NAWIC Will Celebrate Women In Construction Week in March

The National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) will celebrate Women in Construction (WIC) Week March 5-11, 2017. WIC Week is an important date on the NAWIC calendar. This week helps NAWIC advance its mission to enhance the success of women in the construction industry.

“NAWIC has enhanced the success of women in the industry for more than 62 years. We are proud to highlight contributions of women to the industry during Women in Construction Week,” says NAWIC president Connie M. Leipard, CIT.

The focus of WIC Week is to highlight women as a visible component of the construction industry. It is also a time for local chapters to give back to their communities. WIC Week provides an occasion for NAWIC’s members across the country to raise awareness of the opportunities available for women in the construction industry and to emphasize the growing role of women in the industry.

“Women work in every facet of construction in important roles,” states Leipard. “NAWIC’s goal during WIC week is to raise awareness and visibility of the women in these roles. This increased visibility will promote the recruitment of more women and encourage others to start careers in construction. This will ultimately ease the workforce shortage in the industry.”

NAWIC chapters across the nation will celebrate WIC Week with a variety of activities. Community service projects, jobsite tours, membership drives, children’s activities, hands-on workshops, fundraisers and school programs are some of the ways local chapters will observe WIC Week. Local chapters are also appealing to their local, state and national representatives to issue official WIC Week proclamations. Visit the website to locate a NAWIC chapter near you.

MCA Reports Top Drivers in the Construction Industry

The Metal Construction Association (MCA) has released a report identifying the top 11 drivers in the nonresidential construction industry. The report, based on data analysis, surveys, and interviews with industry leaders, was prepared by FMI, a management consulting and investment banking firm dedicated to engineering and construction, infrastructure, and the built environment. The top trends in the industry trends were identified as follows:

  • Talent Shortages and Management Succession Challenges
    At the height of the recession, 30 percent of the commercial construction industry lost their jobs causing a lack of skilled workers as business picks up. The need to recruit and retain employees is key to attract the next-generation of millennials to the construction business.
  • Use of New Technologies
    With more prefabrication and modularization, use of robotics and 3-D printing, construction is becoming more standardized and computerized. BIM models are playing a role in all aspects of the construction process.
  • Productivity Improvements Needed for Profitability
    While use of BIM, prefabrication, modularization and green construction are necessary in construction manufacturing, at the contractor level, technology and planning are paramount to being profitable.
  • Changes in Construction Delivery Systems
    A slow shift is being seen from the traditional design-bid-build or hard-bid approach to more collaborative or alternative delivery methods that were gaining popularity before the recession.
  • Owner Transition
    As baby boomer leaders are getting to retirement age, the industry is facing a change in ownership among 50 percent of construction firms.
  • International Debt Problems
    Although the U.S. has experienced a resurgent economy, European countries like Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal are struggling. After years of growth, China is also experiencing a slowdown in its economy, threatening the savings and investments made in the last few years.
  • Forming Partnerships with Customers
    A more customer-centric orientation is returning. Manufacturers and suppliers must match their marketing and delivery methods to the needs of the contractor and become partners in the process.
  • Healthier Companies
    In order to survive the recession, companies had to get to positive cash flow (or at least neutral) in the new demand reality of the 2009-2011 period. This focus on efficiency created reduced cost structures.
  • Growth Through Acquisition
    The demand for attractive building product companies to purchase is high. Industry stakeholders are looking to realize overhead efficiencies and maximize nontraditional margin enhancements (risk management, technology, self-perform). Those companies realizing profitability in this way are positioned to prosper as the construction market improves.
  • Consolidation
    On the manufacturing distribution side, 2015 was a year of company consolidation. Market conditions led to unprecedented merger activity among large players. Today, a seller can receive what the company deems a fair price, while a buyer feels there is still enough business ahead to make a return on the investment.
  • Mergers and Acquisitions Activity Benefit Buyers & Sellers
    Pace and scale of activity are both up with both strategic and financial buyers. With demand high and the supply of attractive companies low, one would expect prices to increase, and they have.

These trends are expected to play a role in shaping the nonresidential construction industry in the coming years and are part of considerations as companies make their plans. The full report is available to MCA members at www.metalconstruction.org.

The Metal Construction Association (MCA) promotes and expands the use of metal in construction through marketing, research, technology and education. MCA members include metal roof and wall panel manufacturers. Trade associations serving the metal construction industry partnered with MCA in this study. The participants are The American Iron & Steel Institute (AISI), The Aluminum Association (AA), Metal Roofing Alliance, National Frame Builders Association (NFBA), and the National Coil Coaters Association (NCCA).

Architecture Billings Index Falls Below Positive Mark

On the heels of six out of seven months of increasing levels of demand for design services, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) fell just below the positive mark. As an economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate nine to twelve month lead time between architecture billings and construction spending. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the August ABI score was 49.7, down from the mark of 51.5 in the previous month. This score reflects a decrease in design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings).  The new projects inquiry index was 61.8, up from a reading of 57.5 the previous month.

“This is only the second month this year where demand for architectural services has declined and it is only by a fraction of a point,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD.  “Given the solid numbers for new design contracts and project inquiries, it doesn’t appear that this is the beginning of a broader downturn in the design and construction industry.”

Key August ABI highlights:

  • Regional averages: South (55.2), Midwest (52.8), West (49.0), Northeast (44.9)
  • Sector index breakdown: mixed practice (51.8), multi-family residential (50.9), commercial / industrial (50.8), institutional (50.7)
  • Project inquiries index: 61.8
  • Design contracts index: 52.7

National Association of Women in Construction Installs 62nd National President

The National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) installed Connie Leipard, CIT, as the 62nd National President during NAWIC’s Annual Meeting and Education Conference in San Antonio, Texas. Leipard, owner of Quality Drywall Construction, has been a member of NAWIC’s Central Missouri Chapter since 1995.

“NAWIC is poised to make a positive impact in the construction industry by focusing our resources on member career development through leadership opportunities, education and networking,” said Leipard. “The 2016-2017 NAWIC national board is committed to making a difference by implementing training programs for our members. In addition, we will increase engagement with construction employers to determine future training programs. Our efforts will lead to greater success in recruiting and retaining women in the industry.”

Leipard’s goals for the upcoming year include providing training resources for chapter leaders and individual members to promote personal, professional and association growth; continuing succession planning for the upcoming retirement of NAWIC’s executive vice president; and implementing a national marketing program.

Leipard’s theme for her year in office is “Support ­– Encourage – Grow.” This encompasses what NAWIC is all about—enhancing the success of women in the construction industry. She wants to, “remind members of the opportunities we have through NAWIC to make a difference in the industry and for the women employed in it. As we support, encourage and grow, the influence of women in the industry will increase.”

NAWIC also installed officers President-Elect Catherine D. Schoenenberger, Granite State Chapter, N.H.; Vice President Dove Sifers-Putman, CBT, Charlotte, N.C. Chapter; Treasurer Anne Pfleger, CIT, Lima Ohio Area Chapter; Secretary Diane I. Mike, CBT, Fort Worth, Texas Chapter; and Immediate Past President Riki F. Lovejoy, CBT, CIT, Greater Orlando, Fla. Chapter.

In addition to the officers, the NAWIC board is comprised of a director from each of the association’s eight regions. Each director serves a two-year term and is elected by her peers to bring the wishes and needs of the chapters to the attention of the association. New directors installed are:

  • Midwest Region Director Vickie Nickel, CIT, Greater Kansas City, Mo. Chapter;
  • North Central Region Director Jenny Mangas, Cincinnati, Ohio Chapter;
  • Northeast Region Director Doreen Bartoldus, P.E., CCM, Lower Hudson, N.Y. Chapter; and
  • Pacific Southwest Region Director Elizabeth M. Teramoto, CIT, Las Vegas, Nev. Chapter.

NAWIC region directors serving the second year of their term are:

  • Pacific Northwest Region Director Ruth Fritts, Boise, Idaho Chapter;
  • South Atlantic Region Director Lorie Lythgoe, Richmond, Va. Chapter;
  • South Central Region Director Dena Rowland, Fort Worth, Texas Chapter; and
  • Southeast Region Director Angelia McElroy, CIT, Tampa, Fla. Chapter.

CFMA Spreads Suicide Prevention Awareness

According to a recent report released by the CDC, the construction industry has the second-highest rate of suicide (per 100,000 population). Given the male-dominated workforce and other indicators prevalent in construction, it’s imperative to bring suicide prevention to the forefront of safety, risk management, and HR discussions in construction companies.

On September 10, the Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA) joined the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) and others around the world to help spread awareness and resources around the goal of preventing suicide.

CFMA’s journey to spread awareness and resources surrounding suicide prevention has covered much ground in little more than a year’s time. April 2016 saw CFMA’s Valley of the Sun Chapter hosting the first regional summit on the topic; CFMA’s Chicago, Charlotte, Grand Rapids, and Portland Chapters have similar events scheduled in 2016 and 2017. After their collaboration on a late 2015 issue of CFMA Building Profits article, longtime CFMA member, Cal Beyer, director of risk management at Lakeside Industries and executive committee member of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, and Dr. Sally Spencer-Thomas, CEO and co-founder of the Carson J. Spencer Foundation, mental health advocate, and survivor of her brother’s suicide, have gone on to author more than a dozen articles and spearhead just as many presentations throughout the construction industry. Their most recent work Construction + Suicide Prevention addresses why prevention is imperative in the construction industry and provides 10 action steps companies can take to save lives.

Stuart Binstock, CFMA president & CEO, further details, “CFMA is dedicating resources toward suicide prevention for one reason: If one accepts the premise that our members are responsible for the financial resources of a company and that the health and safety of human capital is an important financial resource, then how could we not get involved in educating the construction industry about this topic?”

The First Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention Association Member

CFMA formed the Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention to gather and disseminate information and resources, share education and programming for CFMA’s 94 chapters across North America, and promote initiatives to support suicide prevention. Most recently, the National Association of Surety Bond Producers (NASBP) has shown its support of creating a zero suicide industry by becoming the first association member of the Alliance.

NASBP CEO Mark McCallum affirms, “The conversation around suicide prevention in the construction industry has taken a leap forward with the formation of CFMA’s Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention. On behalf of our membership of surety bond producers and allied professionals, I’m proud of NASBP’s decision to commit to this cause, as demonstrated by joining the Alliance and supporting and participating in efforts to raise awareness of this critical issue. The health of the construction industry workforce is important to the well-being and competitiveness of this country, and suicide prevention among construction workers now is being made a focal point.”

Forecasters Predict Healthy Outlook for Construction Industry

After a strong 2015, there is a growing sense that the construction industry expansion will be more tempered over the next eighteen months. However, continued demand for hotels, office space, and amusement and recreation spaces will ensure continued growth in the overall construction spending market over this time period.
The American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) semi-annual Consensus Construction Forecast, a survey of the nation’s construction forecasters, is projecting that spending will increase less than six percent for 2016, with next year’s projection being an additional 5.6% gain.

INFOGRAPHIC: To see each of the panelist’s projections, click here.

“Healthy job growth, consumer confidence and low interest rates are several positive factors in the economy, which will allow some of the pent-up demand from the last downturn to go forward,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, PhD, hon. AIA. “But at the same time, the slowing in the overall economy could extend to the construction industry a bit – with the biggest drop off expected in the industrial facility sector over the next year and a half.”

Market Segment Consensus Growth Forecasts 2016 2017

Overall nonresidential building 5.8% 5.6%
Commercial / industrial 11.7% 6.5%
Hotels 17.9% 7.6%
Office space 14.7% 7.5%
Retail 7.4% 5.2%
Industrial facilities -2.1% 2.9%
Institutional 4.5% 5.8%
Amusement / recreation 10.0% 5.7%
Education 6.5% 6.3%
Healthcare facilities 2.3% 5.0%
Religious -0.4% 1.9%
Public safety -3.7% 3.3%

Baker added, “The issues that could derail continued expansion in the construction sector include: weak U.S. manufacturing output, struggling economies in key international markets, the ripple effect from the Brexit decision, and the typical uncertainty leading up to a U.S. presidential election that results in reluctant investors.”

Report Addresses Construction Industry Uncertainty and Expectations

While the construction industry is often associated with cost and schedule problems, little data has been compiled about typical levels of uncertainty, reasons, and remedies. McGraw Hill Construction has released its new SmartMarket Report, Managing Uncertainty and Expectations in Building Design and Construction, that addresses this issue by identifying:

  • Key drivers of uncertainty that create unanticipated quality, cost and schedule problems, and how they can be mitigated
  • Perspectives and expectations of owners, architects, and contractors for their own and each other’s levels of performance on projects
  • The most impactful aspects of performance and how they should be measured, so all parties can align around reasonable expectations and improve outcomes throughout the industry

The AIA Large Firm Roundtable, an organization of the largest North American architectural firms, was a founding partner in this study in an effort to improve communication and performance in the industry. “We have long recognized the lack of real data about what levels of uncertainty to expect and how to manage it well,” says Bryce Pearsall, chairman of DLR Group and chair of the AIA Large Firm Roundtable. “We have seen the work of even top-performing project teams end with conflict and strained client relationships. Increasing understanding about the challenges of complex projects is the first step toward better outcomes.”

The study encompasses input from nearly 3,000 U.S. owners, architects and contractors, as well as commentary from an advisory panel of seven leading owners representing different building types. Key findings include:

  • Owner-driven issues – such as unclear project requirements/lack of direction, accelerated schedules, and program/design changes – cause the greatest degree of project uncertainty.
  • Most owners are willing to accept a reasonable amount of imperfection in design documents, and on average expect 3-5% added construction costs as a result.
  • Increasing design/construction integration and structured communication between project team members will have the greatest impact on reducing uncertainty and improving project outcomes, but needs to be managed to maintain individual responsibilities.

Commenting on the impact of this research, Steve Jones, senior director at McGraw Hill Construction and a principal author of the report, believes it will help to “shift the conversation away from blame and more towards a proactive and collaborative approach. While uncertainty will always exist, the findings clearly point towards better ways to avoid its negative impacts on building projects, by openly acknowledging its causes and working together to reduce their incidence and mitigate their effect. Having facts about the drivers behind problems and understanding each other’s perspectives on performance are two critical elements of a formula for greater success.”

The Managing Uncertainty and Expectations in Building Design and Construction SmartMarket Report was produced by McGraw Hill Construction in partnership with the AIA Large Firm Roundtable. The American Institute of Architects, Autodesk and the Design-Build Institute of America were Premier Industry Partners for this report, and additional Industry Partners include the Associated General Contractors of America, Graphisoft, and the Lean Construction Institute. Download the full report.