Volume 41, Issue 5 - May 2006


True Labor Costs:  Industry Experts Discuss Field Labor Costs

During the recent Building Envelope Contractors (BEC) Conference (see related story in the April issue of USGlass, page 84), sponsored by the Glass Association of North America (GANA), Bill Keen of Tepco Contract Glazing Inc. and Pat Rome of Lakeview Guidance LLC., moderated an open discussion about the costs of field labor.

Liability insurance costs were covered first. According to the discussion, some companies reported that they base these costs on gross sales, while others use per-hour cost of labor.

Many attendees agreed that wages are probably the largest expense. Other expenses include employer taxes, such as unemployment, state, health insurance, Medicare and social security. Tools and equipment expenses were not to be overlooked.

Workers comp insurance and lost time from injury are also costs, as is drug testing. Some attendees said their companies also have pension costs.

One attendee pointed out that a company has to consider training [as an expense], including compulsory safety meetings; holidays, vacation and sick days and coffee breaks are also expenses. The cost of hiring and what it costs for transportation to a job and security clearance time and expense are other costs of field labor.

At the end of the session, the moderators offered advice for attendees to consider:
• Do your estimators work off a per-hour rate that includes break-time or do your estimators figure break-time in their hours estimates?
• Do you regularly review financial statements to identify new costs that can be charged directly to a project or calculated into a per-hour rate (i.e., new tools, equipment, depreciation charges, mold insurance, etc.)?
• Do you have a system in place to update labor cost rates after wage increases, benefit changes and renewals or labor agreement settlements and communicate them to your estimators?

High Winds Blamed for Building Collapse in Chicago
Gusty winds are to blame for causing part of a building to collapse on Chicago’s North side on Friday, March 31. Some of the falling bricks hit a person walking by, who was treated at a hospital. The building is on Irving Park near Sheridan Road. 

“When we pulled up we found the facade of the building behind you was blown over by the wind. The bricks when they fell did hit one pedestrian on the sidewalk and the fire department did evacuate one person from an apartment on the second floor,” said Michael Fox, chief of the Chicago Fire Department. 

The buildings department temporarily closed the damaged building so the rest of the facade could be removed. The building’s owner also has to install a protective canopy to prevent anyone else from being hit by falling bricks. 

AAMA Task Group Investigates Leak Evaluation Guidelines
The American Architectural Manu-facturers Association (AAMA) has created a task group to address procedures for investigating the sources of water leaks in building walls. The association says that, its current document offerings does not adequately address forensic evaluation of wall leaks, as does ASTM E 2128. The task group is considering development of an industry reference guide to ASTM E 2128 that would focus on issues relevant to doors and windows.

Keymark Corp. Launches New Paint Line
Keymark Corp., an architectural aluminum extruder based in Fonda, N.Y., has started up its new four-booth, 25-foot, vertical electrostatic paint line. The line, which replaces the one lost in a fire in August 2005, encompasses electronic reciprocators that provide high paint quality to the curtainwall, storefront and architectural window markets. The new line is also capable of spraying Kynar® + clear (three coats) in one pass through the line as well as six color quick-change controls.

Vistawall Adds Second Extrusion Press to Greenville Plant
A second extrusion press at Vistawall Architectural Products’ Greenville, Tenn., manufacturing facility is now operational.

“Our new press will double the capacity of our Tennessee plant,” said president Tom Harris. “Plus this new short-stroke press extrudes a much longer billet, which means we can produce at least 25 percent more product, with less scrap, in the same amount of time as a conventional press.”

The press also provides for numerous improvements in both quality and productivity. The company says that since the press is almost completely automatic, production parameters from a quality production run can be stored and repeated in future runs.

The press control system can also calculate an optimal run of the entire extrusion process, which, according to the company, provides a better product to anodize. 

The current 250,000-square-foot facility in Tennessee has been in operation since 2001, primarily serving customers in the Eastern United States. 

Miami-based IBA Consultants is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. The company offers full-service consulting, inspection and testing services for all aspects of the exterior skin of a building, from waterproofing and roofing to cladding and glazing systems ... A study from the National Equipment Register Inc., a security firm based in New York City, claims that theft rose 22 percent in the Gulf Coast after hurricanes last year. Most items were small machines, such as skid-steer loaders, back-hoes and compact tractors. 

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