DEWALT Updates Construction Saw Blades

DEWALT announces a new look and improved performance for their line of Construction Saw Blades.  For the first time is in 15 years, DEWALT is updating the look of their construction saw blades, eliminating the “yellow rim”, to show off ultra-sharp, construction-grade carbide.

When combined with the blade’s wedge shoulder design, DEWALT’s Construction Blades deliver impact resistance, easy cuts, and long life. In addition, the line’s 7-1/4” blades have a new, thinplate designed for cutting that requires less force, meaning easy cuts for the user. This thinner plate is already used on DEWALT Precision Saw Blades and contributes to the premium performance of those blades.

ABC’s Construction Backlog Indicator Rebounds in 2017, Gains in All Categories During First Quarter

Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) today reported that its Construction Backlog Indicator (CBI) rose to 9 months during the first quarter of 2017, up 8.1 percent from the fourth quarter of 2016.  CBI is up by 0.4 months, or 4 percent, on a year-over-year basis.

“This was a terrific report,” said ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “For the first time in the series’ history, every category—firm size, industry and region—registered quarterly growth in CBI. Among the big winners were firms in the western United States and those with annual revenues between $30 million and $50 million per annum.

“However, some contractors have expressed concerns regarding construction conditions in 2019 or 2020,” said Basu. “These concerns are rooted in a number of factors, including the already lengthy duration of the economic recovery, evidence of saturation in certain commercial real estate markets, weak momentum in numerous public spending categories and tightening monetary conditions. However, first quarter 2017 CBI strongly suggests that rumors of the business cycle’s demise are exaggerated, at least thus far.

“Because of these and other emerging concerns, ABC’s CBI measure is arguably more important than usual,” said Basu. “Backlog is a leading indicator, and meaningful declines in CBI could potentially confirm fears that the current construction spending expansion cycle is winding to a close.”

Highlights by Region

  • Surging financial markets helped support activity in financial centers like New York, Philadelphia and Boston. Expanding cyber-security and life sciences activity supported markets as geographically diverse as Washington/Baltimore; Austin, Texas; Silicon Valley, Calif., and Seattle.
  • Though backlog is slightly lower in the South on a year-over-year basis, it continues to report the lengthiest backlog, at 9.8 months. A number of markets remain extraordinarily active with respect to commercial construction, including Atlanta and Miami and Tampa, Fla. Distribution center construction also continues to be active due to a combination of busier seaports and the ongoing online retail boom.
  • Backlog in the West was up by a remarkable 26 percent during the quarter.  Part of this was due to statistical payback after a surprisingly weak fourth quarter. However, this is also a reflection of the rapid commercial growth in Seattle, Denver, Silicon Valley, San Diego, Phoenix and other population growth hotspots.
  • Higher oil and natural gas prices helped to drive CBI higher in the Middle States. Backlog in the region expanded by a more-than-respectable 10 percent during the first quarter, and now stands at a healthy 8.5 months.  Chicago continues to be a weak spot, however, registering slow job growth relative to other major U.S. metropolitan areas in recent quarters.
  • Backlog in the Northeast rose to 8.7 months during the first quarter. Backlog is up by almost precisely half a month over the past year. The New York and Boston metropolitan areas remain particularly active.

 

Highlights by Industry 

  • Backlog in the commercial/institutional segment rose by more than 11 percent during the first quarter, and now stands at nearly 9 months. Backlog also expanded in the heavy industrial and infrastructure categories during the first three months of the year.
  • Average backlog in the heavy industrial category rose to 5.88 months, but remains well below levels registered during much of the history of the series.  Excluding the fourth quarter of 2016, this represents the lowest reading since the fourth quarter of 2014. There are many forces at work, including slowing auto sales, downward pressure on prices in a number of key manufacturing segments and soft exports.
  • Backlog in the infrastructure category expanded during the first quarter and remains above historic levels. Actual infrastructure spending has been unimpressive in many categories recently, including wastewater, water supply, dams/levies and highway/street. Available survey data hint at a bit of a pickup in activity during the quarters ahead.
  • Commercial/institutional backlog expanded to 8.9 months, matching its highest level since the third quarter of 2014. Though there are growing concerns regarding overbuilding in a number of metropolitan areas, and retail stores continue to close in large numbers, increases in office and hotel construction are helping to propel this category forward.

Highlights by Company Size

  • Backlog for each of the four company size categories increased to start the year.  Firms with revenues of $30 million to $50 million, many of which are in the commercial/institutional segments, were the clear outperformers in terms of expanding backlog during the first quarter of 2017. Backlog for this group of firms expanded by more than two months, indicating growing confidence among developers and other purchasers of construction services
  • Backlog among firms with annual revenues of less than $30 million increased by 5.3 percent during the quarter. Over the course of time, the nonresidential construction recovery has broadened enough to encompass many of the smallest firms.
  • The largest firms, those with annual revenues above $100 million and which are disproportionately represented in the infrastructure category, report the lengthiest backlog at 11.8 months. This was up by more than 9 percent during the quarter.  Backlog for this group is approaching the one-year mark, which is considered to be a sign of significant health.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CBI is a leading economic indicator that reflects the amount of construction work under contract, but not yet completed.

CBI is measured in months, with a lengthening backlog implying expanding demand for construction services. More charts and graphs are available on abc.org

Standard ASCE 7-16 Is Published

Minimum Design Loads and Associated Criteria for Buildings and Other Structures, Standards ASCE/SEI 7-16, provides the most up-to-date and coordinated loading standard for general structural design.

This new edition of ASCE 7, which supersedes ASCE/SEI 7-10, describes the means for determining design loads including dead, live, soil, flood, tsunami, snow, rain, atmospheric ice, earthquake, wind, and fire, as well as how to assess load combinations.

Significant changes in ASCE 7-16 include the following:

  • new seismic maps reflecting the updated National Seismic Hazard Maps;
  • new wind speed maps, including new Hawaii maps, that result in reduced wind speeds for much of the United States, clarified special wind study zones, and separate Risk Category IV from Category III;
  • new snow load maps incorporating regional snow data for areas that previously required site-specific case study zones;
  • updated rain duration provisions that align design requirements with International Plumbing Code provisions for drainage;
  • entirely new chapter covering tsunami design provisions, which are important to Alaska, Hawaii, California, Oregon, and Washington; and
  • new appendix provisions for fire design.

Standard provisions are accompanied by a detailed commentary with explanatory and supplementary information developed to assist users of the standard, including design practitioners, building code committees, and regulatory authorities.  Structural engineers, architects, and those engaged in preparing and administering local building codes will find the structural load requirements essential to their practice.

About the American Society of Civil Engineers

Founded in 1852, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) represents more than 145,000 members of the civil engineering profession worldwide and is America’s oldest national engineering society. ASCE’s mission is to provide essential value to our members and partners, advance civil engineering, and serve the public good.

To purchase online visit the ASCE Bookstore.

www.asce.org/pubs / www.ascelibrary.org

Quick Start Guide, an overview of the ASCE Library

ABC Comments: President Trump’s Apprenticeship Expansion Helps All Americans Build America

Associated Builders and Contractors applauded President Donald J. Trump on today’s executive action on apprenticeships, which is an important step toward building new career opportunities for all Americans.

If fully implemented, the order will allow industries to build innovative workforce development systems that address glaring skills gaps in our workforce.  With the construction industry currently facing a workforce shortage of as many as 500,000 jobs, this order is an important first step to allow more entryways into becoming a construction professional.

“Associated Builders and Contractors looks forward to working with the secretaries of labor, commerce and education to implement the executive order and develop new, innovative and effective models to train an expanding American workforce,” said ABC President and CEO Mike Bellaman.  “With our industry in need of half a million workers today and even more in the future, we need to expand upon current apprenticeship methods that have left us with a worker shortage and embrace an all-of-the-above training approach to meet the needs of a 21st century workforce. ”

ABC and its 70 chapters are doing their part to train construction professionals using state-of-the-art and flexible learning models like “earn while you learn,” just-in-time task training, competency-based progression, work-based learning and government-registered apprenticeships to build a safe, skilled and productive workforce.

In addition to an annual investment of $1.1 billion dollars into work-based training by ABC member companies, ABC local chapters and affiliated training centers offer more than 800 apprenticeship, craft, safety and management training programs around the country, including Department of Labor-approved apprenticeship programs.  In partnership with the industry-recognized curriculum and credentials developed by NCCER, a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) education foundation, ABC offers this training at over 1,400 locations across America.

ABC is looking forward to working with President Trump and Secretaries Acosta, Ross and DeVos to craft industry programs that expand the U.S. Department of Labor’s definition of registered apprenticeship and offer all Americans the opportunity to achieve their dreams and build a fulfilling career.

Learn more about how ABC is building the people who build America at workforce.abc.org.

Caterpillar Venture Capital Invests in Alight Mining Solutions™

Investment to support Caterpillar’s mining customers with financial forecasting and scenario analysis

Caterpillar Venture Capital Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE:CAT), announced today a strategic investment in Alight, Inc., a San Francisco-based SaaS (software as a service) technology company that develops industry-specific solutions for financial forecasting and scenario analysis. The unique software has modules that are designed specifically for different industries, with mining and mortgage banking as the first two target industries.

Caterpillar has begun discussions with Alight Mining Solutions to develop enhanced solutions that will combine data from technology-enabled machines with financial forecasting software to help mining companies make more real-time business decisions.

Alight’s cloud-based products allow users to pull data from other systems such as Cat® MineStar™, quickly run multiple scenarios to facilitate financial decision making and then create enterprise-level financial forecasts.

“We’re always looking to invest in new ways that could help Caterpillar’s customers improve their profitability, especially through the use of technology,” said Jim Hawkins, managing director of mining technology for Caterpillar. “Alight’s technologies can allow our customers to see the financial impact of a machine or technology purchases as well as operational decisions before they’re made.”

“We are thrilled to partner with Caterpillar and help bring new levels of innovation to the global mining industry,” said Michele McGovern, CEO, Alight, Inc. “Caterpillar’s technology is making huge quantities of rich information available to its customers and our intention is to combine this data with Alight’s solutions so that data can be used to drive decision making to find greater profits and opportunities for growth.”

Like Cat MineStar, Alight’s mining offering was developed by mining industry experts, specifically for mining customers. Combining Alight’s software with Cat MineStar will allow production data such as tons-moved to be viewed in context of financial information such as costs and revenues, helping miners make assessments at the site level and analyze strategic opportunities throughout the enterprise.

“Our mining customers make decisions on very large capital investments, in market conditions that are constantly changing,” continued Hawkins. “We believe that the solutions we are looking to develop with Alight could help them better understand the impact of these decisions on production and operations as well as on profit margins and cash flow.”

Cat MineStar, part of the Cat Connect family of technologies and services, helps customers deal with everyday challenges: controlling costs, extending equipment life, and enhancing safety. For mines large and small, above and below ground, Cat MineStar works with any brand of equipment helping customers leverage data across their existing machines, systems, and technologies to boost business results and gain their competitive edge.

About Caterpillar
For more than 90 years, Caterpillar Inc. has been making sustainable progress possible and driving positive change on every continent. Customers turn to Caterpillar to help them develop infrastructure, energy and natural resource assets. With 2016 sales and revenues of $38.537 billion, Caterpillar is the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines and diesel-electric locomotives. The company principally operates through its three product segments – Construction Industries, Resource Industries and Energy & Transportation – and also provides financing and related services through its Financial Products segment. For more information, visit caterpillar.com. To connect with us on social media, visit caterpillar.com/social-media.

About Alight
Alight is a fast-growing provider of industry-specific, cloud-based applications that change the way businesses are run. Alight’s applications let executives Manage the FutureÔ by showing the financial ripple effects of potential decisions across the enterprise. Alight works with firms in dynamic and complex industries, including mining and mortgage banking. For more information: alightinc.com.