AWI e-briefs
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Architectural Woodwork Institute
July 25, 2019
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Summer Edition of AWI’s Quarterly Design Solutions Now Online: Who’s Featured?

The Architectural Woodwork Institute (AWI) has released the summer 2019 edition of their official journal, Design Solutions Magazine. The publication offers in depth features and resources including a technical article and a Product Showcase.

As part of AWI’s outreach efforts, each quarterly edition is sent to subscribers that include architects, design professionals, specifiers, and others in the design/build industry.

The summer edition features beautiful examples of fine architectural woodwork manufactured by the following AWI Member companies.

  • MOD Interiors of Ira Township, MI and their work on Lumen at Beacon Park in Detroit, MI.

Click here to read the summer edition of Design Solutions

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New Standard Master Subcontract by ConsensusDocs Facilitates Best Practice Subcontracting Practices

On July 16, ConsensusDocs published the new “Standard Master Subcontract Agreement Between Constructor and Subcontractor” and the “Standard Project Work Order.” The new standard master agreement (ConsensusDocs 755) allows parties to negotiate the standard terms and conditions of their working relationship once, and then issue multiple project work orders  (ConsensusDocs 756) without having to negotiate specific legal terms. General terms and conditions addressing such terms as indemnification, notice requirements, and dispute resolution only have to be negotiated once. Project specific terms, which are often negotiated by project field employees as well as insurance and bonding requirements are addressed in the project work order.

 Joe McAllister, General Counsel for Hughes General Contractors in Salt Lake, Utah chaired the ConsensusDocs master subcontract working group commented, “For many reasons, including the expanded use of alternative project delivery methods and subcontractor prequalification procedures, the use of master subcontract agreements has become the prevalent practice in our market, so these new ConsensusDocs master subcontract documents will be very useful to us, and we plan to use them often.”

Contract expert and Executive Director of ConsensusDocs Brian Perlberg says “We are very excited for the release of the new Standard Master Subcontract. The documents will allow parties to spend less time revisiting subcontracting terms and will reduce the transactional costs of hiring outside counsel to review project work orders. I expect that these two new documents will be two of the most used standard contracts within our catalog of 100 best practice contacts due to the interest and need that I see throughout the industry”

A FREE webinar hosted by Brian Perlberg on “Master Subcontracting Best Practices, Tools and Strategies” is being offered August 1 at 2:00 pm EST and will highlight the new ConsensusDocs Master Subcontract. Click here to sign up for the webinar now!

To purchase the new Standard Master Subcontract, please contact Nicholas Unhold at 703-837-5336 or email him at sales@consensusdocs.org. For the AWI member discount, use the following code: AWI100.  

ConsensusDocs standard construction contracts are the only contracts written and supported by a coalition of leading design and construction industry organizations. With a catalog of 100+ contract documents addressing all project delivery methods, ConsensusDocs contracts incorporate fair risk allocation and best practices to represent a project’s best interests. The Coalition’s organizations, which include AWI, collectively represent hundreds of thousands of design professionals, owners, contractors, subcontractors, and sureties. For more information, please visit www.consensusdocs.org, call 866-925-DOCS (3627) or email support@consensusdocs.org.

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New ConsensusDocs vs. AIA Comparison

The Defense Research Institute's (DRI) Construction Law Committee analyzed and compared AIA A101 and AIA A201 and ConsensusDocs 200 standard contract documents forms comprehensively with a brief analysis that provides commentary that helps readers determine the advantages and disadvantages in AIA's and ConsensusDocs differing approaches on important contractual issues as well as similarities, according to the most recent ConsensusDocs newsletter.

Access the full article here.

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Steps for Building an Effective Small Business Website

Are you getting ready to refresh your website or are you starting from scratch?  Either way, All Business (free subscription) has published 10 steps to get through the process.

Some of the steps, of course, are basic, but you should find some good tips as you read through the extensive article here.

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Don’t Be Left out of the Conversation

Are you using social media to help increase sales of your product or service? Do you lack the basic knowledge to take advantage of the incredible marketing reach that social media offers?

Take the Small Business Administration's (SBA) FREE social media marketing course to learn about strategies that can help you harness the power of social media marketing.  This course is designed to show you how to utilize social media marketing to grow your business. You will learn research processes and strategies to help you harness the power of social media marketing.

For more details and to launch the 30-minute course, click here.

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Standards

TFL Stakeholder Survey Seeks Industry Feedback

The Composite Panel Association (CPA) recently formed a joint task group of the Production-Technical Committee and Decorative Surfaces Council to discuss the possible development of a voluntary ANSI product standard for North American thermally fused laminate (TFL). The task group, consisting of 18 companies, is in the process of collecting North American TFL performance data and reviewing international TFL standards to inform the standards development process. The final voluntary ANSI consensus standard would provide objective performance criteria for end-use applications to assist with the specification and use of TFL.

CPA is asking all interested parties to participate in a short survey designed to help prioritize product properties and end use applications to assist with development of the TFL standard. The deadline to complete the survey is August 31.

Click here to download and complete the survey.  Any questions may be directed to Gary Heroux at CPA gheroux@cpamail.org.

The Composite Panel Association (CPA), founded in 1960, represents the North American composite panel industry on technical, regulatory, quality assurance and product acceptance issues.  CPA General Members include 30 of the leading manufacturers of particleboard, medium density fiberboard and hardboard.  Together they represent more than 92% of the total manufacturing capacity in US, Canada and Mexico.

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Member News

AWI Members among “Wood Industry 40 Under 40”

AWI congratulates the following six AWI members, who were named by Woodworking Network (free subscription) to its “Wood Industry 40 Under 40” list.

Scott Bogner, Kitchens, Inc.
Jamie Burge, Millwork 360, LLC
Nate Cohen, Cohen Architectural Woodworking, LLC
Troy Myers, JC Manufacturing
John VanErem, RCS Millwork
Lukasz Wasiak, WoodCraft Designers & Builders, LLC

Read about them here. The honorees were recognized at a special Leadership Reception on July 16 in Las Vegas, the evening prior to the AWFS Fair.

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Safety Matters

Emergency Preparedness and Response

Natural disasters can create a variety of hazards for workers. Preparing for an emergency plays a vital role in ensuring that employers and workers have the necessary equipment, know where to go, and know how to stay safe when an emergency occurs.

OSHA’s Emergency Preparedness and Response page provides information on how to prepare and train for emergencies and the hazards to be aware of during cleanup and recovery operations.

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Other Learning Forum

FREE Webinar on ConsensusDocs New Standard Master Subcontract

"Using Master Subcontracts: Become More Efficient in Negotiating Your Subcontracts"

Register Today!
Use code -- AWI100 -- if prompted for affiliation with a coalition member.

Learn how many prime contractors and subcontractors have become more efficient in creating a master standard agreement with terms and conditions, and then issue individual work orders for each project or subcontract work scope.

ConsensusDocs just published a new Standard Master Subcontract Agreement and Project Work Order (ConsensusDocs 755 and 756 respectively) that create best practice templates for master subcontracting that prime contractors and subcontractors can use immediately. Don’t continue to waste time repeatedly negotiating complex legal terms with the same parties, rather empower your teams to focus on project price and scope.

Learning Objectives

  • Why you should use master subcontracts and purchase work orders
  • When to use the NEW Master Subcontract Agreement
  • How to organize a master subcontract’s terms and conditions and a project work order with project specifics
  • How the New ConsensusDocs 755 Master Subcontract and 756 Project Work Order provides an off-the-shelf solution to create a master subcontract and work order
  • An overview of ConsensusDocs best practice subcontracting terms addressing indemnification, project financial information, release of retainage, lien release, additional insured, insurance requirements, and much more.
ConsensusDocs standard construction contracts are the only contracts written and supported by a coalition of leading design and construction industry organizations. With a catalog of 100+ contract documents addressing all project delivery methods, ConsensusDocs contracts incorporate fair risk allocation and best practices to represent a project’s best interests. The Coalition’s organizations, which include AWI, collectively represent hundreds of thousands of design professionals, owners, contractors, subcontractors, and sureties. For more information, please visit www.consensusdocs.org, call 866-925-DOCS (3627) or email support@consensusdocs.org.

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Business Management

It‘s Your Life: Can You Afford the Loss of a Key Employee?

From Federated Insurance

If you’re like most business owners, you have go-to employees when it comes to the day-to-day operation of your company. They have the management skills, technical know-how, experience, or customer relationships upon which you rely—you trust them to make the right decisions when you’re not available. They can be at any level or in any position, but they are people your business can’t do without. Now that you have them on your team, what would happen if you were to lose one of them due to a premature death, long-term illness or disability, or another employment opportunity?

Fortunately, you can offset the financial burdens your business may face as the result of the loss of a key employee. The first step is to identify them. In general, key employees are individuals whose departure could create genuine setbacks for the company, both logistically and financially. They may have years of experience with your company or the industry.

Perhaps they have specialized skills that require extensive training and knowledge that would be difficult to replace. Is there someone for whom you don’t have a back-up? Don’t forget to include yourself—you are a key person too!

Once you have identified the people, consider the cost of replacing them. You will need to advertise to recruit potential replacements. In the current job market, you may need to adjust pay or offer a signing bonus to attract candidates with the skills and work experience you need. In addition to the monetary costs associated with hiring and training a replacement, the process will also require your time. It’s estimated that the cost to replace mid- to high-level employees can range from one-and-a-half to four times their annual salary. Can your business absorb those costs, especially with little notice?

After you have determined the people and the cost, consider your options for mitigating the risks you could face. Life insurance is a cost-effective solution to help provide financial support toward your company’s need to replace a key employee. Life insurance can help to keep the business running and growing, provide funds to attract, recruit, and train a replacement, and replace lost profits. It can also provide time and flexibility for survivors to make necessary business continuation decisions if the key person is you or another owner. While the policy death benefit will provide a lump sum in the event of the insured employee’s death, the cash value of a permanent policy can also be accessed through policy loans and withdrawal during the employee’s lifetime.

Don’t risk the short- and long-term success of your business by not planning for the loss of a key employee. Consider permanent life insurance on your most important team members as part of your overall risk management strategy.

This article is for general information and risk prevention recommendations only and should not be considered legal coverage, financial, tax, or medical advice.  The information may be subject to regulations and restrictions in your state.  There is no guarantee following these recommendations will help reduce or eliminate losses.  The information is accurate as of its publication date and is subject to change.  Qualified counsel should be sought regarding questions specific to your circumstances. All rights reserved.

Federated Mutual Insurance Company / Federated Service Insurance Company (not licensed in the states of NH, NJ and VT) / Federated Life Insurance Company – www.federatedinsurance.com.

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Five Major Reasons to Monitor Your Business Credit Reports

The accuracy of the data being reported about your business shows your company’s ability to meet its financial obligations with vendors, suppliers, lenders and other businesses. Similar to personal credit reports and scores, business credit reports are constantly changing because of a variety of data.

It’s important to realize an established business credit report and score is an invaluable asset for your company. Like all assets it’s necessary to take certain steps to protect and manage them, according to the Small Business Administration.

Learn more here, and discover the five major reasons to monitor your business credit reports.

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Risk Management Corner: Active Shooter Preparedness—A Matter of Survival

From Federated Insurance

The sound of gunshots breaks through the hum of a busy workplace. Chaos ensues as people scramble for safety while an active shooter fires at an unsuspecting and unprepared group of workers.

 It’s easy to brush off the possibility of being involved in such a situation, thinking that it could never happen to you. But the unfortunate reality of the modern American workplace is that these terrifying scenarios are becoming more and more common. Active shooters act alone or in small groups, and fire indiscriminately, choosing their victims at random. Knowing how to respond is essential for every employee.

Survival Strategies
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security1 (DHS) has developed a three-part response strategy, with the goal of surviving until law enforcement arrives to end the rampage, usually about 10 to 15 minutes after the event begins. Share the following strategies with your employees to help them increase their chances of making it through a deadly situation. Drills, held once or twice per year, will help keep the information fresh in employees’ minds.

Run — This is the first and best option. Pick an escape route and follow it, keeping your hands visible to avoid being mistaken for the shooter. Avoid grouping together. If you can help others evacuate safely, do it. As soon as it is safe, call 911 and give them as much information about the situation and the shooter as you can.

Hide — If you are not able to evacuate, find a place to conceal yourself. Your hiding place should be out of the shooter’s view, offer options for movement or escape, and provide protection from gunfire. Lock or block the entrance if possible. Ensure mobile devices are silenced, remain quiet, and wait for the shooter to leave the area.

Fight — This should be the last resort, and only if you are in immediate danger. Fighting requires commitment to the course of action. Act with aggression and intent. Make as much noise as you can. Throw items or use objects as weapons to disable the attacker.

No matter what strategy you must use, always remain calm. Your survival depends on your ability to make rational decisions. When law enforcement arrives, follow officers’ instructions immediately without making sudden movements, keeping your hands visible.

Plan and Train

An emergency action plan (EAP) can help prepare employees for an emergency, including an active shooter. Your EAP should include:

  1. A preferred method for reporting emergencies
  2. An evacuation policy and procedure
  3. Emergency escape procedures, including floor plans and safe areas
  4. Information for contacts
  5. Emergency service information, including hospital telephone numbers and locationsAn emergency alert system to notify law enforcement and individuals at remote locations within your facility


It’s not enough to simply have a plan. Your employees should know how to implement it. Collaborate with local law enforcement for training on recognizing and reacting to an active-shooting event. Training should include recognizing the sound of gunshots, applying the Run, Hide, Fight strategy, reacting when law enforcement arrives, and adopting a survival mindset during a crisis.

Prevention and Intervention
The unpredictable nature of an active shooter means that there are no definitive ways to prevent a shooting. But experts have identified indications2 that an employee might have violent tendencies, including sadness, depression, threats, menacing behavior, hypersensitivity, diminished work performance, and a host of others.

Teach employees to be on the lookout for warning signs and notify a supervisor or human resources representative as soon as they can. It could be a matter of life and death.

With the uncertainty of identifying a potential perpetrator and possible legal ramifications of taking pre-emptive action, prevention can be tricky. If you suspect an employee might be at risk of committing workplace violence, consult law enforcement immediately.

Federated offers resources to help you educate your employees on this vitally important topic. Seven Minute Safety Trainer® has the resources to conduct training sessions with your employees. J. J. Keller® Video on Demand offers videos on preparing for, surviving, and recovering from an active shooter threat. The Training Today® learning management system offers a course on reaction to and preparation for an active shooter. Log on to Federated’s Shield Network® for access.

1Source: “Active Shooter: How to Respond,” U.S. Department of Homeland Security. https://www.dhs.g ov/sites/default/files/publications/active-shooter-how-to-respond-2017-508.pdf. Accessed June 2019.

2Source: “Workplace Violence Prevention: Readiness and Response,” Federal Bureau of Investigation Law Enforcement Bulletin. https://leb.fbi.gov/articles/featured-articles/workplace-violence-prevention-readiness-and-response.  Accessed June 2019.

This article is for general information and risk prevention recommendations only and should not be considered legal, coverage, financial, tax, or medical advice. The information may be subject regulations and restrictions in your state.  There is no guarantee following these recommendations will help reduce or eliminate losses.  The information is accurate as of its publication date and is subject to change.  Qualified counsel should be sought regarding questions specific to your circumstances. © Federated Mutual Insurance Company.  All rights reserved.

Federated Mutual Insurance Company / Federated Service Insurance Company (not licensed in the states of NH, NJ and VT) / Federated Life Insurance Company – www.federatedinsurance.com

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In Memoriam

AWMAC’s Kerry DePage Tragically Killed

Sadly, on June 1, 2019, Kerry DePape was tragically killed in a plane crash.

The Architectural Woodwork Manufacturers Association of Canada (AWMAC) reported the following:

“As you may remember, Kerry was an AWMAC delegate to the former Joint Standards Committee and a valued contributor to the development of AWS Editions One and Two.

Kerry continued his passion for development of woodwork in the North American Architectural Woodwork Standard (NAAWS) as jointly published by the WI and AWMAC.”

“He will be missed by his industry friends across the AWI, WI and AWMAC associations,” said AWI’s Executive Vice President Philip Duvic.

For more details, visit the AWMAC website here.


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Construction News

Design Services Demand Stalled in June

Project inquiry gains hit a 10-year low, according to The American Institute of Architects (AIA).
Demand for design services at architecture firms decreased in June in comparison to the previous month, according to a new report today from The American Institute of Architects (AIA).

AIA’s Architecture Billings Index (ABI) score for June was 49.1, which is down from 50.2 in May. Any score below 50 indicates a decrease in billings. Both the project inquiries index and the design contracts index continued to soften in June but remained positive. 

“With billings declining or flat for the last five months, it appears that we are settling in for a period of soft demand for design services,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “With the new design contracts score reaching a 10-month low and the project inquiries score hitting a 10-year low, work in the pipeline may start to get worked off, despite current robust backlogs.”

Key ABI highlights for June include the following:

  • Regional averages: South (51.9); West (49.3); Midwest (48.9); Northeast (46.1)
  • Sector index breakdown: mixed practice (54.3); commercial/industrial (52.3); institutional (47.0); multi-family residential (46.3)
  • Project inquiries index: 52.8
  • Design contracts index: 50.3

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Despite Signals of Impending Declines, Continued Growth in Nonresidential Construction Is Expected through 2020

The American Institute of Architect’s (AIA) latest Consensus Construction Forecast predicts growth.
Spending on nonresidential building construction is expected to increase almost four percent this year and more than two percent in 2020, according to a new consensus forecast from AIA.

Continued volatility has not impacted construction spending as the projections by the AIA Consensus Construction Forecast Panel—consisting of leading economic forecasters—are largely unchanged from where they stood at the beginning of the year. While some individual construction sectors are projected to see declines over the next 18 months, the consensus projects overall building construction activity will continue to expand.

“Outlook showing nonresidential construction activity continuing to expand reflects the underlying strength of the economy, even this late in the business cycle,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “However, there are several potential threats to continued healthy growth in the broader economy as well as in the construction industry that would point to slower economic growth in future quarters.”

Market Segment
Consensus Growth Forecasts

2019

2020

Overall Nonresidential Building

3.8%

2.4%

Commercial / Industrial Total

2.5%

1.1%

Hotels

3.6%

0.5%

Office Space

6.9%

2.2%

Retail

-0.8%

0.3%

Industrial Total

6.4%

3.3%

Institutional Total

4.9%

3.7%

Public Safety

8.2%

5 .9%

Healthcare Facilities

2.7%

3.7%

Education

6.1%

4.4%

Amusement / Recreation

4.4%

1.0%

Religious

-4.5%

-2.8%

Details on the latest Consensus Construction Forecast can be found on AIA’s website.

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Modest Increase in Nonresidential Spending in April

According to an Associated Builders and Contractors’ analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data released June 3, national nonresidential construction spending rose 0.3% in April.

Despite ongoing concerns about skilled worker shortages and volatile materials prices, construction executives remain bullish about the prospects for the nonresidential construction sector, according to Associated Builders and Contractors’ April 2019 Construction Confidence Index released on June 20.

All three principal components measured by the survey—sales, profit margins, and staffing levels—remain well above the diffusion index threshold of 50, signaling ongoing expansion in construction activity. While contractors are slightly less upbeat regarding sales expectations and staffing levels than in March, more than 70% of contractors expect sales to increase over the next six months, a reflection of continued elevated demand for construction services. Consistent with last month’s reading, more than 56% of survey respondents anticipate rising profit margins, an indication that users of construction services remain willing to pay more to get projects delivered despite rising wages and other cost pressures.

  • The CCI for sales expectations fell from 69.6 to 68.4 in April.
  • The CCI for profit margin expectations increased from 61.8 to 63.0.
  • The CCI for staffing levels fell from 67.8 to 67.4.

“Many economists are convinced that the next recession will begin next year,” said ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “While that is a possibility, there are presently no signs of recession in the nonresidential portion of the economy, as backlog remains elevated and demand for construction services continues to rise, especially in public construction segments such as water supply, flood control and highway/street.

“Remarkably, despite growing shortages of skilled workers and rising compensation costs, the average nonresidential contractor has been able to keep profit margins stable, with a significant proportion able to increase margins slightly,” said Basu. “With bidding opportunities remaining robust and firms still in a position to chase opportunities to bolster revenues and profitability, it comes as little surprise that many contractors continue to hire. ABC’s most recent survey indicates that many more firms expect to expand payrolls in the coming months.

“With the Federal Reserve now actively contemplating rate cuts, construction firms may experience additional support in the form of stepped-up demand,” said Basu. “Presumably a rate cut or two in 2019 would further diminish the cost of capital, positioning more projects to move forward. On the other hand, there is evidence that the U.S. economy has begun to slow, with the pace of job growth slowing recently along with more sluggish indications from measures such as industrial production and capacity utilization. Should the U.S. economy continue to slow through the balance of 2019 and into 2020, it would likely translate into meaningfully softer demand for construction services by 2021 or 2022.”

CCI is a diffusion index. Readings above 50 indicate growth, while readings below 50 are unfavorable.

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Sponsor News

Chris Metcalf Joins Roseburg as Director of Reliability

From Roseburg Forest Products

Roseburg announced recently that Chris Metcalf has joined the company as Director of Reliability, effective July 22, 2019. In this newly created role, Chris will oversee the analysis of reliability and maintenance practices and needs across the company and implement solutions to create a high-performance manufacturing culture.

"As Director of Reliability, Chris will build a small team of company resources dedicated to helping our plants define and implement best practices for asset management and reliability," Senior Vice President of Operations Jake Elston said. "Equally important, Chris will also work with our operational units to help determine what local resources are needed to drive improvement in our business."

For the past 15 years, Metcalf has lead improvements in maintenance and reliability for several major manufacturing organizations, building and leveraging large-scale ERP CMMS/EAM and business intelligence systems. He has worked in the engineering, operations and centers of excellence departments at organizations including Anheuser-Busch, Sara Lee, DuPont Pioneer, Titan America, and Enviva. Chris holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering from the University of Iowa.

"Making this commitment is an exciting step for the company," Elston said. "Running reliable operations benefits every stakeholder in our organization and Chris brings a great deal of experience and acumen in driving these improvement processes in manufacturing organizations. We are very pleased to have him join our team."

Roseburg Forest Products, an AWI Supplier Member since 2006, is a Level 4 AWI Sponsor. www.rfpco.com

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Economic Indicators

Three Indications Economic Conditions May Be Worse than You Thought

"There is a reason you may be feeling that your company’s rising trend is losing momentum or stalling out. It could be that you are feeling what is going on for the economy at large. That means any remedy for the short term must come from within your company, not from external factors," Brian Beaulieu, CEO of ITR Economics™ reports.

Discover the three indicators on the ITR Economics™ Blog.

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Green Scene

Green Building Initiative Announces Release of Green Globes 2019 as a Revised American National Standard

The Green Building Initiative (GBI) announced today the approval by GBI’s Board of Directors on June 11 of ANSI-GBI 01-2019: Green Globes Assessment Protocol for Commercial Buildings, which was formally approved by ANSI as a consensus document at the end of April and subsequently published as an approved Standard in ANSI’s Standards Action publication on May 3.

“This represents more than four years of investment of time and effort by dozens of volunteer experts, hundreds of members of the public that participated, and GBI staff members,” stated Dr. Charles Kibert, a professor at University of Florida who served as vice chair of the ANSI/GBI 01-2019 consensus body and is a member of GBI’s board of directors. ”Vicki Worden, president and CEO of GBI, added, “More than 230 public meetings were held to deliberate the latest science and research, baselines, and market advancements since the last update to Green Globes. There’s tremendous excitement about Green Globes contributing leading-edge thought leadership to green building design, construction and operations with this revised standard.”

Advances in the Standard’s content include language on resilience, life cycle cost analysis, moisture control analysis, health and effectiveness, and many other market advances, such as higher efficiency plumbing fixture specifications and greatly expanded lighting and acoustic comfort sections.

GBI noted that it is the only green building organization to deliver its rating system through an ANSI-audited consensus process, having first published ANSI-GBI 01-2010 and now its 2019 revised version of that original standard.

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USGBC Solicits Feedback about LEED® v4.1

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) recently announced a call for proposals to solicit feedback and concepts for the next version of LEED. LEED is updated through a continuous improvement process and with each new version USGBC is evolving LEED’s approach and challenging the building sector to be more resource efficient and sustainable.

In April 2019, USGBC officially released the complete suite of LEED v4.1 rating systems. LEED v4.1 emphasizes the human experience and pushes project teams to create spaces that not only reduce carbon emissions, energy, water use and waste, but also improve the health and well-being of the people who live, work, learn and play in these buildings, cities and communities every day.

“With LEED v4.1 we have fundamentally transformed our rating system development process,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, president & CEO, USGBC. “It has allowed us to become more agile and adaptable to incorporate real time feedback so that we can realistically raise the bar on the marketplace. We received an overwhelming response to our LEED v4.1 call for proposals, which has helped us to deliver on the market needs making LEED v4.1 successful and a market leader. Building on this success, we are excited to engage the market again to solicit ideas, proposals and feedback for improving LEED v4.1 and future versions of LEED.”

The USGBC community can participate in the call for LEED proposals session. Industry leaders can also join USGBC at the annual Greenbuild International Conference and Expo, taking place in Atlanta, Nov. 19-22, 2019, for the “Future of LEED” education session, which will review market feedback and provide updates on performance-based outcomes, transparency and continuous improvement to future versions of LEED.

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Workforce Development

Dept. of Education Rescinds Gainful Employment Rule Beginning July 2020

On July 1, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced its final regulation to officially rescind the 2014 Gainful Employment (GE) Rule beginning on July 1, 2020, according to CTE Policy Watch, a blog for CTE Advocates (free subscription).

“Federal law requires that certain educational programs offered at some postsecondary institutions, including for-profit institutions, community and technical colleges, and area CTE centers, must provide training programs that prepare students for “gainful employment in a recognized occupation” in order to participate in federal financial aid programs. Nearly all educational programs at for-profit higher education institutions, as well as non-degree programs at public and private nonprofit institutions, like community colleges and area CTE centers are subject to these rules.

“The Obama-era regulation outlined how the department will evaluate a program’s effectiveness in preparing students for gainful employment after program completion, including through metrics like debt-to-earnings ratios and student loan cohort default rates.”

Read more here.

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New Dept. Labor Rule Seeks to Create New Apprenticeship Model

In late June, the Department of Labor (DOL) announced the proposal of a new rule aimed to “address America's skills gap and expand the apprenticeship model to new industries,” according to a recent blog post by CTE Policy Watch, a blog for CTE advocates (free subscription).   “The proposed rule would establish a process for recognizing Standards Recognition Entities (SRE) and Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Programs (IRAPs).

“Under the proposed rule, a SRE would establish the standards for training, structure, and curricula for the IRAPs in certain industries. Organizations that could qualify to become a SRE include educational institutions, non-profits, unions, local government entities, and trade, industry and employer groups or associations.”

Click here for more details.

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Perkins V Became Effective July 1

According to the U.S. Dept. of Education (ED), July 1 marked the beginning of a new era in career and technical education as states begin to implement the “Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V).” The new law which is designed to improve career and technical education (CTE) and help students gain the skills they need to compete for in-demand, high-wage jobs in their communities. As of July 1, the Department had received, reviewed, and approved every state’s Perkins V one-year transition plan.

Read about provisions of Perkins V here.

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Federal Scene

Senate Committee Approves Composites Standards Act

On July 10, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation approved S. 384, the Composites Standards Act, clearing it for consideration in the full Senate. The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Gary Peters (D-MI), authorizes new efforts by the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) to aggregate and validate existing design information for composite materials in infrastructure, develop needed approaches to measuring and modeling durability of composites, and educate asset owners and the design community about composite materials.

"On behalf of America's 3000 composites manufacturers, I thank Senators Capito and Peters for sponsoring the Composites Standards Act and seeing the bill through today's markup.  This legislation is vitally important to the industry as this sector has needed the National Institutes for Science and Technology to develop methods and resources necessary to conduct the testing and evaluation of safe and appropriate uses of composite materials for infrastructure. Composites offer industry and governments a cost-effective set of materials that can improve the performance of essential infrastructure, reduce maintenance costs for those projects, and can even speed the construction of vital projects.  At a time when citizens know the nation's roads, bridges, waterfronts, and other types of infrastructure all demand serious attention this legislation will assist city, county, state and federal leaders in tackling those problems with the best available information on materials that can save lives, time and money," stated Tom Dobbins, president of the American Composites Manufacturers Association (ACMA).

Counterpart legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives earlier this year by Representatives Daniel Webster (R-FL), Jerry McNerney (D-CA), Bill Posey (R-FL), and Chellie Pingree (D-ME). ACMA is working aggressively on Capitol Hill to see the legislation advanced and signed into law this year.

The American Composites Manufacturers Association (ACMA) is the world's largest composites industry trade group of manufacturers, material and equipment suppliers, distributors, academia and end users, dedicated to growing the composites market. www.acmanet.org

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