A bi-monthly news publication for AWI Manufacturing & Supplier Members March 4, 2010
AWI News

Randy Jensen Appointed to AWI Board

Randy Jensen, Vice President of Leonard Peterson Company, Inc., has been appointed by AWI President Doug Carney to the association’s Board of Directors effective immediately.

Mr. Jensen has served AWI in the following capacities: Quality Standards Board of Review, AWILL Executive Management Team and Press Division Bursar. He is currently Chair of the AWI Technical Committee and continues as an AWI Representative to the Joint Standards Committee, on which he works with AWI, the Architectural Woodwork Manufacturers Association of Canada (AWMAC) and the Woodwork Institute (WI), developers and publishers of the industry-wide Architectural Woodwork Standards released in August 2009.

Involvement in industry activities allow Mr. Jensen to bring broad perspectives to the AWI Board of Directors and woodwork community. They include stints as a member of the Scientific Equipment & Furniture Association standards writing committee for wood laboratory casework, participation on several industry ANSI canvassing lists as a voting stakeholder, and writing and establishing the (then only) cabinetmaking apprenticeship program in the Southeastern U.S. accredited (still active) by the U.S. Department of Labor. He was also recruited by Underwriters Laboratory to write UL Standards for flame resistant cabinets.

As a woodwork industry veteran, Mr. Jensen has personal experience with over 10,000 casework projects. He was one of the candidates originally nominated for service on the Board by the AWI Nominating Committee. At that time, he cited the following as the largest challenges facing AWI Manufacturing Members: competing in a struggling economy; leveraging global resources to competitive advantage; and unscrupulous producers.

Mr. Jensen, a 30-year veteran of Leonard Peterson in Auburn, AL, will complete the second half of a two-year term (which expires December 31, 2010) vacated by Bill Popp who recently resigned from the AWI’s governing body due to economic conditions affecting his business.
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Got Connections?

Get connected! We are supporting our members with a variety of ways to network, communicate, ask questions, get solutions, and more.

Add these bookmarks to your browser. Join and get e-mail updates, or just lurk for awhile.

AWI members are LinkedIn here: http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=749007.

We've opened the AWI Facebook page here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Architectural-Woodwork-Institute/248308234571?ref=ts.


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Business Tools

“Business Will Never Be the Same”

...according to senior analyst and economist Alan Beaulieu, principal with the Institute for Trend Research whose presentation at the 2009 AWI Convention was hard-hitting. If his predictions about the economy are correct, AWI Manufacturing Members should consider re-evaluating their business model. And, savvy businessmen will want to participate in the 2010 AWI Cost of Doing Business Survey (CODBS).  Its collective findings and financial tools for participants will be valuable for measuring future decisions and actions against the current depressed economy.

The survey is open until April 1, 2010. Click here to download the spreadsheet to participate. The survey period opened February 1, 2010 and will close on April 1, 2010. All participants are eligible for entry into a drawing for a $500 gift card.

AWI members are reminded that only participating AWI Manufacturing Members will receive a complimentary copy of the full report. Non-participants will receive an Executive Summary only and the opportunity to purchase the report.

If there is any doubt about why you should participate, read the February issue of AWI NewsBriefs for comments by Marc Sanderson, President of Wilkie Sanderson. Learn how the company relies on the CODBS Report data for strategic decision-making to keep Wilkie Sanderson "best in class."
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AWI “Award of Excellence” Program: Business Exposure Tool

What do AWI Manufacturing Members who have earned an AWI "Award of Excellence" have in common? Exposure to thousands of potential customers in the design community! What can you do to earn an award? Start by submitting your application for the next AOE honors program – summer 2010.

Use an AOE award to market your excellence and gain a competitive advantage during these challenging times when others are seeking entry into your markets. All Manufacturing Members are eligible to participate. Gain exposure among the outstanding projects of AWI Manufacturing Members who are featured in Design Solutions Magazine, AWI’s official quarterly journal.

Visit awinet.org for submission forms. The deadline for submissions for the next quarterly (summer) AOE honors program is May 1, 2010. Benefits to AOE honorees include exposure in the online issue of the journal which is open for business 24/7, plus distribution to more than 25,000 industry professionals.

Pictured is one of the award-winning AWI Manufacturing Member projects featured in the fall AWI "Award of Excellence" quarterly competition. Two AWI members worked on the millwork for the Raleigh Convention Center. Stephenson Millwork Company, Inc. of Wilson, NC fabricated the paneling, cabinets and reception desk for the quality certified project, while Craftsmanship Unlimited, an AWI Supplier Member of Youngsville, NC, was responsible for the installation. Other views of this project can be seen in the fall issue of
Design Solutions.

Photo Credit: Brian Gassel, Atlanta, GA

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Learning Forum

Tap Into AWI Resources for Remaining Competitive

AWI’s Spring Professional Development Seminars, April 29 through May 1, 2010, in Marina Del Rey, CA, are packed with content to help architectural woodworkers realize cost efficiencies, manage profit margins, and compete for business during challenging economic times. Make sure you register by March 21 to take advantage of early bird fees.

Check the AWI Web site for information about the sessions and to register.

AWI NewsBriefs, the association’s monthly print newsletter, contains practical information to put to use immediately in our series by seminar presenters on: Estimating, AutoCAD, Contracts, Project Management, LEAN Manufacturing and LEED®.  Watch your mailbox for the March issue of AWI NewsBriefs to learn more about "AutoCAD for Woodworkers," one of the seminars offered, as well as "LEED® Green Associate Accreditation to Validate Your Knowledge." And, check out the January and February issues online for articles on: 

      * "Risk Transfer through Contract Language" 
      * "Do Woodwork Projects Need to be Managed?" 
      * "The Estimate: Excellent Road Map or Pathway to Disaster?"

The content in NewBriefs is a sampling of what you will learn at the AWI Spring Professional Development Seminars. Gain valuable tips and information on a wide variety of business topics. Registration closes on April 2, 2010.

Hotel reservations should be made by April 6 to secure the AWI group rate at the Marina Del Rey Marriott hotel.
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The Estimate: Excellent Road Map or Pathway to Disaster?

By AWI Past President (2002-2003) Scott Nelson, Central Plains Millwork

In the February issue of AWI NewsBriefs, we left off talking about the costing phase of estimating. AWI teaches the operational method of costing. The AWI Cost Book is an outstanding tool to develop and fine tune your own operational costing system. Here’s an example.

The operational method consists of determining what operations must be completed on the shop floor to complete the product we are making.

A simple example would be: What does it take to make 200 linear feet of ¾" x 2" S4S Red Oak Face Frame?

The first thing we must answer is: What are the operations required to make this product?

1. Pick the lumber from storage.
2. Surface the lumber to determine yield.
3. Straight line rip to block size.
4. Set up molder.
5. Run material.
6. Sand.
7. Bundle & mark if required.

These are the steps one may have to complete to make the product. By using the AWI Cost Book one can then look up in the operational tables for the times related to each operation for 200 linear feet of product and determine the hours of labor required to manufacture the face frame material.

The "Fundamentals of Estimating" Seminar will teach you how to use the Cost Book to determine manufacturing costs of products we produce in the architectural woodworking industry. The workshop will also address waste factors and how to address them when costing the various products.

Learn more at the "Fundamentals of Estimating," Seminar, April 29, 2010, at the Marina Del Rey Marriott Hotel, Marina Del Rey, CA. Lead instructor Scott Nelson and staff instructor Tony Perno, Casework Technologies, Ltd., will help you calculate your "break even." Learn how to turn down unprofitable work and negotiate your margins with confidence.

AWI also offers "Advanced Estimating" as a two-day program on April 30 and May 1, 2010 at the same location. For details about each seminar, visit the AWI Web site

About the author: Scott Nelson is President of Central Plains Millwork of Lincoln, NE, which was founded in 1984. Mr. Nelson is a frequent presenter of seminars about the AWI Cost Book, the CODBS, and the upcoming program on Fundamentals of Estimating at the 2010 AWI Spring Professional Development Seminars. He is currently President of the Woodwork Career Alliance. Mr. Nelson may be reached at scott@centralplainsmillwork.com. 
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Volunteering for AWI, LEED®, and the End of Freeloading

By Casey Peterson, AWI Sustainability Resource Committee Chair

Eventually, they will find you. When they do, they will capture you and make you one of their own. It’s the AWI volunteer cycle. It starts out with a simple trip to a national convention, maybe a beer with a buddy you just met. Inevitably, it ends up on volunteer row. When AWI asked if I wanted to chair the new Sustainable Resources Committee, I knew my goof-off time at conventions was coming to a close.

Okay, fine we can talk about LEED® (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design Green Building Rating System™), sustainable resources, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), and how good it is for your company, the environment, the sapling that grows out of dirt in your hands, and other related things.

The Beginning
In March of 2008, Margaret Fisher, sustainability speaker, and Mike Bell of the AWI Technical Committee, were in Denver to meet with the Woodwork Institute and the Architectural Woodwork Manufacturers Association of Canada and continue the development of the Architectural Woodwork Standards. Somehow, I talked Margaret into spending an extra two hours with the AWI Colorado Chapter talking about this LEED thing that everybody was so excited about. Her presentation was one of the best our chapter had seen and heard. While we drove to the program, I can remember her saying "you’re gonna be presenting this," and I laughed uncomfortably. She must have mistaken me for somebody who knew something about anything.

That year our company determined that we could "do LEED jobs." We set up the rules, got chain of custody certified by FSC, and put our flag in the sand. It was new to everybody, even if it had been around since the 90s. It was smooth sailing from there. Then the contractors started calling and telling us different things like "send me all your LEEDS" or "fill this out" or "submit all your invoices." I started wondering who answers to whom, and why our submittal information is important, or if it is important.

Curiosity leads to spending time and money, subsequently to studying for the LEED AP exam. At the time, all the general contractors were getting their managers to become APs, and we thought "if they can do it, why can’t we?" Three of us studied for 12 weeks, took a test that didn’t relate to study materials, and somehow passed. What mattered most is that the three of us understood the big picture. LEED is only a model of sustainable building; it may not be the best model, but it is a good start to a system that society never had in place.

LEED v.3 is now in specifications and registrations for new buildings. While millwork doesn’t add many points to the system, it really isn’t that difficult to provide them. With the right planning, any company can help a project achieve LEED points. With the number of projects requiring LEED certification, it would be a tough decision for you to avoid those projects. AWI is here to help you understand the process, but they can’t lay it on a silver platter. Some work needs to happen.

"Green" Resources
The next time you are in front of your computer, check out the following sites: www.gbci.org and www.usgbc.org for information on LEED v3. It would be wise to purchase at least one manual, "Interior Design and Construction," but recognize there are other manuals for different types of construction. It helps to learn these.

Lastly, AWI Sustainability Resources Representative Rob Ziegelmeier and I will be at the AWI Spring Professional Development Seminars in Marina Del Rey, CA, in April. We will do everything we can to help you plant that LEED flag in the sand.

Learn more at the "Getting Green: LEED® for Woodworkers" seminar scheduled for April 29, 2010. Casey Peterson, LEED AP of New World Millworks, Inc. and AWI Sustainability Resources Representative Rob Ziegelmeier, will conduct the one-half day morning session, which is repeated in the afternoon during the AWI Spring Professional Development Seminars, April 29 – May 1, 2010. Register at www.awinet.org.

About the author: Casey Peterson is Managing Partner at New World Millworks, Inc. in Castle Rock, CO, a family-owned architectural millwork business founded in 1990. The 100,000 square-foot plant is operated by 90 employees in Castle Rock. The company has been an AWI Manufacturing Member since 1994. Mr. Peterson is a LEED AP and a member of the AWI Marketing Committee.
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Woodworking Industry Conference Set for April 21-24

WIC2010 offers inspiration and strategies for future success in Monterey, CA, April 21-24, 2010. What’s on the agenda of the Association of Woodworking & Furnishings Suppliers (AWFS) conference?

Keynote Speaker Robin Jay will discuss The Art of the Business Lunch – Building Relationships.  Forums on green users, economic outlook and public policy, distributors, manufacturers, and end users will feature specialists in their fields and discussions among attendees. A one-day Contact Table Program is also scheduled.

Learn more about the conference and registration by clicking here.
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Did You Know...about the AWS?

Familiarity with the AWI Architectural Woodwork Quality Standards Illustrated (QSI) can no longer be relied on in woodwork project specifications where the Architectural Woodwork Standards introduced in August 2009 supercede the QSI. Don’t assume the standards are the same. Learn about cabinet adjustable shelving.

As a service to architectural woodworkers, AWI reports about some of the differences between the QSI and AWS in each issue of AWI e-briefs to help members educate themselves about the changes.

Cabinet Adjustable Shelving

Who knew cabinet adjustable shelves could be so complex? There are six pages devoted to cabinet shelves materials in the AWS, compared to the QSI having two pages devoted to shelves. What is going on here?

Starting at page 253, item 1.2.21 adjustable shelf loading and deflection is now divided into two aspects: Shelves that need to meet 50 pound per square foot load and shelves that need to meet 40 pounds per square foot load.

Now look at page 276, item You can see that shelves have to be sized based on the type of cabinet they are installed in, as discussed on page 253 and noted above. The two types of cabinets are further broken down and identified as follows: 50 pound load shelves are required in cabinets used in school, hospital and library or book shelving. 40 pound load shelves are required in commercial shelving.

Next look at page 277, item If you follow the pages you will see that each type of typically used shelf material is detailed with dimensional references broken down into the two types of cabinets. As an example, an M2 particle board shelf with hardwood veneer on both sides can be 3/4" thick up to 35" long for a shelf load of 40 pounds per square foot in commercial cabinets. However, if the cabinets were to be found in schools, thus requiring a load of 50 pounds per square foot, the shelf could be 3/4" thick up to 32" long.

About the author: Shows Leary has been an AWI Quality Certification Program (QCP) inspector since 1996. He has served as QCP's Regional Representative and as a member of the Quality Certification Corporation Board of Directors and Board of Appeals. He is an alternate member of the AWI Technical Committee. Contact Shows Leary at shows@showsleary.com.

The Architectural Woodwork Institute (AWI) makes every effort to ensure that published information is accurate and current. Neither AWI, nor any content contributor, officer, or employee of AWI warrants the accuracy, reliability or timeliness of any information published in AWI NewsBriefs and/or AWI e-briefs, nor endorses any products, services or other information resources linked from AWI’s editorial content and shall not be held liable for any losses caused by reliance on the accuracy, reliability or timeliness of such information. Portions of the information may be incorrect or not current. Any person or entity that relies on any information obtained from this system does so at their own risk.
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AWS Errata Web Site

Architectural woodworkers are reminded to check the Errata Web site for the Architectural Woodwork Standards for updated information which is posted as data changes.

Visit http://www.aws-errata.com/ for errors and corrections to the Architectural Woodwork Standards (AWS) jointly produced and published by the three developers: AWI, the Woodwork Manufacturers Association of Canada (AWMAC) and the Woodwork Institute.
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Understanding & Marketing AWS: Upcoming Presentations

With the release of the Architectural Woodwork Standards (AWS), members of the AWI Speakers Bureau, AWI chapters, staff and others are/will be making presentations to architectural woodworkers, architects, designers and the contractors about the differences between the AWI Quality Standards Illustrated and AWS. Watch for news of special presentations in your area.

AWI & CSI Central PA Chapters
When: March 17, 2010
What: AWS & AWI Quality Certification Program
Presenter: Craig Elias, Executive Vice President, AWI Quality Certification Corporation
Where: Raddison Penn Harris, Camp Hill, PA
Information: See attached for this and other events on March 17
Questions: Garry Astles, gastles@northwayind.com, 717.503.6295 (p)

AWI Empire State Chapter
When: March 25, 2010 (5:00 pm)
What: The AWS and Quality Assurance in Architectural Woodwork"
Presenter: Craig Elias, Executive Vice President, AWI Quality Certification Corporation
Where: Doubletree Hotel Syracuse, East Syracuse, NY
Registration: By March 19, 2010
Information: See attached
Questions: Call 607.656.7563

The AWS is jointly produced by AWI, the Architectural Woodwork Manufacturers Association of Canada (AWMAC) and the Woodwork Institute.
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Green Scene

GSA Moves to Drive Sustainability across Government

The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) took two major steps to strengthen its role in President Obama’s commitment to make the federal government a leader in sustainability.

1. The Office of Federal High-Performance Green Buildings has moved from the Public Buildings Service to GSA’s Office of Government-wide Policy, and
2. GSA’s Public Buildings Service established a new position of Chief Greening Officer.

The President issued an executive order on sustainability in October 2009 calling on the federal government to lead by example in greening and modernizing the nation’s infrastructure; these changes expand GSA's capacity to respond to the President's challenge.

According to GSA Administrator Martha N. Johnson, "As part of Government-wide Policy, the Office of Federal High-Performance Green Buildings will broaden its reach to provide federal agencies with the necessary measurement tools and policies they need to meet their own sustainability mandates under the Executive Order. PBS’s Chief Greening Officer will aggressively pursue sustainable practices within GSA’s large portfolio of government-owned and leased buildings to ensure that we are enabled to better meet our mandates." 

"PBS’s new Chief Greening Officer will accelerate our momentum to drive sustainability by aggressively seeking out and incorporating proven greener, more efficient building technologies and practices throughout our entire inventory of 1,500 owned and 8,000 leased buildings," said Robert A. Peck, Commissioner of Public Buildings. "The Chief Greening Officer will deliver our goal of becoming a ‘Green Proving Ground’ for the American building industry by measuring the cost-, resource- and greenhouse gas-reduction effectiveness of myriad innovative green design, construction, and management approaches." 

In January 2010, GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service cleared the way for federal agencies to fulfill their goals under the President’s sustainability executive order by setting energy service agreements that provide agencies with necessary resources to achieve LEED® certification for government facilities; ensure that all buildings and renovations are designed to reduce fuel consumption as required by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007; and help agencies plan, monitor, and report results with Energy Star and other energy efficiency initiatives.
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Recognition of Certified Wood Products in LEED®: Third Public Comment Period

The U.S. Green Building Council has announced the opening of the third public comment period for the proposed revisions to the USGBC Forest Certification Benchmark ("the Benchmark") and related LEED® credits. 

The Benchmark is a collection of criteria against which forest certification schemes will be evaluated (when approved by USGBC membership) to determine which schemes gain recognition in the LEED green building certification program.  If a scheme is recognized, a LEED project would be able to use the scheme's supply of certified wood products to count towards the achievement of the relevant LEED Materials and Resources credits, according to the USGBC. 

The first public comment period on these revisions occurred between August and September, 2008, and attracted approximately 1,800 comments.  The second public comment period occurred between September and October, 2009, and attracted approximately 1,200 comments. 

Guided by the public comment feedback, the Materials and Resources Technical Advisory Group (MR TAG) revised and the LEED Steering Committee approved for third public comment this updated version of the Benchmark and associated LEED credits.  The revisions are far fewer and more focused than those of the previous public comment periods.  They include the following:

* In the credits, revised thresholds to earn recognition in LEED.
* In the Benchmark, Governance section, two revised prerequisites and one revised credit that present more performance-based requirements.
* In the Benchmark, Standards Substance section, the inclusion of a new prerequisite on responsible use of genetically-modified organisms (GMOs).
* In the Benchmark, Standards Substance section, language that requires the recognition of indigenous rights in the already-existing prerequisite for Community Benefit (Sp18).

The only items on which USGBC is seeking comments are those revisions listed above.  All items that have not changed since the second public comment (and therefore have been finalized in the revisions) are not open for comment, because according to USGBC, it is not obligated to consider comments for such items.

Any member of the public may comment on the proposed changes to the Benchmark (after creating a site user account on the USGBC Web site, www.usgbc.org).  USGBC will respond to all comments and post the comments and responses (without commenter names or organizations) on the USGBC web site.  If significant, technical changes are made as a result of comments, an additional public comment period will be conducted on those changes.  The Benchmark and revised credits will be put to USGBC member ballot after all necessary public comment periods have been conducted.

The public comment period will close on March 14, 2010, at 5:00 PM PST. For more information and to comment, click here.

For details about the Forest Stewardship Council’s take on the third draft, click here.
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USDA Forest Service Will Host Public Events on Development of the New Planning Rule

On February 24, the USDA Forest Service announced a series of events to provide opportunities for public discussion on the development of a new Forest Service Land and Resource Management Planning Rule (planning rule). The Forest Service will host a national science forum, three national roundtables and nine regional roundtables.  

The agency plans to better address the current and future needs of the National Forest System such as restoration, protecting watersheds, addressing climate change, sustaining local economies, improving collaboration, and working across landscapes."

Following the meetings, notes will be posted on the planning rule Web site.     

The meetings announced on February 24 include:

National Science Forum, March 29 and 30, 2010, in Washington, DC.

National roundtables, April 1 and 2, April 20 and 21, and May 11 and 12, 2010, in Washington, DC.  

Nine regional roundtables in the following locations:
* Pacific Northwest Region (Region 6), Portland, OR on April 6, 2010;
* Pacific Southwest Region (Region 5),Sacramento, CA on April 6, 2010;
* Intermountain Region (Region 4), Salt Lake City, UT on April 8, 2010;
* Rocky Mountain Region, (Region 2), Lakewood, CO on April 12, 2010;
* Northern Region (Region 1), Missoula, MT on April 13, 2010;
* Alaska Region (Region 10), Juneau, AK on April 13, 2010;
* Southern Region (Region 8), Atlanta, GA during the week of April 12, 2010 (exact date to be determined);
* Eastern Region (Region 9), Chicago, IL during the week of April 28 (exact date to be determined); and
* Southwestern Region (Region 3), Albuquerque, NM on April 28, 2010.
* Region 2 will host additional meetings on April 14 in Cheyenne, WY and on April 21 meeting   in Rapid City, SD. 

Webcasting may also be available for selected meetings; please check the planning rule Web site, by clicking here.
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Wood IS Green™ Introduces Two Vehicles to Spread the “Green” Message

Wood IS GreenTM  Gear is now available to literally wear the "green" message. Plus, the campaign has a Twitter site. How can you learn more?

Promotional items may be ordered at www.Cafepress.com.  There is no minimum order.   Either click the Wood IS Green TM Gear link at the top right corner of the Web page, www.woodisgreen.com, to enter the shop or go to www.cafepress.com/woodisgreen.

Current offerings include: tee-shirts, hoodies, rectangular bumper stickers, oval logo vinyl stickers, mugs, totes and more. Using and giving away these promotional items is an avenue for getting the word before the public.

The Wood IS GreenTM Twitter site allows for communication to participants in the campaign when new articles or resources are made available on the Wood IS Green™ Web site.  Campaign principals confirm that Twitter will only be used to send notifications of new postings on the Web site. Register at www.twitter.com, then enter the search for woodisgreen. This will be the means of communicating en mass, so it is important that interested AWI members sign up.
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2010 National Project Learning Tree Outstanding Educators

Five educators who use environmental education to spur students' enthusiasm to learn were named the 2010 National Outstanding Educators by Project Learning Tree® (PLT), the environmental education program of the American Forest Foundation (AFF).

The five, selected from a record number of nominations from around the country, are:
* Joy Cowart, a teacher at Lowndes County middle and high schools in Valdosta, GA
* Susan Cox, Conservation Education Coordinator with the US Forest Service, based in Durham, NH
* Reeda Hart, outreach specialist for the Center for Integrative Natural Science and Mathematics at Northern Kentucky University in Highland Heights, KY
* Kurtis Koll, professor of physical science at Cameron University in Lawton, OK
* Debra Wagner, fourth-grade teacher at St. Paul Lutheran School in Lakeland, FL.

Project Learning Tree® is a program of the American Forest Foundation, a nonprofit conservation organization that works to ensure decision-makers and educators, both today and tomorrow, understand and value the role that forests and the environment play in our lives. Through quality environmental education and outdoor learning for children and adults across the country, and in conjunction with our 50-state network of partners and volunteers, our programs are engaging youth and communities in conservation efforts, growing healthy forests, and conserving habitat.  For more information, visit www.forestfoundation.org.
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Green Building Insider Offers 90-Minute Expert Webinar CD

Keeping track of green building issues is a challenge. There is so much information to plow through.

An expanded twice-monthly Green Building Insider is offering reduced subscription fees and a complimentary training CD: the Hidden Risks of Green Building for new subscribers.

Check out Green Building Insider here and review the types of news and commentary it reports. Follow this link to subscribe using the promo code 226GLN.  The offer expires March 15, 2010.
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Skills Standards Project Still Needs Volunteers

If you want to protect the future of the architectural woodwork industry, what better way is there than to foster development of tomorrow’s workforce? Skilled workers don’t grow on trees, you know. They need to acquire knowledge, practice and develop their skills, and be nurtured by seasoned woodworkers. Share your knowledge; help the Skills Standards project advance to the next level.

The Board of Directors of the Woodwork Career Alliance of North America (WCA) has selected the next set of tools and machines, and they are inviting volunteers with experience on these tools to be interviewed for their preferred "standards" for the industry, according to Greg Heuer, Secretary of the WCA. Check out the list of the working tools at http://skillstandards.wikispaces.com/Tool_Groups

There are a number of ways you can help advance the Skill Standards project. Contact Greg Heuer at gheuer@umich.edu.

* Tell him you will fund a small part of this BIG project; or
* Tell him you are willing to TEST the Standards in your plant; or
* Tell him you have some experience with tools and machines, and will help WRITE or EDIT the Standards.
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Industry News

January Construction Retreats 1%

The value of new construction starts slipped 1% in January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $419.3 billion, according to McGraw-Hill Construction, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies.  The slight loss of momentum was due to a pullback for nonbuilding construction (public works and electric utilities).  Meanwhile, residential building in January held steady, and nonresidential building was able to register growth as the result of gains for a few structure types.

The latest month’s data produced a reading of 89 for the Dodge Index (2000=100), compared to 90 in December.  For all of 2009, the Dodge Index averaged 87, according to McGraw-Hill.  "While down slightly from the previous month, January’s activity is consistent with the sense that construction starts have at least stabilized at a low level," stated Robert A. Murray, vice president of economic affairs for McGraw-Hill Construction.  "Relative to the extended decline that took place from 2006 through early 2009, that’s good news.  The cautionary note is that it’s still too early to say that renewed expansion for overall construction activity has taken hold.  Single family housing reached bottom in early 2009 and has since shown modest improvement.  Nonresidential building has seen a pickup for such publicly-funded structure types as transportation terminals and courthouses.  However, the commercial categories remain extremely depressed, and given tight bank lending and weak employment are likely to stay that way throughout 2010."

Residential building, at $132.7 billion (annual rate), was essentially unchanged in January relative to December, McGraw-Hill reported.  Single family housing edged up 1%, maintaining the gradual upward movement that began during the spring of 2009.  By region, single family housing in January showed gains for the South Central (up 5%), the South Atlantic (up 2%), the Midwest and West (each up 1%), while the Northeast declined (down 10%).  Murray stated, "Single family housing is expected to see improved construction in 2010 compared to its extremely depressed 2009 amount, helped by the continuation of low mortgage rates and homebuyer tax credits, and assuming that the steps taken to limit foreclosures have a broader impact this year."  Multifamily housing lost further momentum in January, sliding 4%.  The largest multifamily project reported as a January start was a $45 million senior living apartment facility in Apex NC, continuing the trend towards smaller-scale projects compared to the $100 million plus high-rise projects that were being reported as construction starts as recently as two years ago.

Nonresidential building in January climbed 11% to $159.9 billion (annual rate), lifted mostly by large gains for three structure types – transportation terminals, healthcare facilities and public buildings.  The relatively small transportation terminal category soared 818% in January, boosted by a massive transit complex in Lower Manhattan NY (the subway and PATH train regional transportation hub), with a construction start cost estimated at $3.0 billion.  If this massive project is excluded from the January statistics, nonresidential building would have fallen 14% while total construction would have dropped 10%.  The transportation terminal category in January also included the $53 million modernization of Terminal B at Newark Airport NJ.  Healthcare facilities in January climbed 39%, getting 2010 going on a strong note after the diminished contracting witnessed throughout much of 2009.  Large healthcare projects that reached groundbreaking in January included a $500 million hospital in Orlando FL and a $154 million hospital expansion and renovation in Wilmington DE.  The public buildings category in January jumped 52%, aided by the start of a $52 million police station house in Staten Island, NY.  Modest January gains were registered by churches and dormitories, each up 3%, according to McGraw-Hill.

The other nonresidential building categories showed substantial weakness in January compared to December.  For the commercial categories, these declines were reported – stores and hotels, each down 24%; offices, down 38%; and warehouses, down 42%.  On the institutional side, the educational building category (the largest nonresidential structure type) fell 22% in January, while amusement-related projects plunged 47%.

On an unadjusted basis, total construction in January 2010 came in at $27.8 billion, down 8% from the same month a year ago, Mc-Graw Hill reported.  By major sector, nonbuilding construction showed an 8% shortfall, while nonresidential building registered a steeper 21% decline.  In contrast, residential building in January 2010 was up 18% versus a year ago.  By region, total construction for January 2010 compared to January 2009 revealed decreased activity in the South Central, down 22%; and the West, down 39%.  Total construction gains on a year-over-year basis were reported for the Midwest, up 3%; the South Atlantic, up 16%; and the Northeast, up 38%.

Additional perspective is obtained by looking at twelve-month moving totals, in this case the twelve months ending January 2010 compared to the twelve months ending January 2009.  On this basis, McGraw-Hill noted that total construction posts a 23% decline, as the result of this pattern by sector – nonresidential building, down 30%; residential building, down 27%; and nonbuilding construction, down 9%.  By region, the twelve months ending January 2010 showed this behavior for total construction – the West, down 28%; the Midwest, down 24%; the South Atlantic, down 23%; the South Central, down 21%; and the Northeast, down 18%.
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NAM Launches New Brand and Web Site

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) announced the launch of its new brand and Web site that better reflect modern manufacturing in America.  Both the brand and the Web site focus on manufacturing’s vital leadership in innovation, job opportunity, technological progress and economic security.

As the voice of all manufacturing in the United States, the National Association of Manufacturers’ mission is to achieve an economic environment that promotes jobs creation and encourages the expansion of manufacturing in the United States. Click here to here highlights of the introduction.

Visit the new NAM Web site, www.nam.org.  The site utilizes new technologies to enable more interactive communications.  It was designed to be more intuitive and features policy issues, information on how to take action and quick facts on manufacturing in America. It also incorporates interactive capabilities for sharing and receiving information in real time.
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Constructech Magazine Names Commercial Top Products Winners

Constructech magazine recently announced the winning commercial products for its third annual Constructech Top Products Awards.

Winning products are selected by the Constructech editorial team, and are chosen for innovation and successful results in the marketplace. These products are selected based on the product’s description, the overall usefulness and uniqueness of the product to the construction industry, and the customer growth rate for the particular product throughout the past few years.

For a list of winners, visit www.constructech.com.

Constructech Commercial’s online e-letter focuses on the perspective of the contractor and corporate owner, uncovering tools to increase productivity and profitability and reveal the value of information technology tools and building control automation.
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Federal Scene

ERSA Announces Outreach and Compliance Assistance for 403(b) Plans

On February 22, the U. S. Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) announced new outreach and compliance assistance efforts for 403(b) pension plans subject to Title I of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).

The department is sending a letter to administrators of the approximately 16,000 403(b) plans subject to ERISA to remind them that their 2009 Form 5500 annual reporting requirements have changed and to direct them to various EBSA resources for help in understanding and complying with the new requirements.

Like administrators of 401(k) plans, 403(b) plan administrators now must file basic financial and other compliance information annually with the government on a Form 5500 or Form 5500-SF (a simplified report that many small 403(b) plans can use). Large plans (generally those with 100 or more participants) must include a report of an independent qualified public accountant with their Form 5500. All Form 5500s beginning with the 2009 plan year must be filed electronically using the department's new EFAST2 system.

The department's outreach letter points out that EBSA has also issued specific legal guidance and has several publications that are designed to explain the new annual reporting and electronic filing rules. The department also published a brochure entitled Getting Ready for Changes in Filing Your Plan's Annual Return/Report Form 5500. All of these materials are available on a newly created EBSA Web site at www.dol.gov/ebsa/403b.html that focuses on Code 403(b) plan issues. The letter also directs administrators to a toll-free Form 5500 help desk that is available from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm (ET) at 866.463.3278.

For more information, please visit the Department's Compliance Assistance page.
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Senate Bill to Strengthen Subcontractor Payment Protections on Federal Contracts

The American Subcontractors Association (ASA) is supporting a proposal that would expand payment protections for subcontractors on federal contracts, including construction contracts.

According to ASA, "The proposal, which is incorporated in section 304 of the Small Business Contracting Revitalization Act of 2010 (S. 2989), would make a prime contractor’s payment practices an evaluative criteria for the awarding of federal contracts over $1 million. The bill also would restrict the authority of a prime contractor that has a history of untimely payments to subcontractors to control the payment of its subcontractors."
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Safety Matters

New Respirator Safety Videos Available on OSHA's Web Site

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has made the "Respirator Safety" and "The Difference between Respirators and Surgical Masks" videos available in English and Spanish on the agency's Respiratory Protection Safety and Health Topics Web page and the Department of Labor's YouTube page.

Videos show workers how to correctly put on and take off respirators, and explain the difference between respirators and surgical masks.
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OSHA Holds Combustible Dust Stakeholder Meeting in Atlanta

On February 17, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) hosted a public listening session in Atlanta, GA.

Representatives from trade groups, individual companies and unions participated in two sessions meant to provide information for the analysis and development of a protective and feasible standard for combustible dust. Click here for a meeting summary. Since 1980, more than 130 workers have been killed and more than 780 injured in combustible dust explosions. Comments from a similar meeting held in December are now available online at www.osha.gov.
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Chapter News

Chapter Developments

The Outreach Committee of the AWI New England Chapter is working with the support of the National AWI Education Foundation to disburse $2,500 in scholarship funds this year.

To fulfill its responsibilities for the scholarship funding the chapter is asking its members to identify their familiarity or experience with an accredited program, either secondary or post-secondary whose students may be eligible for a scholarship. Please respond by March 5, 2010.

For more details AWI New England Chapter members should contact Ms. Tye Waller, Executive Director, at tye.waller@neawi.org.
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Upcoming Chapter Events

What’s happening in your local AWI chapters and architectural woodwork communities?

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 Chicago Chapter
When: March 10, 2010
What: "LEED® & Sustainability"
Presenter: Margaret Fisher
Information: Contact Chapter Officers 

AWI Colorado Chapter
When: March 11, 2010
What: Chapter Meeting, "NHLA Lumber Grading Yield & Selection" and Product Fair
Where: Trustile Door
Information: Contact Chapter Officers 

AWI Central Pennsylvania Chapter – CSI
When: March 17, 2010
What: Central PA Chapter –CSI 35th Annual Exhibitor’s Show Seminar Series
1) Quality Management for Masonry by William D. Friedah, PE, ECS Mid-Atlantic, LLC
2) Curtail Wall 1010 by Jeff Turicik, Architectural Sales Representative, YKK AP America
3) Architectural Woodwork Standards and Quality Assurance by Craig Elias, AWI Quality Certification Corporation
Where: Radison Hotel, Camp Hill, PA
Information: See attached
Questions: Garry Aestles, gastles@comcast.net 

AWI Heart of America Chapter
When: March 18, 2010
What: Chapter Meeting hosted by; CCM Countertop & Cabinet Manufacturing
Where: Wichita, KS
Information: Contact Chapter Officers 

AWI New England Chapter
When: March 24, 2010
What: Chapter Meeting and Presentation by Bill Mahens of Archer Corporation; Freeley & Driscoll
Where: Boston, MA
Information: Contact Chapter Officers 

AWI Arizona Chapter
When: April 6, 2010
What: Chapter Meeting
Information: Contact Chapter Officers 

AWI Carolinas Chapter
When: April 13, 2010
What: Involvement in SkillsUSA North Carolina Competition
Where: Greensboro, NC
Information: Contact Chapter Officers 

AWI Heart of America Chapter
When: April 15, 2010
What: Judging of SkillsUSA Competition by Chapter Members
Where: Wichita, KS
Information: Contact Chapter Officers 

AWI Carolinas Chapter
When: April 15, 2010
What: Involvement in SkillsUSA South Carolina Competition
Where: Columbia, SC
Information: Contact Chapter Officers 

AWI Ohio Valley Chapter
When: April 16, 2010
What: Chapter Meeting and "Sales and Marketing" Presentation
Where: Indianapolis, IN
Information: Contact Chapter Officers 

AWI Iowa/Nebraska Chapter
When: April 23, 2010
What: Chapter Meeting
Information: Contact Chapter Officers 

AWI Chicago Chapter
When: May 12, 2010
What Chapter Meeting & Presentation on "Finishing Systems"
Presenter: Joe Binder
Information: Contact Chapter Officers 

AWI New England Chapter
When: May 19, 2010
What: Chapter Meeting & Associate Product Fair
Where: Doubletree Hotel, Westborough, MA
Information: Contact Chapter Officers 

AWI Great Lakes Chapter
When: May 19, 2010 (8:00 am)
What: Board of Directors Conference Call Meeting
Information: Contact Chapter Officers 

AWI Central Pennsylvania Chapter 
When: May 20, 2010
What "Growing Your Own: Investing in Your Most Valuable Asset," including an update on the Woodwork Career Alliance of North America, National Skill Standards, and WoodLINKS USA.
Presenter: L. Duane Griffiths, Professor, Author, Manager of Educational Services, Stiles Machinery
Where: Wildwood Conference Center, Harrisburg, PA
Information: Program/Registration
Questions: Garry Astles, President, Central PA Chapter; gastles@northwayind.com 

AWI Colorado Chapter
When: May 20, 2010
What: Chapter Meeting
Information: Contact Chapter Officers 

AWI Heart of America
When: May 20, 2010
What: Chapter Meeting
Host: Salina Planing Mill, Salina, KS
Information: Contact Chapter Officers 

AWI Carolinas Chapter
When: May 21, 2010
What: Membership Meeting
Where: Myrtle Beach, SC
Information: Contact Chapter Officers 

All chapters are encouraged to plan their events early to allow for ample promotion of your activities in this section of AWI e-briefs as well as through other avenues. Also, if your chapter is involved in local and regional SkillsUSA competitions, advise AWI. Contact Greg Bednar, AWI Chapter Development Services at gbednar@awinet.org.
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Next Issue of E-briefs

The next issue of AWI e-briefs will be published March 18, 2010.

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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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