Patented Material Protects Buildings, Roofs Against Rain, Wind

Patented material, Stormseal, protects buildings and roofs from wind and rain.

Patented material, Stormseal, protects buildings and roofs from wind and rain.

After devastating storms hit the Dandenongs, Victoria, in October more severe weather followed, but 90 homes initially affected were protected from further damage by Stormseal, a patented material, designed to heat-seal buildings and roofs against wind and rain when damaged by storms or left open during construction.  But more accredited fitters need training.

Nick Hatch, Director of Insurance Roofing Services – which looks after securing damaged homes following storms, says after more bad weather hit they received no calls to resecure covers from homes fitted with Stormseal.

Stormseal inventor and managing director, Matthew Lennox, says the company is working with Pinnacle Safety and Training and offering Stormseal national accredited training programs to tradespeople while Australian insurance companies are hopeful more tradesman will be trained sooner rather than later.

The idea for Stormseal came to managing director Matthew Lennox when he was overseeing repairs and reconstruction on behalf of several insurance companies following storm episodes and during continual wet and windy conditions, where he saw damages claims multiply due to failing tarpaulins. He also presented his invention on the “ABC’s New Inventors” show and it took off from there.

Firm Leaders Reinvest and Expand Businesses as Profitability Increases

U.S. architecture firms have experienced a near complete recovery from the Great Recession, which has allowed firm leaders to reinvest profits back into their businesses. These findings, along with an in depth look at topics such as firm billings, staffing, and international work, are covered in the “The Business of Architecture: 2016 Firm Survey Report”.  The report offers metrics that provide insights into how architecture firms are operating and is available for purchase here.

“More than at any point in recent memory, there has been rise in the amount of renovation projects that architects have led compared to new construction activity over the past decade plus,” said AIA chief economist, Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD.  “A lot this has to do with green building incentives towards renovations, improved construction methods and products that increase the longevity of buildings, and a slower growing population that reduces the need for new construction.”

Key highlights:

  • Net billings at architecture firms were $28.5 billion at the peak of the market in 2008 and had nearly recovered to $28.4 billion by 2015.
  • Percentage of firms reporting a financial loss declined sharply in recent years from more than 20 percent in 2011 to fewer than 10 percent by 2015.
  • Growing profitability has allowed firms to increase their marketing activities and expand into new geographical areas and building types to diversify their design portfolios.
  • Renovations made up a large portion of design work with 45 percent of building design billings coming from work on existing facilities, including 30 percent from additions to buildings, and the remaining from historic preservation projects.
  • Billings in the residential sector topped $7 billion, more than 30 percent over 2013 levels.
  • Modest gains in diversity of profession with women now comprising 31 percent of architecture staff (up from 28 percent in 2013) and minorities making up 21 percent of staff (up from 20 percent in 2013).
  • Use of Building Information Modeling (BIM) software has become standard at larger firms with 96 percent of firms with 50 or more employees report using it for billable work (compared to 72 percent of mid-sized firms and 28 percent of small firms).
  • Newer technologies including 3D printing and 4D/5D modeling are reported being used at only 11 percent and 8 percent of firms respectively.
  • Energy modeling currently has a low adoption rate with 13 percent of firms using it for billable work, although this share jumps to 59 percent for large firms.

“From a practice standpoint, digital modeling is firmly entrenched in the early phase of design work and expanding into subsequent phases, with the potential for more involvement for architects through the construction and facility management processes,” said AIA senior director of research, Michele Russo. “In the coming years we expect firms will be adding technological dimensions to their design work through more utilization of cloud computing, 3D printing and the use of virtual reality software. This should help further efficiencies, minimize waste and project delivery delays, and lead to increased bottom line outcomes for their clients.”

ATAS International Presents at Metal Design Solutions Conference

Jim Bush, vice president of sales and marketing for ATAS International, will be presenting the AIA/CES course on “Two Stage Method of Weatherproofing Utilizing Single Skin Metal Panels” at the inaugural Metal Design Solutions Conference. This Chicago market event is being offered by the Metal Construction Association on Wednesday, Oct. 19, at the Hyatt Rosemont in Rosemont, Ill.

The conference was developed to continue career development for architects, engineers, specifiers, and design professionals eager to learn the latest about advanced design with metal. It will feature a total of ten educational sessions on a variety of topics regarding the use of metal in the design and construction of buildings. There are five educational tracks offered throughout the day, with a choice of two different courses in each of the five time slots. Courses are approved by the American Institute of Architects’ Continuing Education System, and attendees will earn learning units. Lunch will be provided at the event and representatives from metal building product companies will be displaying their products and answering questions.

Three additional Metal Design Solutions Conferences will be held later this year, including one in Baltimore on Friday, Oct. 28, (in conjunction with METALCON), one in the Atlanta market on Wednesday, Nov. 16, and one in the Dallas market in early December.

Jim Bush, who is also on the executive board of the Metal Construction Association, stated “We are enthusiastic about introducing the Metal Design Solutions Conference. This series further defines the Metal Construction Association as a leader in education, technical support and information for metal cladding and component systems.”

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 www.metalconstruction.org 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 www.McElroyMetal.com.

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.