A bi-monthly news publication for AWI Manufacturing & Supplier Members December 4, 2008
Association News

Welcome New AWI Members

AWI welcomes 15 new members.  As a benefit of their membership in AWI, Web site addresses are provided for those members that reported them on their membership application.  All AWI members may be accessed via the online AWI Member Directory at www.awinet.org or by calling the association’s headquarters offices at 571.323.3636.

New Manufacturing Members

A Ward Design 
Winter Haven, FL 

Builders Choice Cabinets
Wilkesboro, NC 

Central City Millworks
New Orleans, LA 
www.centralcitymillworks.com

Century Woodworking, LLC
Pleasant Valley, CT 
www.centurywoodworking.com

Charles Yost Custom Cabinets, Inc.
Newport News, VA

Cumberland Architectural Millwork, Inc.
Nashville, TN 
www.cumberlandmillwork.com

Elite Fixtures
N. Kingstown, RI 
www.elite-fixtures.com

Fertig Cabinet Company, Inc.
Moorefield, WV 
www.fertigcabinet.com

Fort Gratiot Cabinets & Counters, LLC
Port Huron, MI 
www.fortgratiotcabinets.com

JC Millwork, Inc.
Princeton, TX

Ponders Hollow Custom Moulding & Flooring, Inc.
Westfield, MA 
www.pondershollow.com

Superior Wood Products, LLC
Leavenworth, KS 
www.superiorwood.net

Walstonburg Cabinets, LLC
Walstonburg, NC 

Woodways Industries
Zeeland, MI 
www.woodwaysinc.com

New Supplier Member

US Surface Warehouse
Austin, TX 
www.livingstonesurfaces.com
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Get Noticed – December 15 Deadline for AWI AOE Honors Submissions

You may be eligible for AWI “Award of Excellence” honors. Get noticed like the AWI Manufacturing Members whose fine architectural woodwork projects are featured in Design Solutions Magazine, AWI’s official quarterly journal.

Maximize opportunities for business.  All AWI Manufacturing Members are eligible to participate in this quarterly AWI program.  Visit awinet.org for submission forms. The deadline for submissions for the next quarterly AOE honors program is December 15, 2008. Benefits to AOE honorees include exposure in the online issue of the journal which is open for business 24/7.  (The fall issue is now posted for viewing on the AWI Web site. Click here for online access.)

Pictured here is one of the award-winning AWI Manufacturing Member projects featured in the summer AWI “Award of Excellence” quarterly competition. RCS Millwork, L.C of Ankeny, IA, fabricated the dramatic looking Santos Rosewood paneling in the Lathrop & Gage Conference Center.  More views of the project can be seen on page 34 of the summer issue of Design Solutions here. 

Photo Credit: Daniel Daly, St. Joseph, MO

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Green Scene

Need to Make Sense Out of Going Green?

If you missed “The Dollars & Sense of Going Green” Conference, October 28-29 in Indianapolis, you can access many of the presentations.  AWI was a cooperating association supporting the program which attracted 250 attendees.

Click here to access the presentations on such topics as:

  • Emerging Influences of Certification
  • Nuts and Bolts of the Certification Processes
  • Availability of Hardwood Timber from Certified Land
  • How CARB Will Impact Secondary Wood Products Manufacturing
  • Is There a Market Need for Certified Products in Hardwood Manufacturing?
  • Producing Certified Wood Products from Forest through Lumber and Panel Products
  • Purchasing, Manufacturing and Marketing Certified Wood Products

The two-day event was organized by Purdue University and Wood & Wood Products. AWI Supplier Members Stiles Machinery Inc. and M. Böhlke Veneer were sponsors of the event.
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Thousands Educated on LEED® for Woodwork

Over 4,000 times in 2008, AWI members have gone to the Web to learn about the LEED® green building rating system for their businesses.

Positioning yourself with the special skills it takes to successfully manage a LEED®-specified project, the building certification program of the U.S. Green Building Council, could be the difference between profit and loss in 2009. Twelve lessons, about 8-12 minutes each, are always available to you. Access them by clicking here.  Start and stop the podcasts. Come back later. Take them in any order, and watch for updates as the new 2009 LEED® criteria are implemented. It's all here at AWI.
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Green is Growing Rapidly

A new intelligence report – The Green Outlook: Trends Driving Change – states that the U.S. green building market has expanded five fold over the last three years.  The increase has grown to a $35-$49 billion market, according to McGraw Hill Construction.  See what McGraw Hill has to say about the stable markets – commercial and institutional construction sectors.  The education sector is also strong.

Check out highlights of the report carried in the November issue of Market Dynamics online.  (Subscription required).  Other green source material is also available for a fee.

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Industry News

October Construction Starts Fall 9%

New construction starts tumbled 9% in October to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $471.6 billion, according to McGraw-Hill Construction, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies.

Nonresidential building lost momentum, extending the downward trend which has recently emerged, while the lengthy erosion for residential building continued. During the first ten months of 2008, total construction on an unadjusted basis came in at $475.2 billion, down 15% from a year ago. Excluding residential building, new construction starts during the January-October period of 2008 still held onto a slight 1% lead over last year.

For the full report, visit McGraw Hill Construction.

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Construction Project Failures Spur Liens, Lawsuits

The number of construction projects that go south are growing and souring business relationships across the country.

Typically, when projects stall, liens are placed against developers.  They often turn to litigation, says The National Journal in an article published on November 3.  “As Building Projects Collapse, Suits Pile Up” appeared on the front page of www.nlj.com.

The article mentions legal action involving a hotel envisioned for Norfolk, VA, the Granby Tower condominium and retail project in Norfolk, and several projects in Chicago, including a condominium called the “Spire” designed by Santiago Calatrava, a luxury Shangri-la Hotel in downtown Chicago, and a housing and golf development in Palmdale, CA.

AWI Manufacturing Members who may be fabricating woodwork for any of the projects are likely affected by the suits.  For more details, visit www.nlj.com.  Request the November 3, 2008 article. (Subscription required)
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Professional Development

Distance Education Coming to You from AWI

Distance Education and e-learning will take a leap forward at AWI in 2009. Find out what they are.

Click here to experience some of the options. One is a narrated slide show about the Skill Standards and Qualified Employees. The other is a video titled “Woodworkers Wanted” for those thinking about getting into the trade.
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A Holiday Gift for Yourself

Your help is needed. Your brain power is essential. The new Architectural Woodwork Standards are about to be completed.

Your AWI Technical Committee invites, encourages, and urges you to review and comment on the drafts. Click here to download any section which interests you.Follow the simple instructions at the top of the page to open the PDFs and to return your comments and suggestions for improvement.

Deadline: When Santa gets back to the North Pole. (The committee is meeting the first week in January 2009.)  Don’t let this opportunity pass by without reviewing the standards in BETA format before they are published.  Something missed now could affect your business later.

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Share Your Opinion

You can gain business knowledge by many methods.  What are your learning venue preferences?  The AWI Education Committee wants to know.  Take a quick poll on LinkedIn.

Give the AWI Education Committee feedback by taking this 30-second poll.  Click here.  Your views will help them with planning for delivery of a variety of learning tools that best meet your needs.

And while you are there, check out the value of connecting with other AWI members about the business of woodworking, challenges during tough economic times, best practices, and more. Join the AWI LinkedIn Group online.  It’s free and easy to join. AWI wishes to use this new online service vehicle to facilitate quick and simple discussion among members.  For details about LinkedIn, visit linkedin.com.
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Think about Tomorrow’s Workforce When Making Year-End Contributions

Help WCA match grant funds for Skill Standards development.  The Woodwork Career Alliance (WCA) needs help matching the second U.S. Forest Service grant to the Alliance for continued work on the Skill Standards for more qualified employees in the woodwork industries.

WCA’s goal is to raise $92,000 by the end of this year in matching funds.  Consider making a tax deductible contribution as an investment in a future workforce. All donations to this 501(c)(3) non-profit organization are fully tax deductible. Contact Greg Heuer at gheuer@awinet.org for donation information. You may also visit www.woodworkcareer.org for sponsorship information.  Contributors are listed as sponsors on the WCA Web site attesting to the importance they place on assuring that manufacturers have trained woodworkers for tomorrow’s projects.
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Coming Soon – Outstanding AWI Education Opportunities

Save the Date!  Plan to participate in the Spring AWI Professional Development Seminars, April 28 – May 2, 2009 at the Harris Conference Center in Charlotte, NC.  Here is a sample of the comprehensive learning forums you – and key staff members – will want to attend.

  • Project Management Seminars (Fundamentals and Advanced)
  • Estimating Seminars (Fundamentals and Advanced)
  • Auto CAD for Woodworkers / Project Engineering
  • Fundamentals of the New Joint Standards, the Architectural Woodwork Standards,1st Edition
  • Quality Certification 101
  • QCC Help Clinic
  • Plant Tour
  • Exhibitor Showcase

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Business Resources

Looking for Resources Who Have Tried and Tested Business Practices?

AWI is an avenue to how a Best Practices Group can boost your business acumen, identify tried and tested techniques that work, and overcome business challenges which others have successfully met.  An article in a recent issue of Wood Digest tells the story.

Click here to read "A Little Help from a Friend" and understand how the groups are formed, what is involved, and why they are beneficial.  To explore joining the next AWI Best Practices Group being formed, contact AWI Senior Director of Operations Teresa McCain at tmccain@awinet.org.  All AWI Manufacturing Members are eligible to participate.  Groups are composed of non-competing members.
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IRS Announces 2009 Standard Mileage Rates

On November 24, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued the 2009 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes.

Beginning on January 1, 2009, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups, or panel trucks) will be:

  • 55 cents per mile for business miles driven 
  • 24 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes 
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations

The new rates for business, medical and moving purposes are slightly lower than rates for the second half of 2008 that were raised by a special adjustment mid-year in response to a spike in gasoline prices. The rate for charitable purposes is set by law and is unchanged from 2008. The business mileage rate was 50.5 cents in the first half of 2008 and 58.5 cents in the second half. The medical and moving rate was 19 cents in the first half and 27 cents in the second half. The mileage rates for 2009 reflect generally higher transportation costs compared to a year ago, but the rates also factor in the recent reversal of rising gasoline prices. While gasoline is a significant factor in the mileage rate, other fixed and variable costs, such as depreciation, enter the calculation.

A taxpayer may not use the business standard mileage rate for a vehicle after using any depreciation method under the Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System (MACRS) or after claiming a Section 179 deduction for that vehicle. In addition, the business standard mileage rate cannot be used for any vehicle used for hire or for more than four vehicles used simultaneously.

Taxpayers always have the option of calculating the actual costs of using their vehicle rather than using the standard mileage rates.

“Revenue Procedure 2008-72” contains additional information on these standard mileage rates.
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Regulatory News

U.S. Labor Department Expands & Clarifies FMLA Rules

New provisions of the 15-year-old Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) will become effective January 16, 2009.  Updates to the act may apply to companies with at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius.

The U.S. Department of Labor published a final rule on November 17 to update its regulations under FMLA.  Provisions in the final rule call for increased notice obligations for employers so that employees will better understand their FMLA rights, while revising the employee notice rules to minimize workplace disruptions due to unscheduled FMLA absences. The rules cover leave rights for parents during pregnancy and adoption, revising the definition of “parent” and allowing both parents to quality for FMLA coverage when documentation is provided validating the parent-child relationship.  Families of members of the military service receive leave benefits of up to a total of 26 workweeks during a single 23-month period to care for the service member.

To view the entire text of the final rule as it appeared in the Federal Register, click here.  For a Fact Sheet (#28) about the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, click here.  For further information about the FMLA and the regulations, visit the Wage and Hour Division's Web site at www.wagehour.dol.gov.
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Rule Will Require Subcontractors to Use E-Verify on Large Number of Domestic Federal Projects

On November 14, 2008, the Civilian Agency Acquisition Council and the Defense Acquisition Regulations Council issued a final rule to include a clause in all federal contracts requiring all prime contractors with contracts over $100,000 or over 120 days in duration to verify employment eligibility using E-Verify.  The rule takes effect on January 15, 2009, the American Subcontractors Association (ASA) reports.

“The councils addressed several concerns ASA raised in its August11, 2008 comments, including extending the timelines for enrolling and verifying employees and referencing important definitions from other parts of the Federal Acquisition Regulation. However, the councils did not raise the dollar threshold of subcontracts on which E-Verify use will be required. The councils kept the threshold at $3,000, an amount that ASA called ‘extraordinarily low’ and lacking ‘rationale’ in its public comments.”

According to ASA, the rule will insert a clause in all covered federal prime contracts requiring contractors to: 

* Enroll in E-Verify within 30 days of the contract award.
* Initiate verification of all employees assigned to a covered contract within 90 days of enrollment in E-Verify, or within 30 days of the employee’s assignment to the contract, whichever is later.
* Begin within 90 days of enrollment in E-Verify to verify all new employees hired during the period of performance (whether or not assigned to the contract) within three business days of hire.
* Flow down these requirements to all subcontracts over $3,000.

To access the final rule, visit edocket.access.gpo.gov.  For more information about E-Verify, click here.

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It’s Not Over Until It’s Over on “No-Match” Rule

As reported in the November 6 edition of AWI e-briefs, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued its final version and clarifications of the controversial “no-match” rule. However, a District court in California is delaying the rule’s implementation.

Click here for AWI's earlier report about the rule.

According to the American Subcontractors Association (ASA), on November 6, 2008, DHS filed motions to lift an October 10, 2007 preliminary injunction that currently blocks the rule from taking effect. The latest news in this complex situation is that a hearing is set for December 5, 2008, to determine when briefs on these motions are due.

Click here for the 100-page rule.  And, stay tuned.
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In the Chapters

Chapter Events Ahead

What’s happening in local architectural woodwork communities?  See what the AWI Virginia Chapter is planning.

Check out the informative AWI chapter programs sponsored in your area. Tap into your local AWI chapter for vital information that can help your business grow and put you in touch with fellow AWI architectural woodworkers and suppliers.

AWI Virginia Chapter
When:
January 29, 2009
Program:  “FSC: Materials and Certification” & Tabletop Display
Speakers:  Jason Shuey & Keith Atherholt
Where:  Westin Richmond, Richmond, VA
Information: Program Flyer attached
Registration: Chapter/AWI Members, $35 per person; Non-AWI Members, $70 per person.
See registration form attached.
Information: Gary Astles, gastles@northwayind.com, 717.503.6295

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Safety Matters

BLS Announces Decline in 2007 Injuries and Illnesses Requiring Days Away from Work

The rate of workplace injuries and illnesses in private industry requiring time away from work declined again last year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported.

The 2007 rate was 122 per 10,000 full-time employees, a decrease of 4% from 2006.  For details and statistical charts, visit bls.gov.
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Saving Lives: the Benefits of Workplace First-Aid Training Program

Training in first aid can be an important part of an employer's workplace safety and health management system. Here is an example of how training helped to save a life. A workplace first-aid program at your plant could help your employees and others in an emergency.  Be prepared.

Karena Lorek of OSHA's Chicago Region received such training on the job, and her quick thinking and skill were put to use while driving to work one day. She witnessed a car accident and immediately stopped to assist one of the drivers experiencing chest pains and rapid breathing. Lorek assessed the victim and advised her on what to do to alleviate the pain. She stayed with the victim and was constantly evaluating her situation until emergency medical personnel arrived on the scene. She was grateful for Lorek's assistance.

OSHA's Medical and First Aid Safety and Health Topics Web page highlights what OSHA standards require first aid and medical services, and how to develop and maintain a workplace first -aid program.

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Enter the AWI Safety Tip Challenge and Win!

Calling all AWI Manufacturing Members and their employers to submit safety tips!  Enter your tips in the Safety Tip Challenge and become eligible for a prize.

Each winner receives a beautiful Starrett Model S909Z combination square valued at almost $300, compliments of the AWI Safety Committee and AWI’s partner in risk management, CNA Insurance.  Click here to enter the Safety Tip Challenge.  Post the attached “Safety Tip Challenge” flyer in your shop.  Invite employees to participate; they could win a prize, and tips submitted could help you maximize safety on the job AND limit your insurance costs. The flyer details how the Safety Tips Challenge works.  Safety pays!
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Next Issue of E-briefs

The next issue of AWI e-briefs, our last edition in 2008, will be published December 18. 

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Founded in 1953, AWI is a nonprofit organization representing over 3,500 manufacturers, suppliers, and design professionals in the architectural woodwork industry.

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SAVE THE DATE! 
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