The Plan Room is live on www.dhi.org! DHI's President David L. Neuner gives a breakdown of 2011 DHI Conference & Expo attendance figures, an introduction to the new DHI Board of Governors, and a big congratulations to the 2011 DHI Award Winners. In the Executive Summary, Jerry Heppes discusses the future of DHI's tradeshow, recaps the summer Board Meeting and upcoming revisions to the Strategic Plan. Outgoing DHI Canada President Milt Allred takes a look back at what's been accomplished during his two year term and says farewell to those who served with him.
From online education to advocacy efforts to the launch of the most expansive DHI Industry Resource Guide to date, find out all the DHI has been doing on behalf of the industry in the latest edition of The Plan Room. Click here to read the latest edition.
Haddon Windows and Doors Business manufacturer is "winding down" its window business as the company will now solely focus on its door division, reported Door and Window Manufacturer Magazine. Full Story
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Contractors who actually find work these days must wait longer to get paid, according to a financial statement analysis by Sageworks Inc. Sageworks analyzed accounts receivable days for privately held companies in various construction-related industries, including those tied to early-stage work, such as architectural design and foundation work, and those for drywall, flooring and other end-of-project tasks. The results show that some businesses involved in the earliest stages of projects have fairly steady AR days compared with 2010. But contractors finishing up the projects have seen their AR days stretched, reported Forbes.com. Full Story
Daily Commercial News and Construction Record (Canada) offers legal tips for construction firms pursuing LEED. Full Story
Sustainable Industries looks at 10 green building megatrends for 2012. Full Story
Construction & Design
Total construction spending advanced 0.8% in October following a 0.2% increase in September, the sixth monthly increase in the last seven months. October total construction spending was $798.5 billion at a seasonally adjusted annual rate. Year-to-date construction spending was down 2.9% compared to the same period a year ago. Nonresidential building fell for the second month in a row, down 1.6% to $279.6 billion, reported Reed Construction Data. Full Story
U.S. private construction will grow this year for the first time since 2005, and will be an important driver of gross domestic product growth and job creation in the coming year, according to a report by investment firm AllianceBernstein. According to the report, this year's rise in construction spending was driven by nonresidential, rather than residential, construction, reported CNBC.com. Full Story
Reed Construction Data lists ten major upcoming military construction projects are all in the planning stage and are mainly new projects, but may also involve additions and/or alterations. Full Story
Education institutions can embrace expansion opportunities by transforming industrial buildings into academic spaces. Replacing or adding windows, re-cladding exteriors, or adding new facade details can express a university’s identity and demonstrate its new directions, reported American School and University Magazine. Full Story
Boston's Berklee College of Music kicked off a $800 million expansion, the biggest construction project in the school's history It will include a 16-story, $100 million tower that will create a new nucleus for the school, reported NECN.com. Full Story
Security & Safety
Joint Commission (TJC) Expert Reviews the Top Six Most Cited Areas of Concern by TJC in the First Half of 2011.
George Mills, Director of the newly formed Department of Engineering at the Joint Commission is a nationally recognized expert with over 25 years experience in the health care field.
This newly formed department will focus on issues related to engineering, environment of care matters, Life Safety Code® regulations, and emergency preparedness and response.
Mills recently presented information on life safety issues in hospitals. Fire door safety and maintenance was at the top of the list. The chart below highlights some of the basic standards mentioned that are falling below acceptable levels.
Mills reported that over 46% of facilities inspected were cited for fire walls and fire rated doors violations, which translates into a lack fire door maintenance. Fire doors are required to be maintained in accordance with the IBC and IFC per the NFPA 80, standard. NFPA 101 also cites the requirement of fire door inspections per NFPA 80. Mills recommended fire door inspections every 6 months, if not more for higher traffic doors, as "basic door maintenance is falling below critical levels."
Mr. Mills also stressed the importance of deficiency resolution regarding life safety citations and issues and mentioned the importance of life safety documentation and its on-hand availability.
The Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association (BHMA) announced the publication of ANSI/BHMA A156.27-2011 American National Standard for Power and Manual Operated Revolving Pedestrian Doors. Requirements in this standard apply to manual revolving type doors for pedestrians and power operated revolving doors, which rotate automatically when approached by pedestrians and/or small vehicular traffic. Included in the standard are provisions to reduce the chance of user injury and entrapment. The standard does not cover revolving doors for industrial or trained traffic. Full Story
President Obama, saying the nation "can’t wait for Congress to act," announced nearly $4 billion in combined federal and private-sector energy upgrades to buildings over the next two years. The President said the investments "will save billions in energy costs, promote energy independence, and, according to independent estimates, create tens of thousands of jobs in the hard-hit construction sector." The $4 billion investment includes a $2 billion commitment, made through the issuance of a Presidential Memorandum, to energy upgrades of federal buildings using long-term energy savings to pay for up-front costs, at no cost to taxpayers, reported Durability & Design. Full Story
A coalition of design and construction industry organizations asked the White House and Congressional leaders to enact legislation that will return this sector to its role as one of the biggest job-producing engines of the American economy. One of the goals would be to jumpstart new privately-funded construction with pro-growth tax policies that will boost economic expansion. Full Story
Dr. Timothy Reinhold of the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) Research Center presented an update of Southeastern U.S. state legislative activities and building codes and standards development at the AAMA Southeast Region Fall Meeting. Click here to read the summary.
The House-Senate conference on the annual Defense policy bill voted to freeze the military construction program that is preparing Guam to host thousands of Marines from Okinawa, reported Guam Buildup News. Full Story
The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment on signed on with the U.S. Department of Labor to stop the misclassification of employees as independent contractors. Colorado became the 11th state partnership with the federal Labor Department in efforts to end the misclassification practice, reported the Denver Business Journal. Full Story
With just two weeks remaining until the payroll tax extension expires, House lawmakers voted 234 to 193 on Tuesday to approve a payroll tax-cut package that includes a provision requiring the permitting of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline within two months. President Obama has already announced he would veto the bill, but he is unlikely to have to as the inclusion of the pipeline provision makes the bill a nonstarter in the Senate.
The Republican bill, which now goes to the Senate, also would extend unemployment benefits and prevent cuts in Medicare payments to doctors. The Social Security payroll tax would remain at a lowered rate of 4.2%. That rate is set to go up to 6.2% on Jan. 1 if Congress doesn't act.
Both parties want to keep the payroll tax from going up to 6.2%, but they have been unable to reach a compromise on how to pay for extending the break. Senate Democrats want to increase the taxes on incomes of $1 million and above to pay for it, but Republicans have rejected this plan.
House Democrats offered an alternative bill during Tuesday's debate that would also have paid for the payroll tax with a millionaire surtax, but it failed.
The House's passage of the Republican bill puts pressure on the Senate to take the next step. Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada said Tuesday that he could agree to simply not pay for the tax cut and add the cost to the deficit instead, according to reports.
DHI's Jerry Heppes sits on the board of the Small Business Legislative Council. If you'd like more information on these or other issues affecting small businesses, feel free to contact him at email@example.com.
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