Volume 8, Issue 7 - July/August 2007
CODES AND STANDARDS
The International Code Council (ICC) hearings were held in May in Rochester, N.Y., and the council approved numerous changes to the building codes. The code changes will be published later this year as the 2007 Supplement to the 2006 International Codes. According to Mike Fischer of the Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA), some changes that related to residential and commercial door and window selection and installation include:
According to Fischer, energy-related changes to the code that were defeated include:
NFRC Attempts to Solicit CMA Approval from Designers
In addition, NFRC says CMA will make bidding an easier process for manufacturers, as they will be able to show that products meet bid specifications and code requirements under CMA. Likewise, the group says, “CMA will enable the design community to generate simulated ratings for different products quickly and simply.”
At the NFRC’s most recent meeting in Austin, Texas, in March, the group provided a draft of the CMA to the executive directors of the Building Owners and Manufacturers Association (BOMA), the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the Construction Specifiers Institute (CSI). NFRC also is currently working on the label certificate format for CMA.
“It is still a pretty good year for nonresidential building,” Murray said. “When you get to 2008, this might change a bit.”
Murray predicted “modest percentage declines” for nonresidential construction into 2009, while hoping that a slight increase in single-family housing construction will offset a decline in nonresidential construction, balancing overall construction activity.
The webcast also addressed the increasing costs of materials. “The cost of materials has been a major issue from 2004 to the present,” Murray said.
Among the rising costs, Murray noted that heightened global demand of steel and iron, particularly in China, has contributed to continuing increases in the prices of those products.
“It would seem that iron and steel is once again becoming an issue the building industry has to deal with,” Murray said.
However, the cost of glass products, according to Murray, will remain flat.
With respect to individual areas of nonresidential construction, Murray predicted that the construction of income properties—including commercial buildings and multifamily housing—is expected to see a 5-percent decline in 2007, but it’s a decline that follows big increases in the last two years.
Murray said that hotel construction remained the star of the show in 2006, and remains fairly strong this year as well. However, a 4-percent decrease in construction in 2007 might indicate “a pullback in lodging-related construction in 2008 and 2009,” he said.
He noted that casino hotel growth stands out—with the top three projects in terms of square feet located in Las Vegas—as well as growth in convention center hotels and condominium hotels.
“Broadening of the construction activity across the lodging spectrum will keep the overall activity pretty high,” Murray said.
Murray also expects a “gradual upturn” in the construction of office buildings in 2007.
“The expectation is for another year of expansion getting up to 210 million square feet,” he said. That marks a 4-percent increase over 2006.
One big trend Murray spotlighted was toward green building—which, according to a recent survey, is hardly a trend anymore; it’s a movement. The survey of 190 corporations found “growing acceptance and a growing tendency to engage in green activities and green building strategies.” Murray predicts a market shift in the next three years toward more green projects.
“By 2009, 80 percent of corporate America is expected to be engaged in green at least 15 percent of the time,” Murray said.
Twenty percent of corporations are expected to be engaged in green practices 60 percent of the time. Forty-three percent of the survey respondents said that green activities and green building are part of their firms’ growth strategies.
With relation to glass, Murray said that the Energy Policy Act of 2005 is one of a few major legislative actions that has spurred on construction work. The act offers tax credits for, among other things, energy-efficient doors, windows and film.
Murray also noted that a federal executive order in January set energy and environmental goals for federal agencies, including an energy reduction of 3 percent per year through 2015 or 30 percent by 2015.
“There’s been a lot more emphasis placed on green building practices,” Murray said.
CMI purchased the existing site in October 2006, installed production machinery and began shipping finished interior door products in May 2007.CMI says it chose the Garland location for its strategic shipping access throughout Texas, as well as its proximity to Oklahoma, Kansas, Louisiana and Arkansas.
Huttig Sells Wisconsin Distribution Facility
“We believe the last of our major cost reduction efforts will shake out during the second quarter of 2007, and we are already transitioning our strategy to focus more fully on expanding market share while continuing to monitor and control expenses and working capital,” says Jon P. Vrabely, the company’s president and chief executive officer.
ACQUISITIONS AND MERGERS
Amesbury, which designs, manufactures and distributes products and solutions for the fenestration industry, says it complements Lupus Capital’s existing Schlegel Building Products activities in the United States and offers the potential for selling Amesbury products through Schlegel’s international distribution network.
Schlegel’s core manufacturing competencies are continuously molded urethane foam, narrow fabric textiles and extruded plastics. The company is a producer of urethane foam (compression seals) and woven pile (sliding seals) for the door and window market and sells its products in more than 75 countries.
The Schlegel U.S. operations will be managed under the Amesbury Group’s Sealing Solutions Division under the overall leadership of president Rich Koopmann.
Lupus Capital will look to use the Amesbury Group as a platform for growth and will work with the management to drive operational improvements through the business, to pursue organic growth opportunities, new product development and to make add-on acquisitions where they will add value, according to Amesbury.
“The opportunity to combine Schlegel’s product range and expertise with our existing operations in the United States is a very positive development for the business and our customers,” says Koopmann. “ … Our primary goal is to ensure a smooth transition and nothing less than an enhancement to your current relationship with either company. Schlegel is an excellent company with values and people similar to ours. We are very excited about this alliance and look forward to offering a full range of products to the industry.”