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July 15, 2009 A Penton Media Publication Vol. VIII, No. 13



CONTENTS
Retrofit Vs. New Construction

ABI Shows No Significant Improvement in Business Conditions

Industrial Production Declines in May

Survey Reveals 72% of Contractors Specify LED Lighting for Building Projects

NEMA Promotes Research as Opportunity for Lighting Renovation

911 Call Center Electrical Construction in Georgia

Electrical Upgrade in California

Business Brief

Proposal for High-Speed Chicago/St. Louis Rail Line Unveiled

U.K. Construction Market Shows Sharp Declines

Secretary Solis Addresses American Society of Safety Engineers

IEEE PES/IAS Conference on Sustainable Alternative Energy


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    Editor's Note
    Retrofit Vs. New Construction
    With projects being cancelled or put on hold at an alarming rate, where do design and construction firms turn? How about the retrofit market? Has your firm recently transformed a building from one use to another, such as turning an indoor mall space into a police station; a factory with an assembly line into a warehouse space; or a small office building into a data center? For the September issue, we'd like to discuss what challenges this type of project presents and how it differs from new construction. If you have a conversion story you'd like to share, please contact Staff Writer Beck Ireland by phone at (913) 967-1806 or e-mail at beck.ireland@penton.com.


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    Around the Circuit
    ABI Shows No Significant Improvement in Business Conditions
    There has been a recent moderation in the downturn in design services billings, but the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) reveals that an economic recovery has stalled. As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate nine- to 12-month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending. The American Institute of Architects (AIA), Washington, D.C., reported the May ABI rating was 42.9, nearly identical to the 42.8 mark in April. This score still indicates an overall decline in demand for design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry score was 55.2, the third straight month with a score in the mid-50s.

    To read more on this story, visit EC&M's Web site.


    Industrial Production Declines in May
    Industrial production in manufacturing fell 1.0% in May, seasonally adjusted, after falling 0.6% in April, according to the most current Federal Reserve Statistical Release for Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization. In a year-to-year comparison, manufacturing output was down 15%. In addition, capacity utilization in manufacturing decreased 0.6% from May to April, falling from the long-term average of 79.6% to 65% in May.

    To read more on this story, visit EC&M's Web site.


    Survey Reveals 72% of Contractors Specify LED Lighting for Building Projects
    A recent survey of electrical and lighting contractors demonstrates their importance in the specifying and recommendation of light-emitting diode (LED) lighting products for building projects. According to the survey respondents, contractors are involved in recommending LED lighting more than 70% of the time. Yet, a majority of respondents said they would be interested in receiving more training on product installation, benefits, and layout, showing that despite their involvement in the industry, many contractors still desire LED education. Contractors also indicated that they could sell more effectively if LED lighting manufacturers provided samples, sales brochures, ROI calculations, product application guides for indoor and outdoor usage, comparative pricing, and information regarding tax incentives and rebates.

    The survey conducted by Energy Smart Marketers, a joint effort between Channel Marketing Group and BtB Marketing Communications, both based in Raleigh, N.C., demonstrates the value of LED manufacturers reaching out to electrical contractors through marketing efforts.

    To read more on this story, visit EC&M's Web site.


    NEMA Promotes Research as Opportunity for Lighting Renovation
    NEMA, Rossyln, Va., has revealed the results of new market research that provides a clear picture of America’s need for information about energy and cost savings through modern lighting systems. The research focused on the owners and operators of commercial, industrial, institutional, and health care buildings. Findings indicate that 41% of building owners plan to upgrade lighting products and systems within the next year, primarily to save money and energy (78%) and lower maintenance costs (40%).

    To read more on this story, visit EC&M's Web site.


    Project Watch
    911 Call Center Electrical Construction in Georgia
    The Gilmer County, Ga., Board of Commissioners, is seeking competitive bids from licensed electrical contractors for all work associated with the electrical trades for the Gilmer County 911 Emergency Center. Bids are due by 2 p.m. on July 31. A pre-bid meeting will be held at 2 p.m. on July 17. For more information, visit the Gilmer County Web site and scroll down.


    Electrical Upgrade in California
    The Bloomington Recreation and Park District is soliciting bids for its electrical upgrade project at Kessler Park. Scope of work includes: demolition, removal and disposal of existing electrical service and panels; removal of existing poles, guy cabling, and other overhead wiring; supply and installation of new underground main electrical service (480/277V, 3-phase, 4-wire), control center, panels, switchboard, transformers (dry type, single-phase, 120/240V), grounding, all conduit, pull boxes, and wiring; installation of Edison-required main transformer pad and bollards; and coordination with Edison for service disconnection and re-connection of new service. Bids are due at 2 p.m. on July 30. A mandatory pre-bid meeting will be held at 10 a.m. on July 21. For more information, visit the County of San Bernardino, Calif., Web site.


    Web Exclusives
    Business Brief
    The Shaw Group, Baton Rouge, La., recently announced Atlantic Contingency Constructors (ACC), Norfolk, Va., has been awarded four task orders under a U.S. Navy Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (ID/IQ) contract for global contingency construction awarded in 2006. ACC is a joint venture between Shaw’s Environmental & Infrastructure Group and AECOM Government Services, Los Angeles. The work performed under the task orders will be for the improvement, design, and construction of sustainable energy systems at Navy installations in the District of Columbia, Virginia, Maryland, Florida, Mississippi, and Texas.

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


    Proposal for High-Speed Chicago/St. Louis Rail Line Unveiled
    Chicago-based Midwest High Speed Rail Association (MHSRA) and local leaders recently proposed a $12 billion, 220-mph high-speed rail line that would cut the ride between Chicago and St. Louis to a little more than 2 hr. The ultrafast electric-powered service would also serve Kankakee, Champaign-Urbana, Decatur, and Springfield, and would complement new 110-mph lines already proposed for other parts of Illinois and the Midwest.

    For more on this proposal, visit the EC&M Web site.


    U.K. Construction Market Shows Sharp Declines
    According to the latest forecast from the Construction Products Association, a London-based group representing the manufacturers and suppliers of construction products, components, and fixtures in the United Kingdom (U.K.), the outlook for construction has deteriorated sharply over the last three months. Unfortunately, based on the most recent figures, it doesn’t appear a short-term recovery is in the market’s future. Output is expected to fall by a record 16% in 2009, which is worse than the 12% drop projected in the April forecast. Prospects for 2010 also are expected to decline with the association now forecasting an additional 5% decrease compared to its previous forecast, which projected a fall of 3.4%.

    For more on the decline in U.K. construction, visit the EC&M Web site.


    Eye on Safety
    Secretary Solis Addresses American Society of Safety Engineers
    In an address to about 4,000 occupational safety, health, and environmental professionals at the opening of the Des Plaines, Ill.-based American Society of Safety Engineers' three-day conference in San Antonio, U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis said they are ready to get to work to protect workers and thanked attendees for all that they do to ensure worker safety.

    Solis also announced that the DOL's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will launch a major construction safety initiative in Texas to prevent workplace fatalities and injuries. The department noted that Texas has the highest rate of on-the-job fatalities than any other state. In 2008, There were 67 fatalities in 2008 and have been 33 fatalities so far in 2009. Solis also noted that in 2007 and 2008 more than 3,000 inspections were conducted by OSHA in the southeastern states.


    Shows & Events
    IEEE PES/IAS Conference on Sustainable Alternative Energy
    The IEEE PES/IAS Conference on Sustainable Alternative Energy is scheduled for September 28-30 in Valencia, Spain. The scope of the conference will encompass topics such as alternative energy sources and conversion methods, economical and technical aspects of distributed generation, operation aspects of alternative energy sources in the distribution system, interactive energy-web for sustainable energy conversion systems, and the customer's role in the new energy market, including demand-side response and realtime tariff. Early bird registration ends July 20. For more information and to register, visit the conference Web site.

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