Topcon Technology Roadshow Hits Northern Illinois

As part of a 24-stop North American tour, the Topcon Technology Roadshow visited Wilmington, Ill., located just south of Joliet—approximately 55 miles from Chicago. The two-day visit—June 25th and 26th—was held on the grounds of the IUOE Local 150 Union Training Center and was hosted by Positioning Solutions Company, Carol Stream, Ill., an authorized Topcon dealer.

6L4A2525ext copy 2“It was an awesome opportunity for construction and survey customers to see everything in one spot,” said Ed McCaffery, marketing director with Positioning Solutions Company. “From my observations and interactions, it was clear to me that contractors were surprised by the breath of the offering, enjoyed the hands-on exhibits both in the trailer and on the grounds, and they were intrigued with some of the new technologies that were demonstrated.”

Outdoor-Presentation-Areas_Overview copyThe Technology Roadshow displays and demonstrations covered the full range of machine automation, Topcon Enterprise Solutions, BIM and 3D layout, Sitelink3D site management, GNSS and robotics, and scanning and mapping. Contractors were able to maximize their time by scheduling their visit at a convenient time and choosing which displays or demos were of interest.

Justin Smith, survey/machine control manager with K-Five Construction Corporation, Lemont, Ill., liked the opportunity to see engineers and product reps that he’s worked with. “I was able to talk directly with them and get answers to my questions and learn better ways to take advantage of the technology I have.”

Interior Presentation Areas-Overview copyThe 53-foot mobile solutions center truck showcases the latest technology for the construction, survey, civil engineering, architecture, and design industries. The information provided is designed to help contractors learn:

  • The latest tools and technologies available for the job site and office.
  • The impact of field computer technology on project data and administration.
  • The latest software technologies and the ability to improve business productivity.
  • Total job site solutions to fit any size business.

6L4A2622int copy 2“My area of knowledge and expertise is in machine control, so it was nice to have the opportunity to learn the intricacies of survey systems,” stated Dan Breunig, mechanical supervisor with The Lane Construction Corporation, Shorewood, Ill. “The Technology Roadshow was beneficial to me because I had access to Topcon experts and was able to meet other contractors.”

6L4A3154 copy 2During the two-day stop, there were contractors from Illinois and southern Wisconsin.

“All in attendance were decision-makers and key personnel with keen interest in getting as much as they could out of their time there,” McCaffery stated. “Everything is geared toward helping the contractor understand the state of our ever-changing industry and what technologies they should consider adopting to stay competitive. After all, that’s what it’s all about!”

Wells Fargo Reports: Housing Starts Hit an Air Pocket Somewhere in the South

Wells_Fargo_Securities_logoHousing starts plunged 9.3 percent in June, following a downward revision to the previous month’s data. June’s drop was primarily concentrated in the South where overall starts plummeted 29.6 percent.

Housing Starts Hit An Air Pocket Somewhere in the SouthHousing starts came in much weaker than our below-consensus forecast, and activity for May was revised down as well. While residential construction activity has clearly been disappointing, we believe the latest numbers overstate the extent of the weakness.

Housing starts rose in every region of the country except the critically important South, where they plunged 29.6 percent. The drop in the South seems odd given the region’s strong economic performance. Job and income growth have generally been robust in the South. Population growth has also increased, particularly in the region’s major markets such as Texas, Florida, Atlanta, Nashville and the Carolinas. The NAHB Homebuilders’ Survey did not detect any weakness in the South during the past few months, posting a 5-point rise in June and tacking on another 1-point rise in July. The decline in housing starts in the South is also out of proportion relative to permits, which have declined in recent months but were nearly 23.5 percent higher than starts in June. The large gap between permits and starts suggests that something is odd in the June housing starts data for the South, and that we should see a rebound in July.

Housing Starts Hit An Air Pocket Somewhere in the SouthExcluding the South, which typically accounts for half of new home construction, housing starts actually rose 14.6 percent in June. Starts increased 28.1 percent in the Midwest, 14.1 percent in the Northeast and 2.6 percent in the West. Single-family starts were mixed, however, falling 3.7 percent in the Northeast, while rising 10.5 percent in the Midwest and 3.2 percent in the West.

Even with June’s disappointing figures, overall housing starts and single-family housing starts through the first six months of 2014 are running slightly ahead of their year-ago pace. That is a sore consolation considering the disappointing housing activity in 2013. This year’s numbers, however, were held back by the harsh winter weather. The rebound from that period may have wreaked havoc with the seasonally-adjusted data. The greater problem for housing moving forward is lackluster demand for new single-family homes and shortages of lots, materials and labor in many of the strongest markets. The apartment market also appears close to topping out, with vacancy rates beginning to inch up and a multitude of projects on track to be completed in coming years. Permits for new multifamily projects fell 14.9 percent in June, following a 15.6-point plunge in May.

Housing Starts Hit An Air Pocket Somewhere in the SouthWhile it is hard to ignore June’s weak housing starts data, homebuilders do appear to be a bit more optimistic. The NAHB survey came in stronger than expected in July and builders reported both stronger current and future sales and increased buyer traffic. June’s drop in starts strikes us as odd and we expect a rebound in coming months.

Source: NAHB, U.S. Department of Commerce and Wells Fargo Securities, LLC

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