Associations - Page 2

IFMA St. Louis to Celebrate FM Day, Install Chapter Officers

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The St. Louis Chapter of the International Facility Management Association (IFMA) will install new officers and celebrate National Facility Management Day on Wednesday, June 8.                

Facility Management Day Celebration and Installation of Chapter Officers

Time:                     5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Date:                      Wednesday, June 8

Place:                     The Barn at Brookdale Farms

                              8004 Twin Rivers Road | Eureka, MO 63025

Cost:                      $35 for Members and $35 for One Member Guest; $75 for Non-members

Registration:           Visit http://ifmastl.org/meetinginfo.php

                              (Registration required by June 6.)

Program outline:

Facility managers play a critical role in ensuring a safe, healthy and productive environment for workers and visitors. FM Day underscores the value and contributions of facility managers in St. Louis and around the nation, which is especially true during these challenging times. IFMA officers will be installed for their upcoming terms that run from July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2023. As part of its community service, IFMA St. Louis also will donate $1,000 to Cool Down St. Louis, a nonprofit organization that builds awareness and provides resources to help those in need avoid heat-related illnesses and deaths.

The summer event will include food and drinks, as well as access to the grounds of the picturesque farm.

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 nearly 200 members representing small and Fortune 500 companies throughout the region. Considered a leader among local chapters, IFMA St. Louis holds monthly programs to enhance members’ knowledge and provide networking opportunities. IFMA members also value their membership to build their careers, seek counsel and advice from other facility management professionals, access a variety of resources and achieve professional certification. Represented in 142 chapters and 16 councils worldwide, IFMA members manage more than 78 billion square feet of property and annually purchase more than $526 billion in products and services. For more information, visit www.ifma.org.

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Construction Costs, Bid Prices Soar in April; Starts Jump, ConstructConnect and Dodge Report

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Construction input costs rose faster than bid prices year-over-year (y/y) again in April, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data posted on May 12. The producer price index (PPI) for material and service inputs to new nonresidential construction increased 0.8% for the month and 20.9% y/y. The PPI for new nonresidential building construction—a measure of the price that contractors say they would bid to build a fixed set of buildings—increased 4.1% for the month and 19.9% y/y. April was the 19th-straight month in which the cost index rose more than the bid-price index on a year-over-year basis but the 1-percentage-point gap was the smallest since November 2020. Prices rose faster than bid prices for a wide range of inputs in the cost index: diesel fuel, up 4.7% for the month and 86% y/y; aluminum mill shapes, 6.2% and 45%, respectively; architectural coatings, 9.8% and 32%; plastic construction products, 1.2% and 30%; truck transportation of freight, 4.4% and 27%; steel mill products, 2.4% and 25%; and asphalt and tar roofing and siding products, 0.9% and 21%. Bid prices, as measured by PPIs for new buildings, rose 4.7% for the month and 32% y/y for new warehouse construction; 4.7% and 23%, respectively, for industrial buildings; 2.7% and 20% for offices; 5.4% and 18% for health care buildings; and 4.1% and 16% for school buildings. PPI increases for new, repair, and maintenance work by subcontractors amounted to 3.0% for the month and 22% y/y for concrete contractors; 2.6% and 18%, respectively, for roofing; 4.4% and 16% for plumbing; and 1.2% and 12% for electrical contractors. AGC posted tables and a graph of construction PPIs.

The value of construction starts in April soared 45% y/y in current dollars (i.e., not inflation-adjusted) and increased 11% year-to-date for the first four months of 2022 compared to January-April 2021, not seasonally adjusted, data firm ConstructConnect reported. Nonresidential building starts rose 10% year-to-date, with commercial starts down 7.6%, institutional starts down 1.6%, and industrial (manufacturing) starts up 142%. Engineering (civil) starts leaped 22% year-to-date, with road/highway up 35%, water/sewage up 19%, power and other miscellaneous down 19%, bridges up 38%, dams/marine up 21%, and airports up 56%. Residential starts rose 7.0% year-to-date, with single-family up 9.1% and apartments up 2.0%. The biggest start “was Tellurian’s Driftwood LNG production and exporting facility south of Lake Charles in Louisiana. The construction component, separate from equipment, has been estimated by ConstructConnect at $10 billion.”

Total construction starts rose 3% from March to April in current dollars at a seasonally adjusted annual rate and 6% year-to-date, data firm Dodge Construction Network reported on Monday. Nonresidential building starts climbed 6% for the month and 19% year-to-date. Nonbuilding starts fell 4% for the month and 2% year-to-date. Residential increased 4% from March and 3% year-to-date. “The construction sector is seemingly shrugging off the fear of higher interest rates and a potential recession,” said Chief Economist Richard Branch. “Many building sectors have made the turn from weakness to recovery as underlying economic growth and hiring are solid. With the pipeline of projects in planning continuing to expand, this trend should continue in the months to come. However, the concern that the Federal Reserve will force the U.S. into recession later this year may thwart the momentum in construction starts. While recession is not our baseline forecast, it cannot be fully discounted.”

Housing starts (units) in April dipped 0.2% at a seasonally adjusted annual rate from the downwardly revised March rate but increased 15% y/y and 10% year-to-date, the Census Bureau reported on Wednesday. Single-family starts slumped 7.3% for the month but rose 3.7% y/y and 4.1% year-to-date. Multifamily (five or more units) starts jumped 17% for the month, 42% y/y and 27% year-to-date. Residential permits declined 3.2% from March but rose 3.1% y/y and 2.2% year-to-date. Single-family permits slid 4.6% for the month, 3.6% y/y, and 2.2% year-to-date. Multifamily permits slipped 0.6% from March to April but climbed 16% y/y and 12% year-to-date. The number of authorized multifamily units that have not started—an indicator of potential near-term starts—soared 29% y/y. Census posted that various series have been revised as far back as 2016.

The Architecture Billings Index (ABI), which the American Institute of Architects calls “a leading economic indicator that leads nonresidential construction activity by approximately 9-12 months,” registered a score of 56.5 in April–the 15th consecutive reading above 50, the institute reported on Wednesday. The ABI is derived from the share of responding architecture firms that report a gain in billings over the previous month less the share reporting a decline in billings, presented on a 0-to-100 scale. Any score above 50 means that firms with increased billings outnumbered firms with decreased billings. Scores by practice specialty (based on three-month moving averages) all rose from March and topped 50: 51.8 for firms with a predominantly institutional practice (up from 50.4 in March); 57.2 for residential (up from 56.3); 60.7 for commercial/industrial (up from 55.3, and a record high, in a series that began in 1995); and 61.2 for mixed-practice firms (a 17-year high, up from 58.1 in March). “While business conditions at architecture firms have been very encouraging over the past year, project activity has been steadily shifting toward work on existing buildings,” said Chief Economist Kermit Baker. “Billings for reconstruction projects exceeded those for new construction for the first time in the last two decades. While the reconstruction share of building activity will continue to ebb and flow, in general, we’ll continue to move toward an increased share of building activity for reconstruction and a decreased share for new construction.”

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Maritime Industry Begins Preparations for Future Launch of Container-On-Vessel Service to the Midwest

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New value-added service to the supply chain will offer shippers transit at a lower cost

The collaborative effort to launch the first of its kind patented Container-on-Vessel (COV) service to the Midwest continues to make great progress, with several key milestones being reached in recent weeks. Work is already getting underway to prepare for the safe debut of the patented vessels, which will operate on a new, all-water, north-south trade lane connecting the St. Louis region to the lower Mississippi River and on to worldwide destinations.

“Our vision is to offer a new-value added service to the supply chain, which will provide optionality at a lower cost for the shippers,” said Sal Litrico, Chief Executive Officer of American Patriot Container Transport LLC (APCT). He said optionality is needed more than ever, given the recent transportation and logistical issues that have created major challenges for shippers with no real end in sight, coupled with exponential growth projections in containerized cargo.

Litrico said there are three key legs of the new COV service. The first is the new regional Gateway Terminal located on the Gulf Coast in Plaquemines Parish, which will provide full intermodal service at the widest and deepest part of the river with no operational constraints. The second is the strategically located Midwest partner ports, which like the Gateway Terminal will be state of the art and incorporate automation and a green footprint. The third leg is the patented, state-of-the-art, purpose-built vessel which will come in two classes – the liner vessel that will move containers on the Mississippi River and smaller, hybrid vessels that will operate in the tributary rivers. Litrico said, the vessels have significant competitive advantages, which include critical mass volume and speed.

One of the milestones recently reached is the letting of bids for construction of four new vessels, with an option for four more. These will be built in U.S. shipyards, per the Jones Act Requirement, a federal statute, and Litrico said they are continuing to work closely with interested shipyards to achieve a mutual beneficial result within the next 30 to 45 days.

Another milestone is the signing of long-term cargo commitments for Phase One of the operations, which is the service between the Gateway Terminal and Memphis, which is expected to be the first Midwest hub port to come on line. That service will include four dedicated vessels capable of making the round trip in 6.2 days. The Gateway Terminal has secured initial rail funding, and APM Terminals, which is part of Maersk, has agreed to operate the terminal. Looking at Phase Two of the initiative, Litrico said they are working with key beneficial cargo owners (BCOs) and shippers to secure cargo commitments, which will be for an additional four vessels and subsequent Midwest ports, to be determined by the shippers later this year. The operational startup date is projected to be the second half of 2024.

Hawtex Development Corporation is playing a key role in the development of the container terminals on the inland waterway systems, helping to identify suitable locations where the inland vessels could come into port and where they would develop an actual inland intermodal container yard. Memphis and the St. Louis area are two sites they have targeted. Hawtex President James Hurley said they are now under development at both sites, with potential ports also being considered for Joliet, Illinois and Fort Smith, Arkansas. Feeder ports in Jefferson City and Kansas City would also be part of the system. Focusing on the site in Herculaneum, Missouri, just south of St. Louis, Missouri, he said they have a development agreement with Fred Weber/Riverview Commerce Park, which has the current operations, and are in discussions with a second property owner to bring them into the project.

“The coordination between these two companies has been very impressive from my standpoint, as a developer,” Hurley said. “We’re very comfortable moving forward with how we’re integrating both properties into this single development for the container terminal itself and the supporting area around it.”

The new inland container terminal facility in Herculaneum would be built on approximately 75 acres, and there is an additional 125-plus acres for further development of an industrial park behind the terminal, leveraging the close proximity to Interstate 55 and the existing rail connection. Hurley said they are completing 10% design drawings by Vickermon & Associates, a port and intermodal design firm from Virginia, and hope to put out a contract for construction in a few months with the goal of having the operations available at Herculaneum by the Fall 2024.

“In the U.S., this mode of transportation has not really been trusted because in the past, it normally been done by barge here.  We’re actually creating river vessels that are strategically built for the purpose of utilizing the Mississippi River to its absolutely fullest and also the tributaries,” said Denson White. “We’re going to be able to move inland at a very efficient pace. In Europe that’s exactly the same thing. The build of the ships are made to where they can move via the river system, always get underneath and through the bridges and move at a faster pace than a barge would.” White is Director of Customer Engagement at APM Terminals, which operates 76 port terminals worldwide, including several in Europe where river vessels are a common method of transportation to get product inland.

With the debut of the new vessels on the inland waterways drawing closer, APCT is working closely with Captain John Arenstam, USCG (retired), Assistant Director for Seamen’s Church Institute’s Center for Maritime Education (SCI). Arenstam is the project manager for SCI regarding the partnership with APCT, and has four different areas of emphasis: vessel modeling, port feasibility studies, navigation, and officer assessments and navigation training.

“The mariners that will be navigating the ship will actually have a hydrodynamic model to practice on and learn how the ship handles before departing the shipyard,” Arenstam said. He said the prep work will take place in the shipyard, using four world class Kongsberg Maritime interconnected simulators along with the feasibility studies. This will enable them to have the COV along with other models of existing inland towboats operating in the area of the proposed ports to test how they will be able to interact.

Daniel Every, Lieutenant Commander with the U.S. Coast Guard and Prevention Department Head, Sector Upper Mississippi River, is also playing an important role in ensuring the safe launch for this new service.

“Our primary goal is to ensure that the Marine transportation system and Marine transportation system users are prepared for this new service through both education outreach and collaboration with all of our port partners and stakeholders up and down the river system,” Every said. “We want to work closely with both the vessel and facility owners and the operators to ensure that it’s a safe and effective business from the start, and that everyone is postured to support this major development, while also providing equity in the waterway use amongst all waterway users.”

Every said he believes the COV is one of the most significant innovations in the maritime industry in a very long time, likening it to the expansion of the private space travel industry in Florida.

“With the fairly recent expansion of the Panama Canal and the unprecedented deepening projects on the east coast and along the Gulf coast ports, the ability to efficiently and cost-effectively move containerized cargo along the river hinges on the ability to move containerized cargo at speeds that meet customer’s needs while offering the shipper economy of scale. So, a purpose built vessel of the proposed design is an exceptionally novel idea. It fills an existing logistics gap in that area by providing economy of scale and speed that both cargo owners and logisticians want to see. So, I expect that demand will be there,” said Every.

White agreed, and said part of success will stem from the recent supply chain disruption which has forced BCOs to revisit their existing ways of doing things. “CEOs that have never been a part of supply chain that might have only thought about sales and manufacturing are now stepping in and trying to understand more of how can they can more efficiently move their cargo, and here’s our opportunity to really make some headway in providing more solutions, more opportunities for people to choose from.”

“Our new transportation alternative for containerized cargo is necessary and strategic, adding optionality to the supply chain and shippers and provides choices, potential savings, and the opportunity to enhance or expand the shipper’s profile or distribution model,” Litrico said. “Also, a greener footprint has tremendous value and will achieve shippers long term objectives.”

Mary Lamie, Executive Vice President of Multi Modal Enterprises for Bi-State Development and head of the St. Louis Regional Freightway, said “If there’s one key takeaway, I think it has to be the depth of the collaboration in place to bring this new service online — collaboration with various partners to build out the individual ports, collaboration between the folks who will provide this service, the Coast Guard, and the Seamen’s Church Institute to ensure the highest level of safety are adhered to to actually launch these services. And, ultimately, the collaboration between the different port facilities along this new trade route and with the shippers who will benefit from the innovative new offering.”

Lamie moderated the COV discussion which focused on the progress being made for the launch of service as part of the first day of FreightWeekSTL 2022. FreightWeekSTL 2022 continues online through May 27 and will feature panel sessions with other industry experts and leaders in freight, logistics and transportation. The week-long event is presented by the St. Louis Regional Freightway and Bi-State Development in conjunction with The Waterways Journal. To learn more and register for the remaining sessions or view past sessions for FreightWeekSTL 2022, visit www.freightweekstl.com.

The St. Louis Regional Freightway is a Bi-State Development enterprise formed to create a regional freight district and comprehensive authority for freight operations and opportunities within eight counties in Illinois and Missouri, which comprise the St. Louis metropolitan area. Public sector and private industry businesses are collaborating with the St. Louis Regional Freightway to establish the bi-state region as one of the premier multimodal freight hubs and distribution centers in the United States through marketing, public advocacy, and freight and infrastructure development. To learn more, visit thefreightway.com.

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AGC of Missouri Awards $64,000 in Scholarships

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The Associated General Contractors of Missouri (AGCMO) has awarded $64,000 in scholarships to 30 students from across the Midwest. These awards mark the largest amount in the association’s history, topping the record-breaking $62,000 awarded in 2021. Since 2018, AGCMO has supported a total of $282,000 in scholarships.

“Labor shortages are a huge challenge in our industry,” said Leonard Toenjes, CAE, president of the AGC of Missouri. “Scholarships are offered to students pursuing advanced studies in construction, engineering, architecture, science, technology and apprenticeships in the construction trades. In the past five years we’ve doubled the number of university student chapters we support and also have opened new training sites on university campuses throughout the state.

Students receiving $3,500 scholarships, supported by AGCMO’s Young Executives Club (YEC) and Construction Leadership Council (CLC) include:

Will Ghan, Marionville, MO (65705), Aaron Loehr Memorial YEC Scholarship, Missouri State University, construction management

Kyle Wesolowski, Alton, IL (62002), Oliver J. Coulson Memorial CLC Scholarship, Southern Illinois University- Edwardsville, construction management

Individuals awarded $2,500 scholarships, also supported by YEC and CLC, include:

Cody Wieberg, Tuscumbia, MO (65082), AGCMO Education Foundation YEC Award Scholarship, State Technical College of Missouri

Ty Clemens, Liberty, MO (64068), AGCMO Education Foundation CLCC Award Scholarship, Dordt University, Sioux Center, IA, civil engineering or construction management

Students awarded $2,000 scholarships, supported by the AGCMO Education Foundation, include:

Lindsay Allen, Lake Ozark, MO (65049), State Technical College of Missouri, design drafting

Richard Boyer, Swansea, IL (62226), Missouri State University, construction management

Phillip Brucks.  Macon, MO (63552), University of Missouri-Columbia,
Dawson Compas
, Cape Girardeau, MO (63701),Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, civil engineering

Philip Crawford, Jefferson City, MO (65101),State Technical College of Missouri, electrical technology

William Denny, Columbia, IL (62236),Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, civil engineering

Tanner Hermanson, Kansas City, MO (64153); Missouri State University, construction management

Ryan Highfill, Ozark, MO (65721),Missouri University of Science & Technology, civil engineering and engineering management

Brenden Kempker, Eugene, MO (65032), State Technical; College of Missouri, heavy equipment

Jillian Kirchner, Troy, MO (63379), Drury University, architecture

Craig LaBrue, Cambridge, KS (67023),Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, KS, construction management

Gage Levell, Oak Grove, MO (64075), University of Missouri-Columbia, civil engineering

Bethany Lotterer, Pittsburg, KS (66762), Pittsburg State University, construction management

Isaac Medlin, Keytesville, MO (65261), Grand River Technical School, Chillicothe, MO

Brady Murr, Macon, MO (63552), Moberly Area Community College, civil engineering

Blake Murr, Macon, MO (63552), University of Missouri-Columbia, civil engineering

Hunter Myers, Springfield, MO (65803), Missouri State University, construction management

Hayden Pugh, Independence, MO (64055) Culver-Stockton, Canton, MO, business/construction management

Heriberto Real, Dodge City, KS (67801), Pittsburg State University, construction management

Austin Redhage, Beaufort, MO (63013), State Technical College of Missouri, associate’s degree, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning

Jack Sullentrup, Washington, MO (63090), Missouri State University, construction management

Trey Townsend, Waynesville, MO (65583), State Technical College of Missouri, welding and manufacturing

Max Wilson, O’Fallon, MO (63368), University of Arkansas, civil engineering

Brent Wischmann, Jackson, MO (63755), American Welding Academy, welding

Students awarded $2,000 Scott Wilson Scholarships are

Abdu Ibrahim, Rolla, MO (65401), Missouri University of Science & Technology, engineering management

Kayla Ursery, St. Louis, MO (63136), Missouri Western State University, construction engineering technology

“Our newest workforce initiative is BuildMyFuture®, a series of interactive, full-day expo’s around the state for high school students,” added Toenjes. “In April we participated in BuildMyFuture events in Springfield and St. Charles. This fall AGCMO is sponsoring BuildMyFuture ’hands-on’ events in Macon (Sept. 21), Sikeston (Oct. 5) and Jefferson City (Oct. 18). Thousands of high school students across the state are being introduced to our industry and experiencing what it’s like to actually be on a job site. The dedication of time and resources put forth by our members represents a major investment by our contractors, and it also serves to help fill the void left when former vocational programs were eliminated from the curriculum. The student response has been absolutely outstanding.” (See student reactions/testimonials here: 2022 Build My Future – YouTube.

The Associated General Contractors of Missouri (AGCMO) represents the united voice of the construction industry throughout the state of Missouri. AGC of Missouri represents nearly 550 commercial, industrial, highway, transportation, and utility infrastructure contractors, industry partners and related firms in 110 counties across the state of Missouri. AGCMO operates offices in St. Louis, Jefferson City and Springfield. Visit: www.agcmo.org

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Home Builders Association Donates $20,000 to Promise Community Homes

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On behalf of the Home Builders Charitable Foundation (HBCF), 2022 HBA President Jeremy Roth (Elite Development Services/McBride Homes) (left) and HBA Executive Vice President Celeste Rueter (right) presented a $20,000 donation to Promise Community Homes’ executive director Erin Eberhard and director of operations Lisa Dickerson.

The donation will be used to replace roofs at three of the organization’s houses that are homes to adults with intellectual/developmental disabilities. Promise Community Homes (formerly Rainbow Village) supports the foundational needs of people with intellectual/developmental disabilities by providing safe, affordable and well-maintained neighborhood homes. Every home is carefully designed for the comfort, safety and unique needs of each individual resident.

The HBA is a local trade association of more than 600 member firms representing the residential construction industry. The Home Builders Charitable Foundation, the HBA’s charitable arm, is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing housing assistance to people or organizations with special shelter needs.

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CREW-St. Louis Annual Networking Awards Will Honor Industry Leaders

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CREW-St. Louis will honor the achievements of industry leaders at its 17th Annual Networking Awards Event on May 11 at Olive + Oak in Webster Groves.

Each year, CREW (Commercial Real Estate Women) recognizes a group of women who have advanced the commercial real estate industry through their leadership, accomplishments, and service to the St. Louis region. The 2022 awardees will be announced on April 21.

CREW launched the networking awards in 2006 with the goals of influencing the success of the industry, showcasing the power of networking, and demonstrating the organization’s support to the community.

In 2015, they added the Woman of Influence Award to recognize a local professional who, through her leadership and vision, has made a positive impact on the industry. Previous recipients include Carolyn Kindle Betz of St. Louis City SC in 2021 and Maxine Clark, founder and former CEO of Build-a-Bear and current CEO of the Clark-Fox Foundation, in 2020.

“We look forward to shining a light on the women in St. Louis who are shaping the built environment,” said Stacey Kamps, CREW Board of Directors president and CEO/President of Koch Development Co. “These women honor our industry every day with their hard work, their vision, and their commitment to their communities. It’s only fitting that we honor them.”

 In addition to the Woman of Influence Award, the organization will present the New Member of the Year Award, CREW Impact Award, Career Advancement for Women Award, Economic Impact Award, and Leadership in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion within the industry.

This year’s event will be held May 11 from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. at Olive + Oak, 216 Lockwood, 63119. The registration deadline is April 27. Visit crewstl.org for full details.

CREW-St. Louis advances, educates, and supports women to influence the commercial real estate industry. CREW-St. Louis furthers its mission through leadership, excellence, influence, community, and advancement. With more than 200 members from nearly every discipline in commercial real estate, CREW-St. Louis stands as one of the largest of CREW Network’s more than 75 chapters across the globe.

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Electrical Connection Supports the 2022 St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway

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The 13th St. Jude Dream Home® in St. Louis is taking shape at the Streets of Caledonia in O’Fallon, Mo. and once again the IBEW/NECA Electrical Connection is donating resources to build it.  The home’s construction and sale will benefit children served by the renowned St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital®.  The Electrical Connection is a partnership of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1 and the St. Louis Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association.  It is donating all electrical services to build the 2,457-square-foot, two-story home which carries an estimated value of $565,000. The home is being built by Fischer Homes.  NECA contractor Grasser Electric and IBEWare performing the electrical work.

In June of this year, tickets will be available to purchase for a chance to win the home.  A total of 16,000 tickets will be offered to win the home for $100 each.  Last year, tickets to win the home sold out in 10 days.  For more information visit www.stjude.org/give/dream-home/st-louis.html.

Located at intersection of Dalriada Blvd & Long Haven Drive at the Streets of Caledonia, the groundbreaking for this year’s St. Jude Dream Home was held on Feb. 10, 2022.  The Grasser Electric/IBEW team began roughing in electrical on April 2, 2022. Each year, the IBEW/NECA Electrical Connection partnership pays the wages of the workforce for the St. Jude Dream Home. “But at the end of the day, our workforce agreed to donate their time and skills on Saturday to advance this worthy cause,” noted Chris Clermont, business representative, IBEW Local 1. 

The home features a morning room adjacent to the kitchen, flexible space for a living room, dining room or study, a first floor owner’s suite, a two-story family room,  three bedrooms, two and a half baths and a two-car garage.

“The purpose of the home is truly special,” said Frank Jacobs, IBEW business manager.  “St. Jude’s critical research and treatment of childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases inspires and compels our IBEW/NECA partnership to help with this worthy cause.”

The home is built with the generosity and support of sponsors, trade partners, and the local community. Every dollar raised goes straight to St. Jude for funding research and providing care. 

“The ultimate winner of the St. Jude Dream Home will appreciate the reliable electrical installations built to code that is the hallmark of all our residential projects,” noted Kyle McKenna, executive vice president, St. Louis NECA.

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. It is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children. Treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20 percent to 80 percent since the hospital opened more than 50 years ago. St. Jude is working to drive the overall survival rate for childhood cancer to 90 percent, and we won’t stop until no child dies from cancer. St. Jude freely shares the discoveries it makes, and every child saved at St. Jude means doctors and scientists worldwide can use that knowledge to save thousands more children. Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food – because all a family should worry about is helping their child live. Join the St. Jude mission by visiting stjude.org, liking St. Jude on Facebook (facebook.com/stjude) and following us on Twitter (@stjude).

The Electrical Connection IBEW/NECA partnership more than 5,000 highly skilled and safe IBEW electricians and the more than 150 NECA electrical contractors who employ them.  For more than 75 years, the partnership has trained more electricians/communication technicians than any education program in Missouri. Its award-winning work provides safe and reliable electrical construction, maintenance, repair and replacement services across Missouri, the nation and the world. Learn more at www.electricalconnection.org.

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Employment Stalls but New Low for April Jobless Rate, Record Openings Imply Demand Remains Strong

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Employment Stalls but New Low for April Jobless Rate, Record Openings Imply Demand Remains Strong

Construction employment, seasonally adjusted, totaled 7,628,000 in April, a decrease of 2,000 from March but a gain of 235,000 (3.2%) year-over-year (y/y) from April 2021, according to AGC’s analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data posted on Friday. Residential construction employment, comprising residential building and specialty trade contractors, rose by 3,800 in April and 113,200 (3.7%) y/y. Nonresidential construction employment—at building, specialty trades, and heavy and civil engineering construction firms—dipped by 2,000 for the month but climbed by 122,200 (2.8%) y/y. The number of unemployed jobseekers with construction experience dropped 40% y/y to 464,000, and the industry’s unemployment rate, not seasonally adjusted, declined from 7.7% in April 2021 to 4.6% last month, the lowest April rate in the 23-year history of the series.

There were 415,000 job openings in construction, not seasonally adjusted, at the end of March, a jump of 69,000 (20%) from March 2021, BLS reported on Tuesday in its latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) release. That was the largest total for any month in the 22-year history of the series. Hires decreased by 34,000 (8%) y/y to 388,000. Openings exceeded hires for the fourth month in a row, a formerly rare occurrence. Layoffs and discharges fell by 35,000 (-29%) y/y to 87,000, the fewest in series history. Quits soared by 64,000 (38%) y/y to 232,000, a new high for March. Together, the record-low layoffs and unemployment rate and the record high for job openings, rather than a slump in demand, may account for the flattening of hiring and total employment.

Construction spending (not adjusted for inflation) totaled $1.73 trillion in March at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, up 0.1% from the upwardly revised February total and up 12% y/y, the Census Bureau reported on May 2. However, without a deflator, it is impossible to say how much of the gain is in units vs. price. Many nonresidential construction categories declined for the month but topped year-ago levels, while residential segments mostly posted both monthly and y/y gains. Private nonresidential construction spending skidded 1.2% for the month but climbed 8.5% y/y. The largest private nonresidential segment—power—slipped 1.2% for the month and 0.3% y/y (including electric power, down 2.3% for the month and 1.8% y/y, and oil and gas field structures and pipelines, up 2.4% in March and 5.0% y/y); followed by commercial, down 1.9% for the month but up 14% y/y (including warehouse, -0.9% and 19%, respectively, and retail, -3.6% and 14%); manufacturing, down 1.6% in March but up 32% y/y (including chemical and pharmaceutical, -3.2% and -5.9%, respectively, and computer/electronic/electrical, -0.5% and 237%); and office, 0% and 4.9%. Public construction spending decreased 0.3% for the month but rose 1.7% y/y. The largest public segment, highway and street construction, lost 0.4% for the month but climbed 7.5% y/y. Public education construction declined 0.8% and 6.2%, respectively. Public transportation construction fell 0.5% and 1.2%. Private residential construction spending increased 1.0% for the month and 18% y/y. Single-family spending climbed 1.3% and 19%, respectively; owner-occupied improvements jumped 1.1% and 22%; and multifamily declined 0.5% in March but rose 3.9% y/y.

Three new private surveys suggest demand for projects remains strong. The Dodge Momentum Index rose 6% in April from a downwardly revised March reading and 17% y/y, Dodge Construction Network reported on Friday. The index “is a monthly measure of the initial report for nonresidential building projects in planning, which have been shown to lead construction spending for nonresidential buildings by a full year. In April, the commercial component of the Momentum Index rose 9%” and 15% y/y, “while the institutional component moved 2% higher” for the month and 22% y/y.

“Economic activity in the services sector grew in April for the 23rd month in a row,” the Institute for Supply Management reported on Wednesday. Construction is listed first among 17 out of 18 services sectors that reported growth in April, first among 10 that reported increases in employment, and is among 18 that reported paying higher prices for materials and services, 16 that reported slower supplier deliveries, and 13 that reported an increase in orders. But construction respondents did not report a change in order backlogs, unlike 11 that reported an increase (and one that reported a decrease). Items reported up in price that are significant for construction included aluminum products (5 months in a row); copper (2 months); diesel fuel (17 months); freight (12 months); heating, ventilation, and air conditioning equipment; polyvinyl chloride (PVC) products (8 months); and steel products (16 months). Items listed in short supply included appliances (2 months), construction labor, and PVC products.

“Demand for apartments continues to exceed supply,” National Multifamily Housing Council Chief Economist Mark Obrinsky stated in a release NMHC issued on May 2, covering its latest quarterly survey. “Yet, even as rent growth and occupancy remain elevated, developers are struggling to build more housing due to the increasing cost of materials, a lack of available labor, continued obstructionism from NIMBYs, and, because of rising interest rates, an increasing cost of capital.”

There are mixed signs about future input prices. “Worries that new economic lockdowns will erode demand from [China, due to the pandemic’s resurgence] have dragged aluminum and tin down more than 17% from their recent records,” the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday. Copper “has lost 12% since its March record.” In contrast, the national retail average price of highway diesel fuel jumped to a record $5.51 per gallon on May 2, up 35 cents in a week and $2.37 (75%) y/y, the Energy Information Administration reported. Readers are invited to submit reports on materials costs and supply to ken.simonson@agc.org.

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St. Clair County Transit District Awards Construction Contract

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After a competitive bidding process, St. Clair County Transit District (SCCTD) today announced Belleville-based Hank’s Excavating & Landscaping, Inc. was awarded a $767,952 construction contract for Phase I of the Old Collinsville Road Trail. This approximately ¾ mile-long trail project will connect Richland Creek Bikeway in Swansea to Lebanon Avenue in Belleville, as well as to the Old Collinsville Road Bike Trail Phase II project currently under construction from Lake Lorraine Drive to Munie Road in Swansea. This latest phase will further extend the reach of the MetroBikeLink System, which features 14 continuous miles of trails in Southwestern Illinois and links users to six Metro Transit Centers.

Phase I of the Old Collinsville Road Trail will feature a separate 10-foot-wide, shared-use, asphalt path within the Old Collinsville Road right of way; a pedestrian bridge over Richland Creek; and traffic signal modifications for safe crossing at Lebanon Avenue. It also will link Belleville’s existing sidewalk system along Old Collinsville Road and West Boulevard, providing pedestrian accommodations from Belleville East High School and approximately 2,000 homes nearby.  The project is underway and is expected to be complete later this fall.

“This project is one of several in the works designed to further connect our county’s growing trail system,” said Ken Sharkey, managing director for St. Clair County Transit District.

The first section of the MetroBikeLink System opened in 2002 and was comprised of a four-mile trail, extending from Southwestern Illinois College to the Swansea MetroLink Station. Since then, the system has expanded to include the Memorial, Fairview Heights and Shiloh Scott sections for a total of 14 miles of trail adjacent to the MetroLink light rail tracks. Additional trails have been built by SCCTD to connect to this main artery, including SCCTD Orchard Loop Trail Phases I and II, the Engelmann Park Connector and the Old Collinsville Road Trail (currently under construction) totaling another eight miles of SCCTD connected trails. These accessible pathways, along with the connecting trails from other municipalities, will combine to provide over 35 miles of connected trails in St. Clair County.

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AGC Posts New Construction Impact Model

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Wages Rise but Lag Other Sectors; Price Hikes Continue

Submitted by the AGC

AGC posted an updated version of its Construction Impact Model, created for AGC by Brian Lewandowski, University of Colorado, Boulder, a leading regional economist. The model projects the direct, indirect, and induced impact on U.S. or state-specific employment, labor income, and output (sales), as well as 10 sectors with the largest increase in sales. Users can specify project amount, starting date, duration, and more than a dozen types of investment in construction, maintenance and repair, and architectural and engineering services. Users may contact ken.simonson@agc.org or macrina.wilkins@agc.org for assistance.

Wages and salaries in the construction industry rose 0.7%, seasonally adjusted, in the first quarter (Q1) of 2022 and 3.6% year-over-year (y/y), up from 3.0% a year earlier, BLS reported today. Wages for the total private sector increased 1.3% in Q1 and 5.0% y/y, matching the Q4 2020-to-Q4 2021 increase as the most in the 21-year history of the series and up from 3.0% a year ago. Total compensation (wages, salaries, and benefits, including required employer payments) in construction rose 0.8% in Q1 and 3.4% y/y, up from 2.7% a year earlier. Total private industry compensation increased 1.4% in Q1 and 4.8% y/y, up from 2.8% the year before. The steeper increases in sectors other than construction may be one reason contractors are having trouble filling jobs.

“Engineering and construction costs reached a new [Engineering and Construction Cost] index high” in April, data firm IHS Markit and the Procurement Executive Group reported on Wednesday. The index measures the share of respondents reporting price increases minus the share reporting decreases. “Shipping costs rose for the 20th consecutive month…The sub-indexes for [structural steel and carbon steel pipe] prices surpassed the previous peaks set in March,” while the sub-index for alloy steel pipe remained at peak, with nearly all respondents reporting price increases. “According to survey responses, labor costs continued to rise in all regions.”

A $40 per ton rebar price increase “was pushed through on April 14 by one major mill in our region with all other mills following over the next two days,” New South Construction News reported on Wednesday. “The surprising aspect of this increase is that the…increase only impacts stock 20’ length rebar. With little to no competition from import rebar, domestic mills were able to push this increase through with little pushback. Demand for all lengths of rebar continues to soar, and mills are already selling out on future months’ rollings. Lead times are stretching out to four or five weeks depending on each mill’s rolling schedule. Poly sheeting saw a 4% increase in mid-April.” In contrast, “Wire mesh remained flat through April with no change in pricing since the mid-March increase.” A Wisconsin-based wall products supplier notified customers on April 8 of price increases effective on May 2 of “up to 30%” on gypsum wallboard products and mineral wool, up to 20% on all joint treatment and plaster, up to 10% on batt insulation and foam, and 6% on steel studs and trim. Readers are invited to send price and supply chain information to ken.simonson@agc.org.

Inflation-adjusted gross domestic product (real GDP) fell 1.4% at a seasonally adjusted annual rate in Q1 2022, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) reported on Thursday, following a 6.9% gain in Q4 2021. The decline reflected an increase in imports, a decrease in exports and government spending, and a drawdown of inventories, not a pullback in consumer or business spending. Real residential investment in permanent-site structures jumped 12% (single-family structures, 14%; multifamily, 1.1%). There was a 0.9% dip in real gross private domestic investment in nonresidential structures (commercial and health care, -16%; manufacturing, 12%; power and communication, -1.6%; and other non-mining structures, 2.8%; but investment in wells and mining structures jumped 25%). Real government gross investment in structures declined 14%, including federal investment for defense structures, up 0.7%; nondefense structures, 11%; and state and local structures investment, -15%. The GDP price index increased 8.0%, with price indexes for nonresidential structures investment up 19%; residential investment, 18%; and government investment in structures, 14%.

At the end of Q1, “the total U.S. [hotel] construction pipeline stands at 5,090 projects/606,302 rooms…, up 2% by projects, but down 3% by rooms” y/y, lodging data provider Lodging Econometrics reported on Monday. “There are 961 projects/128,784 rooms currently under construction, down 27% by projects and 28% by rooms y/y. Projects scheduled to start in the next 12 months, at 1,911 projects/223,030 rooms, are up 2% by projects and 3% by rooms y/y. Projects and rooms in early planning reached a record high in the first quarter, standing at 2,218 projects/254,488 rooms, up 24% by projects and 12% by rooms y/y. Notably, the upscale and upper-midscale chain scales dominate the pipeline in Q1 with 63% of projects in the total pipeline concentrated in these two chain scales. This has been the case for several years. Also of note is that there are a total of 1,420 projects/184,692 rooms in the renovation or conversion pipeline in the U.S. during [Q1, with project] and room conversions reaching an all-time high and increasing 59% by projects and 48% by rooms y/y. New projects and development planning that was previously on hold are now getting the green light from investors and developers with buoyed confidence thanks to rather robust domestic leisure travel during the first part of the year.” On Tuesday, the firm reported, “Dallas leads all U.S. markets in the number of pipeline projects,” followed by Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York, and Phoenix. New York has the greatest number of projects already under construction.

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