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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Report confirms strength in commercial building activity

The commercial real estate development industry grew at the strongest pace since the economic recovery began in 2011, according to “The Economic Impacts of Commercial Real Estate,” an annual state of the industry report from the NAOIP Research Foundation, Washington, D.C. Author Dr. Stephen S. Fuller, director of George Mason University Center for Regional Analysis, finds the economic impact attributable to nonresidential development, which rose 24 percent over the previous year—the largest gain since the sector began to recover in 2011. 

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ISO adds water usage, stewardship standard to Environmental management

The International Organization for Standardization’s new 14046, “Environmental management—Water footprint—Principles, requirements and guidelines” standard will allow a wide range of private and pubic entities the means to measure the environmental impact of their water use and pollution potential. It joins the ISO 14000 Environmental management series, whose “Type III Environmental Product Declarations” standard governs documents concrete interests are issuing as green building rating systems evolve. 

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NRMCA caps first phase of industry-wide Environmental Product Declaration

A representative sampling of energy consumption trends from a coast-to-coast, cross section of producers contributes to the NRMCA LCI Data Collection Summary Statistics, boosting the credibility of an industry-wide EPD for transit or central mixed concrete.

The first of two phases in the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association’s development of a standard Environmental Product Declaration (EPD)—aimed at assisting ready mixed producers on projects where customers target certification under the new LEED v4 green building rating system—has produced a survey report and list of participating companies and plants.

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EPD-enabling Product Category Rule for Precast nears release

“Product Category Rules For Preparing an Environmental Product Declaration for Precast Concrete” meticulously details the LCA framework according to guidelines in ISO 14000 Environmental management standards. The PCR for Precast will encompass structural, architectural, specialty, utility and drainage products for above and below-grade applications.

To support development of Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) catering to contracts for green building certification candidate projects—especially those targeting the recently released LEED v4—producers and allied groups are finalizing a North American Precast Concrete Product Category Rule (PCR) through program operator ASTM International.

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CalStar begins production at two-line, Mississippi masonry plant

CAPTION:The cast stone products are made with CalStar’s proprietary process that incorporates up to 37 percent recycled content and eliminates the need for portland cement; calcium silicate materials, which require energy-intensive autoclaving; or for kiln-firing, typical of traditional clay brick. When measured against portland cement and clay alternatives, each CalStar product requires up to 81 percent less energy to make while emitting up to 84 percent less carbon dioxide.

CalStar Products has begun delivering building and landscape units from a 100,000-sq.-ft., Columbus, Miss., operation—an ambitious satellite to a Racine, Wis., flagship plant opened in 2010. With dry- and wet-cast lines for brick, trim and paver products using proprietary binders and high fly ash content, the facility sits on 23 acres in the Golden Triangle Industrial Park.

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Oldcastle Precast ships record-length Caltrans girders


As part of California Department of Transportation’s $1.6 billion Santa Ana Freeway (Interstate 5) South Corridor Improvement Project, Oldcastle Precast-Perris is fabricating 158.5-ft. prestressed concrete super girders for the Norwalk-San Antonio Bridge—built in stages entailing placement of seven, four and nine beams. 

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Unistress ramps up for $70M, New NY Bridge precast deck contract

CAPTION: Preliminary New NY Bridge contract work has seen Unistress crews run steam lines with actuator valves and power to deck panel casting beds, secure collapsible tent enclosures, and test specimens.

Unistress Corp. in Pittsfield, Mass., is investing $6 million in capacity upgrades and adding 100-plus production staff to support the largest contract in its 46-year history: 6,000 precast deck panels, typically 40- x 12-ft., for the New NY Bridge. Upon a scheduled 2018 opening, the 3.1-mile, $3.9-billion Hudson River crossing will replace the Tappan Zee Bridge, linking Westchester and Rockland, N.Y., counties and nearing its 60th year in service.

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