Architecture Billings Index Remains Positive as Demand for All Project Types Continues to Increase

The Architecture Billings Index (ABI) was positive in July for the sixth consecutive month, and tenth out of the last twelve months as demand across all project types continued to increase.  As a leading 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 July ABI score was 51.5, down from the mark of 52.6 in the previous month. This score still reflects an increase in design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings).  The new projects inquiry index was 57.5, down from a reading of 58.6 the previous month.

“The uncertainty surrounding the presidential election is causing some funding decisions regarding larger construction projects to be delayed or put on hold for the time being,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD.  “It’s likely that these concerns will persist up until the election, and therefore we would expect higher levels of volatility in the design and construction sector in the months ahead.”

Key July Architecture Billings Index highlights:
Regional averages: South (56.9), Midwest (50.1), Northeast (49.3), West (49.2)
Sector index breakdown: multi-family residential (55.2), institutional (50.7), mixed practice (50.5), commercial/industrial (50.3)
Project inquiries index: 57.5
Design contracts index: 51.8

The regional and sector categories are calculated as a three month moving average, whereas the national index, design contracts and inquiries are monthly numbers.

Metal Construction Association is Accepting Triumph Award Nominations

The Metal Construction Association (MCA) is accepting nominations for its Triumph Awards, a way to honor the people and companies that champion the metal construction industry each year.

The annual MCA Triumph Awards honors individuals and organizations throughout the metal construction industry, from academia to entrepreneurs, from marketing to research. The nomination form can found on the Triumph Awards webpage on the MCA website. An individual, business or organization can make nominations. Nominations will be accepted in six categories.

Industry Champion of the Year Award: An individual from any position within the metal construction industry that has championed the industry and has had an overall impact on advancing the industry. The nominee could be from academia, code driven, marketing driven, or any area that has benefited the overall industry.

Industry Young Movers and Shakers Awards: For those under 35 who are up and coming in the industry and should be recognized as someone to watch. Multiple winners are possible.

Industry Media Executive / Journalist of the Year Award: Recognizing someone from the media who has made an impact on our industry through media and journalism.

Industry Sales Person of the Year Award: Recognizing a sales professional who has impacted on their company.

Entrepreneur of the Year: Recognizing an individual who was the original founder of a company in our industry (contractor to manufacturer to building system) who has who has built a successful company.

Corporate Citizen of the Year: A company that has shown commitment to bettering the world outside of their normal business through their involvement and dedication to a cause or charity.

Nominations are open to the public and will be judged by a 10-person committee. The judging committee will consist of members from a variety of groups including members from the Metal Construction Association (MCA), Metal Building Manufacturers Association (MBMA), Metal Building Contractors and Erectors Association (MBCEA), National Frame Building Association (NFBA) as well as at-large volunteers.

The awards will be presented at a marquee event designed to celebrate honorees at METALCON, October 26, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland.

The idea for the commendation was initiated by Keith Lipps, vice president of Marketing and Sales from MCA member company, S-5!. “So many people do great things everyday at various levels in their career using many different skill sets, and it’s their achievements that make this industry thrive,” said Lipps. “We want to celebrate these contributions with a premier award because it’s everyone working together that makes us strong.”

Visit for a nomination form. Nominations must be submitted by September 1, 2016.

National Association of Women in Construction Recognizes 2016 Award Winners

The National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) announces winners of its Future Leader of the Year, Member of the Year and Lifetime Achievement Awards. The mission of the awards is to recognize outstanding efforts of NAWIC members. The Future Leader of the Year Award is presented to a new member of NAWIC who has been actively involved in the association throughout her first two years. The Member of the Year Award is given to a NAWIC member who has been actively involved in association activities throughout the current NAWIC Year. The Lifetime Achievement Award was established to recognize the lifetime contribution of a NAWIC member to the association. All three awards will be presented during NAWIC’s 61st Annual Meeting and Education Conference in San Antonio, Texas.

The 2016 Future Leader of the Year Award winner is Sondra Friestad, a member of NAWIC’s Fresno, Calif. Chapter. Friestad is a project manager with Highlands Diversified Inc. and the owner of iKlectic Muse! She serves as vice president, public relations and marketing chair and social sidelines events chair of her chapter. She rekindled her chapter’s relationship with the local builders’ exchange and has organized a blueprint-reading seminar, landscaping for a local nonprofit safe house, a Women Build week, and a Mardi Bra donation event.

Carol L. Chapman, CIT is recognized as NAWIC’s 2016 Member of the Year. Chapman is the owner of Mobile Construction Co. and a past national president of NAWIC. Since joining the Charlotte, N.C. Chapter in 1991, she has been an active member. She is currently serving as NAWIC’s South Atlantic Region Membership chair. This year she has recruited 11 new members for her chapter and earned her Red Rose Recruiter jacket. She also helped organize a Construction Career Day event for more than 600 students.

The winner of NAWIC’s 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award is Pam Dullum, PE, CCA. A member of NAWIC since 1985, Dullum is currently a member of NAWIC’s Greater Phoenix, Ariz. Chapter. She has served as a region director, held every office on her chapter’s board and chaired eight chapter committees, two region committees and one national committee. She mentors women in the construction industry, volunteers with the American Council for Construction Education, helped revamp the NAWIC Education Foundation’s CCA program, interviews scholarship applicants for NFSF and much more. She is a Senior Forensic Civil Engineer with Gervasio & Assoc. Inc.

Friestad, Chapman and Dullum will be honored at the NAWIC Awards Gala.

NIBS States Proposed ABA Resolution to Make Codes and Standards Free Could Reduce Safety

The National Institute of Building Sciences issued an open letter to delegates attending the American Bar Association (ABA) Annual Meeting in August informing of the potential impacts if they vote to support a proposed resolution. The resolution—which advocates that copyrighted codes and standards incorporated by reference in legislation and regulation be made available for free—would alter the way codes and standards are developed in the United States.

In the U.S. construction industry alone, there are hundreds of copyrighted codes and standards that impact everything from seismic requirements and wind loads to water use and life safety. The standards developing organizations (SDOs) that develop these codes and standards have thousands of members, employees and volunteers that participate in the process to incorporate best practices and lessons learned to improve the standards. Each industry, from aeronautics and agricultural to electronics and telecommunications, has a similar structure and industry participation to address their specific needs. Such standards improve safety, drive innovation and improve commerce, both domestically and around the world.

The U.S. Government recognizes the benefit of private industry standards development, as directed by the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act (NTTAA, P.L. 104-113) and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-119.

If the ABA’s suggested resolution and related advocacy campaign is successful, private-sector-developed standards would be subject to new requirements due to their incorporation by reference in legislation and regulation, and the ability for SDOs to recoup development costs would change considerably.

The development of codes and standards is expensive. Today, the cost is born by those who are ultimately impacted by the standards (whether by participating in the process or purchasing the resulting document). By making such information free online, the ABA resolution would hamper cost recovery through such mechanisms. The result would be that private-sector organizations may no longer be able to invest in the development process, leaving existing standards to remain stagnant (and thus inhibiting innovation) and shifting the responsibility (and expense) of developing future standards to the government.

ABA’s proposed resolution attempts to mitigate any copyright concerns by encouraging government agencies to negotiate licenses with SDOs. However, this change would require agencies to hire staff and implement contracting mechanisms, making it necessary for tax payers to cover the cost of standards development.

The National Institute of Building Sciences—which was established by the U.S. Congress to work with both the public and private sectors to advance building science and the design, construction and operations of buildings to meet national goals of health, safety and welfare—is extremely concerned that the ABA is advocating a one-size-fits-all legislative vehicle that will alter the long-standing tradition of private-sector-developed standards in the United States. The result could reduce safety, increase costs and add a burden to the government and tax-paying citizens.

In lieu of moving forward with the resolution, the Institute suggests the ABA focus on engaging in a meaningful dialogue with the SDO community to help address the changing nature of access to copyrighted materials through the internet and other electronic sources, and, after taking the long-term goals and impacts into consideration, identify a mutually acceptable path forward.

Read the letter.

RCMA Members Apply Roof Coatings for ECA EnergyFit Program

Twenty-three members of the Roof Coatings Manufacturers Association (RCMA) volunteered to apply reflective cool roof coatings on 18 low-income row homes on the 1200 block of West Seltzer Street in North Philadelphia to support the Energy Coordinating Agency’s (ECA) EnergyFit Philly program.

Under a hot sun and high humidity, volunteers climbed up 32 foot ladders to apply reflective cool roof coatings under the guidance and support of ECA’s staff and contractors. Working on houses on both sides of the street, every roof received the first coating in about three hours.

Cooling down with iced water, volunteers listened to remarks by City Council President, Darrell Clarke – who thanked each volunteer personally – while acknowledging the good work by ECA and noting how energy conservation helps residents save money. The Director of Sustainability, Christine Knapp, drew attention to our prolonged heat wave and focused on the value of cool roof coatings to reduce air conditioning use. Finally, Darlene Pope, “the city’s best block captain,” gave the final remarks of the day. Gracious and thankful, and an advocate for clean energy, Darlene thanked the volunteers from RCMA for helping to make this day possible.

ECA’s EnergyFit Philly program preserves affordable housing by repairing, and providing energy retrofits to low income homes in poor condition. It is an innovative approach to the prevention of homelessness by preserving and stabilizing affordable housing that is currently ineligible for energy conservation programs due to roof leaks and other home repair needs. Applying roof coatings on these homes reduces the cooling load and extends the service life of the roofs.

Roof coatings are designed for protecting and extending the service life of roof assemblies for new construction and more commonly, existing roof coverings. Reflective roof coatings extend the life of the roof by reducing heat transfer into the building, decreasing thermal shock, and helping to mitigate leaks.

Roof coatings reflect visible light as well as infrared and ultraviolet radiation, causing roof surface temperature to drop by up to 55°F and decreasing the amount of heat transferred into a building on hot days. Lower roof temperatures in turn help to reduce cooling costs for buildings with air conditioning units and reduce interior temperatures and relative humidity in buildings with or without cooling units. A building owner can experience an energy savings of up to 15% after using a reflective roof coating, according to information from the U.S. EPA ENERGY STAR Program. When reflective roof coatings are used on a significant portion of a city’s roofs, they will also reduce the urban heat island effect, essentially cooling the entire city.

Several RCMA roof coatings manufacturer and supplier members have donated their products for use in this project, or volunteered their time to apply coatings to a block of low income row homes on West Seltzer Street. The RCMA is partnering with ECA on this project as part of its biennial industry conference, the International Roof Coatings Conference.

McElroy Metal Announces Website Relaunch

McElroy Metal, a metal roof and wall systems manufacturer serving the construction industry, announces its website relaunch at

McElroy Metal has dedicated sections of the new site to the specific markets it serves: residential, architectural/commercial, post frame, retrofit/recover, green building/solar and insulated metal panels. The site also contains animations highlighting installation sequences and a color visualizer enabling visitors to view their personal homes or businesses with McElroy Metal products and colors. The McElroy University portion of the site has been expanded to feature information on Hands-On Installation Classes, Substrate and Coating Facts, Finish and Substrate Warranty Education and Educational Videos.

BASF Offers Expandable Polystyrene With Polymeric Flame Retardant Material

As a commitment to the efficiency, sustainability, and safety of its customers, BASF only offers its expandable polystyrene (EPS) with the polymeric flame retardant (PolyFR). Neopor Graphite-enhanced Polystyrene (GPS) provides the insulation industry with a raw material that combines high insulation quality, safety, ease of processing, and low weight, resulting in a contribution to global climate protection goals.

“Our customers look to BASF to provide high-quality materials,” said Luis Espada, business manager, Neopor Insulation North America. “The change to PolyFR in our products is an example of the commitment to continually enhancing our product portfolio.”

PolyFR also improves the environmental profile of the material, as confirmed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Relevant first tests show the same results and classification as legacy FR products, such as ASTM E84, UL S701, NFPA 286, and NFPA 285.

“Switching to PolyFR guarantees the supply of eco-efficient thermal insulation products for sustainable building and construction in the future,” said Giorgio Greening, BASF global business unit, Styrenic Foams. “Energy efficiency in the commercial and residential construction section is now a bigger challenge than ever for the entire value chain. As a raw material manufacturer, we want to supply our customers with quality materials with optimal properties.”

Neopor is a registered trademark of BASF SE.

Atlas Roofing Supports Wildlife Biologists Expedition With Build of Tiny House

Atlas Roofing is supporting a group of Canadian-based wildlife biologists this summer on their expedition to study the whale and dolphin species of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Led by Katy Gavrilchuk and David Gaspard, in association with a non-profit organization, the Mingan Island Cetacean Study, the expedition will focus on the long-term monitoring of large baleen whales on an important summer feeding ground. With the assistance of donations from Atlas Roofing and several other companies, Katy and David were able to build an environmentally sound tiny house that will serve as their mobile research base. It will assist in their expedition, while keeping their carbon footprint to a minimum.

“This expedition is truly one of a kind and Atlas is very excited to be a part of this innovative project,” said Tom Robertson, wall insulation business manager for Atlas. “What Katy and David are doing with their mobile research base is both smart and unique. We can’t wait to see what they are able to achieve in both their studies and in the name of environmental awareness with the help of the tiny home.”

Background on the Expedition
Studying mammals, such as dolphins and whales, requires the ability to move at any time in order to properly observe and track these amazing creatures. In the biologists’ previous expeditions, that level of flexibility was not economically or plausibly feasible. In addition, the biologists had a desire to raise awareness of the consequences of global consumption and reduce their own personal impact on the environment while still accomplishing their research.

In order to address these issues, they came up with the idea of constructing a tiny home on wheels, giving them the ability to overcome the logistical obstacles of studying mammals on the move, while also raising environmental awareness.

Building the Tiny House
For Katy and David’s tiny house, they developed a set of criteria for the products used in the construction and one of the most important was that the supplier companies be eco-conscious.

The wildlife biologists found that Atlas products are highly energy efficient, water and fire resistant and are manufactured with sustainable processes.

While the environmental aspect of the tiny homes insulation was important, Atlas had to meet other criteria as well including:
·High thermal resistance: A smaller space can lose heat quickly and the tiny home needed to be used in varying weather and temperature conditions.
·Lightweight: Since the tiny house would be attached to a trailer, the biologists had to respect the maximum load capacity and save weight where they could.

After the wildlife biologists determined Atlas met their needs both environmentally and logistically, EnergyShield PRO foam boards were installed in the building envelope. EnergyShield PRO wall insulation features a high R-value, Class A durable aluminum facer that also serves as a water resistive barrier, all helpful qualities for the tiny house. In addition, the insulation boards hold a Class A fire rating and can be used for exterior CI (continuous insulation) for installation over concrete, wood, wood stud and more. Because of size constraints, it was important to get the greatest insulation value possible from the few inches of space that could be allocated to insulation. With an R-value of 6.5 per inch, the highest available in the market, EnergyShield PRO was able to provide a total R-value of 22 in a 3.5 inch product. Overall, it took the wildlife biologists four days to install the Atlas insulation.

What’s Next?
The expedition is 670 miles long, and the field season will last until September 2016. The journey to the whales begins in Montreal, where the biologists will be stopping along the way in Quebec City, Tadoussac, Baie Comeau and Sept-Iles. The journey to the Gulf of St. Lawrence will serve two purposes: raise public awareness about living sustainably and ecologically, as well as monitoring for whales along the north coast of the Gulf. To follow Katy and David’s journey along the way, visit or

CFMA Reacts to CDC Report With Education About Suicide Prevention

Statistics from the CDC shows that workers in construction and extraction have a 53.3% suicide rate, which is second only to workers in the farming, fishing, and forestry occupational group (84.5%). With 17 states taking part in the CDC’s National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS), this data heightens the need to address suicide prevention and mental health promotion in the construction industry.

The Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA) is taking a leading role in efforts to shatter the stigma surrounding mental illness and prevent suicide in construction. CFMA formed the Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention to gather and disseminate key information and resources, share education and programming for CFMA’s 94 chapters across North America, and promote initiatives to support suicide prevention.

Stuart Binstock, CFMA president & CEO, further details, “At CFMA’s 2016 Annual Conference & Exhibition, we brought the topic of suicide prevention to an audience of our nearly 1,300 attendees by offering two general education sessions and presentations to chapter leaders, providing flash drives, and introducing our new online resource at Efforts are also underway to encourage our industry partners to join the alliance with the ultimate goal of preventing death by suicide in the construction industry.”

“As a construction company controller, I understand the importance of protecting and supporting our most valuable asset—our human capital,” adds CFMA Chairman Ken Chiccotella. “In conjunction with our conference theme of Building It Forward, ensuring not only the physical well-being, but also the mental health of our workforce must be core to our business strategies and goals.”

CFMA Activity Makes a Difference

CFMA’s Valley of the Sun Chapter recently presented the inaugural Suicide Prevention Summit, a collaboration between construction and mental health professionals to discuss prevention of suicide for the construction industry. Designed for construction industry CEOs, CFOs, HR professionals, and safety and risk managers, the event provided a wealth of knowledge and resources to more than 100 industry professionals in the Phoenix area. CFMA’s Charlotte and Portland Chapters have similar events scheduled later this fall, and additional CFMA chapters are planning events for 2017.

The newly released Construction + Suicide Prevention publications by 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, addresses why suicide prevention is imperative in the construction industry and provides 10 action steps companies can take to save lives.

Dr. Spencer-Thomas states, “Construction industry leaders are stepping forward and changing culture with a new vision around suicide prevention. CFMA has shown bold leadership in spearheading this shift in culture as a conduit in making suicide prevention a health and safety priority.” Additionally, the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention cites CFMA’s resources and website in support of the cause.

University of Wisconsin Madison Offers Metal Roofing Continuing Education Course

Anyone involved in metal roofing design, construction, commissioning, maintenance, repair, and re-roofing can benefit by enrolling in a new 1.5 day metal roofing continuing education course offered by the University of Wisconsin-Madison December 1-2, 2016.

The informative course will be taught by Robert Haddock, director of the Metal Roof Advisory Group. Haddock has a background in the nuts and bolts of contracting, having operated one of the nation’s largest metal roofing companies. He has authored a number of training and educational curricula for various trade groups. A prolific technical author, Haddock served as a faculty member of the Roofing Industry Educational Institute and holds several US and foreign patents. He is a member of the NRCA and ASTM, as well as a lifetime honorary member of the Systems Builders Association and the Metal Construction Association.

Topics covered in the metal roofing continuing education course include:
• The History of Metal Roofing
• Metal Roofing Fundamentals
• Metal Roofing Materials
• Codes/Standards
• Panel Types, Attributes and Connections
• Roof Deck Substrates
• Common Metal Roof Accessories
• Safety Issues
• Tools and Field Operations
• Low and Steep Slope Standing Seams
• Seam Joining
• Sealants and Fasteners
• Re-Roofing/Roof Conversion with Metal
• Metal Tile and Shingle
• Snow Retention
• The Solar Metal Roof
• Maintenance

Gain insight on this ancient but fascinating field by enrolling now in this highly anticipated course. For additional course details and to enroll online, visit: