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December 15, 2006 A Prism Business Media Publication Vol. 5, No. 23


CONTENTS
2007 EC&M Product of the Year Call for Entries

Construction Spending Decreases in October

U.S. Pharmaceutical-Biotech Industry Expects 30% Growth in 2007 for New Construction

Oregon Solar Industry Needs Qualified Installers

City Questions Power Company's Subcontractor Policy

Air Force Base Requires Distributed Common Ground Station

Business Brief

New Orleans Contractors Put on Probation

2007 BICSI Winter Conference

Technology for Construction

IESNA Annual Conference

Channel Your Energy into Knowledge and Growth

Archived Conferences Available for On-Demand Viewing


Sponsored Q&A Partners
A panel of professionals answers your questions on a variety of topics
Tony Locker Tony Locker
Resistance Grounding

Frank Kiffin-
Bruce & Brian
Larsen
Standby
Power Generation

View Q&A


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    Editor's Note
    2007 EC&M Product of the Year
    Call for Entries

    The EC&M Product of the Year Competition was established in 2000 to honor excellence in new product development in the electrical industry. Now in its seventh year, the prestigious awards program showcases the most innovative products of the past year and recognizes the talent and commitment of the people involved with every aspect of development, from concept through sales. EC&M is proud to bestow these awards on inventive products that ensure electrical professionals are able to do their jobs more efficiently and effectively.

    Entering your new products into EC&M's Product of the Year competition will provide tremendous exposure for your products and your company. In addition to identifying yourself as a leader in the electrical market, the Product of the Year competition provides repeated exposure in the industry.

    If your products were or will be introduced to the market between Jan. 1, 2006 and Dec. 31, 2006, they are eligible for the 2007 EC&M Product of the Year competition. You may download a pdf of the official call for entries from our Web site or visit the 2007 Product of the Year Award Web site.



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    The Model 8220 is a single-phase AC/DC power meter with an electro-luminescent, backlit digital display. It is designed for technicians, maintenance engineers, and electrical contractors and educators. It measures all electrical parameters including (V, A, W, VAR, harmonics, etc.). It is ideal for and for tracking disturbances. www.aemc.com


    Around the Circuit
    Construction Spending Decreases
    in October

    "Construction spending lost momentum in October," says Ken Simonson, chief economist for Washington, D.C.-based The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). Simonson's comment was in reaction to the Dec. 1 report from the Census Bureau that showed the value of construction put in place in October totaled $1.178 trillion at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, down 1% from the downwardly revised September total. "Nonresidential spending has been flat for the past two months after growing strongly for more than a year," Simonson says. "Meanwhile, residential construction spending shrank again in October by 1.9%, bringing the cumulative decline to 10% since peaking last March.

    Although the overall market is down, the report cited several strong markets in the non-residential sector. Hotels and resorts grew 8% in October, up 70% from its October 2005 level. The multi-retail category, covering shopping centers and malls and general merchandise stores, increased 1.3% in October, up 36% percent compared to October 2005. Private electric power construction was up 3.3% for the month and 26% year-to-year. Private hospital construction gained 0.5% and 23% respectively. However, private non-residential construction overall dropped 0.7% in October 2006, brought down by declines of 3.1% in manufacturing, 1.6% in office, and 1.4% in commercial construction.

    U.S. Pharmaceutical-Biotech Industry Expects 30% Growth in 2007 for New Construction
    Predicting a 30% increase over 2006, the pharmaceutical-biotech industry expects 80 new facilities -- a $3.7 billion total investment value -- to complete construction over the next 12 months, says Sugar Land, Texas-based Industrial Info Resources. Projects include the construction of manufacturing plants, research laboratories, and drug distribution centers. The Mid-Atlantic region currently leads the nation in the number of new sites with 11 plants expected to be finished next year.

    Included in that total is Coral Gables, Fla.-based Stiefel Laboratories' $50 million research institute being built in Durham, N.C. In a three-way tie for second place, the Great Lakes, Midwest, and West Coast regions are forecast to finish construction on 10 new sites each. Skokie Technology Innovation Complex, being developed by Forest City Enterprises on the 46-acre former Pfizer site in Skokie, Ill., is estimated at $150 million. Montvale, N.J.-based Berlex is building a $70-million manufacturing plant in Lynnwood, Wash. Omaha, Neb.-based MVP Laboratories is investing $2.5 million to relocate manufacturing and R&D to a two-building site in Omaha.

    Oregon Solar Industry Needs
    Qualified Installers

    A combination of state energy tax credits, federal tax incentives, and incentives offered by Energy Trust of Oregon has increased interest in solar electrical and heating systems in Oregon, but the number of qualified installers hasn't caught up to demand. In 2001, an Oregon Senate bill created the limited renewable energy technician (LRT) license, a specialty electric license that lets licensees install solar electric, wind turbines, micro-hydro, and fuel cell systems up to 25kW. Since the license was created, only 16 LRTs -- 15 of which are currently active -- have been registered. Critics of the program blame apprenticeship rules for small number of qualified installers. The state's Bureau of Labor and Industries ruled apprentices must work with journeymen one-on-one, instead of two or three apprentices per journeyman. The small number of LRT license holders means the program is limited to 15 apprentices per year.

    The state's renewable energy programs have also had difficulty attracting licensed electricians. Although holders of LRT licenses perform solely small renewable work, holders of higher-level licenses, such as electrical contractors or journeymen, can install photovoltaic systems. "I'm not seeing a high demand on classes or on the product," says John Killin, executive director of Independent Electrical Contractors of Oregon. "Photovoltaics are still so expensive that they don't pay off yet. Everybody's interested, but the finances just don't compute for everybody."

    City Questions Power Company's Subcontractor Policy
    Subcontractors for Florida Power & Light were recently barred from laying wires and conduit in Port St. Lucie, Fla., after a city licensing investigator discovered the underground excavators weren't licensed to perform electrical work. Although city officials later allowed the subcontractors to resume work, Building Official Joe Salema is seeking an opinion from the Florida Attorney General's Office and the electrical contractors' board about whether an exemption in state law allows the arrangement, which extends a company's electrical license to its workforce. The definition of "workforce" is the subject of disagreement between the city and FPL.

    FPL employees install overhead wires, and while not all are licensed electricians, they operate under FPL's electrical contracting license, says Lou Zorzi, major account manager for FPL, who says an adverse ruling from state officials would have enormous repercussions on the way FPL and other utilities statewide do business. If the state determines that underground contractors can no longer install wiring, FPL will have to hire different companies or demand that the current ones obtain electrical licenses.


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    Project Watch
    Air Force Base Requires Distributed Common Ground Station
    Langley Air Force Base in Virginia is requesting bids for a distributed common ground station. The project will require construction of a 120,000-square-foot sensitive compartmented information facility (SCIF)/operational areas and a 20,000-square-foot maintenance/storage building, which will include an electrical distribution system served from two 5000A main disconnects. Switchgear will provide 480/277V three-phase, four-wire service backed up with several 500kVA UPS and 1750kW generator systems. Construction for this project is estimated at $45 million. Receipt date for proposals is Jan. 17. Information on registration and annual confirmation requirements may be obtained by calling (888) 227-2423.


    ADVERTISEMENT
    New Flip Clip from Cooper B-Line
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    Web Exclusives
    Business Brief
    Mark Construction, Longwood, Fla., recently selected the commercial division of Winter Park, Fla.-based Palmer Electric to provide electrical contracting for a new elementary school for Lake County Schools, headquartered in Tavares, Fla. Dubbed Elementary School "H", the prototypical design by SchenkelShultz is scheduled for completion in July 2007 for the upcoming school year. The two-story, 121,875-square-foot facility is located on Grassy Lake Road in Clermont, Fla. Maitland, Fla.-based Matern Professional Engineering, P.A. is the electrical engineering firm of record for this project.

    For more Business Briefs, visit the EC&M Web site.


    ADVERTISEMENT
    ClearTrax range-taking connectors feature easy lay-in installation of aluminum or copper conductors and accommodate a wire range of 1000MCM - 6. Benefits are a faster and safer connection resulting from reduced cable manipulation during installation. Visit our Web site at www.ilsco.com for additional product information.

    Eye on Safety
    New Orleans Contractors Put
    on Probation

    In January, the New Orleans City Council adopted an ordinance suspending the requirement that electrical work at residences must undergo a city inspection before power is restored. The ordinance, which expires July 31, allows a homeowner and contractor to sign an affidavit and submit it to the city so that Entergy New Orleans could turn on the power. However, the city's Department of Safety & Permits has recently identified 31 contractors who must have their work inspected and can no longer submit affidavits, citing "life-threatening problems" in work done by contractors, such as not replacing rusted or corroded electrical panels. Eleven of the contractors are on suspension and cannot file for permits until they fix problems discovered by inspectors. The remaining 20 are on probation. Homeowners who signed affidavits share liability. The department says that licensed contractors are not the problem, but those contractors are not inspecting the work of their subcontractors.

    In their defense, electricians say that the city has not adequately informed them of its expectations. "They should have notified all contractors as to what's expected," says Jessie Carr, owner of Carr Electric in Metairie. Carr says he does not know why he's on the list. Another electrician on the list, Cleveland Francois, owner of Powerhouse Electric, New Orleans, isn't allowed to do new electrical work in Orleans Parish until inspectors review up to 130 homes his company worked on. The city put his license on hold for not closing in walls and floors. Francois says he left the walls and floors exposed because some homeowners living in their cars were ready to get back into their homes. The Department of Safety and Permits proposes that a possible solution to the problem would be to allow for fines and performance bonds in the ordinance.

    Shows and Events
    2007 BICSI Winter Conference
    The 2007 BICSI Winter Conference will be held from Jan. 22-25 in Orlando, Fla. In addition to the conference's educational general sessions on powering and grounding electronic equipment, wireless AV, and grounding methods, the event features an awards banquet, design and installation challenges, and RCDD, NTS Specialty, OSP Specialty, and WD Specialty exams. For more information and to register, visit BICSI's Web site.


    Technology for Construction
    The World of Concrete 2007 Technology for Construction seminars are scheduled for Jan. 22-25 in Las Vegas. Topics for the 90-minute sessions include financial reporting and accounting, automating time and attendance, increasing profit through management software, and Internet marketing. For more information, visit the World of Concrete Web site.


    IESNA Annual Conference
    The Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA) presents its annual conference from Jan. 28-30 in Phoenix. This year's event includes a keynote address by Marad R. Atif, Ph.D., director, Indoor Environment Research Program, Institute for Research in Construction, National Research Council, Canada. Other presentations include discussions on fixture design, lighting education, wireless communication, and lighting and mental health. For more information, download a pdf of the conference brochure on the IESNA Web site.


    Channel Your Energy into Knowledge and Growth
    Are you a residential, industrial, commercial, or institutional electrical contractor? Do you specify equipment or review construction plans? Do you maintain electrical systems in a facility? If you answered "yes" to any of these questions then you have to make plans to attend the Electric West conference program next year in Long Beach, Calif., which offers the information you need to stay on top of the electrical game. Check out this event's 40+ seminars and make plans to meet 200+ leading suppliers. Or register now.



    Archived Conferences Available for On-Demand Viewing
    Check out this list of gems, all free of charge in the "On-Demand Library and Viewing Room" across from Conference Room A within EC&M's E-tradeshow:

    • Preparing a Claim: Bolstering Your Case Through Good Project Management
    • Harmonics: Causes, Symptoms, and Remediation Techniques
    • Power Outages: Preventive Electrical Designs and Product Solutions
    • Electrical Power Engineering: Industry Shortcomings and Possible Solutions
    • MV Cable Basics: Construction, Testing, Ground Fault Coordination
    • Ten Trends That Will Shock the Electrical Market
    • Good Project Management: Enhancing the Bottom Line
    • Insulation Resistance Testing
    • Short Term, Long Term Energy Storage Methods for Standby Power Systems
    • 2007 Construction Market Forecast

    Before accessing the archives, make sure you visit the 2006 EC&M e-TradeShow, a year-long virtual business event. In addition to attending live activities at conference sessions scheduled throughout the year, you can meet with exhibitors in virtual exhibit halls. Free access and all the information you need are available at http://ecmweb.com/etradeshow/.


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