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No Money, No Project
Posted by MSC on November 4, 2008 at 11:31 AM.

In its Nonresidential Construction Index (NRCI) for third quarter 2008, construction management consulting firm FMI reported that contractors were experiencing increasing project delays and cancellations due to owner financing difficulties. Sixty-five percent of construction industry executives serving as panelists for the survey said they were already seeing these problems. Panelists estimated project delays were running at 17% on average or an average of 2.2 times what they would consider a normal rate; cancellations due to owner financing problems were running at 9.9% on average, 2.5 times what panelists estimated as a normal rate.


In the end it is simple, explained one panelist. If owners don’t have a way to finance the projects they plan to build, contractors don’t have work. Those with backlogs made up of mostly public work have yet to experience serious delays and cancellations due to financing issues. Some contractors work with owners who can finance projects without going to the financial markets for funds. However, those are becoming the exception. Most contractors are working with owners who rely on financing assistance from the banking sector. Owners may be delaying projects because their customers are delaying purchasing decisions.


While contractors are waiting on the economic traffic to clear, FMI expects there will be some challenging consequences. For instance, there will be greater competition looking for new markets. More competition leads to lower profit margins or worse, taking projects at a projected loss just to keep backlogs full and crews working. Project delays can also mean delayed payments and a higher risk of bankruptcies.


According to another panelist, “While financing and credit issues are not affecting our business today, we anticipate that these issues will impact our business over the next 12 to 18 months. Credit and financing issues will slow the overall economy, and this slowing will adversely impact our education and not-for-profit work, especially as fundraising efforts are curtailed for some period of time.”

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SDI’s New Mill Gets Rolling
Posted by MSC on November 4, 2008 at 11:30 AM.

Structural steel producer Steel Dynamics, Inc. (SDI), based in Ft. Wayne, Ind., has added a new wide-flange beam mill to its Columbia City, Ind. location. The new mill has been running since late August, producing 10´53∕4 beams on a five-day, around-the-clock schedule.


“Many service centers expressed a need for a wider product capability or range of products from us, and thus we made the decision to add a second rolling mill,” said Michael Busse, sales and marketing manager for SDI’s Columbia City Structural and Rail Division. The mill’s first shipment was approximately 20 tons of wide-flange, to Chicago-area service center Sugar Steel.


The mill is still in the commissioning stage, and its range of capability will be 3- to 14-in. wide-flange. “We’re fine-tuning each size,” Busse said. He also noted that the capacity of the new mill will depend on SDI’s product mix, and the market demand will determine what and how much the mill will produce.

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FMA Announces New Certification Program
Posted by MSC on November 3, 2008 at 5:19 PM.

The Fabricators and Manufacturers Association, International (FMA) has announced a new certification program for precision sheet metal operators for testing and validating their skills in sheet metal forming and fabricating. While welders in the industry have had certification programs available to them for proving their knowledge and expertise, the new Precision Sheet Metal Operator (PSMO) Level I Certification is the first to provide a comprehensive exam in the areas of shearing, sawing, press brake, turret punch press, laser cutting, and mechanical finishing.


The exam fee is $245 for FMA members and $345 for nonmembers. As a bonus, those who pass the exam will receive a one-year Basic (individual) membership in FMA. A special student rate of $95 is available, which includes a free one-year FMA Student membership. The certification is valid for three years. For more information, visit

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Wanted: Green Building Experts and Educators
Posted by MSC on November 3, 2008 at 5:18 PM.

The U.S. Green Building Council has issued an ongoing call for USGBC members interested in joining the team that provides peer review of the courses and content that make up the Education Provider Program. Green building subject matter experts and educators are sought for this team.


Given the exponential growth in the green building market, there is a proportionate demand for top-quality education opportunities to support that growth. USGBC facilitates access to this education through Greenbuild365 (, a new online education portal, which includes a catalog of courses offered by USGBC and education providers. In addition to courses, the program has launched a review process for conferences and one-time events, along with a new fee structure.

Professionals seeking to go beyond LEED and enrich their knowledge of green building theories, techniques, and business trends want to know that the content is accurate, timely, and worth their time—and reviewers provide this important oversight.


Not only do reviewers add value to the program, they also receive benefits that enhance their own professional expertise. They are trained in the basics of adult education, the review process, and criteria, and this training can be used to enhance their own courses. In addition, reviewers are eligible for a free review of one of their own courses annually after completing 12 course reviews. A current list of reviewers is listed on the program’s web page.


For more information about the Education Provider Program, visit


And to learn about specific reviewer qualifications, visit

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People and Firms
Posted by MSC on November 3, 2008 at 5:16 PM.

The American Society of Civil Engineers recently named 11 exemplary civil engineers as distinguished members. The active roster of distinguished members is comprised of only 193 of ASCE’s more than 140,000 members worldwide. The new members are:


  • Retired Maj. Gen. Joseph A. Ahearn, P.E., Dist.M.ASCE, NAC, senior executive with CH2M HILL in Denver. 
  • George W. Black Jr., P.E., Dist.M.ASCE, senior civil engineer and national resource specialist with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).
  • Izzat M. Idriss, Ph.D., P.E., Dist.M.ASCE, NAE, professor emeritus at the University of California, Davis.
  • Raymond E. Levitt, Ph.D., Dist.M.ASCE, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University.
  • Jon Magnusson, P.E., S.E., (AISC Member), Dist.M.ASCE, chairman and CEO of Magnusson and Klemencic Associates (MKA) in Seattle and Chicago.
  • James D. Murff, Ph.D., P.E., Dist.M.ASCE, industry consultant and visiting professor at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas.
  • Craig N. Musselman, P.E., Dist.M.ASCE, president of Portsmouth, N.H.-based CMA Engineers.
  • Henry Petroski, Ph.D., P.E., Dist.M.ASCE, NAE, professor at Duke University.
  • Cranston R. “Chan” Rogers, P.E., Dist.M.ASCE, a U.S. Army Engineer Reserve colonel.
  • Jerry R. Rogers, Ph.D., P.E., D.WRE, Dist.M.ASCE, a professor at the University of Houston.
  • C. Michael Walton, Ph.D., P.E., Dist.M.ASCE, NAE, professor of civil engineering at the University of Texas at Austin.

    Thornton Tomasetti

has opened its third West Coast office, in San Francisco. The new location is headed by principal John Abruzzo.

In other Thornton Tomasetti news, the National Building Museum presented the 2008 Henry C. Turner Prize for Innovation in Construction Technology to Charles H. Thornton, Ph.D., P.E., the firm’s co-founder, for his work in founding the ACE Mentor Program, which introduces high school students to careers in the building arts and sciences.

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A Year of ConsensusDOCS
Posted by MSC on November 3, 2008 at 5:14 PM.

September 28 marked the one-year anniversary of ConsensusDOCS. Today, more than 3,000 unique office locations with upwards of 50 people per location are currently using ConsensusDOCS on projects. Moreover, there is a steady steam of 75 to 100 users joining the program each month, according to ConsensusDOCS organizers.


In addition to producing a comprehensive library of contracts that address all project delivery methods, ConsensusDOCS introduced the first standard tri-party or integrated project delivery contract. In addition, this past summer it added the ConsensusDOCS 301 BIM Addendum, the first and only standard document to comprehensively address the legal ramifications of using building information modeling (BIM).


Originally drafted and endorsed by 20 leading construction organizations, ConsensusDOCS has added the American Wall and Ceiling Institute (AWCI) and the National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED), as well as the endorsement of the Construction Management Association of America (CMAA), for the ConsensusDOCS 301 BIM Addendum. In addition, AISC and the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) actively contributed to the addendum.


The industry has conducted hundreds of educational seminars and sessions on the documents, including more than 70 in-person education seminars and courses throughout the country and 10 national webinars.

“Interest and usage in ConsensusDOCS has exceeded our expectations, and we project that the rate of adoption will accelerate during the next 12 months,” commented Brian Perlberg, executive director and senior counsel of ConsensusDOCS.


In celebration of its first anniversary, ConsensusDOCS has issued a Reference Kit CD available at the limited-time price of $92.87, which includes complete samples of 80+ documents and commentary. For more information, please visit

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