MCA view on treated lumber, metal components

The Metal Construction Association has issued a white paper on the use of preservative treated lumber with metal roofing and wall products.

Titled “Metal Roof and Wall Panel Components in Contact with Preservative-Treated Lumber,“ the paper was drafted in opposition to potential changes in a Florida building code that proposed requiring preservative treated lumber for uses that include batten structures commonly used with metal shingle products.

According to Scott Kriner, technical director for the MCA, the paper also serves as an education tool.

“When new preservative treated lumber began to take the place of CCA (chromated copper arsenate) treated lumber, the metal construction industry recognized a need to educate its customers about the potential corrosion problems associated with using this lumber with certain types of fasteners and metals commonly chosen for wall or roof systems. With this paper, MCA has stated its position on this issue, which is similar to that of other industry associations,” he said.

The MCA position is aligned with other industry groups, including the National Roofing Contractors Association, the National Association of Home Builders, and the Steel Deck Institute.

Their positions concur that corrosion can occur when copper-containing preservative lumber comes in contact with galvanized steel, Galvalume sheet, and aluminum. They also have similar recommendations for fastener selection when using preservative treated lumber.
The paper is available for download from the MCA Web site at www.metalconstruction.org/pubs/pdf/PreservativeTreatedLumber_072808.pdf.

Construction academy focuses on women in leadership positions

NCCER and the National Association of Women in Construction’s second annual Women’s Leadership Academy will be held October 25-28 at Clemson University, Clemson, S.C.

The academy consists of three days of intense training sessions covering such topics as leadership styles, negotiating techniques, time management, productivity and conflict resolution. Participants also receive lasting network opportunities by sharing their experiences with peers from around the nation.

Tuition is $1295 and includes lodging, all meals, course materials, transportation and activities. Participants will receive continuing education units from Clemson University and may receive industry-recognized credentials from NCCER’s National Registry.

Six-month forecast: Distress expected to increase

More economic distress is expected in the next six months for the $700 billion U.S. homebuilding industry. Particularly at risk are small- to medium-sized builders, according to a mid-September forecast by Grant Thornton Corporate Advisory and Restructuring Services. National builders will continue to acquire sizeable local and regional builders, and the latter will consolidate to make them more attractive acquisition targets.

According to a Grant Thornton analysis, all major homebuilders have faced declines in revenue and margins, and the stock prices of publicly traded building companies have fallen by more than 60 percent over last year.

Ken Malek, of Grant Thornton’s CARS practice, says if one of the top 10 homebuilders goes into bankruptcy, the company will most likely reorganize under a debt-for-equity swap, meaning lenders will own the business once it comes out of bankruptcy. Whether the company will survive will be driven by its size before filing.

“Lenders don’t want to sell at the bottom of the market. As long as the lender isn’t under regulatory pressure, it would be better to foreclose and leave the operating structure in place,” said John Bittner, partner at Grant Thornton.

To combat issues facing the industry and remain stable, many homebuilders are focusing on providing credit to consumers, reducing inventory by marking prices to market value, and reducing development or shelving projects altogether.

“From a more macro viewpoint, the decline in the housing market is more protracted than most anticipated,” said Bittner.

Drug-Free Work Week calls attention to testing

The U.S. Department of Labor says this year’s national Drug-Free Work Week is October 20 through 26. The week’s purpose is education about the importance of being drug-free as an essential component of a safe and healthful workplace.

According to researchers at University at Buffalo’s Research Institute on Addictions, an estimated 14.1 percent (17.7 million) of working adults in the United States used illicit drugs in the previous year, with an estimated 3.1 percent (3.9 million) actually doing so before reporting to work or during working hours.

Employers and employees in all industries can learn more about how to participate in Drug-Free Work Week by visiting the department’s Drug-Free Work Week web site at www.dol.gov/drugfreeworkweek. n

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