Volume 47, Issue 7 - July 2012


Construction Backlog Declines 5.4 Percent in the First Quarter

The Construction Backlog Indicator (CBI) for the 2012 first quarter declined 5.4 percent from the previous quarter, dipping from 7.8 months to 7.4 months, but is slightly higher compared to the first quarter of 2011, according to a recent report by the Associated Builders and Contractors Inc. (ABC). The CBI is a forward-looking economic indicator that measures the amount of construction work under contract to be completed in the future.

“On the heels of a mixed bag of national economic news, CBI declined for the second quarter in a row,” says ABC chief economist Anirban Basu. “The lull in nonresidential construction momentum is not poised to end in the immediate term. The nation’s nonresidential construction activity will remain soft during the summer months, with flat to declining nonresidential construction spending.”

Compared to the first quarter of 2011, construction backlog is slightly higher in every region with the exception of the Northeast. In the West, construction backlog expanded by 0.46 months from the fourth quarter of 2011 to the first quarter of this year. The Middle States have the shortest backlog at 6.34 months and the South continues to register the lengthiest backlog at 8.88 months.

“The ongoing instability in the nation’s nonresidential construction industry appears to be related to the period of economic weakness that developed in the broader economy last year, as well as concerns regarding export growth due to recessionary forces in Europe,” Basu says. “The result is that many prospective construction projects were cancelled or postponed.”

Ironworkers Launch New Training Course
Officials of the Iron Workers Union and the Ironworker Management Progressive Action Cooperative Trust (IMPACT) have launched a new training course, “Superintendent Training for Ironworkers.”

The course is a blended learning pilot course designed to develop skilled, effective construction site superintendents, according to an announcement from the groups, and aims to benefit partner contractors by providing trained management personnel to oversee construction jobsites. “The course is designed for ironworkers who have completed the ‘Foreman Training’ course or have experience as a foreman, general foreman or superintendent,” says Eric Waterman, former IMPACT CEO (see related story on page 55). “So this course serves as an extension of our current training.”

Waterman added that the course fulfills a need as expressed by the organization’s contractors. As regulations constantly change and as new technologies transform the face of the construction industry, we want to make sure superintendents have the know-how to deal with the dynamics of the industry. We also want to make sure that our contractors view us as the best of the best,” he says.

AIA Launches Contract Documents Page on Website
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has launched a new section of its website designed to provide contract documents and related education courses and associated materials.

The website also will include both non- and credit-based courses for architects, contractors, owners, developers and other building and design industry professionals.

Additionally, the website features a frequently-asked-questions section about using AIA documents, and guides on methods in design and construction projects.

The current courses offerings include topics such as sustainable design and construction, green building codes, federal design regulations, owner and contractor project agreements, payment applications and change orders, and construction contracts.

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