Eagle Materials Inc. directors have taken a key step toward mid-year separation of cement- and gypsum wallboard-centered Heavy and Light Materials businesses into independent, New York Stock Exchange-traded companies, both Dallas based. Leading the Heavy Materials namesake will be current Chairman Mike Nicolais and President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Haack. Leading the Light Materials business, operating as American Gypsum Company, will be Chairman Dave Powers, former Eagle Materials CEO and current director, and President and CEO Craig Kesler, current chief financial officer.

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A breath of fresh air from the National Association of Home Builders

PGV headshot 2016

By: Pierre G. Villere

The top line economic indicators are mixed these days, but we remain bullish at our firm about the future of the construction industry. My frustration is with the press, from CNBC to the major news networks on both the conservative and liberal sides of the political spectrum, with their need to fill the day with news. This results in long, anguished speculation about the state of the economy, and just more of the Chicken Little Syndrome, as I call it (“The sky is falling! The sky is falling!”).

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Lead construction economists confirm private sectors’ near-term growth prospects

Source: Associated Builders and Contractors, Washington, D.C.

The Associated Builders & Contractors, American Institute of Architects and National Association of Home Builders chief economists assembled in Washington, D.C., for a mid-year market forecast, outlining stable to strong residential and commercial project activity through 2017.

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Builders see housing start increases continuing in double-digit percentage range

Sources: National Association of Home Builders, Washington, D.C.; CP staff

Job growth, rising consumer confidence, higher household formations and pent-up demand are helping to bring prospective home buyers back into the market. “A number of positive indicators provide solid evidence this will be a good year for housing and the economy,” affirmed NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe in Las Vegas, site of the 2016 International Builders’ Show.

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The American Concrete Institute has promoted key staff with an eye to increasing alignment and flow from ACI technical documents to educational products: Michael Tholen to managing director of Engineering and Professional Development, Claire Hiltz to manager of Professional Development, and Matthew Senecal to manager, Engineering.

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Leading index shows builders matching confidence level of 2005

Source: National Association of Home Builders, Washington, D.C.

Builder confidence in the market for newly constructed single-family homes rose three points in October to a level of 64 on the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI)—a level last seen at the end of the housing boom a decade ago.

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Expanded joint employer definition clouds contractor, subcontractor ties

Sources: Associated Builders & Contractors, National Association of Home Builders, Washington, D.C.; National Labor Relations Board; CP staff

Against precedent dating to 1984, a 3-2 NLRB majority redefines “joint employer” in a decision favoring an International Brotherhood of Teamsters local aiming to extend representation from a recycling station bargaining unit—equipment operators and companion staff employed by the facility’s owner—to a subcontractor whose employees perform waste sorting and related services.

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Housing starts again breach pivotal watermark

Source: National Association of Home Builders, Washington, D.C.

Nationwide housing starts surpassed one million in September, the third time this year, according to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and Census Bureau figures. Total housing production during the month rose 6.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.017 million units.

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Economists bullish on commercial and industrial work

DBIA officials cite the inherent value design-build methods bring to projects across the construction sectors, including transportation. The Institute honored the Yadkin River Bridge—a 2,900-ft., twin structure along the Interstate 85, Charlotte–Greensboro, N.C., corridor—with a 2014 National Award of Merit. Flatiron Construction Corp. led the design-build team credited with delivering the North Carolina Department of Transportation project under its $136 million budget.

“A combination of low interest rates; wealth effects stemming from a booming stock market and rising home prices; surging energy production; and expanding industrial output has helped position the U.S. economy for more rapid growth during the next several quarters,” says Associated Builders and Contractors Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “This will lead to more robust recovery in the U.S. nonresidential construction industry, which has also been aided by stable materials prices and improving commercial real estate fundamentals.”

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