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  • Metl-Span IMPs provide aesthetics, durability for Houston renovation

    February 13, 2020

    LEWISVILLE, Texas – Renovating and transforming a 70-year-old manufacturing facility into a contemporary office building with impressive amenities, requires some imagination, careful planning and a lot of communication. The Cannon, an entrepreneurial hub in west Houston, also called for more than 90,000 square feet of insulated metal panels (IMPs) from Metl-Span for walls and roofing.

    The Cannon, a 120,000 square foot modern, flexible workspace, provides innovators with everything they need to establish a home base for their companies. Home to more than 500 of Greater Houston's most talented and accomplished entrepreneurs, creatives and small business owners, The Cannon includes 131 offices, 300 open and dedicated desks, a movie theatre, game room, event space, full-service kitchen, a health and wellness room and a courtyard with outdoor seating. The facility is marketed as “a citywide ecosystem for Houston's entrepreneurs, small businesses, freelancers and creatives.”

    Insulated metal panels also helped achieve the desired appearance, inside and outside.

    “We could have gone the conventional route, with insulation and drywall, but we really wanted to maintain some of the original look of the building,” says Ken R. Harry, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP, Principal of Abel Design Group of Houston. “With the insulated metal panels, we were able to leave the interior beams and columns exposed. Plus, we got the levels of insulation that were required for the roof and walls. Right from the start, it seemed like the logical way to go.”

    The original building was stripped down to the steel structure. Some of the 70-year-old purlins and cross members had to be replaced. “We had to verify every dimension of all the beams so shop drawings could be accurate,” says David Baldwin, Sales Manager at FSR Services of Houston. “The beams were painted, and the insulated metal panels were installed. The bright blue beams against the white interior finish of the insulated metal panel is a very modern and clean look.”

    The project called for approximately 67,775 square feet of Metl-Span's CF42R insulated metal roofing panels, with 4 inches of urethane insulation, in the color of Burnished Slate. The exterior panels were 24-gauge Galvalume. The wall panels were two profiles and colors: 37,858 square feet of CF7.2 InsulRib in Burnished Slate and 9,437 square feet of CF36A in Chestnut, both with 22-gauge Galvalume exterior panels. All interior panels were 24-gauge Galvalume in Igloo White.

    Baldwin says FSR needed 180 working days to install the IMPs, but ran into weather delays during the rainy Houston summer of 2019, which pushed back the original completion date approximately 90 days. The project was completed in August 2019.

    “We were basically working in a mudhole all summer,” Baldwin says. “There were a lot of days we couldn't get anything done. Our equipment was buried in the mud.”

    The Cannon is the largest IMP project completed by FSR Services. Baldwin says his team, led by owner Steve Seibert and project manager Tommy Pavlicek, did its best to keep the project moving along. Seibert says it was a challenging project, retrofitting an existing structure, but the end product turned out amazing.

    “Insulated metal panels are easy and quick to install,” Baldwin says. “The larger panels cover a lot of space in a single pass. It's a lot easier than making several passes for the exterior system, interior system and insulation.”

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  • Los Angeles County Study Exposes Dangers of Wood-Framed Construction Cost Study Cites Safety Hazards and Negative Economic Impact

    February 05, 2020

    Los Angeles, California—A study released by Urvashi Kaul, Consultant and Adjunct Assistant Professor at Columbia University, seeks to address the issue of wood-framed residential fires, particularly multifamily wood-framed structures. By examining two California fires, Kaul utilized a cost-benefit analysis of the economic impact incurred by citizens and local governments to determine the potential repercussions of similar fires over the next fifteen years. Focusing exclusively on the County of Los Angeles as a model, the study suggests that under current building codes, the city could be facing billions of dollars in losses over the coming years due to wood-framed construction fires.

    “Los Angeles could lose $22.6 billion in wood-framed residential fire losses over the next 15 years,” Kaul estimates. While property damage accounts for roughly $20.5 billion of this figure, potential city expenditures could amount to $132.5 million, with $70.1 million going to police, fire, and sanitation departments, and another $62.4 million of indirect costs, such as remediation, insurance, and planning.

    Such conditions, the study suggests, set the stage for major fire losses should the structures be framed with combustible materials such as wood.

    “I lost most of my belongings, the family dog, nearly everything due to an electrical fire that burned my wood-framed childhood home,” says Rabbi Jonathan Klein, Executive Director of Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE). CLUE is a member of Build with Strength, a coalition of the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association consisting of community organizations, fire safety professionals, engineers, architects and industry experts committed to strengthening the nation's building codes and ensuring greater access to secure housing.

    One example analyzed in the study involves a 2011 three-alarm fire in Carson, CA. The fire, which occurred at the Renaissance City Center, destroyed five buildings. One hundred firefighters were required to extinguish the flames, and over a hundred people, including many senior citizens, were displaced from nearby buildings and mobile homes.

    The second example in the study involves a 2014 fire in Los Angeles at the Da Vinci apartment complex. The fire required 250 firefighters to extinguish, and it damaged four surrounding buildings and caused a shutdown of the northbound 101 for several hours. Additional crews of firefighters worked for 24 hours after the fire started to quell the flames.

    National and local building codes have been relaxed considerably over recent years, which has led to an increase in wood-framed residential construction. Rabbi Klein sees the examples analyzed in the study as indicative of the need to prevent fire losses by restricting the use of combustible materials in residential framing.

    “It could have so easily been prevented had there not been tinder. In a flash, everything was consumed,” says Rabbi Klein of his childhood home. “Thank God my parents survived. No one should have to experience that kind of a loss, which is why I'm a big advocate for safer building materials.”

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  • 5-Alarm Blaze Rips Through Residential Construction Site, Embers Spark Nearby Fires East Bay inferno latest in devastating string of Oakland building fires

    January 31, 2020

    Silver Spring, MD— Early on Tuesday, massive flames destroyed an East Bay housing complex built of salvaged wood, along with several other buildings in the area's fifth major residential fire in just two years. The five-alarm blaze was so powerful that firefighters could not enter the structure, instead launching a defensive effort to keep the fire from spreading. Over 2,200 homes were without power, and one firefighter was left hospitalized.

    The “Ice House” complex in West Oakland was under construction using salvaged wood beams and brick. Four of the six buildings were completely destroyed, set to house 126 units with plans to welcome residents as soon as December. Just six months ago, the exact same complex was hit by another fire. This time around, the wood building fire blazed for over eight hours with over 90 firefighters working to extinguish it. Embers from the fire fell for blocks, igniting three additional fires around the neighborhood.

    “It's just a big pile of kindling,” said Nick Luby, deputy fire chief with the Oakland Fire Department, discussing Tuesday's fire at the construction site. “Small timber – it just grows quite quickly.”

    Several homes were evacuated in the emergency, as families with young children and pets woke to neighbors' screams warning of a fire. Residents huddled outside while some brave residents grabbed hoses and buckets and attempted to keep falling embers from igniting more homes.

    “The tragic fire in East Bay is about more than construction and building loss,” said Kevin Lawlor, a spokesperson for Build with Strength, a coalition of the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association comprised of fire safety professionals, engineers, architects, community groups and industry experts committed to strengthening the nation's building codes. “This is about the housing and the safety of our families – those who the fire placed in danger, displaced, evacuated, left without power or a place to live. It's about time elected officials recognize the risk of combustible building materials, in Oakland and across the country.”

    Build with Strength works with communities, lawmakers, and industry employees to advocate for safer, sustainable building materials. Strengthening local and national building codes is among the organization's top priorities.

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  • Sustainability Matters – Greenbuild 2019 Roundup | January 2020

    January 27, 2020

    UL’s 2019 Pub Night Review
    Did you make it to Pub Night this year? It was the place to see and be seen at Greenbuild International Conference and Expo, one of the largest events for green building professionals. And with over 1,000 attendees, it was our biggest Pub Night yet. Hosted at Skyline Park, an amusement park on the rooftop of the historic Ponce City market, we got to kick back and enjoy a few vintage games with our guests, all in front of breathtaking views of the Atlanta, Buckhead, and Midtown skylines.

    We were thrilled to bring back the hit spin-to-win prizes this year as well. This year nine lucky guests took home great prizes, including a Nest thermostat, Airpods, movie night and Atlanta themed gift baskets.

    Pub Night wouldn't have been possible without the support of our clients. We are incredibly grateful to all of you for trusting us to make your businesses safer, more secure and more sustainable. Thank you to everyone who was able to join us in Atlanta, and for making it the most memorable night of Greenbuild. Stay up to date with UL to see where we take Pub Night for Greenbuild 2020 in San Diego.

    UL Offers Solutions for Every Stage of the Building Life Cycle
    With new services recently added to our portfolio, UL is even better equipped to provide solutions that support every point in the building life cycle.

    Embodied Carbon in the Built Environment
    Find out how embodied carbon impacts the built environment, and how UL can help you understand your buildings’ carbon footprint.

    New LEED v4.1 Requirements Simplify Green Building Compliance
    What are some differences between LEED v4 and LEED v4.1? Discover why implementation may now be easier for the green building community.

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  • IMPs from Metl-Span provide easy convenience store maintenance

    January 24, 2020

    LEWISVILLE, Texas – Convenience stores often become neighborhood meeting places, so it's important to the owner to have an attractive and low-maintenance facility. The new and busy Pik-A-Pop in Othello, Wash., was constructed with framing from Star Building Systems and insulated metal panels (IMPs) from Metl-Span.

    “This was our second convenience store with this panel, and I'll make every effort to use it on more projects like this,” says Joe Park, owner of Joe Park Construction in Yakima, Wash. “I think we've done more than 200 convenience stores in the last 30 years. Insulated metal panels give us an efficient method of construction with a tight system. Trust me, that's a tight system. The interior metal panels give the owners a durable and an easy-to-clean wall. That's obviously important in a busy store where food and drinks are sold.”

    Park says he appreciates the array of finishes the owners can have with insulated metal panels from Metl-Span. The Othello Pik-A-Pop was sided with 10,105 square feet of insulated metal panels, Metl-Span's CF42 panel with a Mesa finish, a 26-gauge exterior panel in PVDF Regal Gray. The minor rib of the Mesa panel provides a flattened appearance. The IMPs have a 2-1/2-inch urethane core and a 26-gauge Igloo White interior panel in Light Mesa, which is an even more subtle corrugated profile.

    “This is simply a more efficient way to construct a building,” Park says. “If you're doing it the old-fashioned way, with a single skin panel and batt insulation and then drywall on the interior, you need more subcontractors and it's not as weathertight.”

    Park says building with insulated metal panels makes it easier for everyone involved to meet ever-changing energy requirements in Washington. “We've got about eight or nine buildings like this in the works,” he says. “IMPs have a clean look on the inside and a durable and attractive appearance on the outside. Using insulated metal panels allows us to present a more polished building with a multitude of different and attractive options.”

    Park Construction was able to use cold-formed purlins as part of the mezzanine construction as opposed to open bar joists, which was a real cost-saving measure. To give the facility a unique and more attractive look, Park Construction added an entry with wooden framing and blue standing seam roofing and added veneer masonry to the front of the building.

    The standing seam metal roofing is a trapezoidal standing seam profile called Ultra-Dek, from MBCI, another sister company to Metl-Span and Star Building Systems. Just more than 7,300 square feet of Polar White panels were installed on the Pik-A-Pop.

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  • Preliminary results released by the ICC for a series of tall wood proposals

    January 23, 2020

    The International Code Council (ICC) has recently released the preliminary results for a series of tall wood proposals, including G108, a proposal that will allow for wooden high-rise buildings and signal to local and state building departments across the country that combustible tall wood buildings are an acceptable form of construction. Among other groups, such as the National Association of State Fire Marshals, Build With Strength stands firmly against these results. Build With Strength is a coalition of the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association consisting of community organizations, fire safety professionals, engineers, architects and industry experts committed to strengthening the nation's building codes and ensuring greater access to secure housing.

    “We are gravely disappointed in the preliminary results released by the ICC, which, among other changes, signals the ICC's support for combustible wooden high-rise buildings. Where the ICC has failed to protect citizens, fire safety professionals, and local economies from the devastating impact of fires, Build With Strength stands committed to fighting for safer communities. Our coalition will continue to advocate for code policy changes in state and local jurisdictions across the United States.”

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  • Build with Strength Welcomes International Longshoremen's Local 1291 to the Coalition

    January 15, 2020

    Partnership with President Boise Butler Represents a Powerful Alliance for Fire Safety

    Philadelphia, PA – Build with Strength, a coalition of the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association consisting of civic organizations, fire service professionals, architects, engineers and industry experts committed to enacting safer and more sustainable building standards, warmly welcomes the International Longshoremen's Local 1291 as the newest member of the coalition.

    ILA 1291 is a Local that has served the Port of Philadelphia for decades, and their commitment to fire safety has formed the foundation for a partnership with Build with Strength. The dramatic rise in mid- and high-rise combustible framed fires over the past decade has presented challenges in communities across the United States to implement effective solutions.

    “Our dedication to Philadelphia extends beyond our Local, and at the end of the day it is essential for our members and community to live and work in fire-safe buildings,” says Boise Butler, President of ILA Local 1291. “Our alliance with Build with Strength has been a natural next step to solidifying our commitment to fire safety and prevention.”

    As the population of Philadelphia and other urban centers across the US increases, the demand for housing is continuing to grow. To safeguard these communities, particularly low- and moderate-income residents at greatest risk, Build with Strength is working to strengthen building codes to require the use of non-combustible materials.

    "Our partnership with ILA Local 1291 gives us an incredible opportunity to strength our understanding of local needs, work together to develop stronger building codes and educate the community on the importance of building with non-combustible materials,” said Kevin Lawlor, a spokesperson for Build with Strength. “The Local, under the leadership of Boise Butler, is unwavering in their dedication to fire safety in the city of Philadelphia.” Build with Strength works with communities, lawmakers, and industry employees to advocate for safer, sustainable building materials. Strengthening local and national building codes is among the organization's top priorities.

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  • The ICC has issued a statement underlining their decision to prohibit the distribution of “organized advocacy information”

    January 09, 2020

    The ICC has recently issued a statement underlining their decision to prohibit the distribution of “organized advocacy information” during their annual conference, at which hundreds of code officials are expected to attend. Notably, this statement arrives before a crucial vote on G108, an ICC proposal that would allow for wooden high-rise buildings and signal to local and state building departments across the country that combustible tall wood buildings are an acceptable form of construction.

    “Under the guise of fairness, the ICC’s statement underscores their preference to shelter its membership from viewing critical materials. Given the gravity of the proposals being weighed and its impact on code policy throughout the country, the ICC should welcome, not restrict, as much information as possible so that their membership can make fully informed decisions. Human life and devastating economic consequences are at stake when combustible wooden high-rise buildings are on the table, and it deserves the highest level of care and educated consideration.”

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  • Metl-Span's Franz achieves building enclosure certification

    January 08, 2020

    LEWISVILLE, Texas – Kevin Franz, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, CSI, CDT, of Metl-Span, earned certification as an accredited Building Enclosure Commissioning Process Provider and Commissioning Authority+Building Enclosure with the designation of BECxP and CxA+BE from the College of Engineering at the University of Wisconsin. The three-day course includes a two-part exam. Franz is the SE Business Development Manager at Metl-Span.

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  • Firefighters Battle Three-Alarm Apartment Fire, Causing over $2 Million in Damages

    January 07, 2020

    Over 132 people displaced in latest in string of Maryland fires

    Silver Spring, MD – Over 130 people have been left without a home following a three-alarm fire in Lanham, Maryland. The blaze ignited a multi-family apartment home, tearing through all four buildings in the complex. More than 100 firefighters and medical personnel responded to the wood-framed building fire, which created $2.2 million worth of damage.

    Residents rushed to flee the building, many fearing for the safety of their pets and personal belongings. As a group of firefighters battled the flames on the top floor of the building, the roof collapsed and separated the response team. The Prince George's County Fire Department fought for hours to get the fire under control as flame and smoke could be seen through the roof.

    This fire is the latest in a string of disturbing and destructive building fires throughout Maryland. Prince George's County alone has seen several devastating building fires recently, including an April 2017 blaze that was the largest fire suppression effort in the history of Prince George's County, causing $39 million of damages. Many of these fires, in Maryland and throughout the country, have been exacerbated by the use of combustible building materials.

    “Lawmakers must recognize the incredible danger of fire tied to weak building codes and risky building materials, in Prince George's County and across the nation” said Kevin Lawlor, spokesperson for Build with Strength, a coalition of the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association consisting of community organizations, fire safety professionals, engineers, architects and industry experts committed to strengthening the nation's building codes and ensuring greater access to secure housing. “So many have lost their homes, memories, and even loved ones due to preventable fires in combustible buildings. These fires have incredible impact on families and communities throughout the country – everyone deserves a safe, strong, resilient place to live, and the time to act is now.”

    Build with Strength, a coalition of the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association (NRMCA), has launched a campaign to educate citizens, local and state officials, and industry experts about the inherent dangers of wood-framed construction, particularly in multi-story, residential and commercial buildings. As a grassroots organization, they work with local elected officials and industry workers, from architects to project managers to advocate for the safety benefits of working with concrete-based construction.

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  • Roofer chooses McElroy Metal system for his own Texas home

    January 07, 2020

    Bossier City, La. — Most metal roofing installers have a project or two that stand out enough to use as models to sell more metal. Aaron Lenhart of Designer Roofing in Prosper, Texas, reroofed his home with a McElroy Metal standing seam roofing system and it has become a showcase for his roofing company.

    Lenhart is not just trying to sell more metal; he believes this system is the best for his home for a number of reasons.

    “It’s a very cut up roof,” Lenhart says. “There are a lot of valleys, turrets, some penetrations. A standing seam metal roofing system gives us the best architectural look and it provides durability in an area that experiences occasional hail. This system also gives us some energy benefits.

    “We had a lot of details to deal with on this home and that’' the way a lot of homes are built here. We have devised our own way to install a watertight system with these details. We're very careful to match up the seams at the valleys and hips. We have a proprietary ridge vent system, we use an ice-and-water shield near penetrations, flashings and at the eaves and valleys. We even hem our valleys with no penetrations. It all takes more time, but it's the right way to do things. It's what we do every day.”

    The 15-year-old composition shingles, installed by the original homeowner, were in need of replacement. Designer Roofing purchased coil from McElroy Metal and completed the tear-off and reroofing job in about one week. Approximately 11,000 square feet of metal was formed on site with the company's Zimmerman Metals roll former. Lenhart purchased the roll former in New Orleans at the 2015 Metalcon.

    One of Designer Roofing's unique offerings includes the installation of a ½-inch laminated Isoguard from Firestone, which provides an R-value of 8. The Isoguard is covered by a synthetic underlayment and topped by 24-gauge, 1-1/2-inch mechanical lock standing seam panels, 17-7/8 inches wide.

    “The hail-resistant Isoguard gives us a smoother surface to work with and it provides a little more durability to the whole system,” Lenhart says.

    The color chosen for Lenhart's home was Charcoal Gray, an Energy Star-rated Fluropon® PVDF coating from Sherwin-Williams. The longest panels on this project measured 32 feet in length. The steep-slope roof is at least a 10:12 pitch in all areas.

    “Metal just looks so cool,” Lenhart says. “More and more people are going with metal because of the look and once they understand the benefits, it becomes an easier sell.”

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  • Build with Strength Denounces Passage of HB 876 Coalition Strongly Urges Governor Deal to Veto Legislation And Keep Georgians Safe

    December 20, 2019

    Sandy Springs, GA – Earlier today, the Georgia State Senate joined their House colleagues in passing legislation – HB 876 – that prevents cities and towns throughout the state from enacting local measures to strengthen their building codes in part, because of fire and safety concerns, and it rescinds local measures that restrict the use of combustible materials already in place. Dunwoody updated their code in December 2014, and Sandy Springs followed suit in August 2016.

    In response, Kevin Lawlor, spokesperson for Build with Strength, a coalition of the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association consisting of community organizations, fire safety professionals, engineers, architects and industry experts committed to strengthening the nation’s building codes and providing access to secure housing, issued the following statement:

    “Georgia state legislators made it clear today with the passage of HB 876 that they are willing to endanger the safety and security of their neighbors and communities for the sake of special interests. Their recklessness in pursuing this misguided legislation will undoubtedly leave Georgia residents painfully vulnerable.

    “While today's results are certainly disappointing, Governor Nathan Deal now has the opportunity to veto this unconstitutional measure and keep his constituents safe. The fact is, this vote completely disregards the advice and recommendations of the local firefighters, whose jobs and welfare depend on safely and effectively combatting these fires.

    “Local lawmakers throughout the state must have the authority to strengthen their communities as they see fit to demand stronger and safer buildings. Governor Deal now has the opportunity to show whether he too stands with the special interests or with the people.”

    At a press conference in early March, Sandy Springs Fire Chief Keith Sanders provided a burn demonstration to highlight the differences in fire safety between building materials – specifically wood and concrete.

    According to polling conducted in September 2016, Georgia voters are highly supportive of Sandy Springs' ordinance (96% support), and were in favor of their own city passing similar regulations by overwhelming margins (94% support). The poll of 400 registered voters living in Georgia was commissioned by Build with Strength.

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  • Thermal bowing with insulated metal panels

    December 19, 2019

    By Paul Collyer, Vice President of Business Development, Metl-Span

    LEWISVILLE, Texas – When looking at evaluating different construction materials, particularly those that will have to withstand extreme temperature changes, it's important to understand how they will react to the environment.

    An important aspect of using metal in construction is understanding the concepts of expansion and contraction. As metal heats up, it expands; as it cools, it contracts. Insulated metal panels (IMPs) are unique in how they respond to temperature changes because they are composites (steel facings with an insulating foam core). As IMPs typically serve as the entire wall or roof cladding system, whenever there is a difference in temperature between the interior and exterior faces of the panels they are subjected to thermal stress. The flexible nature of the foam core allows this to occur without damaging the panel, and results in a slight bending of the panel towards the warmer side, known as thermal bowing.

    It is important to remember that this slight bow is not visually apparent when the product is installed due to the restraining action of the concealed clips and fasteners in the panel sidejoints.

    The color selected for the exterior side of the panels, particularly in warm, sunny climates, has a measurable effect on thermal bow. Generally speaking, darker colors absorb more heat energy which exacerbates thermal bowing versus lighter colors. Knowing the exterior panel color, temperature of the interior of the building (based on end use), panel type, structural support framing and design loads allows IMP engineers to perform calculations to determine if the amount of thermal bow is within acceptable limits. These same factors are used to determine allowable panel spans (distance between structural framing required for panel support and attachment).

    Although thermal bow is usually not a limiting factor for most commercial and industrial IMP applications, it is a very important consideration for cold storage facilities (coolers and freezers) due to the large difference in temperatures between the interior and exterior panel faces. To reduce unnecessary heat gain on the exterior side along with the amount of thermal bow, cold storage facilities generally use white or light-colored panels.

    Proper steel alignment is also critical to panel performance under thermal bow conditions. Panel supports must be inline or outboard of the theoretical wall plane (straight line between the eave strut and the base support at the bottom of the wall). Supports must not be inboard of this plane, as it can create excessive stress in the exterior panel face causing permanent deformation. Proper steel alignment (tolerances) can be found in the IMP manufacturers' installation guides and product specifications.

    Thermal bow can also be a factor to consider during panel installation. The top panel in the panel bundles are exposed to sunlight which can cause a slight lengthwise curvature. To remedy this, the panel should be flipped along its edge exposing the cool side to sunlight. This equalizes the temperature on both faces allowing it to flatten, making panel engagement during installation much easier.

    By discussing the project's location, performance and aesthetic requirements, building structure and end use with your IMP representative, they can provide recommendations on proper panel selection and design that eliminates concerns with thermal bow.

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  • Tucker, Georgia, Sees Firsthand the Risk of Combustible Buildings, as Floors Pancake During Apartment Fire

    December 18, 2019

    Blaze occurs while state of Georgia considers bill to restrict local autonomy on stronger building codes

    Silver Spring, MD – Earlier today, several residents at a 3-story, wood-framed apartment complex in Tucker, Georgia, were forced to jump from their windows, after a fire broke out just after midnight. A 13-year-old girl, who jumped, was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.

    According to FOX 5 Atlanta, officials said 12 units were destroyed, as several floors pancaked on top of one another, collapsing under the weight of water and fire damage.

    The fire comes at a time as several cities throughout Georgia, including Tucker, Sandy Springs, Dunwoody and others, have adopted measures to strengthen their local building codes, but are now facing a challenge from state lawmakers.

    Earlier this year, the Georgia House of Representatives and State Senate sent House Bill 876 to Governor Nathan Deal's desk, which would not only rescind the previously passed ordinances, but would prevent other communities from adopting stronger codes that call for limiting the use of combustible materials in certain building elements with the aim of providing increased quality, sustainability, durability and longevity.

    “Combustible building materials have no place in larger, multi-residential apartment complexes,” said Kevin Lawlor, spokesperson for Build with Strength, a coalition of the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association consisting of community organizations, fire safety professionals, engineers, architects and industry experts committed to strengthening the nation's building codes and ensuring greater access to secure housing. “If a fire breaks out in a single unit, the entire structure – and the homes and well-being of countless other residents – is immediately put at risk. The fact that Georgia is actively working to prevent local cities and towns throughout the state from taking strides to prevent such tragedy from befalling their communities is shameful.”

    In early March, Build with Strength, stood alongside local leaders – including State Senator John Albers (R-56), Sandy Springs' Mayor Rusty Paul and Fire Chief Keith Sanders, and P.E. Steve Skalko of Macon – in a press conference, during which the group spoke out in opposition to HB 876.

    The desire to strengthen local building codes is popular throughout the state. According to polling conducted in September 2016, Georgia voters are highly supportive of Sandy Springs' ordinance (96% support), and were in favor of their own city passing similar regulations by overwhelming margins (94% support). The poll of 400 registered voters living in Georgia was commissioned by Build with Strength.

    “The decision by Georgia's state lawmakers to move forward with HB 876 was incredibly shortsighted,” continued Lawlor. “It's one thing to establish a minimum requirement for building codes; it's something completely different to dictate terms on what should be a local decision, in which communities looking to go above and beyond to construct more resilient buildings are allowed to do so. We're hopeful Governor Deal takes steps to protect his constituents and vetoes this ill-fated bill.”

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  • CENTRIA Products Add Modernity and Sharpness to Pointe at Polaris Community

    December 16, 2019

    Phase I of inviting mixed-use community achieves contemporary effect

    Moon Township, PA - Along the Polaris Highway in Columbus, OH, sits the Pointe at Polaris — a vibrant, modern, mixed-use community. It features inviting green spaces, entertainment, shopping, and places to live, all in a 20-acre tract of land. CENTRIA panels were used across the structure as part of Phase I of the project. This was comprised of a three-story, 106,000 square-foot office/retail/restaurant building' a four-story, 569 space parking garage, and a four-story, 216 unit apartment building, all of which opened in 2018. Phase II, not yet complete, will include another office building, a parking garage, an equivalent apartment building, and a hotel.

    “We specified the metal panels for use on the exterior of our buildings to give them a modern feel, and we chose CENTRIA because the panels were quick to install and presented the clean look we desired,” says Tom Linzell, Senior Project Manager, M+A architects, the firm responsible for the design.

    This highly collaborative project – a must due to its size and scope – featured CENTRIA products. Two different hues of the Intercept™ Entyre series were selected and specified – 15,000 square feet in total – in addition to CENTRIA MR3-36 Screen in one color for the building’s exterior.

    “The overall structure was intended to have a contemporary look, which harkens back to mid-century modern design,” says Linzell. “The panels we chose match this aesthetic, and the wide range of colors was also highly appealing to our design team.”

    Intercept is a modular metal wall panel system that allows for design versatility by incorporating different substrates, depths, slopes, curves and perforations into an easy-to-install rainscreen. The lightweight, back-ventilated system combines aesthetics with function, directing water away from your structure, without using sealants of any kind.

    The system's modular design lends itself to installation in either vertical or horizontal applications. Intercept panels are available in the standard coil-coated aluminum substrate, as well as post-anodized aluminum, zinc, and other natural metals. Phase I of Pointe at Polaris was completed in early 2019. M+A architects were responsible for design services, and the CENTRIA dealer was Hemm's Glass Shops, Inc.

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  • Wood-Framed Building in Dorchester Destroyed, Causes $250,000 in Damage

    December 16, 2019

    Dorchester's second severe fire since 2017

    Silver Spring, MD — A two-alarm fire roared through a multi-family home in Dorchester on Tuesday afternoon, as firefighters arrived to heavy flames throughout the structure. The fire caused an estimated $250,000 worth of damage, and there are no known injuries. The building, located on Saco Street near Neponset Avenue, was a three-story wood-framed building, and three residents have been displaced.

    This is Dorchester’s second devastating fire in the past year, both fueled by combustible, woodframed construction. In the past few years, there have been numerous fires across the country in buildings using combustible materials, including in Denver, CO' Los Angeles, CA' Princeton, NJ' Tucker, GA' Lowell, MA' St. Petersburg, FL' Arlington, VA' and dozens of other locations coast to coast.

    “In Boston and throughout the nation, families are losing their homes – or worse – to preventable fires in combustible buildings,” said Kevin Lawlor, spokesperson for Build with Strength, a coalition of the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association consisting of community organizations, fire safety professionals, engineers, architects and industry experts committed to strengthening the nation’s building codes and ensuring greater access to secure housing. “When prevention is so simple, there is no longer an excuse for inaction. Strong, resilient building materials are the safest and smartest way to keep our families safe from these preventable fires.”

    Build with Strength, a coalition of the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association (NRMCA), has launched a campaign to educate citizens, local and state officials, and industry experts about the inherent dangers of wood-framed construction, particularly in multi-story, residential and commercial buildings. As a grassroots organization, they work with local elected officials and industry workers, from architects to project managers to advocate for the safety benefits of working with concrete-based construction.

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  • Los Angeles Wood-Frame Apartment Complex Burns in Massive Fire 3 people, including a firefighter, were injured in blaze that displaced 300 residents

    December 12, 2019

    Silver Spring, MD – Yesterday afternoon, more than 100 firefighters were called to the scene of a massive inferno at a wood-framed apartment complex in Pico Rivera near Los Angeles. Three people, including a firefighter, were injured in the blaze that affected 141 units, displacing 300 residents. Hundreds of people are now homeless and will rely on the city for support.

    Firefighters arrived two minutes after the 3-alarm fire was reported shortly after 3:30 p.m. But by 4 p.m., firefighters were forced to move off the structure and change strategy after the building suffered “structural collapse,” according to county fire Chief Daryl Osby. The Fire Department went on to add that by 5 p.m., firefighters exited the building and were in defensive mode, as the fire had jumped to several nearby buildings, creating more damage.

    The blaze near Los Angeles comes at a time when a number of wood-frame, multi-family residential structures have been the site of intense fires, fueled by the combustible materials in the buildings in question – most notably in Princeton, NJ; East Boston, MA; Lakewood, NJ; Weymouth, MA; Haverhill, MA; Waltham, MA; Charlotte, NC; Warner Robins, GA; Midvale, UT; Oakland, CA; Dorchester, MA; Lawrence, MA; East Hollywood, CA; Lowell, MA; Waterbury, CT, Emeryville, CA; St. Petersburg, FL; Arlington, VA; College Park, MD; Overland Park, KS; Raleigh, NC; and Maplewood, NJ. There have been dozens over the last few years.

    In order to address the vulnerabilities that exist in combustible structures, Build with Strength, a coalition of the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association consisting of community organizations, fire service professionals, architects, engineers and industry experts, has stepped up efforts to mitigate the dangers of fire for communities across the country. In reviewing current building and fire safety codes, the coalition is working to identify areas in need of improvement, particularly in updating building codes by including the use of non-combustible materials to minimize the risk of fires.

    “Local lawmakers need to address the risks associated with building with combustible materials before more people get hurt,” said Kevin Lawlor, spokesperson for Build with Strength. “No family should lose their home or worse in a fire, especially when the means to prevent such tragedies are reasonable. Requiring strong, resilient materials in mid-rise housing should be a no-brainer.”

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  • Marley Debuts Next Generation of Hidden Comfort, THX Series In-Floor Convection Heater

    December 12, 2019

    Bennettsville, S.C. – Marley Engineered Products, a leader in high-performance, reliable heating and ventilation equipment, introduces the out-of-sight, out-of-mind UL listed In-Floor Perimeter Convector – THX Series heater, which delivers comfort, aesthetics and safety for the ultimate supplemental heat system for both new and existing buildings.

    Offered by QMark and Berko brands, the THX Series directly addresses the building's need for supplemental heat against the curtain walls and glazing, while fully integrating with the architects' designed interior spaces. The unit drops directly into the floor, leaving only the grille visible, for unobstructed sightlines and more design space with which to work.

    While THX can be installed in a small area for minimal disruption, it also features the highest output/cu.ft. of any pure convection, in-floor electric heater on the market today (as of Jan. 20). With a comparable range of outputs as Marley's above-ground convectors, THX comes with the added benefits of being virtually hidden.

    “The Marley THX Series provides supplemental heat that's out-of-sight and out-of-mind due to its zero vertical profile,” said Andrew Martin, Product Manager for Marley Engineered Products. “In-ground heating takes up less space, and THX units are the most compact in-ground comfort solution in their class (Electric, In-Floor Natural Convection Heaters), while still providing maximum heating performance.”

    Keeping interior aesthetics intact, THX also helps open rooms up to natural light and outdoor scenery as it keeps windowed surfaces free from fog and moisture. The units ward off condensation by warming the interior side of curtain walls and floor-to-ceiling glazing.

    The benefits of the THX Series go beyond clarity. THX units create an effective draft barrier that protects a building's curtain walls, preventing the primary HVAC system from becoming overtaxed, and avoiding inefficiency and higher utility costs. The convection draft barrier improves overall HVAC performance with no fumes or exhaust for an environmentally-friendly heat solution.

    THX units have been designed with durability in mind and include features focused on water and debris management - UL approved, sealed junction boxes and debris catch screens to name a few. “These product innovations, and more, are incorporated for THX to withstand busy foot traffic, cleaning, water and debris,” says Martin. “Whether units are installed in the floor, on the wall or on the ceiling, there should be an inherent piece of mind knowing you have chosen a quality, durable product, and the THX is no different.”

    THX saves time, effort and money with modularized units that can be configured by one service professional for easy field connection, control and installation. Additionally, each and every unit is factory wired and preassembled for out-of-the-box readiness, drop-in installation, and easy access for cleaning and maintenance.

    The frame, leveling legs and grille options are standard for all THX units, allowing for the choice of mount that best fits the install site. Options include flush or surface grilles, and three UL listed mounting styles, making it a highly versatile installation.

    “The Marley THX Series is the ultimate in-floor convector for nearly any space where maximum comfort and aesthetic appeal is desired,” added Martin. “THX provides safe and comfortable heat to occupants, and is efficient and economical for building professionals and owners.”

    The Marley In-Floor Convector – THX Series is available in multiple volt, wattage, and control configurations, with modular lengths beginning at 2ft.

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  • Lawrence, Kansas, Latest Community Burned by Inferior Wood Construction Materials Late night hotel fire has occupants scrambling while putting first responders at risk.

    December 10, 2019

    Silver Spring, MD – Firefighters in Lawrence, Kansas, have been battling a wood-framed hotel fire since Monday afternoon. The fire at an America's Best Value Inn at the intersection of Sixth and Iowa has forced evacuations, caused injuries, required a multi-department response, threatened nearby buildings and required firefighters to work around the clock in frigid temperatures that have led to equipment failures.

    “It doesn't take much to burn a wooden structure to the ground even when its surrounded by ice and snow,” said Kevin Lawlor, a spokesperson for Build with Strength, a coalition of the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association comprised of fire service professionals, engineers, architects, industry experts and community organizations. “Combustible materials put occupants of multi-unit structures, staff and first responders at risk in every community, every environment and in every season.”

    Despite the over reliance on combustible materials such as the ones that failed in this particular disaster, a number of hotels in recent years have been constructed with an innovative concrete construction product – Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs). ICFs “are a type of permanent concrete formwork that creates the external wall envelope of a building.” Typically, it is standard reinforced concrete sandwiched between two faces of low absorptive, foam plastic insulating material. According to ICF Magazine, “dozens and dozens of hotels have been built with ICFs in the past 10 years, using virtually every major brand of form. These include the flagship properties of the nation's leading hospitality companies, including Marriott, Hilton, Best Western, Holiday Inn, Drury Inn, Super 8, and Motel 6.” In fact, Drury Inn, a Missouri based hotel chain, constructs the majority of their properties with ICFs.

    “Non-combustible building materials like concrete are easy to work with and won't break the bank,” continued Lawlor. “At the end of the day, guest safety should be the number one priority, and as it stands, combustible building materials simply are an excessive risk.

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  • Vectorworks, Inc. Wins the Construction Computing Awards’ Editor’s Choice Award

    December 10, 2019

    Additionally, Vectorworks Architect was a runner-up in the Architectural Design Product of the Year category

    Columbia, MD (December 5, 2019)—The Construction Computing Awards results are in and global design and BIM software provider, Vectorworks, Inc. is the winner of the 2019 Editor’s Choice Award selected by Construction Computing Magazine Editor David Chadwick. Additionally, Vectorworks Architect 2020 was a runner-up in the Architectural Design Product of the Year category.

    The fourteenth annual Construction Computing Awards, also known as “The Hammers,” took place on November 14 at The Grand Connaught Rooms in Covent Garden. Over 220 guests gathered to see the outcome of the readers’ online voting and judging panel’s deliberations.

    “Having attended the awards for a number of years, Vectorworks UK was delighted to receive the coveted Editor’s Choice Award,” said Adrian Slatter, Vectorworks UK director of sales. “David was very gracious in his introduction of the award, explaining how the growth of Vectorworks and its transformation in the UK was very impressive. That coupled with the innovations in Vectorworks 2020, particularly the incorporation of enhanced GIS integration, made the decision for him. We are so pleased to see the efforts of our company recognized.”

    With over 25 categories, the awards are structured to showcase and reward the technology, tools and solutions for the effective design, construction, maintenance and modification of commercial buildings, residential and social housing and civil engineering projects of all sizes.

    “Moving from one design solution to another is a major step for any company in difficult times with Brexit, environmental concerns and other issues to deal with; Vectorworks is to credit for having the capability to move from one design solution to another,” said Chadwick. “The recent steps they have taken, such as becoming more directly involved in the UK market to support their users, releasing enhanced versions of their software which major heavily in information management and now adding GIS integration to its comprehensive range of design solutions, has resulted in a significant increase in their market share. There were a dozen contestants in individual applications, hardware and other recent additions to the market, but Vectorworks was an obvious choice this year.”

    Winners will appear in the November/December '19 issue of CAD User and Construction Computing magazine. The full list of winners and runners-up can be viewed below.

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  • Build With Strength Welcomes The Soldiers Project to the Coalition Champion of Veterans' Support Joins Effort to Educate on Stronger Building Methods

    December 06, 2019

    Los Angeles, CA – Build With Strength, a coalition of the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association consisting of civic organizations, fire service professionals, architects, engineers and industry experts committed to enacting safer and more sustainable building standards, is pleased to welcome The Soldiers Project as the newest member of the coalition. The California nonprofit, which provides psychological services for military service members and educates the public about the subject, joins a growing alliance in Los Angeles working to improve building and fire safety standards and push for safe housing in the community.

    “America's bravest men and women risked their lives to protect all of us, and many return home carrying the psychological burden of war,” said Michael McDowell, Executive Director of The Soldiers Project. “At the simplest level, our veterans deserve safe and strong housing upon their return. The Soldiers Project is proud to partner with Build with Strength to fight for resilient and affordable housing for veterans everywhere.”

    Amid a national wave of devastating residential fires, including several in California, Build With Strength is working to ensure the safety of new buildings, especially those housing vulnerable communities. The coalition fights for stronger building codes that support the use of non-combustible materials to minimize the risk of fire.

    “Our partnership with The Soldiers Project is a testament to the support every veteran in America deserves. Many of our brave heroes return home needing safe and affordable housing, and by advocating for stronger building codes, we are fighting for our veterans and their ability to recover in a safe, reliable home,” said Kevin Lawlor, a spokesperson for Build With Strength. “Nationwide, we have seen a weakening of building codes, and Build with Strength is committed to advocating for the safety of neighborhoods our veterans call home.”

    Build With Strength works with communities, lawmakers, and industry employees to advocate for safer, sustainable building materials. Strengthening local and national building codes is among the organization’s top priorities.

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  • CENTRIA® Concept Series Panels Create Distinct Urban Aura at the Archer Hotel, Napa

    December 06, 2019

    Strong lines, mixed materials, and an agrarian concept define the hotel

    Moon Township, PA - The Archer Hotel is a boutique establishment located in Napa, CA. Situated at a bustling and lively downtown intersection, the hotel covers 136,000 square feet with 183 guest rooms. It features a 15,000 square-foot deck with an outdoor bar and dining options, a spa, and private outdoor patios.

    “The Archer Hotel embodies the essence of Napa – its vineyards,” says Roger Brown, Senior Vice President and Director of Design, LK Architecture, the firm responsible for the design. “The strong vertical and horizontal lines represent the posts supporting the vines and the breaks and furrows of the vineyards. This rhythm, repetition and geometry relates back to the place itself.”

    The clean lines and contemporary look of CENTRIA Concept Series panels bring a sense of urban modernity to the building’s main tower, achieving the goal of blending the old world with the new.

    Approximately 16,000 square feet of Concept Series in Silversmith with a smooth finish and Sundance Mica coating were used, enabling the building to stand out as a destination in the popular tourist area.

    “CENTRIA panels cover the building's corner tower and were selected to give it a distinctly urban feel,” says Brown. “We used different tones of grey to add variation and a subtle shimmer.”

    Concept Series single-skin rainscreen panels feature concealed fasteners and a common-lock joint that allows the panels to be integrated with each other. The panels are primed for easy installation, with stand-off clips that provide a ventilation cavity and drain plane behind the panel. These panel clips also allow for thermal and seismic movements.

    “The panels are a quality product and are easy to work with,” says Brown. “We also appreciated the fact that CENTRIA was able to achieve the shades of grey we desired.”

    The Archer Hotel was completed in August 2017. LK Architecture provided design services, the general contractor was SD Deacon, and the CENTRIA dealer was Blackwood Associates. The panels were installed by TriCore Panels, Inc.

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  • Excel Dryer again sets a new standard: XLERATOR hand dryer models now offered with 50% longer life and industry-leading 7-year warranty

    December 06, 2019

    Improved product; same great price

    EAST LONGMEADOW, Mass. – To Excel Dryer, leading is nothing new. After all, their signature product, the XLERATOR® Hand Dryer, created the high-speed, energy-efficient product category, and set a new standard for performance, reliability and customer satisfaction. Excel Dryer has again set a new industry standard, this time, by offering an improved product with 50% longer life and an industry-leading 7-year warranty, without increasing the list price.

    Effective December 1, 2019, all XLERATOR® and XLERATOReco® Hand Dryers are warrantied for seven years; this covers all parts, and most importantly, the motor. Many other hand dryers on the market offer a lesser, more restrictive warranty, typically 1–5 years. William Gagnon, vice president of marketing and sales at Excel Dryer recommends buyers thoroughly review the warranty of any dryer they are considering purchasing.

    He cautions, “Though some manufacturers offer longer warranties, a review of the fine print shows that motors are typically only covered for three years and sensors are only covered for one. Both of these parts are crucial to hand dryer functionality and are covered for a full seven years by Excel Dryer.”

    Recently, other well-known hand dryer manufacturers increased the list price of their products, without making any substantive improvements to product or warranties. Excel Dryer's price list, on the other hand, is remaining the same despite the manufacturer's notable product improvement and extended warranty.

    With XLERATOR's extended product life and unrivaled warranty, the best just got better. “We pride ourselves on manufacturing a dependable product our customers can rely on,” expressed Gagnon. “We are always looking for ways to improve our products and deliver more value to our customers. And with our latest product improvement, we've done just that.”

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  • Cost Study Reveals Financial Risks of Wood-Framed Construction

    December 03, 2019

    Safety Concerns, Revenue Losses Cited in Case-Based Analysis

    Silver Spring, Maryland—A study released by Urvashi Kaul, Consultant and Adjunct Assistant Professor at Columbia University, seeks to address the issue of wood-framed residential fires, particularly multifamily wood-framed structures. The study, which examines two recent California apartment fires, focuses primarily on the economic impact wood-framed building fires have on communities and local governments.

    The two fires cited in the study represent a range of financial loss and were selected to reflect the various costs to society of wood-framed residential fires. The first, a 2011, three-alarm fire at the Renaissance City Center in Carson, destroyed five buildings, damaged six more, and displaced senior citizens in adjacent buildings. The Carson fire was considered a total loss.

    The second fire, a 2014 blaze at the 1.3 million square foot Da Vinci apartment complex in Los Angeles, required 250 firefighters to extinguish and shut down the northbound 101 for several hours. At least four surrounding buildings were damaged by the fire, including some owned or leased by the City Government.

    “Los Angeles could lose $22.6 billion in wood-framed residential fire losses over the next fifteen years,” Professor Kaul estimates. While property damage accounts for roughly $20.5 billion of this figure, potential city expenditures could amount to $132.5 million, with $70.1 million going to police, fire, and sanitation departments, and another $62.4 million of indirect costs, such as remediation, insurance, and planning.

    “If we view construction projects as community investments then we should prioritize safety and longevity in the selection of materials,” says David Kersh, Executive Director of the Carpenters/Contractors Cooperation Committee. David Kersh is a member of Build with Strength, a coalition of the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association consisting of community organizations, fire safety professionals, engineers, architects and industry experts committed to strengthening the nation's building codes and ensuring greater access to secure housing.

    “Housing is the cornerstone of any community,” says Mr. Kersh. “Our personal and professional lives are built around where we choose to live. Strong and resilient housing will always foster strong and resilient communities.”

    According to Kersh, Los Angeles and much of California has been recently experiencing unprecedented growth in residential, multi-unit construction. “The timeliness of this issue could not be more striking,” Kersh says. “We are building the future now, and we have to make sure we get it right. There's no room for error.”

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  • McElroy Metal incorporates solar panels with roof recover on a third manufacturing plant

    December 03, 2019

    Bossier City, La. — You can never have too much of a good thing, so McElroy Metal incorporated solar panels with the roof recover of a third manufacturing plant.

    After completing successful solar panel installations with roof recovers at plants in Peachtree City, Ga., and Adelanto, Calif., McElroy Metal recently completed a third solar conversion with its plant in Clinton, Ill.

    Inovateus Solar installed 1,116 Hanwha Q-Plus L-G42 350W panels on the facility in Clinton. The system is rated at 390.6 kW DC, has five inverters and is designed for an annual output of 829,289 kWh.

    “We're very excited about the addition of solar panels to a third manufacturing facility in conjunction with the roof recover,” says Ken Gieseke, Vice President – Marketing at McElroy Metal. “Once we did the math, calculated the return on the investment, it simply made sense to install the solar panels. McElroy Metal remains dedicated to being an advocate for solar energy.”

    The original R-panel metal roofing on the plant, constructed in the 1970s, was recovered by McElroy Metal's 238T symmetrical standing seam roofing. Solar panels were attached to the new roofing using S-5! clamps.

    “McElroy Metal has been a respected and premier metal roof and component manufacturer for three generations,” says Rob Haddock, founder and CEO of S-5!. “Just like S-5!, they got there by setting the highest standards of quality and integrity for themselves and for their vendors. As both companies are leaders in the metal construction industry, we have had the privilege of working alongside McElroy in many venues, industry trade groups and supply relationships now spanning almost 40 years. Not only are they a valued S-5! customer and distribution partner, but close friends, industry advocates, allies and activists. Two premier brands, McElroy and S-5!, have both raised the bar in making metal roofs better, and together again, with the addition of solar power on their third S-5! solarized project. I am sure we both look forward to the next one.”

    A variety of S-5! products were used in attaching the solar panels to the standing seam roofing, including 1,800 S-5-T clamps, specifically designed to fit profiles with a “T” shaped seam configuration, and 850 RibBracket II clamps, which are made for attaching to trapezoidal roof profiles.

    In addition, 2,050 MidGrab clamps and 410 EdgeGrab clamps from the S-5! PVKIT 2.0 were also used. The PVKIT 2.0 is comprised of pre-assembled components to save time and money that require the use of only one tool for installation. All parts are made of non-corrosive aluminum and stainless steel and install with the module to reduce layout time.

    McElroy's 238T symmetrical standing seam system does not have male and female seams, but is comprised of panels with matching left and right seams. The panels are joined with a mechanically seamed cap. The panels are non-directional and can be installed left to right, right to left or even center to right or left. In addition to installation benefits, symmetrical panels offer easy individual panel removal and replacement for easy plenum access. Panels can even be re-installed, requiring only the purchase and installation of a new cap.

    The 238T metal roofing panels were roll formed on site, run directly on to the roof and installed by Prairieland Roofing of Arthur, Ill.

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  • Built with Combustible Materials: Preventable Fire at University of Arizona, Tucson Causes $1M in Damage

    November 29, 2019

    Dozens evacuated from nearby homes, officials say no injuries reported

    Silver Spring, MD—A two-alarm fire swept through a student housing construction site at the University of Arizona early on Tuesday morning, causing an estimated $1 million in damage and halting construction for the unforeseeable future. The construction site, located at East Broadway and North Tyndall Avenue, featured multiple stories and wood framing. It was intended as housing for future University of Arizona students. Though the project was originally slated for completion by autumn of 2019, no timetable for a return to construction has been offered.

    The Tucson fire represents a growing trend of wood-framed, multi-story fires across the country.

    “This fire is one of so many burning communities throughout the nation” said Kevin Lawlor, spokesperson for Build with Strength, a coalition of the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association consisting of community organizations, fire safety professionals, engineers, architects and industry experts committed to strengthening the nation's building codes and ensuring greater access to secure housing. “Today it was student housing in Arizona, but whatever type of housing you call home, if it's combustible construction you are never safe from this type of destruction. We've seen assisted living centers, residential apartment complexes in areas of high density population, places of work, play and prayer all burn down because of an inferior construction material.”

    Witnesses reported seeing smoke in the area shortly after 2AM on Tuesday morning, and Tucson firefighters responded quickly thereafter. A second alarm was called by first responders, as the blaze quickly grew unmanageable. Flames were reportedly visible from as far as Valencia road and Alvernon Way. 60 firefighters and 17 units were ultimately required to extinguish the fire.

    “Even when people escape without injury or death, the cost to the community is still high,” said Lawlor. “Locals are displaced, businesses are shut down, roads are closed and first responders are put to the test.”

    Captain Hector Carpio of the Tucson Fire Department reported that the intense heat from the fire melted windows, metal paneling, and palm trees at the neighboring apartment complex, and also destroyed coolers on its roof. At least 15 vehicles were damaged, and an on-site construction crane was partly melted.

    Build With Strength, a coalition of the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association (NRMCA), has launched a campaign to educate citizens, local and state officials, and industry experts about the inherent dangers of wood-framed construction, particularly in multi-story, residential and commercial buildings. As a grassroots organization, they work with local elected officials and industry workers, from architects to project managers to advocate for the safety benefits of working with concrete-based construction.

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  • Shipping containers recycled for use as self-storage units, covered by colorful insulated metal panels

    November 21, 2019

    LEWISVILLE, Texas – GreenSpace Holdings LLC is focused on constructing “cost-reducing self-storage solutions with an emphasis on environmental conservatism.” The company's most recent project is a 181,000 square-foot facility in Houston and it will be a part of the CubeSmart franchise.

    TMS Contractors LLC of Houston handled the design and construction of the project, incorporating reclaimed shipping containers encased in an attractive exterior – insulated metal panels from Metl-Span.

    David Cannaliato, vice president at TMS, says the palette of colors offered by Metl-Span's insulated metal panel products helped his design team achieve the look it sought.

    “The bright reds and whites are in line with the CubeSmart brand,” Cannaliato says. “It's kind of a scattered checkerboard look, very attractive and distinct.”

    All of the insulated metal panels featured a 3-inch urethane core to help with climate control, especially during the hot Texas summers. All panels were 32 inches long, installed horizontally. The 26-gauge interior panels are the Light Mesa finish, all in Igloo White, while the 22-gauge exterior panel is architectural flat in a variety of colors: Polar White (37 panels), Bright Red LG (43 panels) and Regal Gray (72 panels). These CubeSmart “brand” colors were used in highly visible areas. In less-visible spots, Zinc Gray (72 panels) with a 26-gauge exterior panel was the color of panels installed in the interest of cost-effectiveness.

    GreenSpace estimates using shipping containers in the construction of self-storage units results in a cost savings of $20 to $30 per gross square foot in multi-story self-storage facilities, while shortening construction schedules.

    “Conventional self-storage construction normally takes 12 or 13 months,” Cannaliato says. “Using reclaimed shipping containers can potentially reduce construction time by several months.”

    TMS erected framing to the exterior of the shipping containers to attach the insulated metal panels. Cannaliato says TMS designers worked closely with Metl-Span engineers to make sure the framing would allow for the installation of the insulated metal panels according to Metl-Span's recommended details. “They were very helpful in this collaborative effort,” he says. “It all went up just the way it was supposed to.”

    The end result is an attractive and efficient facility. The only way the shipping containers are visible is when a rolling door is opened. Even walking through the offices or hallways, the shipping containers cannot be detected.

    The facility, with approximately 1,400 self-storage units, opened in November 2018.

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  • Two More New Jersey Counties Unanimously Adopt Fire Safety Resolutions in Support of Stronger Building Codes

    November 21, 2019

    The Counties of Camden and Middlesex Join Essex and Mercer Counties and Wall Township in Calling for Timely Passage of Statewide Legislation

    Silver Spring, MD – On Thursday evening, councilmembers of the Camden County and Middlesex County Boards of Freeholders voted unanimously to adopt a resolution in support of New Jersey Assembly Bill 135, statewide legislation that would amend New Jersey's construction code for fire safety reasons, and provide an added level of protection for firefighters and residents alike.

    “All across New Jersey, local governments are calling on the state to institute commonsense safety measures that will save lives and property,” said Kevin Lawlor, spokesperson for Build with Strength, a coalition of the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association consisting of community organizations, fire safety professionals, architects, engineers and industry experts committed to strengthening the nation's building codes. “Stronger building codes mean stronger communities, and as such, the state should heed the judgement of the local governing bodies.”

    The votes in Camden and Middlesex Counties come just one week after members of the Mercer County Board of Chosen Freeholders voted unanimously to adopt a resolution in support of the legislation – to which the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders and Wall Township have endorsed, as well.

    The legislation calls for the installation of an automatic sprinkler system in accordance with NFPA 13, measuring the number of stories from the grade plane, using noncombustible materials for construction, and installing a fire barrier with a fire resistance rating of at least two hours that extends from the foundation to the roof.

    “The decision by Camden and Middlesex Counties to join Essex and Mercer Counties as well as Wall Township is a step toward building a more secure New Jersey,” said Rich Silvia, president of the New Jersey State Fire Prevention and Protection Association (NJSFPPA). “We're hopeful that state lawmakers will concur with their local counterparts, and demand stricter building standards that better contain and help stop the spread of devastating fires. Protecting the wellbeing of residents and their property, as well the fire fighters that serve them should be of the utmost priority.”

    In late December, firefighters responded to a fire at a wood-framed apartment complex in Princeton, New Jersey, that resulted in the death of a 73-year-old resident and the displacement of 35 others. The incident came after a pair of massive fires in the state in buildings constructed with combustible materials over the past couple years – namely in Maplewood and Edgewater. There have been dozens of fires of a similar nature throughout the country over the last several few years.

    A September 2016 poll of 400 registered voters in New Jersey found respondents very supportive of the state making changes to building codes following the devastating Edgewater apartment complex fire in January 2015.

    Local New Jersey coalition members of Build with Strength include: The New Jersey State Firefighters' Mutual Benevolent Association, The Professional Association of Fire Fighters in New Jersey, the New Jersey State Association of County Fire Marshals, the Brigantine Beach Fire Company; the Bricklayers and Allied Crafts – New Jersey, and the Fire Departments of Burlington County and West Orange.

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  • Los Angeles Civil Rights Association Back L.A. Fire Safety Ordinance

    November 20, 2019

    L.A. civil rights leader voices support for efforts to bolster safety standards across Los Angeles

    Los Angeles, CA —The Los Angeles Civil Rights Association endorsed Council members Bob Blumenfield and Monica Rodriguez's new ordinance addressing fire safety. The Ordinance titled; “Building a Safer Los Angeles” aims at curbing urban and suburban housing fires in the City. The organization dedicates itself to advocating for the rights and civil liberties of Los Angeles citizens, particularly those in marginalized communities.

    “We need more leaders like Council members Blumenfield and Rodriguez—those are leaders that are tackling the issues impacting LA residents head on,” says Reverend Eddie Jones, President of the Los Angeles Civil Rights Association. “The ordinance they introduced is a critical step in curbing our growing wildfire problem and ensuring people are safe in their homes, their offices, and their places of worship.”

    The Los Angeles Civil Rights Association is also a member of Build with Strength, a coalition of the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, which consists of community organizations, fire safety professionals, engineers, architects, and industry experts committed to strengthening the nation's building codes and ensuring greater access to secure housing.

    The ordinance would expand Fire District 1 and eliminate the use of combustible materials in new construction. The motion notes “it is time to revisit this tool and expand its reach to ensure that it captures the changing and growing regional centers and neighborhoods within the City of Los Angeles.”

    The ordinance is in direct response to the surge in housing fires in Los Angeles. The trend was highlighted in a recent study by Urvashi Kaul, Consultant and Adjunct Professor at Columbia University. According to the study, L.A. could lose upwards of $22.6 billion to residential fires in the next fifteen years if building codes aren't addressed.

    Reverend Jones, a staple in the Los Angeles community, underscores the importance of immediate action. “We cannot afford to wait any longer. The people of L.A. can now breathe a sigh of relief knowing that their safety is being made a priority.”

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  • Wilsonart Launches Color Me Intrigued from the Virtual Design Library

    November 19, 2019

    New Unique Patterns Represent Colorful Design Personalities

    TEMPLE, TX – Inspired by the broad spectrum of colors created when white light diverges through a prism, Wilsonart's latest Virtual Design Library (VDL) release, Color Me Intrigued, celebrates life's subtle and wide-ranging differences. The Collection's colorful personalities contribute to a beautiful tapestry that is both diverse yet unified.

    “Just as colorful expressions such as 'tickled pink' or 'green with envy' describe our dispositions, Color Me Intrigued piques our curiosity and provokes an emotional response with bold-minded patterns and colors that run the range of warm, cool, bright and subdued,” noted Natalia Smith, Design Manager at Wilsonart.

    The Collection's saturated hues set a definitive mood, while delicately faceted geometric shapes and fresh woodgrains poetically unify into an eclectic genre. Color Me Intrigued offers diverse and versatile patterns that may read serious and sophisticated, funky and playful, or simply chic depending on the prevailing style of furnishings and accessories.

    New introductions Fruit Punch, Waterspout, Blue Yonder, Grape Jelly, Green Tourmaline and Iolite, join existing patterns Quince, Kale Leaf, Blue Curacao and Radiant Brass as bold, exotic hues that derive depth from the graphic Crossweave pattern. Emerald Jewel, Amethyst Jewel and Sapphire Jewel offer mysteriously faceted smoky tones with geometric complexity. Washington Slab, Seasoned Maple and Sunken Oak join existing pattern Cocoa Marquetry, to add sophistication and variety to Wilsonart's expansive collection of woodgrains.

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  • Industry Changing Products Released at IPSE 2019

    November 14, 2019

    The International Pool and Spa Expo is a great venue for launching new products, meeting with existing customers and prospective customers. At this year's show we introduced a wide range of new products, including some industry firsts.

    New for 2020 are several new controls, new sauna rooms, a new larger size combination InfraSauna room new accessories.

    The most exciting new product/new technology released at IPSE is the SaunaLogic2, North America's first sauna control with global mobile capability. For the first time ever, a sauna user can turn his/her sauna on from anywhere in the world where cell service or Wi-Fi is available. Sleek design, about the size of an iPhone, the control is feature rich giving sauna users flexibility to control their sauna easily, from anywhere. There will be posted shortly a separate blog on the SaunaLogic2.

    Building on the strong interest from customers on InfraSauna combination rooms, an exclusive Finnleo product. Due to overwhelmingly positive response to the IS44 2-person InfraSauna, combination room, we introduced a new, larger size 5-person model, the IS565. The IS rooms are exclusive to Finnleo and are matched with the newly released SaunaLogic2 and provides the “best of both worlds” of Infrared and Traditional Sauna. There has been immediate demand for the new IS565, with the unit being sold out through year-end, with new orders to be filled in January.

    In celebration of the 100th anniversary of our parent company, TyloHelo World Group, a luxurious new Designer Series Sauna, the Centurion, was released at IPSE. The Centurion combines rich and historic Finnish sauna design elements with new heater and control technology. Finnleo's exclusive black Taika sauna paneling on the walls, combined with nicely contrasting light colored clear vertical grain Canadian Hemlock benches and backrests and integral backrest lighting, the sauna provides a highly relaxing environment. A wall-to-wall middle platform bench wraps around a Himalaya rock-tower heater and is matched with Finnleo's new Elite touchscreen control.

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  • Solar Innovations® Brightens the Path To Natural Light With Lumira® Aerogel Integration

    November 14, 2019

    PINE GROVE, PA – Solar Innovations® Architectural Glazing Systems has taken the guess work out of natural lighting by integrating polycarbonate panels with Lumira Aerogel technology. Though the aerogel matter inside the panel appears as solid crystals, the material is actually an extremely light dry silicone compound that provides extreme insulating, acoustical, and light diffusing capabilities. These filled polycarbonate panels can be integrated into nearly every product Solar Innovations has to offer, including windows, doors, curtain walls, skylights, sunrooms, pool enclosures, and more.

    The natural lighting benefits of Lumira-integrated products have benefits far beyond their appearance. Workplaces with natural lighting experience up to a 16% increase in productivity, while classrooms that provide substantial natural light help with concentration and can be attributed to as much as a 20% increase in test scores. Additionally, businesses whose daytime lighting comes mostly from skylights often experience a 25-40% increase in sales, while simultaneously lowering energy costs with diffused light and thermal regulation.

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  • Despite Overwhelming Consensus, A Developer is Looking to Build with Combustible Materials in Newark

    November 13, 2019

    Decision to construct tall timber structure comes after Essex County (NJ), which governs City of Newark, endorsed statewide legislation that prohibits such construction

    Silver Spring, MD – On Monday, Lotus Equity Group, a New York developer, announced plans to build a 500,000 square foot building in Newark, New Jersey, to be constructed primarily out of combustible building materials.

    The 11-story mixed-use building will feature 2,000 residential units, and would require a special permit to construct due to New Jersey's existing building codes. Newark's existing building code restricts heavy timber construction to 6-stories.

    The announcement comes just three months after the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders, the governing body for the City of Newark, unanimously adopted a resolution supporting statewide legislation that would amend New Jersey's construction code for fire safety reasons, and provide an added level of protection for firefighters and residents alike.

    “Building and fire codes exist for a reason,” said Kevin Lawlor, spokesperson for Build with Strength, a coalition of the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association comprised of fire service professionals, engineers, architects, industry experts and community experts. “Combustible building materials are a safety hazard for residents, firefighters, and properties, and developers need to be conscious of the impact they have on the communities they serve.”

    The resolution adopted in Essex County was mirrored by local lawmakers in Camden County, Mercer County and the Middlesex County Boards of Freeholders, all of which voted unanimously to adopt similar resolutions to strengthen New Jersey's building codes.

    The legislation calls for the installation of an automatic sprinkler system in accordance with NFPA 13, measuring the number of stories from the grade plane, using noncombustible materials for construction, and installing a fire barrier with a fire resistance rating of at least two hours that extends from the foundation to the roof.

    The push for stronger codes comes after devastating fires in the state in buildings constructed with combustible materials over the past couple years – namely in Princeton, Maplewood and Edgewater. There have been dozens of fires of a similar nature throughout the country over the last several few years.

    A September 2016 poll of 400 registered voters in New Jersey found respondents very supportive of the state making changes to building codes following the devastating Edgewater apartment complex fire in January 2015.

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  • Variety of profiles, colors from McElroy Metal clads medical office building

    November 13, 2019

    Bossier City, La. — By specifying a variety of exposed fastener profiles from McElroy Metal on the Lewiston (Pa.) Community Health Center medical office building project, the design team was able to achieve the desired aesthetic and still construct a facility for the non-profit real estate development company with durability and budget constraints in mind.

    The Lewison facility, established by Keystone Healthcare Development Corporation, is home to two primary tenants: Primary Health Network and Geisinger Lewiston Hospital. Keystone Healthcare Development is a non-profit developer created to provide expertise and capital to support the growth of health centers.

    “After exploring several options for the exterior cladding for this building that did not meet the construction budget, the design team selected the exposed fastener metal panels as a cost-effective solution that still provided a striking appearance,” says David Nitchkey, principal at CORE Architects in Pittsburgh. “The exposed fastener metal panels were selected for their aesthetic appeal, durability, low maintenance and economical value. The challenge was to create a building design that would be a signature statement for the client and provide striking visibility from the highway, through the use of color and materials, while also providing an economical and functional solution. While the building is a simple rectangular box in its overall form, the architecture aesthetic relies on the metal skin to provide scale, texture and visual interest. The three different metal panel profiles were selected to provide relief to the otherwise flat building façades. The four-color scheme creates visual interest and further defines the composition of the elements that create the architectural order of the building façades.”

    Hudson Construction of Hermitage, Pa., installed the metal panels from McElroy Metal, including vertical U-Panels (4,700 square feet) in Patina Green, horizontal Mega-Rib (9,750 square feet) in Copper Penny and Surrey Beige, vertical Multi-Cor (9,000 square feet) in Medium Bronze, flush soffit panels (400 square feet) and flat sheet for fabrication (13,000 square feet). All colors are Fluropon® PVDF coatings from Sherwin-Williams.

    “We've installed these exposed metal fastener panels on several jobs recently and we've had no issues or challenges,” says Keith Brown, project manager/estimator for Hudson Construction. “We're happy with the final product and I think everyone else is as well.”

    Metal makes for the unique look of the Lewiston Community Health Center medical office building.

    “The various metal panel profiles and depths allowed for the exterior skin to be a textured graphic expression, that responds to the direction of the sunlight, creating movement through shade and shadow resulting in dynamic and everchanging building façades,” Nitchkey says.

    Nitchkey has experience working with McElroy Metal products, including three smaller projects and his own residence! “I'm very familiar of the high quality of the materials and with the design of the details,” he says. I once again worked very closely with Jon Farrer, sales manager at Brock Associates, and detailer Jeff Raymond, throughout the process to achieve an overall striking architectural design. We have worked together as a team to complete the designs for five additional projects, all utilizing McElroy Metal exposed fastener panels.”

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  • CENTRIA® Launches TotalClad™ MW Fire-Resistant Insulated Metal Wall Panels in Striated and Heavy Embossed Profiles

    November 07, 2019

    Additional, dynamic profiles expand exterior design possibilities

    Moon Township, PA…CENTRIA®, leading innovator and manufacturer of the world's most advanced building envelope wall and roof panels, integrated components and coating systems, is proud to introduce TotalClad™ MW fire-resistant insulated metal wall panels. Building upon its current offering, Micro Planked, the panels are now available in Striated and Heavy Embossed options.

    TotalClad MW fire-resistant insulated metal wall panels reimagine fire protection by offering a single component metal panel solution for both interior and exterior applications.

    TotalClad MW fire-resistant insulated metal panels feature a non-combustible mineral wool core that provides superior fire performance as well as good thermal characteristics. The mineral wool core is bonded to exterior and interior metal skins and achieves 1-hour, 2-hour, and 3-hour fire ratings with 4”, 6”, 7”, and 8” thick panels, respectively.

    “CENTRIA is dedicated to innovation and enabling design teams to achieve their vision while ensuring a safer, healthier built environment,” says Tom Zombek, Project Manager. “By expanding upon our current exterior profile selection, we are better meeting the needs of our customers and satisfying their aesthetic goals – plus helping protect buildings for all occupants and users.”

    TotalClad MW is ideal for commercial and industrial applications, arenas, and manufacturing facilities — all equally well-suited to interior and exterior applications. It is able to adhere to the most stringent fire performance building codes and provides a vapor barrier thanks to its noncombustible mineral wool core. The panels are also dimensionally stable, water repellent, and will not expand, thereby maintaining structural integrity and aesthetics.

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  • Eaton to participate in Baird Global Industrial Conference November 6, 2019

    November 06, 2019

    October 30, 2019

    DUBLIN, Ireland ... Power management company Eaton (NYSE:ETN) today announced that Rick Fearon, vice chairman and chief financial and planning officer, will participate in the Baird Global Industrial Conference in Chicago, Illinois, on Wednesday, November 6, 2019. Fearon will be making comments at 4 p.m. Central time, discussing the company's business prospects with securities analysts and institutional investors.

    A real-time audio webcast of the presentation will be available at www.eaton.com. An audio replay will be available following the presentation at the same link.

    Eaton is a power management company with 2018 sales of $21.6 billion. We provide energy-efficient solutions that help our customers effectively manage electrical, hydraulic and mechanical power more efficiently, safely and sustainably. Eaton is dedicated to improving the quality of life and the environment through the use of power management technologies and services. Eaton has approximately 100,000 employees and sells products to customers in more than 175 countries.

    Contacts:
    Cara Klaer, Media Relations, +1 (248) 864-9875
    Yan Jin, Investor Relations, +1 (440) 523-7558

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  • Learn everything there is to know about Infratech and tell your customers they have a chance to win 7 days/6 nights in Paradise*

    November 05, 2019

    Picture you and three friends escaping the cold this winter to enjoy a bit of paradise! Simply take Infratech's video training (Click on the red "Read More" button).

    The Sales Course consists of 6 separate videos. The course has been designed to be easy to complete while reinforcing the principles taught.

    How to take the video training course; Selling, Promoting and Specifying Infratech Heaters
    1. Log in to the course by clicking on the red "Read More" button below
    2. Go to “Sign UP” in the upper right-hand corner of
    3. Enter all fields with asterisks. Click on download the course and begin
    4. Be sure to write down the “Test Password” displayed on your screen half-way through the course.

    *The location can be determined by the winner. The prize will be sourced through AMPRO Vacations offering luxury accommodations at almost 2,000 destinations worldwide.

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  • Niagara Conservation - Visit our booth and you can win

    November 05, 2019

    Niagara Conservation- Meet with us to Win! November 20, 21, 2019Greenbuild 2019Booth #29

    Schedule an appointment in our booth on November 20th or 21st to explore our sustainable products and you will be entered to win a Yeti Cooler. Click on the red "Read More" button for more details.

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  • Wooden DC Apartment Complex for Seniors Up in Flames After Three-Alarm Fire

    November 05, 2019

    Several hospitalized following massive rescue efforts by firefighters and even the United States Marines

    Silver Spring, MD – In Southeast DC, a devastating three-alarm fire ravaged a senior affordable housing complex on Wednesday, leaving residents of the 161 occupied units displaced and at least four injured. The massive plumes of smoke could be seen throughout the district and have lingered long enough to produce school closings due to air quality. This is reportedly the wooden building's third major fire in the past ten years.

    “They had to call in the Marines, that is how bad this has gotten, yet in city councils and state houses throughout the United States those who make money off of the promotion of combustible wooden structures are telling lawmakers that their products are perfectly safe,” said Kevin Lawlor, a spokesperson for Build With Strength, a coalition of the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association comprised of fire safety professionals, engineers, architects, community groups and industry experts committed to strengthening the nation's building codes. “In our nation's capital, where our laws are made, let's hope that images of Marines, first responders, and good Samaritans rushing to save senior citizens from the very structure that was built to protect them is a catalyst for strengthening our building codes to prohibit the use of combustible materials.”

    The entire complex consisted of affordable housing, with many of the seniors disabled and unable to flee on their own. Marines were seen carrying paralyzed residents out of the building, and the fire department released a video showing a firefighter carrying a resident down a ladder leaning against the side of the apartment building. Video from the scene showed people rushing toward the building with wheelchairs to rescue residents inside. Local schools and businesses have closed following the fire.

    Compounding the danger was a brick façade, masking the weak wooden structural make-up of the building. “A passerby, reporter, first responder, or even a tenant wouldn't know that the structure and frame of the building was actually something more akin to firewood than brick until, as it did in this situation, a spark becomes a devasting fire that endangers the lives of an at-risk population, puts people on the street, and diverts the fire, police and medical resources of an entire city toward an entirely preventable event,” continued Lawlor.

    This blaze comes on the heels of a disturbing trend of fires in the Washington, DC area. Just earlier this week, Prince George's County, Maryland saw a devastating three-alarm fire that led to 132 displaced people and $2.2 million worth of damages. On a single day this May, two fires struck Prince George's County and Fairfax County, Virginia, with the latter also striking a senior housing development.

    Build with Strength, a coalition of the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association (NRMCA), has launched a campaign to educate citizens, local and state officials, and industry experts about the inherent dangers of wood-framed construction, particularly in multi-story, residential and commercial buildings. As a grassroots organization, they work with local elected officials and industry workers, from architects to project managers to advocate for the safety benefits of working with concrete-based construction.

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