Volume 39, Issue 9, September  2004


Lawsuit Finds Manufacturer Not at Fault in Scissor Lift Injury
A federal appeals court has ruled that the manufacturer of a scissor lift was not responsible for an injury suffered by a worker because a safety feature on the lift had been removed after the lift was manufactured. 

According to an article in Engineering News-Record, Marc Seibel was seriously injured at a construction site in Clinton, Iowa, while working on a lift borrowed from the subcontractor Builder Sales & Service Co. The lift fell over because the emergency stop button, or kill switch, had been removed from the control box several months earlier making it so the lift could not be deactivated.

In the case Seibel v. JLG Industries Inc., Seibel claimed that the lift manufacturer, JLG, had been negligent in designing and manufacturing the lift and the subcontractor, Builders, was negligent for allowing a defective machine to be used on the jobsite. However, the federal trial court decided that Seibel failed to show that the lift was in the same or substantially the same condition as it was when it left JLG’s control and that Seibel knew the machine’s kill switch was missing because he used to work for Builders, had used the machines several times in its altered condition and was actually present when the switch was removed. An appeals court later upheld that ruling.

Making Buildings’ A-List
The numbers are what count in Buildings magazine’s annual “A” List of industry players in the building market. The magazine looks at factors such as earnings and square footage occupied by retailers, government offices and corporate headquarters to find the 25 largest facility managers in the country. According to the September 2003 issue, following are the top facility managers:
1. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Bentonville, Ariz.
2. CB Richard Ellis Los Angeles
3. Hines Houston
4. Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. Chicago
5. General Services Administration 
Public Buildings Service Washington, D.C.
6. Equity Office Properties Trust Chicago
7. Cushman & Wakefield Inc. New York
8. HCA Nashville, Tenn.
9. Trammell Crow Co. Dallas
10. Sears, Roebuck and Co. Hoffman Estates, Ill.
11. The Home Depot Inc. Atlanta
12. Duke Realty Corp. Indianapolis
13. Opus Corp./National Minnetonka, Minn.
14. School Board of Broward County, Florida Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
15. U.S. Postal Service Washington, D.C.
16. Northrop Grumman Los Angeles
17. Hewlett-Packard Co. Palo Alto, Calif.
18. Johnson Controls Milwaukee
19. Brookfield Corp. New York
20. CarrAmerica Realty Corp. Washington, D.C.
21. Boeing Realty Corp. Long Beach, Calif.
22. Lend Lease Real Estate Investments Inc. Atlanta
23. Simon Property Group Inc. Indianapolis
24. UNICCO Service Co. Newton, Mass. 
25. Headquarters Pacific Air Forces Hickam Air Force 
Base, Hawaii

Drafting Degrees Now Found Online
The North Dakota College of Science, in Wahpeton, N.D., will offer an associate of applied science degree in architectural drafting and estimating this fall that can be completed entirely through Internet-based delivery. 
Internet-based instruction is flexible and interactive, according to Margaret Wall, director of distance education at NDSCS. Some faculty will utilize presentations with voice files added, while others use threaded discussions that allow students to join topics at their convenience. Some teachers use streaming video with distributed notes, graphics and photos. 

Curriculum elements include residential drafting and detailing, structural design, construction methods and materials and estimating. 

“Internet-based education allows a student who is place-bound and time-restricted an opportunity to pursue a college degree via the World Wide Web from the convenience of home,” said Wall. “Innovative teaching methods take architectural drafting and other outstanding programs from NDSCS to learners across the United States and beyond.”

Associate degrees are transferable to nearly all four-year colleges and universities. Graduates who elect to enter the workforce have options that include drafting for contractors, component manufacturers, architects or engineers, estimating, construction materials sales and project management.
Info www.ndscsonline.org or call 800/342-4325.

ASA’s ‘Stand Up!’ Campaign Aims to Empower Subcontractors
The American Subcontractors Association (ASA) began its Stand Up! campaign July 1, 2004, by issuing the first of its monthly white papers on contract-related topics. The campaign aims to empower subcontractors and suppliers by disseminating the association’s collective knowledge of negotiating skills and tips throughout the construction industry.

Also as part of its campaign, ASA is examining state laws and their impact on contract negotiations in the construction industry. The association will produce a series of workshops designed to help subcontractors and suppliers become their own best business advocates.

“In our perfect world, we would not have to negotiate unfair contracts and endure slow pay, retainage, questionable risk transfer mechanisms and all of the other daily disruptions we encounter,” said Mat Glover, president of ASA and of Glover Masonry Associates Inc., of Arvada, Colo. “In the real world, compromise is inescapable, but that does not mean we do not have important choices to make. ASA’s Stand Up! campaign will give subcontractors and suppliers the knowledge and confidence to be their own best business advocates during contract negotiations.”

GTECH Tower Design Evolving to Suit New Providence, R.I., Home
An illuminated 13-story GTECH Holdings Corp. tower is still in the design phase for the global information technology company’s new corporate headquarters in the West Greenwich area of Providence, R.I. The architecture firm of Spagnolo Gisness and Associates has faced mixed reviews from the city panel on the building that is slated to serve as a gateway into the city.

According to an article in the Providence Journal, the current design reveals a modern-looking building that includes an extensive amount of glass, a massive tower on one corner and a balcony overlooking Waterplace Park. The $88.5 million structure will be constructed on the corner of Francis Street and Memorial Boulevard and will be easily seen from the State House and parts of the East side of Providence. 

The managing panel, which evaluates development in the Capital Center District, did like the tower, the two stories of glass along the sidewalk on the Francis Street side and a long, glass wall that curves along Waterplace Park. The members also gave their approval to the building, which has been described as having a less-than-traditional look. However, members of the managing panel have expressed concern over the color of the stone on the building, the types of windows proposed and the designing firm’s push to make the building seem as vertical and urban as possible. Some members expressed concern about the way the North side of the building would look when viewed from the State House. 

Spagnolo said his firm would take the suggestions into consideration as they modify the designs for the next workshop.

OSHA Gathers Information for Standards Revisions
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) held informational meetings July 21-22, 2004, in Herndon, Va., as it gathered information for future revisions to its construction noise standards. The discussion focused on reducing noise exposures and hearing loss of workers in the construction industry. 

Agenda items discussed included a task-based approach to implementing hearing conservation programs, including exposure assessment and the use of hearing protection devices to reduce worker exposure to noise in the construction industry. OSHA’s current construction noise standards require employers to protect workers from hazardous noise and provide hearing protection devices to workers engaged in construction and renovation work when high noise levels are present. 

CSI’s New MasterFormat Edition Causes Concern for Glass Industry
The Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) has released its 2004 edition of MasterFormat, with new section numbers and titles. Those sections addressing glass and glazing specifically are: 
Section 04 23 00, glass unit masonry; 
Section 08 32 00, sliding glass doors; 
Section 00 50 00, windows; and 
Section 08 80 00, glazing. 

In response to the new edition, some members of the glass industry are concerned about the new format section 08 80 00, glazing. According to the Glass Association of North America (GANA), some feel that the section on glazing was limited and does not address the numerous architectural glazing materials available. To address the matter, GANA technical director Greg Carney contacted Dennis J. Hall, AIA, managing principal of Hall Architects Inc. and chairperson of the MasterFormat expansion task team.

“One of the major changes to MasterFormat is a return to the concept of it as an organizational structure for construction practices, not products,” said Hall. “We are trying to eliminate pure products from the structure.”
Hall added that a new OmniClass Construction Classification System (specifically Table 23 Products) is being developed to serve as a product classification system. Publication of the document is expected by the end of this year.

AIA Reports Increases for First Half of Year
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has released its monthly architectural billings index (ABI) for June, which marks the sixth straight month that U.S. architecture firms reported increased billings. In addition to a continued increase in billings, architecture firms pointed to healthy times in the months ahead in their own business conditions based on considerable increase in inquiries for new design work. 

The AIA noted that nonresidential construction activity typically follows billings for architectural services by six to eight months, indicating that nonresidential construction should increase over the next several quarters after a sluggish first half of 2004.

“The construction industry, and all business sectors affected by it, should be encouraged by the billings that architecture firms have reported through the first half of 2004,” said Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA, AIA chief economist. “The only caveat is that improved economic conditions have had an inflationary effect on the price of construction materials, which has already created problems for the construction industry.” 
Info www.aia.org or call 202/626-7300. 


© Copyright Key Communications Inc. All rights reserved. No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.