May 16, 2005 A PRIMEDIA Property Vol. IV, No. 9




CONTENTS
Construction Market Shows Steady Gains

Construction Employment Soars in 2005

Construction Outlook: What's in Store for Remainder of 2005?

California Extends Deadline for Mandatory Electrician Certification, Again

Amtrak Solicits Firms for Construction Management Services in New York

Community College Network California Seeks Contractors to Bid on Electrical Project

Contractors Called to Bid on Electrical Work at Psychiatric Center

Eye on Safety

Energy Efficient Lighting: Technologies, Case Studies and Business Justification

NFPA World Safety Conference & Exposition

7x24 Exchange Spring Meeting

Electric West 2006 Call For Papers/Speakers


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    Around the Circuit
    Construction Market Shows Steady Gains
    "The construction industry has been hitting on all cylinders lately," says Ken Simonson, chief economist for the Associated General Contractors of America, in a recent economic report. The value of construction put in place, as shown in the Census Bureau's latest figures, set a record for the 14th straight month in March — $1.05 trillion at a seasonally adjusted annual rate. For the first three months of 2005 combined, the value of construction put in place increased 9% compared to the first quarter of 2004 and was well balanced among private residential (13%), private nonresidential (7%), and public construction (3%). The largest gains were seen in manufacturing construction (31%), communication (26%), lodging and multi-family construction (16% each), and single-family (14%). Keep in mind that these spending figures are not adjusted for inflation, notes Simonson. Therefore, part of the gain actually represents higher costs for materials, energy and transportation, and labor.


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    Construction Employment Soars in 2005
    In her recent Congressional testimony, Bureau of Labor Statistics Commissioner Kathleen Utgoff cited a solid rise in construction employment, indicating that nonfarm payroll employment rose by 274,000 (seasonally adjusted) in April, and the unemployment rate held at 5.2%. "The increase in payroll jobs followed revised gains of 300,000 in February [revised from 243,000] and 146,000 in March [revised from 110,000]," she says. "Over the month, employment growth was widespread. Construction employment rose by 47,000, continuing the strong growth trend of the last two years. Most of April's increase occurred in specialty trade contracting (40,000), with gains in both its residential and nonresidential components."

    From April 2004 to April 2005, total construction employment expanded more than twice as fast as overall nonfarm payroll employment (4.3% vs. 1.7%) to an all-time high of 7,209,000 — a gain of 296,000.

    Similar statistics from the Department of Labor indicate that construction employment showed a 2% increase in March — coming in at approximately 6.8 million jobs as compared to about 6.7 million the previous month. Compared to the 6.5 million figure from a year ago, this represents a 3.7% rise. More specifically, electrical contractor employment documented in February at 840,600 jobs revealed a 0.9% decrease from the previous month at 848,400. Nevertheless, the February total is up from 826,400 from a year ago.

    Construction Outlook: What's in Store for Remainder of 2005?
    According to Ken Simonson, chief economist for the Associated General Contractors of America, record sales for single-family new homes in March suggest that residential construction will not retreat in 2005, as predicted. The upturn in state revenues and the improved prospects for enactment of a highway bill also point to expanded public construction in 2005 and 2006. In his opinion, private nonresidential construction seems poised to move ahead on several fronts. Hotels and resorts are benefiting from higher occupancy and room rates — a cheap dollar is making the United States an attractive destination for foreign vacationers — and booming trade that’s drawing overseas business travelers. Rising output and capacity utilization, along with slowly falling vacancy rates, are leading to selective factory and warehouse construction. Retail and health-care construction should remain robust as personal income and health-care spending outpace inflation.

    California Extends Deadline for Mandatory Electrician Certification, Again
    For the second time this year, the California Apprenticeship Council (CAC) has extended the deadline for mandatory electrician certification. The CAC recently passed a motion to extend the test deadline for the three current exams of general electrician, residential electrician, and fire/lift safety technician for six months to Jan. 1, 2006. The deadline for V/D/V technicians, non-residential lighting technicians, and monolingual Spanish speakers remains at Jan. 1. Electricians must pass a computerized certification exam and complete either an approved apprenticeship program or have 8,000 hours of experience as a general electrician and 2,000 hours as a nonresidential lighting technician to be certified for work in the state. See a list of the California certified electricians, download an application form, or visit the Web site for the Division of Apprenticeship Standards.


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    Project Watch
    Amtrak Solicits Firms for Construction Management Services in New York
    The National Railroad Passenger Corp. (Amtrak) is receiving technical and cost proposals for construction management services estimated at $1.5 to $2 million, which is part of a $25 to $30 million construction contract, to upgrade the catenary system on its New York Hellgate Line. The scope of work includes eliminating the "floating beam" catenary system and re-profiling the existing catenary between support structures. The group will pre-qualify firms that have satisfactorily performed construction management services for a minimum of five projects for large transportation facilities. Interested parties should submit a completed Standard Form 255 "Architect-Engineer and Related Services Questionnaire for Specific Projects" by May 17 to the attention of Contracting Agent John R. DeVito, Sr. at the National Railroad Passenger Corp., Amtrak Procurement & Materials, Management Department, Fifth Floor — South Tower, 30th Street Station, 30th and Market Streets, Philadelphia, PA 19104. The contract will be awarded during the third quarter of 2005.

    Community College Network Seeks Contractors to Bid on Electrical Project
    The Coast Community College District (CCCD) is accepting sealed bids for the construction of a new electrical house and relocation of electrical utilities at the Orange Coast College south campus in Costa Mesa, Calif. A non-mandatory walkthrough is scheduled for May 19 at 9 a.m. Interested parties should call (714) 438-4646 for a map. Bids for the Orange Coast College New Electrical Center are due on or before 2 p.m. on June 7, 2005. Bid documents for this project (#1893) are available at: Ardith Richey, Coast Community College District, 1370 Adams Ave., Bldg. "D", Costa Mesa, CA 92626. Work must be completed within 120 days, and all proposals must be accompanied by no less than 10% bid security deposit. Visit the CCCD Web site for more information, or to view the bid document.

    Contractors Called to Bid on Electrical Work at Psychiatric Center
    The New York Office of General Services is accepting bids for electrical work to the Creedmoor Psychiatric Center, located at 80-45 Winchester Blvd., Queens Village, N.Y. Bids must be received by 2 p.m. on May 25 by the Office of General Services, Design & Construction Group, Contract Administration, 35th Fl., Corning Tower, Empire State Plaza, Albany, NY 12242. Bids must be accompanied by a certified check, bank check, or bid bond in the amount of $15,000 for electrical. The completion date for the project is 300 days after the agreement is approved. The bidding and contract documents are available on CD only for an $8 deposit per set plus a $2 shipping and handling fee by calling (877) 647-7526 or by mail from the Plan Sales Unit, 35th Fl., Corning Tower, Empire State Plaza, Albany, NY 12242.


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    Zone Exclusives
    Eye on Safety
    The National Electrical Contractors Association, Bethesda, Md., continues to make strides in its worksite shock protection testing efforts. Initiated last year, the Electrical Contracting Foundation's research project on "Transmission and Distribution Worksite Shock Protection" is focused on using equipotential zones to protect ground workers against line-to-ground faults, in conjunction with grounding, isolation (barricading), and insulation techniques. Ten prototype test legs have been fabricated — each simulating a ground worker's actual leg — for step voltage testing. Researchers are also working on a data acquisition system. Preliminary testing has been scheduled for mid-June at Kansas City Power and Light training facilities. This early testing will check the prototype test apparatus and work bugs out of the system; it isn’t intended to provide data for the study. The research team is also developing mathematical models that will be verified and validated by the testing performed around the country.


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    Shows and Events
    Energy Efficient Lighting: Technologies, Case Studies and Business Justification
    Why is lighting one of the first things examined during an energy audit? Because it represents one of the largest uses of electricity in commercial and industrial facilities — making it one of the easiest areas to improve efficiency. Scheduled for May 25-26 at the Desmond Hotel and Conference Center in Albany, N.Y., the Energy Efficient Lighting: Technologies, Case Studies and Business Justification conference will bring attendees the latest trends in energy-efficient lighting. Sponsored by the Association of Energy Services Professionals, EPA/DOE EnergyStar, NYSERDA, the Lighting Research Center, E Source, and ICF Consulting, the event will enable participants to learn about the latest available technologies, review case studies of successful lighting efficiency programs, and see examples of the business case used to justify the capital investment necessary to improve lighting efficiency. For more information, download the conference brochure.

    NFPA World Safety Conference & Exposition
    The 2005 NFPA World Safety Conference & Exposition, scheduled for June 6-10 at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Convention Center in Las Vegas, will present seminars for keeping employees safe as well as investigations of high-profile electrical fires. The event is introducing two new conference tracks this year on premises security and public education. Attend a presentation on "NIST's Findings on the World Trade Center Fire and Collapse," and see everyone's favorite millionaire quiz host, guest speaker Regis Philbin. Two new special symposia — one on tunnel fixed fire suppression systems and the other on hydrogen safety — will also be included with the price of attendance. For more information, download a conference brochure, register online, download a registration form, or call (888) 397-6209.

    7x24 Exchange Spring Meeting
    Before the Uninterruptible Uptime Users Group was founded in 1989, learning how to deal with uptime issues largely fell on the shoulders of individuals through trial and error. Today, you can attend meetings of the 7x24 Exchange Association. Focusing on the theme "End-to-End Reliability: Today, Tomorrow & Beyond," this year's spring meeting, scheduled for June 12-15 at the Boca Raton Resort & Club in Boca Raton, Fla., is designed for anyone involved with 7x24 infrastructures. Attendees will receive professional development and advancement education, increased recognition of their function's importance, and exposure to new ideas, contacts, and resources. For more information, download a conference brochure, visit the organization's Web site, or call (646) 486-3818.



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    Electric West 2006 Call For Papers/Speakers
    Electric West 2006 organizers are inviting interested parties to offer unpublished non-commercial papers for presentation consideration at the Electric West 2006 Exposition & Conference, scheduled for March 1-3, 2006, at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The Electric West 2006 Exposition and Conference will bring together leaders in the electrical industry to discuss the latest applications for designing and integrating electronic technologies into today's electrical contracting businesses, as well as focus on business and project management, practical methods, maintenance, power quality, lighting, renewable energy, and home technology integration. Prospective authors/speakers should submit a two- to three-paragraph abstract (200 words maximum) on the main points of the paper. Please submit your abstract by July 15, 2005. For a list of suggested topics, additional information, or to submit your abstract online, click here. Or you can call Joe Charno, senior conference manager, at (203) 358-4152. You are subscribed to this newsletter as <*email*>

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