Volume 47, Issue 11 - November 2012


Harmon Terminates 24 Hour On-Call Service Business; Dismantles Program

Bloomington, Minn.-based contract glazier Harmon Inc., part of Apogee Enterprises, announced it has sold off the individual locations of its 24-hour on-call service businesses and will no longer focus on this area. According to the company announcement, the 24-hour-on-call service business for commercial buildings did not complement the company’s strengths and did not contribute to the future strategic growth goals.

Since the beginning of 2011, Harmon has been evaluating the success of the on-call services.

“It was just too distracting,” says Thyra Nelson, marketing manager for Harmon. “We are focused on projects and there was a lot of time and resources that went into the 24-hour piece that wasn’t necessarily benefiting any of our key customers. It was something we had always done, so we just kept doing it.”

Nelson explains that the service business was not sold to one individual company, but instead the program was dismantled.

“We sold the business office-by-office because no one is a 24-hour nationwide commercial glass service company,” says Nelson. “So in some offices there was a key player in the market that was interested but [in other] offices there wasn’t. So we sold them office-by-office. We sold where we could to companies that were interested and some offices we just discontinued depending on the volume.”

Harmon will continue operations in 12 locations throughout the United States focusing on the new construction and renovation markets. According to the announcement, the transition from the on-call service market will not impact the company’s current project commitments and the reallocation of resources will increase its capacity for the core project business.

BIM More Popular with Contractors than Architects
More contractors than architects are using BIM: 74 percent compared to 70 percent, according to the surprising results of a recent McGraw Hill Construction study. On average, 40 percent of those using BIM have made a commitment to complete 60 percent of their work through the modeling system. This percentage rose 44 percent since 2009. The report also noted 49 percent of BIM users have five or more years of experience working with the program.

ABI Gains Positive Ground, First Time in Five Months
The Architecture Billings Index (ABI) shows positive growth for the first time since March, according to the latest report from the American Institute of Architects. The ABI inched nearly three points up. August held an ABI score of 50.2, in comparison to July’s score of 48.7.

The ABI reflects the approximate nine to twelve month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending.

Construction Jobs Increase for September; Unemployment Rates Rise
A total of 5,000 construction jobs were added nationwide in September resulting in 5.523 million employed in this market for the month, an improvement from the 5.518 million employed in August, according to data released by the Associated General Contractors of America. Despite September’s employment gain, the month recorded an unemployment rate of 11.9 percent and was 5,000 lower than in September 2011. Construction employers have hired 2.2 million fewer people than they did six years ago.

Both the residential and non-residential construction sectors saw an increase in new hires during September. Residential building contractors added 1,100 jobs in September and have gained 3,200 for the year, while non-residential building contractors also added 1,100 jobs in September, but lost 12,400 during the past 12 months.

Dodge Momentum Index Falls in September
The Dodge Momentum Index was 94.7 for the month of September, a 0.8-percent drop from 95.4 in August, according to McGraw-Hill Construction. Although the longer term trend shows growth, the index is experiencing a short-term pause due to the presidential election, year-end expiration of the Bush tax cuts and automatic spending cuts, according to the report. The commercial segment was affected more, dropping 5.4 percent in September rather than the institutional building sector which rose by 4.0 percent.

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