MCA Elects Officers and Board of Directors at Annual Meeting

The Metal Construction Association (MCA), an organization of manufacturers and suppliers whose metal wall and roofing components are used in buildings throughout the world, elected its 2014 officers and board of directors at its Annual Meeting on Jan. 27 in Clearwater Beach, Fla.

Karl L. Hielscher, president/CEO of Metl-Span, Lewisville, Texas, was elected chair of the association. Norbert Schneider, president of Umicore Building Products, Raleigh, N.C., was elected vice-chair and Ed Karper, North American coil marketing manager for Akzo Nobel Coatings Inc., Columbus, Ohio, will serve as secretary. Dale Nelson, president of Roof Hugger Inc., Odessa, Fla., was elected treasurer. Todd E. Miller, president of Isaiah Industries Inc., Piqua, Ohio, will serve as past chair. Also serving on the Executive Committee is Bill Croucher, director of engineering for Fabral, Lancaster, Pa., as technical committee chair; Renee Ramey, marketing manager for Steelscape Inc., Kalama, Wash., as market development chair, and Bill Hippard, vice president of sales at Precoat Metals, St. Louis, as president of the Metal Roofing Alliance.

In addition to the officers, those serving on the 2014 MCA Board of Directors include the following: Jim Bush, ATAS International, Allentown, Pa.; Bill Croucher; Jerry Hatley Jr., International Metals Processing LLC, Indianapolis; Bill Hippard; Laurel McLallen, Flexospan Inc., Sandy Lake, Pa.; Brian Partyka, Drexel Metals Inc., Ivyland, Pa.; Renee Ramey; Roger Sieja, Wismarq Corp., Inverness, Ill.; Vlad Sobot, Sobotec Ltd., Hamilton, Ontario, Canada; David Stermer, Metal Sales Manufacturing Corp., Louisville, Ky.; Don Switzer, Steel Dynamics, Butler, Ind.; Jim Tuschall, Tuschall Engineering, Burr Ridge, Ill.; and Bob Zabcik, MBCI, Houston.

Laurel McLallen, David Stermer and Bob Zabcik are all new additions to the board this year. “MCA welcomes the insight and input from our new board members,” says Karl Hielscher, MCA chair. “We look forward to the contributions from this talented group of metal construction industry professionals.”

Center for Environmental Innovation in Roofing Sponsors Sustainable Energy in America Factbook

The Center for Environmental Innovation in Roofing is pleased to announce that The Business Council for Sustainable Energy in partnership with Bloomberg New Energy Finance have released the 2014 installment of the Sustainable Energy in America Factbook. “The 2014 Factbook documents the upward trajectory of energy efficiency, natural gas and renewable energy, using the latest data from 2013, and the edition adds yet another year of data to document the long-term transition to cleaner, lower-carbon sources of energy production,” according to the group’s press release.

The 2014 Factbook is a unique and dramatically powerful tool to communicate the impact of our industry on the larger U.S. energy sector by providing quantitative and objective reporting, a broad definition of clean energy that includes energy efficiency, and filling important data gaps to capture the full contribution of clean energy technologies.

“The Factbook plays a vital role in chronicling this fast-moving transformation, which is creating whole new industries and thousands of new jobs in the energy efficiency, natural gas and renewable energy sectors,” states Lisa Jacobson, president of The Business Council of Sustainable Energy.

The center is a proud sponsor of the 2014 Factbook and a board member of The Business Council for Sustainable Energy.

Metal Construction Association Honors Members with Volunteer Service Awards

The Metal Construction Association (MCA) honored two of its members—Randy Ridenour and Dale Nelson—with prestigious volunteer service awards, the Larry A. Swaney Award and the Patrick R. Bush Volunteer Service Award, respectively, at its recent Annual Meeting.

The Larry A. Swaney Award honors one of MCA founders and its first president who was committed to fostering growth and enhancing the betterment of metal construction. “This year we present this award to someone who has brought significant business acumen to the MCA board and has been involved in MCA’s long-term success in growing the markets we serve and making sure MCA has always been fiscally responsible: Randy Ridenour of Atlas Bolt & Screw,” said MCA Chair Karl Hielscher, during the presentation on Jan. 27.

Since 2003, this award has been presented to a person who has worked unselfishly for the success of the association and the betterment of the metal construction industry. Past Swaney Award recipients include:

  • 2013 Ted S. Miller
    2012 Sid Peterson
    2011 Dick Bus
    2010 Patrick R. Bush
    2008 Delbert F. Boring
    2006 Harold Schroth
    2005 Bill Croucher
    2004 Sam W. Milnark
    2003 John Mattingly

Colleagues praised Ridenour for serving as a longtime active member of the MCA board of directors and providing ongoing support for all MCA activities throughout the years. He was noted for being a proponent of continuous recruitment of more professionals involved in the association. One colleague said, “His judgment and recommendations where always taken into consideration and he made a difference on important issues.”

The Patrick R. Bush Service Award was established to honor Pat Bush, a longtime MCA board member and past Larry A. Swaney Award winner who passed away suddenly in 2010. The award recognizes one individual from a member company who has recently made significant volunteer contributions to the Metal Construction Association. “This year we honor a volunteer who has been involved with the METALCON conference for many years and was the longtime chair of the METALCON Liaison Committee for MCA: Dale Nelson of Roof Hugger Inc.,” said MCA Chair Hielscher.

Past Bush Award recipients include:

  • 2012 Robert Anderson
    2011 Jim Bush

Colleagues commended Nelson for his willingness to volunteer for the METALCON Demo area. “He always puts the association position ahead of personal and organizational gains,” said one nominator.”Dale has excellent organizational skills and is always looking for ways to enhance the METALCON brand among a broader audience.”

The awards presentation took place during the Awards Dinner at the MCA 2014 Annual Meeting in Clearwater, Fla. The meeting was attended by more than 125 current members, interested parties and guests. In addition to the presentation of service awards, the meeting focused on elections of officers and board of directors; vital industry discussions within Council and Committee agendas, especially technical and codes and standards initiatives and market development activities; a state of the association report; and various networking opportunities.

MCA’s next national meeting is the 2014 Semi-Annual Meeting, scheduled for June 23-25, 2014, at the Westin O’Hare in Rosemont, Ill.

OSHA Forms Safety Alliance with Chicago Roofing Contractors Association

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has established an alliance with the Chicago Roofing Contractors Association that will focus on sharing information about OSHA emphasis programs and occupational safety and health laws and standards, including the rights and responsibilities of workers and employers.

“This alliance is an opportunity for OSHA and the Chicago Roofing Contractors Association to work together to train employers and workers about the unique hazards of the roofing industry, including falls,” says Angie Loftus, area director for OSHA’s Chicago North Area Office. “Our focus is to continue to improve the safety and health of workers at Illinois construction sites.”

OSHA and the Chicago Roofing Contractors Association will provide information and guidance to employers and workers. They will develop training and education programs for roofing contractors regarding hazards in construction and promote understanding of workers’ rights. Training programs on common hazards in the construction industry will be discussed quarterly. Additionally, the alliance will provide a forum for OSHA personnel to appear and speak at events sponsored by the association, including its annual trade show. OSHA will raise awareness of best practices, regulatory updates and national campaigns.

Through its Alliance Program, OSHA works with businesses, trade associations, unions, consulates, professional organizations, faith- and community-based organizations, and educational institutions to prevent workplace fatalities, injuries and illnesses. The purpose of each alliance is to develop compliance assistance tools, resources and to educate workers and employers about their rights and responsibilities.

OSHA’s Illinois area offices in Des Plaines, North Aurora and Calumet City are participating in this alliance. Employers and workers with questions about this or other OSHA alliances and partnerships can call the Chicago Regional Office at (847) 803-4800.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.

Equipment Finance Market Experiences Highest Confidence Level in Two Years

The Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation has released the January 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 64.9, the highest confidence level in two years, and an increase from the December index of 55.8. An improved general outlook for economic activity among industry leadership contributed to the increase.

When asked about the outlook for the future, MCI survey respondent David Schaefer, CEO, Mintaka Financial LLC, says: “We’re optimistic about 2014 as we come off of a very strong Q4. The recent federal budget deal is positive since it takes some uncertainty out of the market. Employment gains were also positive and this should bring more equipment demand and, therefore, financing opportunities. Margins are still being compressed as capital is abundant but demand remains fairly neutral.”

The overall MCI-EFI is 64.9, an increase from the December index of 55.8.

When asked to assess their business conditions over the next four months, 33 percent of executives responding said they believe business conditions will improve over the next four months, up from 12 percent in December. Sixty-one percent of respondents believe business conditions will remain the same over the next four months, down from 78.8 percent in December. Five and two-thirds percent believe business conditions will worsen, down from 9 percent who believed so the previous month.

Thirty-six percent of survey respondents believe demand for leases and loans to fund capital expenditures (capex) will increase over the next four months, up from 15.2 percent in December. Sixty-one percent believe demand will “remain the same” during the same four-month time period, down from 78.8 percent the previous month. Just under 3 percent believe demand will decline, down from 9 percent who believed so in December.

Twenty-five percent of executives expect more access to capital to fund equipment acquisitions over the next four months, relatively unchanged from December. Seventy-five percent of survey respondents indicate they expect the “same” access to capital to fund business, and no one expects “less” access to capital, both also unchanged from the previous month.

When asked, 33 percent of the executives reported they expect to hire more employees over the next four months, an increase from 27.3 percent in December. More than 58 percent expect no change in headcount over the next four months, down from 60.6 percent last month. Just over 8 percent expect fewer employees, down from 12 percent who expected fewer employees in December.

Just under 3 percent of the leadership evaluates the current U.S. economy as “excellent,” down from 6 percent last month. And 94.4 percent of the leadership evaluates the current U.S. economy as “fair,” up from 85 percent last month. Just under 3 percent rate it as “poor,” down from 9 percent in December.

About 42 percent of the of survey respondents believe that U.S. economic conditions will get “better” over the next six months, an increase from 24.2 percent who believed so in December. And 55.6 percent of survey respondents indicate they believe the U.S. economy will “stay the same” over the next six months, a decrease from 66.7 percent in December. Just under 3 percent believe economic conditions in the U.S. will worsen over the next six months, a decrease from 9 percent in December.

In January, 55.6 percent of respondents indicate they believe their company will increase spending on business development activities during the next six months, an increase from 30.3 percent in December. Thirty-nine percent believe there will be “no change” in business development spending, a decrease from 66.7 percent last month. About 6 percent believe there will be a decrease in spending, an increase from 3 percent who believed so last month.

Web-based Platform Allows Individuals and Organizations to Support Clean-energy Development

SolarCity is transforming energy delivery by making solar power more accessible and affordable than previously possible. Now the company wants to provide a new avenue for individuals and institutions from around the world to participate in and benefit from that transformation. SolarCity has announced plans to launch a new, Web-based investment platform through which it intends to allow a broad range of investors, including individuals and organizations of all sizes, to participate directly in solar investments that have previously only been available to large financial institutions.

“People want to support clean energy development. Customers are seeing the benefits of getting solar for their homes but they would like to participate in other ways as well,” says SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive. “Previously, only institutional investors could participate in the financing of most solar assets. With our investment platform, we’re hoping to allow far more individuals and smaller organizations to participate in the transformation to a cleaner, more distributed infrastructure.”

SolarCity has acquired a privately held financial technology company, Common Assets LLC, which developed the investment platform SolarCity will use to distribute its investment products. Tim Newell, the president and chief executive officer of Common Assets, and John Witchel, Common Assets’ chief architect, have joined SolarCity as part of the transaction. Newell, who will serve as SolarCity’s vice president of financial products, brings more than 25 years of investment, technology and government experience, including roles as senior advisor to private equity firm US Renewables Group; managing director of venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson’s clean technology affiliate fund; managing director and head of investment banking for E*Trade’s investment banking affiliate, E*Offering; and head of investment bank Robertson Stephen’s financial technology group.

Witchel, who will serve as SolarCity’s senior technology architect for financial products, is an experienced technology executive and successful entrepreneur with experience in large-scale financial innovation. Notably, Witchel was co-founder and chief technology officer of Prosper Marketplace, where he oversaw design and development of the first person-to-person online lending marketplace in the U.S. Common Assets was backed by U.S. Renewables Group (USRG), a private equity firm that specializes in renewable energy investments, and Jim McDermott, managing partner of USRG, served as chairman of Common Assets prior to the acquisition.

“SolarCity’s financial products will provide an exciting new opportunity for people to make an impact—both for their own financial future and our global future—by investing in the shift to solar energy,” says Newell. “Unlike crowdfunding and community solar approaches that typically aggregate investors to provide loans for individual projects, SolarCity plans to offer debt investments backed by diversified portfolios of solar assets.”

RCMA Announces Presentations During the International Roof Coatings Conference

The Roof Coatings Manufacturers Association (RCMA), in partnership with nine industry organizations, will host the International Roof Coatings Conference (IRCC) July 14-17, 2014, in Baltimore at the Royal Sonesta Harbor Court Hotel. In January, key leaders in the roof coatings industry who make up the IRCC Abstract Review Committee met to select the impressive lineup for this year’s IRCC presentations. The 2014 IRCC will include the following timely topics:

Dr. Karma Sawyer, United States Department of Energy
“The Building Envelope Emerging Technologies Portfolio in DOE’s Building Technologies Office”

Alice Kennedy, Baltimore Office of Sustainability
“Advancing Installation of Reflective Roofing Systems through Community-Based Social Marketing and the Baltimore Energy Challenge”

Dr. James L. Hoff, Center for Environmental Innovation in Roofing
“Introducing the RoofPoint Energy and Carbon Calculator: Measuring the Energy and Environmental Contributions of Roofing Systems”

Jeffrey Steuben, Cool Roof Rating Council
“When the Going Gets Rough: The Impact of Substrate Texture on Solar Reflectance Ratings”

Dr. Hashem Akbari, Concordia University
“Advances in Developing Standards for Accelerated Aging of Cool Roofing Materials”

Michael D. Fischer, Kellen Company
“Energy Efficiency and Sustainability in Codes and Standards: Impact on the Roof Coatings Industry”

Dr. Justin Jitao Chen, Dr. Steven Jiguang Zhang, Dr. Joseph Rokowski and Loganathan Ravisanker, Dow Chemical Company
“Novel PUA Hybrid Chemistry for Elastomeric Roof Coatings”

Joe Mellott and Tom Diamond, The Garland Company
“Overcoming Vapor Drive Issues in Cool Roofing”

Kurt Shickman, Global Cool Cities Alliance
“Cool Surfaces: An International Opportunity”

Dr. Michael R. Van De Mark, Missouri S&T Coatings Institute
“Solvent Reduction Technology – What are the Rules?”

Dr. Kaushik Biswas, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
“Impact of Dynamic Insulation Technologies on Steep-Slope Roof Assemblies”

Steve Heinje, Quest Construction Products
“The Roots and Future of Sustainability”

The second biennial IRCC is back by popular demand following the well-received inaugural 2012 IRCC, which was attended by over 120 industry representatives. This year, RCMA has partnered with nine U.S. and international organizations to bring you the 2014 IRCC. These conference partners include:

  • · Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL)
    · Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL)
    · National Research Council Canada (NRC)
    · Canadian Paint and Coatings Association (CPCA)
    · Liquid Roofing and Waterproofing Association (LRWA)
    · Global Cool Cities Alliance (GCCA)
    · European Cool Roofs Council (ECRC)
    · American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE)
    · Alliance to Save Energy (ASE)

The conference will begin with an opening reception on the evening of Monday, July 14, and will continue through noon on Wednesday, July 16. Following the IRCC programming, the RCMA Summer Meeting Series, open to RCMA members and guests, will continue through the morning of Thursday, July 17.

Discounted “early bird” registration opens on Monday, April 7, 2014, and will run through May 19. Please contact RCMA Staff Associate Laura Dwulet to be added to the mailing list for conference and registration updates.

SPFA Professional Certification Program Enjoys Strong Participation in 2013

The Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance (SPFA), the educational and technical resource to the spray polyurethane foam industry, has announced that it saw more than 1,080 exams administered in its flagship Professional Certification Program during 2013, the first year of the program. An internationally recognized program for the professional certification of those active in the installation of spray foam for roofing and insulation applications, the program encourages best industry practices and safety in the installation of spray foam. With industry demand and first year adoption of the program strong, the SPFA projects a doubling of these numbers to occur during the 2014 calendar year.

“The SPFA Professional Certification Program is the only of its kind offered in our industry,” says Bob Duke, president of the Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance. “We have witnessed widespread interest and participation in this program during its first year and believe we are on course for it to become the industry’s standard installation certification.”

A certification offered domestically and internationally, the Professional Certification Program is a thorough, standards-driven program developed by the industry in collaboration with OSHA and NIOSH, EPA and other federal agencies, along with other external stakeholders. Designed to be accessible and affordable, the program aims to raise the bar of professionalism and safety in the installation of spray foam and is ISO 17024 compliant.

The 1,000th test of the program, a notable milestone, was administered to Roy Murphy, a professional spray foam installer from Cambridge, Mass. Spray Foam Nation, a national provider of spray foam training, spray foam rigs, equipment sales and service, and an online spray foam store, provided the test as a third-party testing administrator on behalf of the Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance.

“This is an important milestone, not only for the program, but for our industry at-large,” says Peter Cantone, of Spray Foam Nation. “In bringing this certification program offering to installers of spray foam, the Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance has moved the industry further forward on a path to professionalism and we are excited to be part of it.”

Still in its inaugural year, the Professional Certification Program has drawn significant attention and participation. “We created this program because we understood it was time for our industry to have expectations established for professional standards in the installation of spray foam,” says Bonnie Strickler, chair of the SPFA Professional Certification Program. “While we expected it to be well received, we did not anticipate the current level of demand and are extremely pleased at the success and adoption of the program in our industry.”

The Professional Certification Program offers various levels of certification for the roofing and insulation categories. To become certified, participants must pass the exam and meet the criteria for the level and category of certification desired. The program is progressive, with each level obtained only after the candidate completes the requirements for the previous level and subsequently completes the requirements for the current level. All certified installers receive professional credentials to demonstrate their program completion and industry expertise.

2013 Solar Employment Grew 10 Times Faster than the National Average Employment Growth Rate

The Solar Foundation (TSF), an independent nonprofit solar research and education organization, has released its fourth annual National Solar Jobs Census, which found the U.S. solar industry employed 142,698 Americans in 2013. That figure includes the addition of 23,682 solar jobs over the previous year, representing 19.9 percent growth in employment since September 2012. Solar employment grew 10 times faster than the national average employment growth rate of 1.9 percent in the same period. Read the full report. State-by-state jobs numbers, including a more detailed analysis of the California, Arizona, and Minnesota solar markets, will be released in February.

“The solar industry’s job-creating power is clear,” says Andrea Luecke, executive director and president of The Solar Foundation. “The industry has grown an astounding 53 percent in the last four years alone, adding nearly 50,000 jobs. Our census findings show that for the fourth year running, solar jobs remain well-paid and attract highly skilled workers. That growth is putting people back to work and helping local economies.”

Solar employers are also optimistic about 2014, expecting to add another 22,000 jobs over the coming year. By comparison, over the same time period, the fossil-fuel electric generation sector shrank by more than 8,500 jobs (a decline of 8.7 percent) and jobs in coal mining grew by just 0.25 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics current Employment Survey (not seasonally adjusted), September 2012 – November 2013.

“The solar industry is a proven job-creator,” says Bill Ritter, former governor of Colorado and director of the Center for the New Energy Economy at Colorado State University. “In Colorado and across the country, we have seen that when the right policies are in place to create long-term market certainty, this industry continues to add jobs to our economy.”

“SolarCity has added more than 2,000 jobs since the beginning of 2013; every single one in the United States. When you install a solar panel you create a local job that can’t be outsourced,” says Lyndon Rive, CEO of SolarCity. “More than 90 percent of Americans believe we should be using more solar, and fewer than 1 percent have it today. We’ve barely begun this transformation, but as it advances, the American solar industry has the potential to be one of the greatest job creators this country has ever seen.”

Solar companies are also reporting that cost savings are driving their clients’ decision making, as 51.4 percent of customers report going solar to save money and another 22.9 percent because costs are now competitive with utility rates.

“Tens of thousands of new living-wage jobs have been created over the past year thanks to plunging solar technology costs, increasing consumer demand, and supportive government policies,” says Amit Ronen, director of The George Washington University Solar Institute. “As the nation’s fastest growing energy source, we expect the solar industry will continue to generate robust job growth for at least the next decade.”

The National Solar Jobs Census 2013 was conducted by TSF and BW Research Partnership with support from the GW Solar Institute. The report, derived from data collected from more than 2,081 solar firms, measured employment growth in the solar industry between September 2012 and November 2013. The margin of error of this data set is +/- 1.3 percent, significantly lower than any similar national industry study.

“The study shows both aggressive hiring and clear optimism among US solar companies,” says Philip Jordan, vice president at BW Research Partnership. “Of particular interest was the continued high wages among solar installers, who earned an average of between $20 and $23.63 per hour. We also found higher than average employment of veterans in the solar industry, a sign that their high-tech skills are valued in this sector.”

“SunPower is proud to be a global leader in solar power technology and energy services, creating thousands of American jobs and injecting billions into the U.S. economy,” says SunPower CEO Tom Werner. “We employ about 1,000 people at facilities in 10 states and are actively hiring hundreds more. Our network of approximately 400 dealers employs more than 6,000 across the U.S., and two of our major solar power plants last year created 1,300 jobs at peak construction. Solar is a competitive, reliable resource, and an economic success story for America.”

New-construction Starts in December Grew 5 Percent

New construction starts in December grew 5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $554.5 billion, according to McGraw Hill Construction, a division of McGraw Hill Financial. Although nonresidential building and housing settled back during the final month of 2013, the nonbuilding construction sector (public works and electric utilities) finished the year on a strong note. For 2013 as a whole, total construction starts advanced 6 percent to $516.8 billion. This follows the 10 percent gain reported for 2012 (which drew support from a record amount of new electric utility starts that year) and modest 2 percent gains in both 2010 and 2011. If the volatile electric utility category is excluded, total construction starts in 2013 would be up 14 percent, following a 9 percent gain in 2012 and essentially flat activity during 2010 and 2011.

The December statistics produced a reading of 117 for the Dodge Index (2000=100), compared to 111 in November. This marked the third highest month for the Dodge Index during 2013, after September’s 118 and October’s 125. During the first eight months of the year, the Dodge Index had hovered within the fairly narrow range of 100 to 108, but then showed a stronger pace of activity during the final four months, reflecting in part the impact of several very large projects. In December, large projects that were entered as construction starts included the $1.5 billion Goethals Bridge replacement project in New York and New Jersey, two large natural gas-fired power plants, and two large manufacturing plants. For all of 2013, the Dodge Index averaged 109, up from 103 in 2012.

Nonresidential building in December slipped 7 percent to $168.6 billion (annual rate), pulling back for the second month in a row after its elevated pace in October, although its fourth quarter average was still 17 percent above what was reported in the first quarter. Several commercial categories in December paused from the improved activity registered earlier in the fall. New office construction dropped 44 percent from November which had been lifted by the start of such projects as the $336 million Transbay office tower in San Francisco; in contrast, the largest office projects entered as December starts were an $80 million office complex in Cary, N.C., and a $73 million data center in West Des Moines, Iowa. Similar December declines were registered by hotels, down 42 percent; and warehouses, down 46 percent; although the latest month did include the start of an $88 million Amazon distribution center in Windsor, Conn. Store construction, which was the one commercial category that did not post a November gain, managed to increase 6 percent in December. The December pause for nonresidential building was cushioned by a sharp 110 percent jump for manufacturing buildings, which reflected the start of two massive chemical plants in Louisiana, each valued at $500 million.

The institutional building categories in December were mixed. Educational facilities grew 5 percent, helped by the start of a $213 medical research building in Boston and a $151 million college science building in Chicago. Healthcare facilities in December jumped 30 percent from the prior month’s subdued amount, and featured groundbreaking for an $80 million hospital in Virginia and a $70 million cancer center in Wisconsin. The smaller institutional categories generally weakened in December, with public buildings (courthouses and detention facilities) down 32 percent; churches, down 44 percent; and amusement-related work, down 46 percent (compared to the previous month which included the $763 million Vikings Multipurpose Stadium in Minneapolis). The transportation terminal category retreated a slight 1 percent in December, and included the start of a $230 million terminal renovation project at Los Angeles International Airport.

For 2013 as a whole, nonresidential building increased 7 percent to $168.6 billion, shifting to an upward direction after the 5 percent decline reported for 2012. The commercial categories overall advanced 16 percent, faster than the 13 percent gain witnessed in 2012. The strongest gain by commercial category was registered by hotels, up 28 percent; followed by warehouses, up 27 percent; office buildings, up 17 percent; and stores, up 1 percent. The small 2013 increase for stores was limited by the comparison to 2012 that included the $400 million renovation to Macy’s flagship department store in New York. The manufacturing building category in 2013 surged 36 percent, helped by the two large chemical plants in Louisiana reported as December starts as well as by such projects as a $1.7 billion fertilizer plant in Iowa, a $1.7 billion natural gas processing plant in West Virginia, and a $1.5 billion industrial gas products plant in Louisiana. The institutional building group during 2013 decreased 3 percent, less severe than declines of 9 percent in 2012 and 11 percent in 2011. The two largest institutional categories performed as follows – educational buildings, down 1 percent; and healthcare facilities, down 6 percent. The smaller institutional categories showed this pattern for 2013 – amusement-related work, up 25 percent; transportation terminals, down 2 percent; churches down 11 percent; and public buildings, down 27 percent.

Residential building in December dropped 6 percent to $205.3 billion (annual rate), with both sides of the housing market easing back. Single family housing slipped 3 percent, as recent months have shown more of an up-and-down pattern after the consistently steady gains witnessed earlier in the year. When viewed on a quarterly basis, single family housing still registered consistent growth during 2013, with the fourth quarter up 8 percent compared to the first quarter. Multifamily housing in December retreated 13 percent after November’s increase of the same magnitude. December’s largest multifamily projects were smaller in scale than what had been reported in the previous month, but still included such substantial entries as a $159 million apartment building in Sunny Isles Beach, Fla., a $128 million condominium tower in Honolulu, and a $127 million apartment building in Brooklyn.

The 2013 amount for residential building was $205.5 billion, up 24 percent, and close to the 31 percent gain reported for 2012. Single family housing in dollar terms climbed 26 percent, similar to the prior year’s 29 percent hike. The regional pattern for single family housing in 2013 showed increases for all five major regions, as follows – the South Atlantic, up 33 percent; the Midwest, up 27 percent; the West and Northeast, each up 26 percent; and the South Central, up 18 percent. Multifamily housing in 2013 advanced 16 percent, showing additional growth on top of the increases in 2010 (up 23 percent), 2011 (up 33 percent), and 2012 (up 37 percent). By major region, multifamily housing revealed this performance in 2013 – the Midwest, up 26 percent; the Northeast, up 24 percent; the South Atlantic, up 21 percent; the West, up 13 percent; and the South Central, down 6 percent. The top five metropolitan areas in terms of the 2013 dollar amount of multifamily starts, with the percent change from 2012, were – New York, up 23 percent; Boston, up 74 percent; Washington, D.C., unchanged from the prior year; Miami, up 12 percent; and Los Angeles, down 24 percent. Metropolitan areas ranked 6 through 10 for multifamily starts were – Dallas-Ft. Worth, down 6 percent; Chicago, up 52 percent; Seattle, unchanged from the prior year, San Francisco, up 12 percent; and Denver, up 17 percent.

The 6 percent gain for total construction starts at the national level in 2013 was the result of gains in four of the five major regions. Showing the strongest growth was the Northeast, up 17 percent; followed by the Midwest, up 9 percent; the West, up 8 percent; and the South Central, up 3 percent. The South Atlantic was the one major region to experience a decline in 2013, dropping 3 percent. The South Atlantic’s shortfall reflected the comparison to 2012 that included the start of two massive nuclear facilities, located in Georgia and South Carolina. If electric utilities are excluded from the construction start statistics in the South Atlantic, then total construction for that region in 2013 would be up 19 percent.