2010 November :: The Construction Management Pro

Contractors: Handling PCBs in Caulk During Renovation

November 17, 2010

Fact Sheet

Handling PCBs in Caulk During Renovation (PDF) (4 pp,274K, About PDF)

This brochure (PDF) is meant to provide contractors, parents, teachers, and school administrators a general overview of the practices a contractor should consider when conducting the renovation of a building that has polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB)-containing caulk. PCBs were not added to caulk after 1978. Therefore, in general, schools built after 1978 do not contain PCBs in caulk.

Contractors play an important role in protecting public health by helping prevent exposure to toxic PCBs. Ordinary renovation and maintenance activities involving the removal of PCB-containing caulk and the surrounding contaminated substrate (brick, masonry, cinder block, wood, etc.) can create dust that contains PCBs which can expose children and adults. PCBs have been demonstrated to cause a variety of adverse health effects, including cancer in animals. PCBs have also been shown to cause a number of serious non-cancer health effects in animals, including effects on the immune system, reproductive system, nervous system, endocrine system, and other health effects. Read More…

These guidelines follow closely to the practice for handling lead based paint.

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DOE Webinar November 17: Quantifying the Impact of State Policies on Clean Energy Development

November 16, 2010

November 16, 2010
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Technical Assistance Program (TAP) presents a Webinar this Wednesday about how to quantify the impact of state and local policies on developing clean energy markets.
At this Webinar you will hear about state policies and aspects of policy design that are statistically connected to increased energy efficiency and renewable energy resource development. The speakers will discuss how policy longevity and combined policies that influence different markets and technologies tend to be found in states that generate more clean energy. And you will hear from the Colorado Governor’s Energy Office about how that state’s policies have helped foster renewable energy development.

The presentation will take place this Wednesday, November 17, from 3:00 to 4:15 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, and is titled State of the States: Quantifying the Impact of State Policies on Clean Energy Development.

CLICK HERE to Register to attend the November 17 Webinar

This Webinar is free of charge, but you must sign up ahead of time to obtain an Internet address (URL) for the presentation and call-in phone number. You can register online, find information about the presenters, and read background materials and reports on the Technical Assistance Webinars page of the DOE National Renewable Energy Laboratory Web site. See also a complete listing of TAP Webinars on the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable (EERE) Energy Solution Center.

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Prepare for Winter – Weatherproof your Exterior Doors

November 13, 2010

Weatherproofing your exterior doors is an easy and cost effective way to say energy this winter. A 1/8″ crack around a typical 6’8″ entry door is the same as having a window 36″ wide, open 1″ all winter long! 

Unless you have a brand new home, your door may have fallen out of alignment. Take a litle time to make certain your door is straight and true before you begin weatherproofing (not crocked). This extra step will also save on weatherproofing material! Start by shimming out your door so that it is even all the way around its opening. to do this it is easiest to shim out the hinges. You can buy a pack of shims at any home improvement store. 

Install metal tension strips (or plastic ones)  next to the door stops at the point where your door contacts the stops when closed. Use a putty knife to pry out the tension strips far enough so that it creates a good seal when the door is closed. 

Add an aluminum or vinyl door jamb weatherstrip to the edge of the door stop on the external side.

Attach a new bristle sweep to the bottom of the door. Here’s an option: You may prefer to attach a new door bottom with an integral sweep on the inside and drip edge on the outside. This often requires that you adjust your threshold height, and/or slightly plane the bottom of your door. If you plane the door, make sure to seal the wood.

Fix any cracks in door panels or around light panels with wood filler or caulk.

You may want to add a storm door if you don’t have one. It can add years to the outward finish and surface of your entry door, it helps insulate and weatherproof, provides additional security and improves the appearance of your house, all at the same time. Not a bad investment of time, they are easy to install, just FOLLOW  THE  INSTRUCTIONS!!

Happy projects.

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11-9 Coalition for Energy Efficient Electric Tankless Water Heaters Launches New Website

November 9, 2010

WASHINGTON — Nov. 1, 2010 — The Coalition for Energy Efficient Electric Tankless Water Heaters (CEEETWH) announces the launch of their new website at http://www.ceeetwh.org. The Coalition is comprised of leading companies in the water heating industry devoted to increasing energy efficiency within the industry and public education. The website is a critical component in educating consumers, policymakers, the U.S. government and non-government agencies on the energy efficient technology and the energy and water savings opportunities that electric tankless water heaters can provide.

“This new website is a powerful tool in our journey to become Energy Star certified,” said Kevin Ruppelt, coalition chairman. “We want to continue spreading our message that electric tankless water heaters rank among the most energy efficient water heaters on the market by delivering a constant supply of hot water, eliminating wasted water, and saving money for consumers.”

The website will continue to grow, providing several avenues for consumers to stay apprised of the coalition’s progress. It currently features the latest news and press releases, background material on coalition members and officers, their mission and goals, and detailed information about electric tankless water heaters.

About The Coalition

The Coalition for Energy Efficient Electric Tankless Water Heaters (CEEETWH) was formed by industry-leading companies, including: American Heat, American Hometec, Bosch, EcoSmart, Eemax, Hubbell, Keltech, and Skye International. Its leadership team consists of Kevin Ruppelt, Coalition Chairman and President and CEO of Eemax, Inc., and Salo Zelermyer, coalition director. The coalition is represented by Bracewell & Guiliani, a firm widely known in the energy industry and efficiency issues. The Coalition is on a mission to achieve Energy Star Certification by educating consumers, policymakers, U.S. government and non-government agencies on the energy efficient technology and savings opportunities that electric tankless water heaters can provide.

About Energy Star

In 1992 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) introduced Energy Star as a voluntary labeling program designed to identify and promote energy-efficient products to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Energy Star provides a trustworthy label on over 60 product categories (and thousands of models) for the home and office. Energy Star has successfully delivered energy and cost savings across the country, saving businesses, organizations, and consumers about $19 billion in 2008 alone.

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11-4 NALMCO Announces Lighting Industry’s First Sustainability Certification

November 4, 2010

In an effort to create an industry standard, the interNational Association of Lighting Management Companies (NALMCO) will unveil what it states is the first, and only, sustainability certification for lighting professionals this fall.

“The industry is changing at a very rapid pace,” said Jim Frank, NALMCO board president and division manager for Facility Solutions Group, a national provider of lighting and electrical products and services. “One of the most pressing issues is sustainability. This new certification addresses that head on.”

The certification – named CSLC for Certified Sustainable Lighting Consultant – will be a seal of approval ensuring that a lighting professional has expertise in creating and maintaining lighting systems that use long-lived, energy-efficient products that minimize impacts on the environment and society.

The certification will be earned through an exam that tests 10 areas of knowledge, Read More …

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11-3 The Next Battle in Foreclosure Mess: Title Insurers

November 3, 2010


29 Oct 2010

Title insurers are trying to push legal costs associated with the foreclosure mess onto banks, but lenders don’t seem willing to agree as a group to take them.

The stakes are high for the real estate market. Without title insurance, home sales cannot happen, and the glut of foreclosed homes in the United States cannot be sold.

Some title insurers have slowed underwriting policies because they are unsure how much they may have to pay for the foreclosure mess. That may be weighing on the housing market.

In recent weeks, banks have come under fire for using sloppy paperwork to foreclose on homes.

Title insurers protect the buyer of a home against claims that prior owners still legally own the property. If banks have improperly foreclosed, the wronged borrowers could create an influx of lawsuits that title insurers would have to defend.

Banks are reluctant to sign a sort of model industry agreement to take on insurers’ legal costs, because it could expose them to the suggestion they did something wrong, industry representatives said.

“If this is going to be done it makes more sense as a targeted solution that’s mutually agreeable to the parties that are directly affected,” said Bob Davis, executive vice president for mortgage, markets and public policy at the American Bankers Association, in an interview.

Until now the title insurance industry has operated in relative obscurity. Most people have never heard of title insurance, unless they have bought property.

The four largest national title insurers—Fidelity National Title, First American Financial, Stewart Information Services and Old Republic International—control 90 percent of the market alongside much smaller independent insurance companies.

Stewart, citing the model industry agreement, said Thursday it was ready to issue insurance “to purchases of foreclosed properties from institutional lenders representing that they have followed all applicable legal processes”—a signal it wants lenders to accept the agreement before it writes policies.

But analysts say the future of such an agreement is very questionable and title insurers may have to do without.

“If there is no master agreement, I expect individual title insurers will negotiate with individual banks,” said Jerry Bruni, who owns Fidelity National stock and oversees $425 million at J.V. Bruni and Co in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

The ultimate fate of the agreement could affect the appeal of the sector to investors.

With the exception of Old Republic, shares in the sector are down anywhere from 3 to 7 percent this year, against a 10.3 percent gain for the S&P insurance index.

“There is a lot of uncertainty what’s going to happen, which is why shares are where they are,” Bruni said.

The largest U.S. title insurer, Fidelity National , has already reached an agreement with Bank of America and last week released a similar indemnity requirement for all lenders to sign if they want to do business with Fidelity.

But the origin of the document goes beyond Fidelity to the insurers’ trade group, the American Land Title Association, and federal housing giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac—and they are now thinking of turning it into an industry-wide requirement.

“We made the case for the requirement of this indemnification by Fannie and Freddie,” said ALTA President Kurt Pfotenhauer, referring to proposals for Fannie and Freddie to require banks that collect payments for its loans to indemnify insurers. “So far, we’ve obviously not won that argument.”

Bankers say that the market has remained broadly functional without an umbrella agreement with title insurers.

“Rather than make it a blanket it makes sense to us to have it as an option that would apply to special circumstances where the companies are willing to grant that indemnity,” the ABA’s Davis said.

But the title insurance industry, for its part, is warning that a blanket agreement is needed to keep the market moving.

Without an umbrella indemnity agreement, “it would take more time and consideration to do some of the (foreclosure) sales and could make title insurance less available to some markets,” Pfotenhauer said.

Copyright 2010 Thomson Reuters. Click for restrictions.

URL: http://www.cnbc.com/id/39909157/

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11-3 HUD and DOT Award $68 Million to Create Sustainable Communities

November 3, 2010

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) have jointly awarded nearly $68 million to help stimulate a new generation of sustainable and livable communities that connect housing, employment and economic development with transportation and other infrastructure improvements. The joint HUD-DOT funding will reportedly support 62 local and regional partnerships seeking to create a more holistic and integrated approach to connecting affordable housing, job opportunities and transportation corridors. Read more…

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11-1 Benefits of Preconstruction Meetings

November 1, 2010

In working with owners and contractors there seems to be a prevailing question, “What is the benefit to pre-construction meetings?” On smaller projects, some owners don’t feel the need to have one. They believe that they will be there to answer any questions.

We understand that construction is a process that links together the project scope, budget and schedule. In order for the project to be successful the owner’s vision of the project must be clearly communicated to all team members. The team members must understand their roles and responsibilities and the operating procedures that will be necessary for project execution. Issues regarding communication, coordination and schedules need to be fully discussed prior to the initiation of any construction project. This is best done during a pre-construction conference.

Attendees at this important meeting should include the owner, architect (if engaged), general contractor, the the owner’s rep and the major subcontractors. The purpose of this meeting is to walk through the project with the principals involved in the process. there are many issues that arise during a construction project. The sooner we are able to identify them and the approach that will be used to handle them, the smoother the project will be. Doing the pre-construction conference we talk about the order in which construction will take place. The purpose is to identify any conflicts in the schedule, to identify long lead items, and to issuer that the parties to the construction contract understand when items need to be in place and what activities are dependent on them. Reporting requirements and quality assurance and quality control should be discussed. This provides the owner with an opportunity to impart to the team his expectations for the project. It also provides for the framework that will be used to inform the owner of the project’s progress.

There should be a clear understanding of how decisions which need the owner’s input will be handled, the time frame for those decisions and who has the authority to make those decisions.  Lastly, if not most importantly, is the matter of payment. All projects should had a schedule of values. This document delineates the project by task and assigns a percentage of the contract cost to each task. The schedule of values can be incorporated into the project schedule. In so doing, a project cash need chart is developed. This document then lays out what activities should be accomplished at what point in time and what compensation the contractor has occurred upon completion of the task. This helps avoid misunderstandings regarding how much the contractor is due to be paid and whether or not the owner has overpaid for the amount of construction completed to date.

No project is without Change Orders. What constitutes a valid request for an adjustment in the contract amount, time or both should be reviewed and understood by all parties.  Disputes resolution should be addressed early in the process so that a methodology can be instituted to reconcile conflicts. The pre-construction conference serves to define individual and group responsibilities, existing conditions, time sensitive events, special task and plans for work continuity as they relate to the project’s construction. This can only have a positive impact on the success of your project. Failure to do so could lead to confusion, misunderstanding and avoidable delays and extra costs.

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