Building knowledge and connections



  • S-5! Accept the things you cannot change

    May 20, 2020

    S-5! is working full steam ahead on the re-invention of every department, availing of every opportunity for improvement. From marketing and communications to manufacturing and sales to research and development, we are integrating extensive improvements into all phases and functions of our company. We are reinvigorating the entrepreneurial spirit that underpins this organization. We are performing the same functions but in new and different ways.

    Our sales team is facing customers through video conferencing – no planes, airports, rental cars and hotel rooms for now; they are training distribution channels and end-users through educational webinars. We are communicating more and more through social media and online communications. And, we are coordinating interdepartmental functions via digital media. It is actually more time-and cost-effective than the ways of yesterday. We are accelerating the implementation of our new ERP and CRM systems, fast-tracking our manufacturing plant expansion program, stepping up R&D with new products and installing new automation equipment in production. We are working harder and faster than ever before.

    S-5! has and will continue to identify the opportunities hidden within this difficulty and align ourselves, our strategies and preparations to emerge on the other side of this pandemic as a more vibrant company. We will be stronger, more effective, more purposeful, more dynamic, more resilient with more fluid operational procedures and infrastructure, closer customer contact and rapport, higher production rates, and lower operating costs in all departments.

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  • Benjamin Moore Is Making Hand Sanitizer in it's New Jersey Factory - It's just part of the company's COVID-19 relief effort

    May 19, 2020

    As someone who has waxed poetic about certain Benjamin Moore colors, I'm clearly a fan—and designers love their paints, too. Now, the company is giving us all the more reason to love them by rolling out a multifaceted relief program in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The most surprising pivot? Turning its Newark, New Jersey, paint factory to a hand sanitizer production.

    Over the past few weeks, Benjamin Moore—which as operated a facility in Newark since the 1920s—has been investigating how to switch from making paint to making hand sanitizer. Now, the company is in the process of manufacturing 600 gallons (over 2,000 bottles) of sanitizer, which it is donating to local police departments.

    In addition, the company has announced a $100,000 gift to the Community FoodBank of New Jersey and Frontline Foods, two of the organizations helping to make up for the 50% state increase in demand for food assistance. This donation will facilitate 230,000 meals.

    "Benjamin Moore has operated in New Jersey for more than 100 years, with four locations and our largest employee population based in the Garden State. As a company committed to the communities we serve, we recognize the health and financial hardship that COVID-19 has caused many residents," says chairman and CEO Dan Calkins. "Through our production of much-needed hand sanitizer and monetary donations to the Community FoodBank of New Jersey and Frontline Foods New Jersey, we hope to bring some comfort to first responders, healthcare workers and community members in need during this difficult time."

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  • Sensitile - materials as dynamic as light

    May 19, 2020

    “Today more than ever we understand the importance of space, and the beauty that can be achieved through its effective and adaptable use. Only when we return to that beauty which we had taken for granted, will we feel alive again.” - Giovanni de Niederhäusern, Senior Vice President Architecture, Samuele Sordi, Chief Architect in Pininfarina USA, Marco Bortolussi, Marketing Specialist

    Marrying beauty and elegance with people's connectivity to the physical space has always been our guiding vision. We aim to draw people in, harness their senses in dynamic ways, and push beyond prevailing thinking of what it means to interact with the material world. The need to distance socially should not preclude connectivity and beauty. Our screen, divider and partitioning solutions achieve privacy without seclusion and are versatile, adaptable and configurable. They are easy to clean and sanitize and relevant for hospitality, healthcare, retail, institutional, educational and residential environments. They divide spaces and create privacy, while at the same time, maintain a delightfully connected whole by extending, distributing and maximizing ambient and daytime light.

    Please click the "Read More" button to view Sensitile's available Screens and Dividers.

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  • Oasis Outdoor Living & Landscapes Brings Bluworld of Water USA to Central Indiana

    May 01, 2020

    Today's fast-paced lifestyle may generate joy and productivity, but it can also create ample stress, causing homeowners to crave a greater degree of tranquility back on the home front. Rob Delaby, owner of Oasis Outdoor Living & Landscapes, has found homeowners are increasingly seeking to enhance their environment with a calming and soothing element, incorporating water features both outside and inside the home.

    Since the beginning of time, humans have been naturally drawn to water's beauty as it serves to soothe, heal, restore, and uplift us. Moreover, water increases alertness, decreases blood pressure, and lowers depression & anxiety. And here's a great bonus: including a water feature on either the interior or exterior of your home substantially increases its value!

    Last year Delaby met with a local couple who were eager to add flair to their newly constructed home by Christopher Scott Homes, by adding some unique water features. In describing the kind of design they were looking for, these homeowners, who adore Arizona and Las Vegas, said, “We want Scottsdale flair but with a Bellagio kicker.”

    Delaby was eager to deliver, but unfortunately there was nobody in the area that could help him with the type of technologically advanced water features he needed to create the design his clients envisioned. In doing his research, Delaby came across Bluworld of Water in Orlando and was immediately awestruck by the jaw-droppingly unique projects he saw.

    “I was impressed not only in their design capability but also their proprietary trademark of the Blu-Guard system that prevents water from getting stagnant, stale, or growing algae,” says Delaby. (Bluworld has developed a 100% hermetically sealed design that required no water supply, no drainage, no filtration and no regular maintenance. Because the system is 100% encapsulated with distilled water, it can never get dirty or develop any biological growth.)

    “What Bluworld offers isn't currently available in the Indianapolis market,” says Delaby. “We've all seen exterior water features, but how often do you walk into someone's home and see a kitchen tabletop full of water that has bubbles in it? Or an entryway with a wall of water?”

    After flying to Florida, meeting Josh Effron, Senior Account Manager for Bluworld of Water, and touring the state-of-the-art 40,000 sq. ft. facility, Delaby was sold and suggested a partnership.

    “I wanted the opportunity to be the dealer of Bluworld's concept and bring Central Indiana the beauty of Bluworld,” says Delaby, who was thrilled to return to Indy and let his clients know that he could make their dream a reality, complete with a custom Butler Bulldog themed water feature.

    Because of the partnership with Bluworld, the sky is the limit on customizing these water features. Clients can custom build each detail of their water feature, choosing from different panel materials, colors, lighting, and water effects.

    “There is virtually no limit to what we can create or how far we are willing to travel. In fact, we now have installations in more than 35 countries and most recently, in Wah Pakistan where we designed the world's tallest indoor water feature at 165 feet,” says Effron. “This includes using custom stainless steel, any type of glass as well as custom cast acrylic. These designs can also include programmable animation and lighting shows.”

    “I searched high and low to find a partner that could provide cutting-edge interior and exterior water features, and Bluworld has captured the market with high-end design and development with proprietary methods and computer systems,” says Delaby. “I'm honored to be their dealer in Central Indiana and am eager to help any and all residential and commercial design build firms with the installation of Bluworld products and projects.”

    “It was a major success as all the work done by both Oasis Outdoor and Bluworld was absolutely stunning!” says Effron. “Bluworld is thankful to have a trusted and knowledgeable partner in the Indianapolis area. We feel that the opportunities are endless, and we look forward to sustaining this great partnership and working with Oasis Outdoor in the future on many projects!”

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  • New Test Results Prove XLERATORs with HEPA Filtration System Remove 99.999 Percent of Viruses from the Airstream

    April 30, 2020

    Proper Hand Hygiene Top Defense Against Spread of Germs

    EAST LONGMEADOW, Mass. – Both the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention list proper hand hygiene among the best defenses against spreading germs. Proper hand hygiene involves thoroughly washing hands for at least 20 seconds, and drying them completely. Further, both organizations list warm air dryers as an effective means of drying hands.

    The XLERATOR® Hand Dryer has already been proven to dry hands completely in as little as 8 seconds per global UL Environment Product Category Rules (PCR) testing standards. Now, a new study offers more insight into how HEPA filtration can contribute to hand hygiene. New viral filtration efficiency testing conducted by LMS Technologies found that XLERATOR® and XLERATORsync® Hand Dryers with HEPA Filtration Systems remove 99.999 percent of viruses from the airstream.

    “In these unprecedented times, the health and well-being of our customers is our main concern and it was important for us to confirm how our products interact with viruses,” said William Gagnon, vice president of sales and marketing at Excel Dryer. “These results provide peace of mind to the public and our customers with regard to hand dryer use, especially now, at a time when proper hand washing and drying is paramount.”

    This latest test challenged XLERATOR HEPA Filtration Systems with approximately 380 million viruses ranging in size between 16.5 and 604.3 nanometers. In the end, the HEPA Filtration System removed 99.999 percent of viruses.

    Of the results, LMS Technologies President Al Vatine said, “The virus used in the test represents all viruses, like coronavirus in terms of their size or how they would react to the filter. I can, with confidence, tout the effectiveness of the XLERATORs with HEPA filtration systems. If it can perform this effectively in an enhanced, virus-infused scenario, it surely would provide effective filtration in real-world settings.”

    XLERATOR Hand Dryers with HEPA Filtration Systems provide a more hygienic hand drying experience and environment compared to restrooms using paper towels. This touchless hand hygiene solution eliminates the multiple unnecessary touch points that come with using paper towels as a drying method including handling during their manufacture, shipping, storage, restocking and then, once used, the germ-laden waste removal. By reducing touchpoints, the risk of germ transfer is likewise reduced.

    “Now more than ever, hygiene is a global concern,” Gagnon furthered. “With our latest test results, we can report that when it comes to public health, you’re in good hands with XLERATOR.”

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  • ATAS International Launches New Website for Transpired Solar Air Heating Collector

    April 28, 2020

    Allentown, PA - ATAS International has been involved in the manufacturing of transpired solar collector panels since 2002. Technical insights gleaned from early projects resulted in continual refinement of design, ultimately culminating in the release of the InSpire® wall solar air heating system to the sustainable construction industry in 2006. Since then, InSpire® has been installed on a wide variety of building types including schools, warehouses, and office buildings, earning numerous industry awards and professional recognition along the way.

    A new website for InSpire® was launched in mid-April:, with a nod to the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. The new site contains more project data and photos, applications and case studies, and real-time performance data of a system installed on a warehouse/production facility. Design considerations, a BIM model, CAD details (in PDF and DWG formats) and color selections are also available on the new site.

    Heating outside air is often the single most expensive energy budget item in a building and this is what the solar air wall system helps to reduce. Solar air heating is a simple, renewable, and efficient technology using the sun as a source of heat. Transpired solar collector panels installed on building walls can be used for heating building space with pre-heated outside air and can also provide process hot air for drying applications across numerous industries. The solar thermal efficiency of the InSpire® wall can exceed 80%, as certified by the Solar Rating and Certification Corporation (SRCC). Christian Vachon, Director of Solar Technology for ATAS International, stated, “I have been selling and installing the InSpire® solar air heating panels for over 10 years and they have always met or even exceeded calculated performance.”

    The InSpire® solar collector is a perforated aluminum or zinc wall panel that is usually mounted on a building over the south-facing weathertight exterior wall (southeast and southwest-facing walls are also adequate to provide preheated air). The precision perforations in the wall panels allow outside air to travel through the face of the panel. When the metal panel is exposed to sunlight, it heats up, creating a layer of warm air on the surface of the panel. This solar-heated air is drawn through the perforations where it rises through the plenum between the two walls and enters the building's central ventilation system or supply fan where it is distributed through the building's duct work.

    To learn more about solar air heating, ATAS offers a course on the topic that is approved by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) for 1 LU/HSW and by Green Business Certification, Inc. (GBCI) for 1 CE hour. You may request a seminar through the resources tab on the new InSpire® website.

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  • McElroy Metal provides panels for Texas university landmark

    April 28, 2020

    Bossier City, La. — Growth and expansion have defined the ongoing evolution at the University of Houston-Clear Lake (UHCL) during recent years. The transition from a commuter school for continuing education into a four-year campus with resident students created the need for a recreation and wellness facility that serves as a campus landmark.

    The Clear Lake Recreation and Wellness Center is a new 81,000 square foot facility, featuring McElroy Metal's 22-gauge coil formed into wall panels. MCT Sheet Metal of Katy, Texas, manufactured three custom profiles in the Sherwin-Williams Fluropon PVDF custom color Aged Bronze. A recruiting tool for the university, the facility partners student life with wellness-focused academics as the new home to the university's Exercise and Health Science Department. It houses recreational amenities including fitness/exercise facilities, an indoor track, and multi-use athletic courts for club sports, intramurals and personal training.

    “Campus recreation and wellness centers are powerful tools for recruitment and retention of higher education students,” says Mark Kranz, FAIA, Vice President & Design Director at SmithGroup of Dallas. “To that end, the university wanted a bold, modern new facility to elevate their brand externally, and unite the campus internally with a strong, cohesive identity.

    “Through the use of provocative form reflecting the program within, overarching sustainable strategies, materially and with color, the design epitomizes the UHCL 'Hawk' brand.”

    Kranz points to the south façade of the building, which “is energized with a dynamic composition of custom profile single-skin metal panels, inspired by the motion of a hawk in flight,” he says. “That wing of the building houses research and academic space for the Health and Human Performance (Kinesiology) programs. We knew that we wanted our design to express the many layers and aspects of this active, human-centered field of study. The two-story volume blends in plan in a muscular way. We thought of both the body in motion and the flight of a hawk and overlaid the two as an abstract way to think about how a façade could appear to be kinetic.

    “This dynamic set of ideas led to the exploration and experimentation with broken metal profiles. The result is very poetic and elegant and uses a simple and economical material.”

    MCT Sheet Metal handled the fabrication and installation of metal products on the new center. MCT owner Patrick Coussens says working closely with SmithGroup helped everyone achieve project goals.

    “The procured metal has a fantastic warranty with a large selection of color options to meet the design needs of the architect,” he says. “The 22-gauge sheet metal used is a step above the 24-gauge typical standard, which translates to a more robust panel in terms of strength and wind load. That adds longevity to the project. The profiles SmithGroup designed are fantastic for breaking up the façades into something visually enjoyable.”

    Kranz says a major challenge with such extensive use of glazing is the control of solar heat gain and visual glare as it relates to energy performance and environmental comfort. “Metal components are used throughout the project to help achieve the design's solar control strategy,” he says. “On the exterior, dramatic overhangs, metal shade structures and metal fins reduce heat gain, while on the interior, perforated metal guardrails diffuse sunlight to reduce glare.”

    The project certainly met the aesthetic and durability goals of all involved.

    “Working creatively with a simple metal coil and braking it into three custom profiles, we were able to express the project's kinetic spirit and purpose,” Kranz says. “It isn't easy to capture movement with static materials, but the panel composition makes the architecture move, in a very provocative way.”

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  • Accept the Things You Cannot Change

    April 24, 2020

    Rob Haddock, CEO & Founder of S-5! Metal Roof Innovations, Ltd.

    Without the noise of day-to-day fires to put out, many of us are operating in quiet solitude and reflecting on how we will do things both now and when this crisis subsides. I am one of the many.

    There are six words that come to mind in describing the events of the past 60 days: The first two have to do with external stimuli; the second two with our internal reaction to those stimuli. And, the final two have to do with the outcome. So, let me expound on that a bit.

    Change and Upheaval - “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.” Known as “The Serenity Prayer,” by Reinhold Niebuhr, these wise words frame how many of us view the current situation. It is hard to dispute this virus and its ripple effects (which are external forces) have changed things dramatically causing serious disruption and upheaval to the way we live. This health crisis has shaken the entire world. It has drastically affected our social, economic and political strata – all three. Such unprecedented change brings upheaval. And upheaval precipitates more change – change in how we work, how we think and how we feel. For many, even change in our value system. It will and should spark a reaction from each of us. We cannot alter the external force. We can change how we react to it.

    Shifting and Redirection - “Tough times never last: tough people do!” This phrase coined by Clergyman, Robert Schuller leads us to respond to negative circumstances in a positive way. So, accepting what we cannot change, we have to shift our thinking to deal with things we can change. How do we do that? We find and focus on the potential silver linings within and beyond the circumstances of the crisis and how they might relate to our businesses – things that represent opportunity shrouded within this disaster; things that we can control and are actionable. We systematically re-evaluate, re-strategize, re-align our strategies and re-direct our activities to accomplish new strategies. Those silver linings will be different from one company to the next. The same shift or redirection will not work for everyone. At S-5!, we are shifting and redirecting. It is energizing –even fun!

    Opportunity and Increase - “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” - Albert Einstein When we identify the opportunities within the adversity, we must implement our strategies and do it quickly.

    S-5! is working full steam ahead on the re-invention of every department, availing of every opportunity for improvement. From marketing and communications to manufacturing and sales to research and development, we are integrating extensive improvements into all phases and functions of our company. We are reinvigorating the entrepreneurial spirit that underpins this organization. We are performing the same functions but in new and different ways.

    Our sales team is facing customers through video conferencing – no planes, airports, rental cars and hotel rooms for now; they are training distribution channels and end-users through educational webinars. We are communicating more and more through social media and online communications. And, we are coordinating interdepartmental functions via digital media. It is actually more time-and cost-effective than the ways of yesterday. We are accelerating the implementation of our new ERP and CRM systems, fast-tracking our manufacturing plant expansion program, stepping up R&D with new products and installing new automation equipment in production. We are working harder and faster than ever before.

    S-5! has and will continue to identify the opportunities hidden within this difficulty and align ourselves, our strategies and preparations to emerge on the other side of this pandemic as a more vibrant company. We will be stronger, more effective, more purposeful, more dynamic, more resilient with more fluid operational procedures and infrastructure, closer customer contact and rapport, higher production rates, and lower operating costs in all departments. That postures us for an increase in sales and profits.

    Is your business accepting the things it cannot change? Do you have the courage to change the things you can? Do you have the wisdom to know the difference?

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  • ATAS Announces 2019 Sales Team of the Year

    April 15, 2020

    Allentown, PA | April 14, 2020 - At the recent ATAS International employee appreciation and awards dinner, Jared Gorman, CSI, and Ernie Kortvely, were announced as the recipients of the annual Malan S. Parker Award, which recognizes the top sales team of 2019. Malan S. “Steve” Parker was an exemplary ATAS Product Representative in the New England territory, and he passed away in 2002. Since then, to honor his hard work and dedication to ATAS, the sales team of the year award is now known as the Malan S. Parker Award.

    This is the first year that Gorman has won this award. His territory includes eastern Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine. Gorman joined ATAS in 2016 and has over 15 years of industry experience in a wide variety of roles, including distribution sales and management, estimating, roofing, and carpentry. He has a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Fitchburg State University in Fitchburg, MA. Gorman is the membership chairperson for the Boston Chapter of the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI).

    Kortvely is the inside technical salesperson for the territory. He has over 22 years of industry experience, and most of those years were as an ATAS employee. Kortvely was a product representative for ATAS in the Mid-Atlantic region for many years, prior to his current position. He earned the LEED Green Associate certification in 2010 and the CSI Construction Documents Technologist certification in 2011.

    Gorman and Kortvely were chosen as this year’s winners for their teamwork in overall sales growth and observance of corporate goals and objectives. They obtained the highest level of sales in a year for the eastern New England territory, consistently grew sales over the last three years, and diversified their product channels. Kortvely’s support of Gorman and their customers within the region was instrumental to the growth realized in that area. Both Gorman and Kortvely have certification in metal roof installation from the Metal Construction Association (MCA).

    “Jared and Ernie's dedication and hard work in 2019 was outstanding, resulting in continuous years of sales growth”, said Mark Bus, National Sales Manager for ATAS. “We have great customers in the eastern New England market, and Jared and Ernie provide exceptional service to maintain their loyalty. Jared's background within distribution and the trades was also very instrumental in growing the business, along with driving the benefits of ATAS within the architectural community. We congratulate both on this well-deserved award and for their dedication and continued service to ATAS.”

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    April 15, 2020

    Natatorium Is Central Feature in Learning By Design's Outstanding Project Winner

    BOW, NH — The La Joya (Texas) Water Park & Planetarium, which features a natatorium enclosure by New Hampshire-based Structures Unlimited, Inc., was a distinguished winner in Learning By Design's 2020 Educational Facilities Design Awards program.

    The expansive project, built by the La Joya Independent School District to serve its students and the public, includes a water park, planetarium and a natatorium featuring a 10-lane competition pool and two diving boards. The enclosure features two retractable roof systems designed by Structures Unlimited for natural ventilation and a corrosion-resistant aluminum structure.

    The park is the first complex of its kind in Texas owned by a school district and can welcome 1,200 guests at a time. The project was named one of Learning By Design's Outstanding Project winners.

    Learning By Design is produced three times a year in partnership with the American Institute of Architects' Committee on Architecture for Education, the Association for Learning Environments, the Society for College and University Planners, and the Association of University Interior Designers. The Spring Educational Facilities Showcase is a national juried program based on quality, design and community impact of a project.

    “To earn the respect of such a prestigious jury is quite an accomplishment,” says Mark McNichol, Director of Sales for Structures Unlimited. “This was a complex project and the ability of Structures Unlimited to provide a single-source, pre-engineered solution for the natatorium was something the design team was seeking.”

    “It's critical that the glare off the water in a pool is minimized for the safety of the swimmers, and that is what we are able to provide with our structures incorporating Kalwall® translucent sandwich panels. Diffused natural daylight provides the perfect setting for natatoriums.”

    Gignac & Associates, LLP of McAllen, Texas was the architect, D. Wilson Construction of McAllen was the general contractor and Counsilman-Hunsaker of Richardson, Texas was the aquatic design consultant.

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  • Concrete Pavement Webinar Series Off to Strong Start with More to Come

    April 09, 2020

    The first installment of NRMCA's Concrete Pavement Education Series was a great success, with more than 430 individuals attending the Designing Concrete Parking Lots and Streets webinar, reports Senior Vice President, Local Paving, Phil Kresge. These weekly webinars focus on topics related to design, construction, maintenance and rehabilitation of concrete pavements. The next program in the series, scheduled for Thursday, April 9, at 2 p.m. Eastern time, is Designing Concrete Industrial Pavements and will discuss proper pavement design per the recommendations of ACI 330.2R-17: Guide for the Design and Construction of Concrete Site Paving for Industrial and Trucking Facilities.

    “In this time of mandatory social distancing, the Concrete Pavement Education Series provides you the opportunity to stay in front of your audience while following health and safety guidelines,” Kresge said. “By sharing the link, you can invite your contacts in the A/E and construction communities to register for the webinar. A courtesy follow-up e-mail or phone call after the program keeps you on their radar screen.” The webinars also provide American Institute of Architects (AIA) Elective Learning Units and/or Professional Development Hours (PDH) for continuing education requirements.

    Future programs include Soils 101: What to Know for a Successful Paving Project (April 16), Concrete Pavement Jointing Details> (April 23) and Materials and Construction Specifications for Concrete Pavement Projects (April 30). Each webinar starts at 2 p.m. Eastern time and is free.

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  • Fifth Consecutive Top Workplace Award is Received by ATAS International

    March 31, 2020

    Allentown, PA - ATAS International, Inc. is once again honored to receive a prestigious Top Workplace award. This is the fifth consecutive year that the award has been earned, and ATAS is one of only four manufacturing firms in the Lehigh Valley to receive this 2020 honor from The Morning Call.

    The organizations who receive a Top Workplace award are determined solely on the results of an employee engagement survey consisting of 24 questions, administered by Energage, a leading research firm that specializes in organizational health and workplace improvement. Several aspects of workplace culture were measured, including employee engagement, leadership, alignment, connection, coaching, performance, and “the basics” (which include pay, benefits, flexibility, training, and expectations). Companies that participated in the survey could be public, private, non-profit, or governmental, and had at least 35 employees in the region. There is no cost to enter the Top Workplaces program.

    “Recruitment and retention are a key focus for every organization today. The employee engagement survey at the heart of the Top Workplaces program provides the foundation for unearthing unique culture differentiators to recruit and retain the right talent,“ said Bob Helbig, CEO of Energage, The Morning Call's research partner for Top Workplaces of the Lehigh Valley area of Pennsylvania. This year, 81 organizations agreed to take the employee survey. Combined, they employ 26,284 people.

    Comments made by ATAS employees while completing the survey were not only shared with the owners and managers at ATAS, but with all the employees. Along with the positive feedback were suggestions on areas for improvement, which will be reviewed and considered for implementation. Some of the survey comments made anonymously by the ATAS team members include:
    · Good work environment that feels like we all have the same goals in mind
    · I love my job because I work with great co-workers and team players
    · The company is always planning for the future
    · Management listens to all opinions and concerns
    · The company consistently works toward making improvements for customers and staff
    · My manager allows me to be a decision maker, values my opinion, and treats me with respect
    · I have been given the ability to shape my future within the organization; hard work and determination are acknowledged

    As the ATAS point of contact for the Top Workplaces survey, Anne Hicks, Executive Assistant, stated, “People have to feel good about what they do to be successful at it. Top Workplace is a tool that can identify a company’s weaknesses, so improving can be achieved. Both employer and staff benefit.”

    Jim Bus, Executive Vice President at ATAS International, said, “ATAS is thankful for our employees and their efforts, which are what truly makes ATAS a Top Workplace. We are proud to support our employees with training and advancement opportunities, and encourage them to provide us with feedback and ideas on a continuing basis. Many of their suggestions have been implemented to improve our products and services, and our work environment.”

    This year, ATAS is celebrating their 57th year in business, and the last 36 years have been in the Lehigh Valley. They will soon be breaking ground on a new world headquarters and expanded manufacturing facility in Fogelsville, Pennsylvania, which will enhance their continued growth in production, building materials innovation, and overall employment of additional team members.

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  • Solar Power World's "Top Products in 2019"

    March 30, 2020

    AceClamp was recently featured by Solar Power World for one of the "Top Products in 2019." Learn what Bob Mercier, Director of Business Development has to say about their latest Solar Snap™ product that's hitting the market later this year.

    Please click the below 'Read More'button for details.

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  • Vectorworks 2020 SP3 Launch Brings Quality and Performance Improvements

    March 19, 2020

    Vectorworks Spotlight quality fixes, BIM enhancements and Enscape and NBS Chorus partnerships are a few of the coveted updates

    Columbia, MD (March 18, 2020)––Global design and BIM software solutions provider Vectorworks, Inc. releases Vectorworks 2020 Service Pack 3 (SP3) with quality and performance improvements as the central theme of this update. As part of the SP3 release, Vectorworks is introducing additional partner integrations with Enscape and NBS Chorus, as well as providing key updates for users of its BIM, landscape and entertainment design product line.

    “Our release of the Vectorworks 2020 Service Pack 3 is the perfect example of our focus and drive to improve software quality and performance and to further enable Vectorworks to be a design hub for many workflows,” said Steve Johnson, vice president of product development at Vectorworks. “By continuing to develop connections to the latest technologies and partner solutions, we’re delivering a design ecosystem that is helping designers around the world to ideate, discover and realize their design visions.”

    Improved Performance Speeds and Quality Fixes in Vectorworks Spotlight

    With Vectorworks Spotlight 2020 SP3, lighting devices and their Schematic Views have been re-engineered, improving overall file open time and performance. Specifically, issues with Schematic Views related to project sharing, the display of 2D label legends and how views are updated with model changes have been implemented, which will provide users with significant speed gains. Additionally, quality fixes have been made to optimize snapping and attaching loads to rigging objects in 3D, as well as to improve the graphic generation of lighting fixtures when using Duplicate, Mirror, Rotate and Move by Points commands.

    “We’ve heard our Vectorworks Spotlight customers loud and clear — they want improved performance speeds and quality fixes above all else,” said Darick DeHart, vice president of product management for Vectorworks. “We’ve addressed several priority areas in Spotlight and are happy to share these improvements in Service Pack 3. In testing of Service Pack 3, we’re confident in sharing that Vectorworks Spotlight users will notice file opening and Schematic view creation/manipulation are up to two times faster and that duplicating lighting devices for large projects can be five to 10 times faster.”

    Put GDTF and MVR into Practice with Enhanced Support in Vectorworks Spotlight and Vision

    With SP3, the workflow for using GDTF data in Vectorworks Spotlight is greatly improved. GDTF files can now be directly imported into Spotlight, can be applied to any Vectorworks lighting device and can be managed directly from the Resource Manager. These lighting devices can then be sent to any previz or console that supports GDTF, including Vision which will now recognize GDTF files when using the MVR Import. Other improvements to Vision include the integration of the GDTF fixture builder to allow for direct editing and the customization of fixture attributes such as gobos, colors, effects and more. This enhanced GDTF support streamlines the MVR workflow and creates a fully connected workflow between Vectorworks Spotlight, Vision and consoles that support these open file formats. This video showcases the MVR and GDTF updates.

    Take Visualizations to New Heights with Another Real-time Rendering Connection, the ‘Enscape for Vectorworks: Free Beta’

    In keeping with Vectorworks’ dedication to integrating new technology that brings direct benefit to customers, they have teamed up with Enscape, providers of real-time rendering and Virtual Reality (VR) solutions.

    Enscape goes beyond other real-time rendering applications by developing plugins that work directly inside Vectorworks, so users can accurately gauge the impact of their design decisions as they are being made. Enscape is providing a free beta plugin to all Windows users in the Vectorworks 2020 Service Pack 3.

    The plugin provides a suite of Enscape rendering tools inside Vectorworks which can control the visualization in Enscape. As geometry, lighting, textures or views are changed or added in Vectorworks, users will see these real-time changes in Enscape. For easy virtual reality, the Enable/Disable VR Headset tool connects Vectorworks models directly to a VR headset like Oculus Rift S or HTC Vive with little to no setup.

    “Traditionally, high-quality rendering can be difficult and time-consuming, reserved for specialists and relegated to design reviews and presentations,” said Mortiz Luck, CEO and co-founder of Enscape. “With Enscape, models can be rendered with one click and design changes are immediately reflected — there's no uploading to the cloud, importing files or syncing models. Enscape is the perfect companion to the designer's workflow. Users can have Vectorworks open on one monitor and Enscape open on a second to see the impact of their design changes as they happen.”

    Watch this video to see the Enscape feature in action.

    Easily Connect BIM to Building Specifications Using NBS Chorus Integration

    Data and information is what makes a BIM model useful throughout the project lifecycle. The NBS Chorus integration enables users to access and dynamically link their models to the NBS online specification database, keeping the model as the central source of project information. Users will be able to open a web palette in Vectorworks, letting them work concurrently with their model and NBS Chorus. Any data modified in NBS Chorus via the web palette will update in the data record of the model, ensuring accurate and up-to-date specification information is accessible at all times from the model.

    The NBS Chorus integration is another step in creating a holistic BIM environment within Vectorworks.

    NBS Chorus integration will be available to users of Vectorworks Design Series products with an active Vectorworks Service Select membership.

    Greater BIM Collaboration with BCF Improvements

    The BIM Collaboration Format (BCF) is widely used for quality checking, clash detection, coordination and issue tracking in BIM workflows. Vectorworks Architect, Landmark and Spotlight 2020, through Service Pack 3, will support BCF 2.1, the latest and most optimized version of the format. BCF 2.1 gives Vectorworks users extended capabilities in issue tracking and adds new information for spaces and openings. The BCF Manager tool has also been updated to reflect the changes needed to support BCF 2.1, making a more streamlined BCF workflow.

    Stylize Images with Machine Learning

    Creating compelling renderings for presentations can be time consuming and may not be possible due to deadlines or other constraints (like unfamiliarity with Renderworks settings). The Vectorworks Cloud Services web portal will now have the ability to transfer a “style” of one image to another through machine learning. This means that rendering styles can be derived from an image and applied to a simple Vectorworks rendering –– all via the cloud –– making artistic rendering presentations more accessible and customizable.

    This Service Pack is available as a downloadable updater for all U.S. English-based versions of Vectorworks 2020, including Vectorworks Architect, Landmark, Spotlight, Designer, Fundamentals, Braceworks, ConnectCAD and Vision. To install, select “Check for Updates” from the Vectorworks menu (Mac) or Help menu (Windows). To find out more about this release, read the tech bulletin. Contact with any technical questions.

    Experience the technology first hand by getting a 30-day free trial of Vectorworks Designer.

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  • ATAS International Introduces New Matte Colors

    March 17, 2020

    Allentown, PA - To complement the industry accepted standard gloss finish of over 35 standard colors, ATAS International now stocks six new matte colors. The new low-gloss finish offers a more subdued aesthetic, like that which is found with natural metals. Matte Black has been a popular color choice for many building components recently, and that color leads the new matte palette, which also includes Thunder Grey, Anchor Grey, Ash Grey, Char Brown, and Almond. The new matte colors will be stocked in .032 and .040 aluminum and 24-gauge steel; other gauges are available upon special request.

    The matte finish is achieved using a 70% PVDF coating, the same coating used with all the ATAS painted colors, which provides high-performance durability for exterior and interior applications. The only difference with the new matte colors is that the gloss level is only 10 to 20 degrees, as compared to a 30 to 40 degree gloss level with the standard colors. Therefore, the same quality, longevity, and surface color performance can be expected. The coatings are designed to resist fading, chalking, and abrasion, and meet the requirement of AAMA 2605-13 and AAMA 620-02. To further ensure quality of coatings and products, ATAS International and their sister company, BRIGHTSMITH Coaters, are both ISO 9001:2015 certified, with a focus on serving customers and continuous improvements.

    The calming shades of black, grey, brown, and beige in the matte finish softens the look of a panel surface. For a unique aesthetic, glossy and matte finish panels are being used together to create a textured look. The glossy panels can be used for a dramatic effect in a specific area, creating an instant impact against the rest of the wall, which remains visually softer in the matte colors.

    This new ATAS color offering is just one more option in a multitude of finishes, including stock and premium colors, Oxide Series colors (to mimic the look of weathered steel), and laminates and print coats in wood grain patterns. In addition to painted finishes, ATAS also offers a variety of natural metals that include copper, stainless steel, anodized aluminum, 55% Al-Zn alloy coated steel with acrylic coating, and six different zinc colors.

    Jim Bush, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for ATAS International, stated, “As design trends develop, and with the input of our customers and advisory board members, ATAS strives to increase our range of colors and products. We are pleased to offer more choices than ever before to meet the needs of building owners and the design community.”

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  • Metl-Span IMPs installed on milestone Home2 Suites in Chicago

    March 11, 2020

    LEWISVILLE, Texas – Home2 Suites by Hilton Chicago River North was designed for travelers who want to maintain their normal routine. It features 206 suites and a range of tech-focused and eco-conscious amenities, while becoming the company's 300th property.

    More than 46,000 square feet of insulated metal panels from Metl-Span were specified and installed on the milestone hotel.

    “Initially, the exterior of the building was designed to have exposed concrete with an applied, colored, weather-resistive coating system,” says Mohan Srinivasan, AIA, CCS, LEED AP, Principal at NORR Architects of Chicago. “When the building envelope was modeled for energy performance, we realized that a continuous exterior insulation product was needed to comply with the updated Energy Code. Initial studies for this included ACM metal panels on clips with continuous mineral wool insulation in the cavity and rain-screen products with rigid insulation behind them. The Building Code requirements for NFPA 285 compliance ruled out several of these options. After some research, we came across the foamed-in insulated metal panel system by Metl-Span which met several requirements in one package; including continuous insulation, air and water barrier, large panel sizes and multiple exterior coating finish options. This is what we ended up selecting as the most efficient exterior cladding system for the project.

    “Insulated metal panels were selected for this project as they met several requirements for exterior wall aesthetics and performance in a complete simple package. The ability to get a large-sized, modular, pre-finished, easy-to-install, NFPA 285-compliant product with continuous insulation as well as an integral air-and-water barrier made the exterior building envelope easy to detail and construct in addition to giving us finish options that fit our aesthetic goals for this project.”

    Working in a busy part of downtown Chicago places some challenges at the feet of the installers. Because there was little to no room for staging any building materials, All-American Exterior Solutions of Lake Zurich, Ill., ordered insulated metal panels from Metl-Span in 15 phases – or basically whatever the crew could install in a week's time. Some deliveries were two days apart.

    “Because the building is constructed out close to the property lines to achieve as much square footage as possible, there is almost no room to work,” says Mike Underwood, Vice President of All-American Exterior Solutions. “These were horizontal panels, installed from the bottom up. We worked around the building, clockwise, so it always appeared like we had half the building completed. We started at Clark and Huron (streets) and worked our way around to the backside.”

    Panels were delivered, all marked, so installing crewmen knew what side of the building each panel was to be installed. One week, panels were marked with an “S” for the south side of the building, the next week, they'd be all marked with an “E” for the east side.

    “We kept a forklift onsite to unload trucks and I don't think we ever had more than one truck delivering at a time,” Underwood says.

    The project started in September 2018 and was completed in March 2019, meaning installation continued through the Chicago winter.

    “We had to deal with the cold and the snow, but if the winds got up to 20 or 25 mph, that limited what we could do as well,” Underwood says. “We had to jump through hoops battling Mother Nature.”

    Underwood says the weather caused a number of delays, including scheduled deliveries. Fortunately, suppliers, including Metl-Span, were able to accommodate the changes.

    All-American had to do some fabricating onsite with the insulated metal panels, in order save on the cost of custom-sized panels. “Every third floor there's a white line,” Underwood explains. “Instead of having customized panels made for those, we cut down standard-sized panels.”

    All of the IMPs were filled with a 3-inch urethane core and featured 24-gauge Galvalume Igloo White interior panels. Colors used on the exterior were Striated Zinc Gray (23,735 square feet), Mesa Zinc Gray (12,398 square feet), Striated Medium Bronze (4,906 square feet), Striated Polar White (4,058 square feet) and Striated Sandstone (1,452 square feet).

    “The insulated metal panels, as a product, have excellent long-term thermal and visual properties with minimal maintenance compared to more conventional exterior rain-screen, cavity or mass wall systems and their corresponding finishes,” says Mario Rosado, Project Manager at NORR. “This was a big selling point for us. Additionally, the fact that the panel system is an integrated and tested assembly meeting NFPA 285 fire rating requirements, allowed us to easily detail the exterior envelope compared to more conventional rain-screen cladding systems where the wall finish systems consist of a careful arrangement of multiple wall components from different kits of parts with complex detailing to achieve an integrated assembly.

    “The insulated metal panels provide the building with a fresh, contemporary look that allows it to stand apart from its more conventionally constructed neighbors. It provides a well-insulated exterior wall that adds to the comfort and energy efficiency of the hotel interior and the striated exterior finish texture gives the long, insulated panels an exceptionally flat surface that is free of oil-canning, resulting in a crisp and sharp look for the hotel exterior. The project has been well received by everyone on the project team, the hotel brand, as well as receiving good reviews online from guests and neighbors.”

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  • Impacta by Sound Seal Launches Cerazorb Low Density and High Density

    March 06, 2020

    Agawam, MA - Sound Seal, a leading manufacturer of noise control products serving the industrial, architectural, commercial and construction industries, announced today the introduction of Cerazorb Low Density (LD) and Cerazorb High Density (HD) acoustical underlayments.

    Cerazorb Low Density (LD) is Designed Specifically for Installation beneath engineered hardwood and stiff-core LVT/LVP Applications.

    Cerazorb High Density (HD) is designed for Tile and Stone applications. Both the LD and HD variations are made out of hemi-crystalline thermoplastic that will not rot, swell or absorb water and are antimicrobial.

    “We are pleased to offer two specific variations of Cerazorb” said David Ingersoll, National Sales Manager for Sound Seal. “Unlike our competitors, our underlayments are uniquely designed and developed to be compatible with specific top floors and applications. This ensures that we are providing solutions that will result in optimal performance.”

    About Sound Seal - Since 1978, Sound Seal has been a leading manufacturer of acoustical noise control products, offering the widest product selection in the soundproofing industry with innovative solutions and outstanding customer service. Sound Seal consists of three product divisions: the Industrial Division that addresses in-plant and environmental noise control; the Architectural Division that handles interiors and finishes, including an award winning line of WoodTrends products; and the Impacta Flooring Division that offers floor underlayments.

    About Catalyst Acoustics Group - Catalyst Acoustics Group is the parent company of an elite group of acoustic, seismic, vibration and noise control companies that together, offer the broadest portfolio of noise control solutions in the market today. The independent brands, channels to market, products and services offered by each business remain unique, while leveraging the scale, deep functional expertise, broad channel reach and significant financial resources.

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  • Curving concrete's carbon footprint

    February 27, 2020

    In a bid to reduce waste while achieving great design, researchers have developed an adjustable frame for casting curved concrete panels

    In our quest for beautiful building design, it can be difficult to also achieve a low environmental impact.

    Bespoke concrete panels have become increasingly popular as they create distinctive buildings, raising their cultural, commercial and aesthetic value. Iconic examples include the Sydney Opera House, and more recently work by Zaha Hadid Architects and Frank Gehry Architects.

    The increased use of computation tools in architectural design, has also made it easier for architects and designers to incorporate elements such as complex curved surfaces in their designs.

    To create curved panels, a curve mould is produced and the concrete set inside to the desired shape. When the panel is curved in two directions it is known as a double curved panel, which is significantly more difficult to achieve using traditional methods.

    Robotic 3D printing and milling processes allow casting of doubly curved concrete panels to reduce construction waste, but typically require a specialist skill in operation and the procedure is significantly time-consuming.

    So researchers from Melbourne School of Design, led by Dr Paul Loh, have developed a re-useable and adjustable mould frame for casting double-curved concrete panels.

    “Moulds are typically made from expanded polystyrene foam and are often discarded after use, generating significant construction waste and contributing to the embodied energy – the total energy used to produce a building,” explains Dr Loh.

    Parametric Adjustable Mould, or PAM, is the bespoke computer numerically-controlled machine developed at the University of Melbourne that allows simple, precise fabrication of elements with any double-curved shape. It uses a flexible, low-cost material that is understood by builders worldwide – reinforced concrete.

    “Consisting of a single adjustable mould frame, PAM interprets digital information from a panelised surface to actuate the mould into desired positions for concrete casting. Once cured, the concrete panel is removed from the mould with no immediate waste,” says co-inventor, Mr David Leggett.

    Dr Loh explains, “This technology eliminates the need for individually unique mould design in the manufacturing of curved panels, reducing manufacturing waste and improving cost efficiency.

    It makes fabricating double-curved construction elements, like cladding, affordable to a wide range of construction projects due to the significantly reduced mechanical part in the system, resulting in a lower capital cost.”

    Australia produces 24 million cubic metres of concrete annually, 10 per cent of which is pre-cast concrete. Formwork – the steel, timber or polystyrene mould into which concrete is poured – typically constitutes up to 15 per cent of the weight, or approximately 0.9 million tonnes of total waste from concrete usage.

    Dr Loh says that PAM is currently designed to produce non-structural panels for external cladding or interior use. If this technology can service 20 per cent of market demand for pre-cast concrete, it could save a projected 225,000 tonnes of waste in formwork annually.

    This is equivalent to the waste created by 112,500 Australians a year – the entire population of Ballarat.

    “With support from the Translating Research at Melbourne program and Wade Institute, the PAM research and technology has been geared toward commercialisation, with Curvecrete born as a start-up company,” Dr Loh says.

    Highlighting its potential for high-end design, Curvecrete was last year shortlisted in the 2019 Melbourne Design Week 'NGV Victorian Design Challenge'. Design professionals and students were invited to tackle the challenge of 'waste'.

    One of five professional firms shortlisted for the design challenge, the Curvecrete team, in collaboration with RMIT industrial designers Marcus Cher, Paul Meeuwsen and Travis Gemmill, centered their proposal around the concept for a chair manufactured using PAM's innovative fabrication techniques.

    The design demonstrated the functionality of PAM in its ability to produce refined decor alongside large scale industrial manufacturing.

    It has recently accepted into the Melbourne Accelerator Program, where it will benefit from an expanded support network and additional mentors for the Curvecrete team, allowing for a concerted focus on reducing waste in great design.

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  • Vectorworks Design Summit Keynote Speakers Announced: CEO and First-Ever Entertainment Design Keynotes

    February 24, 2020

    Vectorworks CEO Dr. Sarkar and International Lighting Designer Roland Greil to address attendees at the ultimate training event

    Columbia, MD (February 13, 2020)—Global design and BIM software provider, Vectorworks, Inc. has named Lighting Designer Roland Greil and Vectorworks CEO Dr. Biplab Sarkar as the keynote speakers for the fifth Vectorworks Design Summit. This year’s Summit will have two firsts: an entertainment design keynote speaker and a West Coast location.

    From April 22 to April 24, 2020 in San Diego, California at the Omni La Costa Resort & Spa, design professionals, educators and students in the architecture, landscape and entertainment industries will be able to participate in industry workshops, product training for all levels of expertise, inspiring keynotes, networking opportunities and a customer appreciation party.

    Sarkar with the support of Vectorworks staff will deliver the first keynote on Thursday, April 23 at 9 a.m. His talk “Simplicity to Design the Complex” will focus on Vectorworks’ strategies to see where the company and products are headed, including partnerships, acquisitions and emerging technologies, to name a few.

    “With design trends constantly evolving, we must remain at the forefront of new strategies and technology, giving our customers and users more reasons to feel empowered and confident in their designs,” said Dr. Sarkar. “The Vectorworks Design Summit continues to be the best opportunity to share how we’re supporting designers to create projects that push the limits of what’s been done before.”

    On Friday, April 24 at 9 a.m., Greil of Woodroffe Bassett Design will address all industry professionals in his talk “Design Efficiency in Complex Conditions” focusing on how to stay efficient when given tight deadlines. Using examples from his own entertainment design work, Greil will explore how software-assisted collaboration with project stakeholders — creative and drafting departments, installation and construction professionals, project managers and more — sets the stage for success, no matter the industry.

    “As a Design Summit keynote speaker, I’m honored to have the opportunity to interact with a diverse group of people in various professions and industries who all share the same interest — using cutting-edge design software to meet their needs,” said Greil. “I truly look forward to sharing some insights from my work in the entertainment industry at this year’s Vectorworks Design Summit, and my hope is that people will have inspiring takeaways to apply to their own designs and workflows.”

    In addition to these two motivating keynotes, the conference itself will include more than 40 industry sessions and workshops, one-on-one tech support, networking events and over 90 hours of training. Various sessions will offer continuing education credits, where applicable.

    All design professionals and industry experts are invited to the Vectorworks Design Summit. Register today and view more information by visiting

    Press can register for free by contacting Vectorworks Senior Media Relations Manager Lauren Meyer at

    Engage with other design professionals in the latest conversations by following #VectorworksDesignSummit.

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  • Medallion-Lok from McElroy Metal tops signature barn project

    February 20, 2020

    Bossier City, La. — Rare is the barn that designer, builder, roofer and owner all consider a signature project. The Miller Barn in Churchville, Md., is that rare exception.

    In need of a new barn to store lawn equipment, a rural homeowner had the original barn on his property torn down to construct a new barn. The owner spared no expense on materials, ordered up some top-of-the-line products and topped it off with a standing seam metal roof from McElroy Metal.

    “It was all high-end materials, the best of everything,” says Ted Jasinski, AIA, NCARB, CGP, Vice President and Director of Architecture at Frederick Ward Associates of Bel Air, Md. “The retaining wall, the metal roofing, the exterior siding, the custom doors … it started as a $750,000 project, but with change orders, it ended up being a million-dollar barn. It's in an upscale rural neighborhood.

    “Let's just say it's a real nice storage facility for some lawn equipment.”

    The 4,875 square foot barn also has a loft measuring 1,880 square feet. Windowed dormers in the loft area provide plenty of light into the building. The 14-foot wide doors accommodate equipment stored in the barn. The view from the barn overlooks the pasture below.

    Everyone who worked on the project was focused on executing the details. McElroy Metal's Medallion-Lok standing seam roofing (7,500 square feet) was carefully installed by Agpoint Construction Services of Quarryville, Pa. Project manager Barry Flora had plenty of crew members on the jobsite to handle the lengthy panels in some challenging conditions. The roof had various pitches, some as steep as 9:12, requiring extra safety precautions.

    “That area has a tendency to be subject to some windy days and getting those longer panels into place took extra care,” Flora says. “We also paid close attention to detail during the roof installation, make sure everything was flashed properly. Obviously, you never want to have water infiltration with any building, but with all those dormers, this job provided plenty of opportunities. We made sure it wasn't going to happen.”

    The 16-inch wide panels featured the Sherwin-Williams Fluropon PVDF coating in the color Charcoal Gray and double pencil ribs to increase rigidity. Approximately 7,500 square feet of McElroy Metal's standing seam roofing was used to complete the job, with a small amount of copper standing seam roofing to top off the cupolas.

    The interior of the barn was sided with T-1111 clear cedar siding, featuring grooves 8 inches on center. The T-111 siding was also wrapped around the bottom four feet of the interior glulam columns. The interior of the windows and doors were all carefully trimmed with the T-111 siding. The exterior siding is 1 by 12 #1 cedar board and batten siding. RigidPly Rafters of Richland, Pa., supplied the columns, interior and exterior siding, barn trusses as well as the S-5! ColorGard snow retention system.

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  • Mortar Net Solutions Expands its Masonry Scholarship Program

    February 20, 2020

    Mortar Net Solutions will award 20 financial need-based scholarships and more than $1,000 in tools to masonry students in 2020.

    PORTAGE, Indiana – Mortar Net Solutions™, the leading supplier of moisture management solutions for masonry walls, will continue the success of its 2019 Masonry Scholarship Program by extending the program to 20 masonry students in 2020.

    The national program is intended to give interested individuals an opportunity to enroll in a masonry apprentice training program at the early stages of their career and is open to non-union facilities for qualifying individuals. In addition to the scholarships, the recipients will each receive tool bags to help them as they work through their education and apprenticeships. These tool bags will be equipped with more than $1,000 worth of tools, courtesy of Bon Tool, Kapro Tools and Mortar Net Solutions.

    “For us at Mortar Net Solutions, masonry is something that is in our blood and something we care about deeply,” said Steven Fechino, Engineering and Construction Manager at Mortar Net Solutions. “Therefore, we are proud to have the opportunity to provide aid and the essential tools to those who will one day be the future of our industry.”

    The scholarships will be awarded at the annual National Masonry Instructors Association (NMIA) Annual Summer Conference in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, on July 7, 2020. Student selection will be made by instructors and sponsors of the scholarship. Instructors interested in nominating students must be a NMIA member. The entry form for the Masonry Scholarship Program can be found here.

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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.

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    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 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.

    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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