Latest Articles in Industry Watch

  • Long-range forecaster James Madden of Exacta Weather, a non-profit worldwide team of meteorologists, states that there is “a potentially record breaking U.S. winter for 2011-2012, with extremely cold temperatures and exceptional levels of snow." So, given that wallets and maxed-out credit cards have already been taking severe hits at the gas pump and grocery store, it would be wise to... more »
  • The American Society of Civil Engineers and the Structural Engineering Institute have updated ASCE/SEI 7, Minimum Design Loads for Buildings and Other Structures–the go-to technical reference for assigning maximum wind speeds to various U.S. localities and thus for determining fenestration design wind load and performance grade (PG) when using the North American Fenestration Standard. ASCE... more »
  • Though the overall economy has been officially out of recession for two years, it grew at an anemic 1.8 percent annual rate in the first quarter, down from 3.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010; and all segments are not recovering equally. The stars are aligned for a housing recovery, but economic clouds are hindering navigation. Yet, it remains a question of when, not if. “The spring... more »
  • Given the state of the economy in general and the housing construction industry in particular, the high-ticket preferences that transformed living spaces during the housing boom appear to be giving way to more practical, dollar-conscious ones. The 2015 HomeResults of the National Association of Home Builders’s “The New Home 2015” survey of builders, published in December 2010,... more »
  • It may not be for the best of reasons, but the storm clouds over the housing market may have a silver lining in the form of a brighter outlook for home remodeling and window replacement. Researchers surmise that, in the context of the depressed number of new housing starts, a significant increase in remodeling activity is reflecting a shift toward reinvesting in existing homes over building new... more »
  • Last May, a three-year-old boy fell from a third-story window at a Connecticut apartment after pushing out a screen. The very next day in a nearby town a two-year-old boy fell from a third-floor apartment window after a screen became dislodged. Both toddlers died. Also last May, a three-year-old Petaluma, Calif., boy was critically injured when falling from a second-story window after the screen... more »
  • Looking toward 2011, we observe an economy rife with mixed signals, but with a difference. Most of the mixed signals are in terms of how big and how fast the recovery will be – not whether further declines of varying depth are in the offing. McGraw-Hill Construction expects the economy to grow at a lackluster annual rate of 2.5 percent, but avoiding another recession. Among the mixed... more »
  • A large portion of our discussions about the industry in the recent past have had an economic component to them, as the recession has made budgets tighter and staffs thinner. Belt-tightening has caused a big slowdown in home starts and in construction projects which has lowered the demand for building products. This downturn has been difficult for manufacturers, but at the same time been good... more »
  • Prompted in part by concerns raised over excessive formaldehyde emissions within trailers supplied by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to Katrina-displaced New Orleans residents, Washington has moved to regulate formaldehyde content in wood composite products. A better understanding of carcinogenic properties has also added fuel to the regulatory fires. Because this essentially extends an... more »
  • Although admittedly viewed through a rather hazy crystal ball, the national economy and the future of our industry can be projected with cautious optimism, so long as we are prepared to accept a “two steps forward, one step back” type of progress. At the midpoint of 2010, a look at the dashboard is encouraging: After shrinking 2.4 percent in 2009 (the most since 1946), gross domestic... more »