ticket
    “Weather has created some slow down in equipment deliveries and inventory which may slow first quarter growth.” Kenneth Collins, CEO, Susquehanna Commercial Finance, Inc.

    Independent, Middle Ticket
    “I’m conflicted about the near-term. All small to medium-size customers claim activity is sporadic and are not willing to commit capital for new equipment. Thus we see demand is off, but funding availability is strong.” George Booth, Managing Director, Black Rock Capital, LLC

    Bank, Middle Ticket
    “The economy and the equipment finance market continue to experience peaks and valleys. The good news is the valleys aren’t getting any deeper; the bad news is the peaks aren’t getting any higher. Hopefully, in 2014 the economy will gain enough confidence to break through the peaks.” Thomas Jaschik, President, BB&T Equipment Finance

Why an MCI-EFI?
Confidence in the U.S. economy and the capital markets is a critical driver to the equipment finance industry. Throughout history, when confidence increases, consumers and businesses are more apt to acquire more consumer goods, equipment and durables, and invest at prevailing prices. When confidence decreases, spending and risk-taking tend to fall. Investors are said to be confident when the news about the future is good and stock prices are rising.

Who participates in the MCI-EFI?
The respondents are comprised of a wide cross section of industry executives, including large-ticket, middle-market and small-ticket banks, independents and captive equipment finance companies. The MCI-EFI uses the same pool of 50 organization leaders to respond monthly to ensure the survey’s integrity. Since the same organizations provide the data from month to month, the results constitute a consistent barometer of the industry’s confidence.

How is the MCI-EFI designed?
The survey consists of seven questions and an area for comments, asking the respondents’ opinions about the following:

    Current business conditions
    Expected product demand over the next four months
    Access to capital over the next four months
    Future employment conditions
    Evaluation of the current U.S. economy
    U.S. economic conditions over the next six months
    Business development spending expectations
    Open-ended question for comment

Atlas Roofing Hires New Marketing and Communications Manager

Atlas Roofing Corp. continues to expand its sales and marketing efforts across all divisions of the company, including enhancements to manufacturing and production. To support this growth, Nisha George has been named marketing and communications manager at the company’s corporate headquarters in Atlanta.

George, who was previously marketing coordinator at Sto Corp.—a producer of versatile cladding and coating systems for building construction, maintenance and restoration—is in charge of creating and implementing marketing and communications plans for all four Atlas Residential and Commercial divisions.

“The expansion of our team further strengthens our ability to meet the needs of our Field Sales Reps, and ultimately our customers,” says Rick Gelatka, director of Marketing Services at Atlas
.

George’s expertise started in event marketing and over the years has included communications, media relations, brand management, and social media. She began her career in the agency world, working as a Marketing Associate for Leap Forward Group—a full-service marketing firm. She was also an International Business Consultant in Latin America for Media Plus, Ltd.—an international media company.

An alumna of Emory University, George is currently pursuing her MBA in Marketing Management at Goizueta Business School and resides in Atlanta.