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Architecture Firms End Second Quarter On A Strong Note

in Associations/Homepage Primary/News

Firm billings beginning to catch up with project inquiries and design contracts 

For the fifth consecutive month, architecture firms recorded increasing demand for design services as reflected in the June Architecture Billings Index (ABI). As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate nine to twelve month lead time between architecture billings and construction spending. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the June ABI score was 54.2, up from a score of 53.0 in the previous month. This score reflects an increase in design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 58.6, down from a reading of 62.4 the previous month, while the new design contracts index decreased from 54.8 to 53.7.

View this press release here:

“So far this year, new activity coming into architecture firms has generally exceeded their ability to complete ongoing projects,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “Now, firms seem to be ramping up enough to manage these growing workloads.”

Key June ABI highlights:

  • Regional averages: South (54.8), West (53.1), Midwest (51.9), Northeast (51.5)
  • Sector index breakdown: multi-family residential (57.1), mixed practice (53.8), institutional (52.6), commercial / industrial (52.1)
  • Project inquiries index: 58.6
  • Design contracts index: 53.7

The regional and sector categories are calculated as a 3-month moving average, whereas the national index, design contracts and inquiries are monthly numbers.

About the AIA Architecture Billings Index
The Architecture Billings Index (ABI), produced by the AIA Economics & Market Research Group, is a leading economic indicator that provides an approximately nine to twelve month glimpse into the future of nonresidential construction spending activity.

About The American Institute of Architects
Founded in 1857, the American Institute of Architects consistently works to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings, neighborhoods, and communities.


Missouri Contractors Lower Expectations For 2017& 2018

in Associations/News

Lack of sustainable infrastructure plan and shrinking skilled workforce loom over market

Contractors in both the AGC of Missouri’s Building Division and its Heavy Highway/Infrastructure Division report lowered growth expectations for the rest of 2017 and for 2018. However, most results from the quarterly, online Contractor Confidence (CCI) Index, looking six, 12 and 18-24 months ahead, continue to surpass 50 pts. (NOTE: All results above 50 pts. indicate a favorable construction climate.)

According to Leonard Toenjes, CAE, president, AGC of Missouri, uncertainty in both Washington, D.C. and Jefferson City, including the lack of a permanent, sustainable infrastructure program, and a developing critical shortage of skilled workers in the building trades and project management roles continue to weigh heavily on the industry.

Contractors in the AGC of Missouri’s Building Division lowered their optimism from an identical survey taken just three months ago, especially looking 18 to 24 months out. Their six-month forecast moved from 63.46 pts. in Q1 2017 to 53.8 pts. in Q2 2017. Looking ahead 12 months, their forecast decreased from 69.23 pts. in Q1 2017 to 51.9 pts. in Q2 2017.  Forecasting business conditions 18-24 months ahead, they anticipate a significant pullback, from 63.46 pts. in Q1 2017 to 46.2 pts. in Q2 2017.

“Our contractors are relatively busy right now, but are seeing projects ahead that are making them more selective about the work they accept and the teams they assign,” added Toenjes. “There is a shortage of seasoned project managers, technical support staff, and skilled trades workers. Our members are mobilizing their teams and concentrating on delivering high-quality work for repeat clients.  In other words, they simply don’t have the time or resources to take on high-risk projects.”

Contractors in the AGC of Missouri’s Highway Division also are becoming more pessimistic, with concern building over inaction on infrastructure in Washington, D.C and Jefferson City, MO.  For the six-month outlook, their forecast dropped from 66.7 pts in Q1 2017 to 59.1 pts. in Q2 2017.  Their forecast for a year from now plummeted over 13 pts., moving from 72.2 pts. in Q1 2017 to 59.1 pts. in Q2 2017.  Their forecast for 18-24 months also dropped from 72.2 pts. in Q1 2017 to 69.9 pts. in Q2 2017.

According to Toenjes, the highway contractors are working right now because of summer bridge and road repairs, part of MoDOT’s spend down of the state’s transportation funding reserves. However, without a permanent funding solution in place, the future of Missouri’s transportation systems is in jeopardy.

“Our roads and bridges are crumbling, and we’ve been told that, in some cases, MoDOT is doing repairs to hold things together when replacement is truly needed,” said Toenjes. “All those projects will need repairs again when the patches wear out. It’s a much better investment to do it right the first time.

“Investment in infrastructure also creates jobs and stimulates economic growth,” he added. “Kansas, Iowa and Arkansas all have increased their transportation investment in the past several years and are ‘moving forward’ while Missouri is, ‘quite literally,’ standing still.”

Full AGC Report Here

*NOTE: Due to scheduling difficulties, a 3rd Q 2015 survey was not conducted.

The Associated General Contractors of Missouri is the leading voice of the construction industry in Missouri, representing nearly 500 commercial, industrial, heavy and highway contractors, industry partners and related firms in 110 counties throughout Missouri

IFMA St. Louis Provides Funds to Help Those in Need Stay Cool This Summer

in Associations/News

 The St. Louis Chapter of the International Facility Management Association donated $1,000 to Cool Down St. Louis. The nonprofit organization builds awareness and provides resources to help those in need avoid heat-related illnesses and deaths, especially the elderly and disabled, and needy families with critically ill children.

Representing facility managers and suppliers who maintain the region’s commercial buildings, the organization presented a check for $1,000 to Cool Down St. Louis during IFMA St. Louis’ celebration of National FM Day on June 21. Nancy Cripe, outgoing chapter president of IFMA St. Louis, presented the check to Lance LeComb, a board member, who represented Cool Down St. Louis.

IFMA St. Louis also funds the organization’s Heat Up St. Louis, which provides services and support to keep residents warm during the region’s winter months. IFMA St. Louis has supported the weather-related assistance programs for the past four years. More than 300,000 area residents have received energy assistance since the programs’ inception in 2000.

IFMA St. Louis offers its members a learning and networking environment among its diverse membership, and supplies its members with the tools to achieve their professional goals. 

Urban Land Institute Event

in Associations

What do an RFP, a Financial Analyst, and a City  Council member have in common?

Find out how you can be part of the cutting-edge team launching UrbanPlan in St. Louis, starting in the Ferguson-Florissant High Schools this Fall.

Find out more on August 9, 5:30–7:00 pm @  Schlafly Bottleworks

The launch event is free, but please do register.

We’re paying it forward…

UrbanPlan is a classroom-based program in which students learn the process of urban land development.

The program provides high school students with a hands-on experience in developing realistic land use solutions to real estate challenges and provides them with an understanding of how residents can engage in the development their city.

ULI volunteers will work with student teams in the classroom for 1-3 hours per semester.

Learn more about UrbanPlan.

ISO News – New ISO Standard on Video Fire Detectors Will Help Save Lives

in Associations/News

Early detection of fire and smoke are essential to save lives, property and the environment. Modern technology such as video fire detectors, especially in some high-risk places like tunnels, oil and gas environments, public buildings or storage areas, enable a fast response to a potential fire. A new ISO technical specification on video fire detectors helps ensure more efficient and reliable equipment.

According to the Center of Fire Statistics (CFS) of the International Association of Fire and Rescue Services (CTIF), among 31 countries representing 14 % of the world’s population, fire services reported 3.5 million fires, 18.5 thousand civilian fire deaths and 45.0 thousand civilian fire injuries in 2015.

Video detection technology detects, identifies and analyses smoke at the first sign of fire or flame. The equipment’s understanding of the behaviour and movement of smoke enables users, located on site or remotely, to raise the alert and take appropriate action early.

Keith Shinn, Chair of ISO subcommittee ISO/TC 21/SC 3 that developed the standard, says: “In large open compartments, it can remove the delay in smoke travelling to the detector and result in a quicker response by emergency services. It can also permit smoke detection in harsh environments where it may otherwise be impractical.”

ISO/TS 7240-29:2017, Fire detection and alarm systems – Part 29: Video fire detectors, specifies requirements, test methods and performance criteria for video fire detectors (VFD) operating in the visible spectrum, for use in fire detection and alarm systems installed in and around buildings.

Isaac Papier, Convenor of ISO subcommittee ISO/TC 21/SC 3, explains: “Industrial fire detection serves two vital functions. First in preventing loss of the facility, but actually, more importantly, in providing a fast response such that operation is not interrupted resulting in severe revenue loss. Today’s modern automated production facilities comprise of huge investments with revenue flows often exceeding millions of dollars per hour. Any downtime can very quickly amount to huge sums. Further, any shutdown can involve complex and lengthy start-up procedures that further exacerbate the loss. A video fire detector is an excellent tool to effectively monitor a large area in real time.”

Until now, there has been no comprehensive international specification for video fire detectors and ISO/TS 7240-29 provides the first platform for international acceptance of a uniform specification.

Shinn explains: “The community at large should be the greatest beneficiary of the release of this technical specification. It now has the opportunity for enhanced protection of life safety at reduced cost. The closed-circuit television sector (CCTV) is the fastest-growing segment of the security industry and the synergy with life safety cannot be ignored.”

Papier adds: “Considering that many of the facilities where VFDs are to be installed are owned by international conglomerates, an internationally accepted specification is ideal.” He believes the publication of this technical specification should significantly expand the VFD market. “Often, in a large industrial facility, VFDs are the only viable solution. Unfortunately, without the existence of a published International Standard, owners and insurance carriers were hesitant to rely on this solution without a comprehensive International Standard.”

With the new technical specification, facilities owners and their insurance carriers, as well as manufacturers, stand to benefit directly. Papier again: “The new ISO/TS 7240-29 provides owners and insurance carriers with the international consensus metrics for performance of VFDs. The manufacturers will benefit because the existence of the technical specification gives users and specifiers the confidence to include VFDs in their fire protection schemes, creating a market for these products. For manufacturers, the technical specification provides a design specification for building the products.”

A fire detection and alarm system is required to function satisfactorily, not only in the event of a fire, but also during and after exposure to conditions likely to be met in practice, including corrosion, vibration, direct impact, indirect shock and electromagnetic interference. Tests are intended to assess the performance of the video fire detectors under such conditions.

According to Shinn, this technical specification will allow the industry to move forward in an organized way. The ISO subcommittee recognized that a number of questions will still need to be answered and this would be best achieved by gaining practical experience from the industry using the specification, which it is hoped will be converted to a standard in future years.

ISO/TS 7240-29:2017 was prepared by technical committee ISO/TC 21, Equipment for fire protection and fire fighting, subcommittee SC 3, Fire detection and alarm systems, whose secretariat is held by SA, the ISO member for Australia. It is now available from your national ISO member or through the ISO Store.

How does a video fire detection system work?

  • A video fire detection system differs from some point-type detectors in that the detection is performed remotely from the actual fire and therefore does not involve any contact with the products of combustion.
  • The fire detection is based on mathematical algorithm analysis of a video image. The video image from a camera might be processed by software to determine the presence of smoke and/or flame (depending on the capability of the system), which is visible in the image.
  • Video fire detectors consist of three elements: a sensor, an image processor, and a transmission path between the sensor and image processor.
  • The processor incorporates an alarm and fault signalling interface, which connects to a compatible fire detection control and indicates the equipment transmission path.

Read more

Officers, Committee Chairs Announced to Lead IFMA St. Louis

in Associations/News

The St. Louis Chapter of IFMA (International Facility Management Association) announced officers elected to its Board of Directors and members appointed to chair its committees. Their terms run from July 1, 2017, to June 30, 2018.

Elected to the board and their respective companies are:

  • President, Jennifer Johnston, Murphy Co.
  • Vice President, Jacque Mattingly, Monsanto
  • Treasurer, Jeff Touchette, Jarrell Contracting
  • Secretary, Scott Held, Ameren Corp.
  • Immediate Past President, Nancy Cripe, GRS Auction Services

Members who are chairing the organization’s committees are:

  • Membership, Gary Wood, Stryker Construction
  • Marketing, Sean Gallagher, Bolyu
  • Education, Michael Wright, Ameren Corp.
  • Programs, Craig Miller, Webster University
  • Sponsorship, Karl Gnau, Veritiv
  • Advocacy Liaison, James Delgado, Cozad Commercial Real Estate
  • Golf Classic, Michelle Hoff, Vogel Heating & Cooling
  • Sustainability Liaison, Chris Laughman, Federal Reserve Bank
  • Special Events, Kristie Gabel, Elite Cuisine

IFMA St. Louis offers its members a learning and networking environment among its diverse membership, and supplies its members with the tools to achieve their professional goals. Started in 1985, IFMA St. Louis has more than 250 members representing small and Fortune 500 companies throughout the region. For more information, visit


Shown in front row, from left, are: Gary Wood, Jennifer Johnston, Kristie Gabel, Karl Gnau, Nancy Cripe, Jeff Touchette and Sean Gallagher. Back row from left: James Delgado, Chris Laughman, Jacque Mattingly and Scott Held.

Three IBEW/NECA Projects are Finalists in the 2017 AGC Keystone Awards

in Associations/News

The Associated General Contractors (AGC) of Missouri is saluting three IBEW/NECA projects as finalists in its AGC Keystone Awards. This is the 20th anniversary for prestigious construction awards program.  Since 1997, nearly 100 IBEW/NECA projects have been honored as finalists.  The annual awards salute building excellence in a number of categories and represent the highest level of professionalism, craftsmanship and quality in construction by Missouri’s general and specialty contractors.  This year, the IBEW/NECA finalist include two projects from Guarantee Electrical Co. and one from PayneCrest Electric, Inc.

Guarantee is being honored for its work on St. Joseph Hospital West Campus Expansion for SSM Health in Spanish Lake, Mo. and the McKendree Metro Rec Plex for McKendree University in O’Fallon, Ill.

PayneCrest is saluted for its work on the Washington University School of Medicine (WUSM) Mid-Campus Center, a mammoth 12-story, 517,000-square-foot medical building completed on an extremely tight site in the midst of the BJC/Washington University campus renewal project.

The finalists will now compete in several categories to earn AGC Keystone Awards.  Winners will be announced at the AGC’s annual construction gala on Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017 at the Ameristar Spa & Casino in St. Charles.  For more information on the Keystone Awards, visit

Electrical Connection Partners with Saint Louis FC To Support “Shop with a Cop” on July 22, 2017

in Associations/News

“Christmas in July” Game Raises Money to Support St. Francois County and Ferguson, Mo. “Shop with a Cop” 

For the second year in a row, one of the most successful law enforcement community trust-building programs is receiving a big boost from a partnership between the Electrical Connection and Saint Louis FC.   The Electrical Connection is sponsoring Saint Louis FC’s “Christmas in July” fundraiser at its July 22, 2017 soccer game to raise money for the Saint Francois County and Ferguson “Shop with a Cop” programs.

“We’re hoping to build on the momentum of last year’s fundraiser to encourage more people, businesses and civic organizations to support this great law enforcement trust building program,” said Jim Curran, executive vice president, Electrical Connection.  The Electrical Connection is a labor-management partnership of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1 and the St. Louis Chapter, National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA).

Shop with a Cop raises money so law enforcement can take disadvantaged children December holiday shopping for gifts they would not otherwise receive.  The “Christmas in July” fundraiser will celebrate both programs at the Saint Louis FC soccer game against the Louisville City FC at Toyota Stadium in Fenton, Mo.  Pre-game ceremonies will spotlight the history of “Shop with a Cop,” which is celebrating its 25th anniversary in St. Francois County this year.  Fans will receive a limited edition 2017 holiday ornament commemorating the event for a donation.

“Our partnership with the Electrical Connection has allowed Saint Louis FC to expand its outreach through programs like ‘Shop with a Cop’ that bind a community,” said Patrick Barry, president, Saint Louis FC.  “Last December, we attended both ‘Shop with a Cop’ events in St. Francois County and Ferguson and saw law enforcement connect with disadvantage children in extraordinary ways to brighten the holidays.”

The Electrical Connection has supported the St. Francois County program since 1993 donating a total of more than $59,000.  It expanded its “Shop with a Cop” support last year to reenergize the program in Ferguson, Mo., donating $5,000.

            “We greatly appreciate how the Electrical Connection and Saint Louis FC are leveraging their partnership again to support our program,” said Ferguson Police Chief Delrish Moss.  “It was incredible to see the look on the children’s faces as we presented them with gifts for the holidays last year.”

The newly energized Ferguson “Shop with a Cop” program served more than 60 children last year.   Over the past 25 years, the St. Francois County “Shop with a Cop” program has gradually become one of the largest in the nation, serving more than 500 children last year.

“We are grateful that the Electrical Connection through its partnership with Saint Louis FC is going to ensure the success of our 25th year of serving children through ‘Shop with a Cop,’” said St. Francois County Sheriff Dan Bullock.

Members of the Electrical Connection provide safe and reliable electrical construction, maintenance, repair and replacement services across Missouri, the nation and the world.  For more information visit

ASA Midwest Council Elects 2017-18 Officers, Board of Directors

in Associations/News

The American Subcontractors Association (ASA)-Midwest Council recently elected its officers and board of directors for 2017-18.

Mr. Val Perales, Vice President at Bazan Painting Co. was elected as 2017-18-chapter president.  Perales succeeds Ms. Amy Heeger, AME Constructors, and he will serve a one-year term which began July 1 and will expire June 30, 2018.

“I am honored to have been elected to serve as the next President of ASA Midwest Council.” Perales said.  “My goal this year, will be to continue our organization’s 50-year mission of helping our members be more efficient and effective at doing business, through ASA’s focus on education, advocacy, and cooperation within the construction industry.”

Jennifer Church of United Rentals was elected vice-president. Tom Henson, of Affton Fabricating & Welding, Inc. will serve as secretary, and Mark O’Donnell of Schmersahl Treloar & Co. will serve as the association’s treasurer.

Members of the 2017-18 Board of Directors also include: Steve Albart, Enterprise Bank & Trust; Jeffrey Loebner, Gencorp Services; Brian Hayden, Hayden Wrecking; Richard Russell, Sachs Electric Co.; Chris Sauer, TJ Wies Contracting; Sal Vitale, Vee-Jay Cement Contracting.

The American Subcontractors Association (ASA) Midwest Council is a construction trade association made up of quality specialty contractors and suppliers serving the construction industry and the community in the greater St. Louis metropolitan area and southern Illinois. The ASA Midwest Council’s purpose is to improve the construction process through active participation in education, advocacy and cooperation. For more information about the ASA Midwest Council, visit or contact executive director Susan Winkelmann at 314-845-0855. ASA Midwest Council – Building. Community. for 50 years. Est. 1967

Friends of Transportation Award

in Associations/News

The Transportation for Illinois Coalition created the “Friends of Transportation” award to recognize individuals who championed the State’s infrastructure needs in the preceding year. Whether getting groceries, commuting to work, or visiting family and friends, infrastructure is the foundation for our lives, but it is too often overlooked as we go about our days.

The TFIC “Friends of Transportation” are leaders in their communities who have made it a priority to ensure those communities and the infrastructure on which they rely remain vibrant, economicallyhealthy communities.

Photo Above: Steve Ashe, President of SIBA and Donna Richter, Chief Executive Officer of SIBA, were recently presented the “Friends of Transportation” Award.


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