A bi-monthly news publication for AWI Manufacturing & Supplier Members April 2, 2009

Last Chance to Register for AWI Spring Professional Development Seminars!

The registration deadline has been extended for the AWI Spring Professional Development Seminars, April 29 - May 1,in Charlotte, NC.  Don't miss this opportunity to increase your knowledge and skills in a variety of disiplines needed to operate your business more efficiently and profitably during these challenging and competitive times.

Check out the full program of fee-based and complimentary sessions and sign up today before registration closes tomorrow, Friday, April 3. Click here.
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Business Tools

Participate by April 10 for Your Free AWI Financial Management Resource

Where can you get a FREE financial management resource for managing your business profitably anytime, especially during these uncertain economic times?  Only at AWI.  Where can you also get a chance to win $500 for participating in the 2009 AWI Cost of Doing Business Survey (CODBS)?  Only at AWI.  Participate now; the submission period closes April 10, 2009.

Click here to download the survey input tool.  Complete the form and e-mail it to AWI’s confidential survey administrator at awi@inverra.com

To gain full benefit from the 2009 CODBS, submissions must be received by April 10, 2009.  All participants will be eligible to win the $500 American Express gift card.

Benefits of Participation
Only participants will receive a complimentary copy of the full survey results this year –
a change from prior years. Put the 100-page performance report to work right away with the added benefits of participation: AWI industry-specific compensation e-calculator and custom financial dashboard pre-loaded with your company’s data. Improve operating efficiencies with the final report.

This year, the full survey results are more important than ever as a financial management tool for analyzing your company’s performance against the most profitable businesses in the architectural woodwork industry.
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Quarterly AWI AOE Honors Submission Period Open Until May 15

Gain honors and get noticed in the quarterly AWI “Award of Excellence” program.  Use an AOE Award to your competitive advantage. All Manufacturing Members are eligible to participate.

Get noticed among the outstanding projects of AWI Manufacturing Members who are featured in Design Solutions Magazine, AWI’s official quarterly journal.  Maximize opportunities for business.  Visit awinet.org for submission forms and a 2009 AWI Media Planner – Rate Card 9. The deadline for submissions for the next quarterly (summer) AOE honors program is May 15, 2009. Benefits to AOE honorees include exposure in the online issue of the journal which is open for business 24/7.










Pictured is one of the award-winning AWI Manufacturing Member projects featured in the fall AWI “Award of Excellence” quarterly competition. The offices of McKinsey & Company – a global management consulting company – incorporate rich wood, such as the paneling shown in the reception area fabricated by Wood Arts Systems of Houston, TX.  More views of this project can be seen on pages 40-47 of the fall issue of
Design Solutions.

Photo credit: Aker/Zvonkovic Photography, Houston, TX

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Document Imaging, a Risk Reduction Tool

Bringing your Information Technology (IT) specialist into the loop with your attorney and accountant, can help you mitigate risk.  With document imaging technology information is captured from inception to inspection.

If you are called upon to supply vital information, it’s easier going through well-organized electronic files widely used in the construction world than sifting through boxes and file folders of paper.  For more insights about risk reduction, see “Mitigating Risk with Document Imaging,” that appeared in the March 16th issue of ConstrucTech (subscription required).
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Skills Standards Pilot Set to Launch

At the end of an intense two-day meeting on March 21 in Charlotte, NC, managed by The Communicators (Georgia Patrick and Anna Rubin), and attended by Duane Griffiths, Stiles Machinery; Patrick Molzahn, Madison Area Tech. College; Jerry Finch, Finchworks; and Greg Heuer, Secretary, Woodwork Career Alliance (WCA), the WCA is ready to launch the Pilot Program for the Woodwork Industry Skill Standards.

The WCA members hand-selected a few very special woodworking firms to be invited to the Pilot Program. Each will attend a Webinar in April for simple instructions and support.  Soon they will be able to evaluate their employees on certain woodworking tools using the new Skill Standards and evaluation form. Watch the blogs and blurbs for more news. Visit the Skill Standards Wiki to see the progress at http://skillstandards.wikispaces.com/.

Stay tuned for full details in the May issue of AWI NewsBriefs, the association’s monthly print newsletter.

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Safety Matters

AWI Safety Awards Contest Opens April 8

What will you get from the AWI Annual Safety Awards Program?  Find out on April 8 when you receive the submission announcement and link from AWI to submit your entry.

Benefits! Value! Results! 

Gain Recognition...
Market Safety...
Build Team Spirit...
Negotiate with Leverage...

The AWI 2009 Safety Award Submission Period Closes May 8.

AWI Annual Safety Awards Sponsored by CNA.

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Green Scene

“Other LEED® Credits Involving Wood”

The April issue of AWI NewsBriefs (coming to your mail box next week) features this article by Margaret Fisher of Saunders Wood Specialties” as the lead “Green Scene” story.  In it she mentions Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification, which is the subject of a recent letter to AWI from Somerset Wood Products Company.

In a letter, Lester Bloch, President of Somerset, discusses the FSC certification process and the costs.  Mr. Bloch also references the COC certification process.

Read his comments here as well as the April edition of AWI NewsBriefs, the association’s monthly print newsletter, to learn more about Wood Credits and the processes involved. 
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GBI® and AIA Team Up to Promote Sustainable Buildings

The Green Building Initiative® (GBI) and the American Institute of Architects (AIA) have signed a memorandum of understanding, pledging to work together to promote the design and construction of energy efficient and environmentally responsible buildings.  

“We are happy to have this agreement in place,” said Ward Hubbell, President of the GBI. “The AIA’s support and expertise in the development of the Green Globes® Standard, through participation on the ANSI Technical Committee, has been invaluable.”

“The GBI’s engagement in life cycle assessment and promotion of post-construction third party review in Green Globes illustrates GBI’s commitment to the creation of high performance buildings and supports the role of the architect in creating them,” stated Chris McEntee, Executive Vice President and CEO of the AIA. “We look forward to working with theGBI on our common goal of reaching carbon neutral buildings by 2030.”

Among other things, the agreement calls for the two organizations to:
• Promote the design of buildings that are energy-efficient, healthier and environmentally responsible by providing education and training;
• Offer educational opportunities that include content on LCA, Green Globes New Construction and Green Globes Continual Improvement of Existing Buildings;
• Encourage or undertake research to identify strategies for specific economic and environmental performance outcomes for green buildings.

The mission of the Green Building Initiative is to accelerate the adoption of building practices that result in energy-efficient, healthier and environmentally sustainable buildings by promoting credible and practical green building approaches. A not-for-profit education initiative, the GBI is supported by a broad cross section of organizations and individuals with an interest in residential and commercial construction. For more information on the Green Building Initiative, visit www.thegbi.org.

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AWI News

AWI’s Preferred Future

On January 23, 2009, the AWI Board of Directors updated its Preferred Future guidelines which state AWI’s continuous goals over a number of years that will align AWI volunteer leaders, our education programs, AWI committees and the association’s professional staff .

“The six points are easy to keep in the forefront and provide a clear picture of what needs to be accomplished long-term,” says AWI Executive Vice President Phil Duvic.

By 2013… 
1. AWI has educated its membership in application of the Architectural Woodwork Standards and the value of QCP certification (1st tier).

2. The Architectural Woodwork Standards and the value of the QCP certification are accepted and utilized by specifiers, owners, and the design community (1st tier).

3. AWI has created a employee career development program with skills measurement and credentialing (1st tier).

4. AWI has provided tools to enable owners and managers to raise their business management skills (1st tier)
5. AWI uses new technologies for different types of member/association and member/member engagement and to deliver products and services (1st tier).

6. AWI has provided tools to enable members to participate in green building projects and explain the value of wood as a sustainable resource to their customers and community (2nd tier).

For more details, see the article on page 6 of the March issue of AWI NewsBriefs here.
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Winners Announced in AWI Membership Survey Drawing

AWI thanks all members who responded to the 2009 Manufacturing Member Survey. Your responses will help guide the future of AWI programs, products, and publications.  We value your input. Out of the pool of respondents to the survey, three winners will receive a $100 American Express gift card. 


Brad Clark, Distinctive Woodworks, Flagstaff, AZ
Steve Meyer,  Meyer Custom Woodworking, Inc., Dubois, IN
Heath Harkey, Huetter Mill & Cabinet Inc., Murray, UT
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Learning Forum

AWI Launches New Web Site Forum Listing Educational Opportunities

As a new service for AWI Manufacturing and Supplier Members, AWI has built a new Web page that lists the educational forums and opportunities offered for architectural woodworkers by 2009 AWI Sponsors (listed at right).

Take advantage of educational opportunities — demonstrations, workshops, seminars, open houses, trips, etc.  Visit www.awinet.org; on the left menu bar, click on “Education Offerings,” then on “AWI Sponsor Events.”  Visit often; the site is open 24/7.

Sponsors should contact AWI Director of Marketing Katie Allen at kallen@awinet.org to have their eligible events posted.
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CSI Webinars about Specifying Architectural Hardware

The Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) will present a three-part Webinar series this month on specifying architectural hardware. The online educational sessions will address a variety of devices, and attendees will learn how they function and which suit various openings.

The interactive telephone/Internet sessions for the Specifying Architectural Hardware series are scheduled between 3:00 pm and 4:00 pm EDT on April 16, 23 and 30. Participants can view the session materials and ask questions of the instructor in real time during each of the 60-minute classes:

* Thursday, April 16 – “Specifying Architectural Hardware: Locking Solutions” will discuss commercial door locking methods such as mortise and bored locksets, pre-assembled locksets, and panic and fire exit hardware devices. Electronic locking devices also will be discussed, as well as how various types of door locking devices function and how they should be applied to suit various openings.

* Thursday, April 23 – “Specifying Architectural Hardware: Egress Solutions” will address various types and styles of commercial panic and fire exit hardware devices, including crossbar and push pad styles as well as rim, mortise, surface vertical and concealed vertical rod types. The session also will address how various types of panic and fire exit hardware devices function and their applications.

* Thursday, April 30 – “Specifying Architectural Hardware: Door Control Solutions” will cover commercial door control devices including floor closers, surface mounted closers, concealed closers, and automated closing and opening devices. Discussions will include the functionality of different types of closing and door control devices and how they should be applied to suit various openings.

The series will address balancing life safety and security in the built environment, from the perspectives of both end users and code officials. A basic overview of various code-related compliance issues and requirements as related to the applications and function of door locking devices, panic and fire exit hardware devices, door control devices and other architectural door hardware also will be presented. The codes and standards that will be referenced include International Building Code (IBC), The Life Safety Code (NFPA-101); Standard for Fire Doors and Other Related Opening Protectives (NFPA-80); and Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities (ANSI A117.1).

Scott Tobias, AHC, CSI, CDT, regional architectural manager for ASSA ABLOY Door Security Solutions, will lead the educational series.

To register for the entire Webinar series, or an individual session, please visit CSI's Event Registration Web page.

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Industry News

Minor Uptick in Architecture Billings

Following another historic low score in January, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) was up two points in February, but light demand is still predicted.  The commercial/industrial sector score was the lowest.

As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate nine to twelve month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the February ABI rating was 35.3, up from the 33.3 mark in January, but still pointing to a general lack of demand for design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry score was 49.5.

“Despite a higher score than last month, we are likely to see light demand for new construction projects through much of the year,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “There is hope that the stimulus bill will result in more project activity, but that is also dependent on banks easing lending standards in the months ahead. Still, the improvement in the inquiries index does provide hope that some stalled projects will resurface in the near future.”

Key February ABI highlights:
o Regional averages: west (36.4), south (35.5), midwest (35.0), northeast (32.3)
o Sector index breakdown: mixed practice (40.1), institutional (36.8), multi-family residential (33.3), commercial / industrial (32.0)
o Project inquiries index: 49.5.
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New Construction Starts Dip 8% in February

At a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $376.2 billion, new construction starts in February dropped 8% from theprevious month, according to McGraw-Hill Construction, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies.

Nonresidential building continued the downward slide that’s been underway over the past year, and public works slipped back once again after rebounding in January. Meanwhile, residential building in February posted a rare gain, showing some improvement after its very weak January performance.

For more details, click here (subscription required).  Subscription information is available at www.construction.com. 

McGraw Hill Construction also reports on the effects of the Economic Stimulus in a special section on its Web site, http://www.construction.com/stimulus (subscription required).  The site contains the latest update on the stimulus package, including news and analysis, shovel ready projects, and market analytics.
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A Stimulating Time for Construction?

Join Reed Construction Data, the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) and the American Institute of Architects (AIA) on April 16 to explore answers to this question as their economists discuss “An Economic Outlook for the Construction Industry.” 

They will take a close look at the impact of the Federal Stimulus Package during the complimentary Webcast.  Expert economists featured are Jim Haughey of Reed Construction Data, Ken Simonson of the Associated General Contractors of America, and Kermit Baker of the American Institute of Architects.

Topics Include:
* The impact of the recession
* Federal Stimulus Package
* Key market trends of the U.S. construction market
* A look ahead

To learn more and to register, click here.
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Unemployment Rates Dip Sharply, Including Construction Jobs

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released more bad news on March 6.  Total unemployment rose to 8.1 percent.  In February, the number of unemployed persons increased by 851,000 to 12.5 million.  The construction industry lost 104,000 jobs. 

Employment in the construction industry has fallen by 1.1 million since peaking in January 2007, BLS reported.  Two-fifths of that decline occurred over the last four months.  Both the residential and nonresidential sectors of the industry experienced sharp declines, according to BLS.

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Free ASA/FASA Podcast Helps Subcontractors with Sales in Down Economy

In these uncertain times for the U.S. economy, many construction subcontractors are looking for new sources of business. The American Subcontractors Association (ASA) and the Foundation of ASA (FASA) are responding to that need by offering a free resource that helps subcontractors identify and cultivate business relationships that will result in new sales.

Visitors to the ASA Web site (www.asaonline.com) can get critical tips for building a solid sales strategy in the new ASA/FASA audio podcast, “Marketing and Selling in a Down Economy.”

In the 20-minute on-demand radio program, ASA Corporate Liaison Richard Bright, president of Bright Concepts Inc. in Elkridge, MD, describes how subcontractors can re-vamp marketing and sales strategies, and close new sales, in a down economy. “In this marketplace right now, everything is extremely competitive,” Bright explains in the podcast. “You’re going to have to know your true costs because you’re going to have to start negotiating. The goal here within your marketing plan is … to do more relationship selling than straightforward marketing.” Bright describes a system for building a marketing plan and sales process based on the “seven Ps”: product, people, place, price, promotion, process and pleasure.

ASA members can also access a members-only handout that accompanies the podcast.Listening to the program does not require an iPod®. Visitors can download the podcast and listen to it on a computer with a headset or speakers, or on any MP3 player. The podcast is similar in format to the podcasts ASA and FASA offer in their Essentials of Contract Evaluation podcast series.
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Woodwork Standards Orientation Opportunities

Many AWI members have reviewed the latest edition of the draft Architectural Woodwork Standards (AWS) – Section 10 Casework, and their feedback has been reviewed by the AWI Technical Committee and the Joint Standards Committee.

In preparation for release of the AWS in the coming months, participants in the AWI Speakers Bureau have been trained not only to explain the differences between AWI Quality Standards Illustrated (QSI) and the AWS but also to deliver powerful presentations.  Several events and opportunities are already scheduled.  Watch for news of events posted in upcoming issues of AWI e-briefs and plan to learn about the AWS.

AWS Presentations through June

AWI Spring Professional Development Seminars
April 29 – May 1, 2009
Charlotte, NC

AIA Annual Convention
AWI Quality Certification Program (Booth # 113)
April 29 – May 2, 2009
San Francisco, CA

AWI Minnesota Chapter
May 19, 2009
(Location TBA)

AWI Virginia Chapter
June 11, 2009
(Location TBA)

AWFS® Las Vegas
AWI Booth & AWI, AWMAC and WI Workshop
July 17, 2009
Las Vegas, NV

Meanwhile, the most recent updates to the draft Architectural Woodwork Standards were posted on March 25.  Check them out at: http://awiedu.wikispaces.com/AWSreviewcopies

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Member News

Saunders Wood Specialties Introduces New Web Site

Saunders Wood Specialties of Park Falls, WI, has revamped its Web site with information not only about the company but also resources for design professionals and architectural woodworkers.

The company has been an AWI Manufacturing Member since 1990.  Visitors will find information about the company, its projects, and sustainability by visiting www.saunderswood.com.

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Federal Scene

USDOL Releases Model Notices for COBRA Subsidy under American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

On March 19, the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) released four model notice packages that will enable group health plans and employers to provide notice on the availability of premium reductions and additional election opportunities under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act signed into law by President Obama on Feb.17, 2009, made available a premium reduction and the additional election period as part of the administration's Stimulus Package.

COBRA generally covers health plans maintained by private-sector employers with 20 or more full- and part-time employees.

The department has developed four notice packages tailored to fit different types of plans and individuals:

* A general notice to be given to qualified beneficiaries covered by plans subject to the federal COBRA at the initial COBRA election opportunity.
* An abbreviated general notice, which may be furnished to individuals who elected and are still covered by COBRA.
* An alternative notice to be sent by issuers of group health insurance coverage subject to state continuation coverage laws.
* A notice of extended election periods for eligible individuals who declined or discontinued COBRA coverage.

Each package contains a summary of the premium reduction provisions, questions and answers, and forms to use in requesting the premium reduction (and COBRA coverage, if not already enrolled).

Under COBRA, most group health plans must give employees and their families the opportunity to temporarily continue their group health coverage when coverage would otherwise be lost for reasons such as termination of employment, divorce or death.

The four model notice packages are available for download from EBSA's dedicated Web page. The Web page also contains additional frequently asked questions to help dislocated workers, their families and their employers understand the requirements. A notice announcing the model notices appeared in the March 20 edition of the Federal Register.

For more information about the new law, see also “Assistance for Employers to Claim COBRA Medical Coverage Credit” which appeared in the March 5th issue of AWI e-briefs.
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Chapter News

Upcoming Chapter Events

What’s happening in local architectural woodwork communities?  Learn about the upcoming events sponsored by AWI Carolinas, Missouri/Illinois, Wisconsin, and Central Pennsylvania Chapters.

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 Carolinas Chapter
When: April 2 & 21, 2009
What: SkillsUSA Events
Information: Contact chapter officers.

AWI Missouri/Illinois Chapter
When: April 8, 2009
What: Train the Trainer Program
Presenter: AWI Chapter Liaison Greg Bednar
Information: Contact chapter officers.

AWI Wisconsin Chapter
When: April 22, 2009 (12:30 – 4:00 pm)
What: General Meeting and Board Meeting, Wisconsin SkillsUSA Cabinetmaking Competition
Where: Clarion Suites Central, Madison; (contest) Alliant Energy Center, Madison
Information & Details: Click here.
RSVP: By April 17 to Steve Finnessy – phone: 262.623.8782

AWI Central Pennsylvania Chapter
When: May 18, 2009 (12:30 pm)
What:  Harrisburg Capital Campus Building Tour, LEED® Update & Presentation, HACC Midtown Trade and Technology Center
Presenters: Bill Sutton II, LEED AP; Garry Astles, Central PA Chapter President; Bill Thompson, Dean of BHET at HACC
Where: 1426 N. 3rd Street, Harrisburg, PA
Information & Registration: Click here.
Questions: Garry Astles at gastles@northwayind.com

AWI Wisconsin Chapter
When: August 6, 2009 (8:30 am – 7:00 pm)
What: 2009 Wood Industry Golf Outing & Dinner
Where: Cold Water Canyon Golf Course, Wisconsin Dells, WI
Information: Click here for details about the golf outing, dinner fees, accommodations and registration.
Registration: $110 by June 26; $125 June 27
Proceeds: A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Wisconsin Wood Manufacturing Technology Student Scholarships.

AWI chapters are encouraged to plan their events early to allow for ample promotion of your event in this section of AWI e-briefs as well as through other avenues. Alert Greg Bednar, AWI Chapter Development Services, about your upcoming events via e-mail at gbednar@awinet.org.

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Next Issue of E-briefs

The next issue of AWI e-briefs will be published April 16, 2009.
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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.

AWI Mission:
The authoritative resource for excellence in architectural woodwork.

Copyright Architectural Woodwork Institute www.awinet.org


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