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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
Eye on Safety
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
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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