In the News ...
Crown Pacific Receives DIP Loan
Crown Pacific Partners of Portland, Ore., recently announced it and its affiliates have received a final order from the Bankruptcy Court approving a $40 million debtor-in-possession (DIP) loan facility with The CIT Group/Business Credit Inc. The DIP facility had been
previously implemented under an interim order issued on July 2, 2003.
With the DIP facility in place, the partnership should have adequate liquidity to pay its vendors for goods delivered to and services provided to the partnership after the filing of Chapter 11 petitions on behalf of the partnership and its affiliates on June 29, 2003. During the reorganization process, vendors who deliver goods and provide services to the partnership receive priority payment protection under the bankruptcy law for such obligations.
“The DIP facility will help the partnership continue its normal business operations during the reorganization period and help us maintain adequate investments
to meet our customers’ needs,” said Steven E. Dietrich, senior vice president and chief financial officer.
OSHA Has No Plans for New Wood Dust Rule
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Toxicology Program has officially added wood dust to its list of “known human carcinogens.” However, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) regulatory priorities do not include a new wood dust standard.
“There is no specific wood dust regulation for OSHA to change,” said Steven Witt, director of OSHA’s directorate of standards & guidance. “However, wood dust is covered under OSHA’s hazard communication standard. Under this standard, if there is one good toxicological study that indicates an adverse health effect, employees must be informed of the hazards and associated protective measures.
“In terms of the carcinogenicity of wood dust, it has been required to provide information about this to workers for many years since studies have been available which indicate this type of effect. Furthermore, in 1995, the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified wood dusts as a human carcinogen. The NTP listing, therefore, simply confirms the existing determination regarding carcinogenicity for purposes of hazard communication.”
Witt offered advice to woodworking companies regarding the potential health hazards of wood dust.
“Engineering controls and personal protective equipment are two methods used for controlling wood dust exposure. Engineering controls, the preferred approach, typically include an exhaust ventilation system with collectors placed at points where dust is produced. Personal protective equipment is another short-term solution to wood dust exposure. Respirators may be worn to remove hazardous particulates and gases.”
New Ad Campaign Touts Benefits of Plywood
Atlanta-based Georgia-Pacific has unveiled a new advertising campaign designed to show the public that plywood is superior to oriented-strand board (OSB), a plywood substitute made of chipped pulpwood.
The company will use billboards, radio spots and advertisements in trade publications to get its message across, in addition to re-branding its plywood
products under the “Plytanium” moniker.
“We have a big investment in the plywood business,” Chris Beyer, marketing and services director for Georgia-Pacific’s building products division, was quoted as saying in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We need to do a better job at explaining that plywood is the superior product.”
Beyer claims that plywood, although more expensive than OSB, is more durable and versatile. Nevertheless, Georgia-Pacific’s plywood has lost market share to the substitute product.
Stiles Machinery Expands Branch Office
Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Stiles Machinery has announced plans to expand its High Point, N.C., branch office by 21,000 square feet. Planned with cost savings, efficiency and increased customer satisfaction in mind, the $1-million project
will establish a centralized warehouse/distribution center with an overhead crane and heavy-duty racking and shelving. The addition will eventually house an inventory of between $7.5 and $8 million dollars worth of panel-processing equipment.
According to Stiles, the new facility will allow the company to control its local warehouse operations, eliminating machine damage, improving delivery times for standard machinery and reducing transit costs due to the proximity of the office to major ports of entry on the East Coast.
|Peachtree Adds REEB Millwork to Distribution Network
Peachtree Doors & Windows of Gainesville, Ga., has announced the addition of REEB Millwork Corp. to its distribution network. REEB’s Bethleham, Pa., and Syracuse, N.Y., locations will offer Peachtree’s 300, 500 and 700 series windows and patio doors.
“We’re pleased to add REEB Millwork to our distributor network,” said Chris Brown, Peachtree’s national sales manager and brand manager. “The company has a deep background in millwork products and an extensive dealer base that has come to depend on REEB for quality windows and doors.”
PGT Sponsors Fortified Home Project in Florida
PGT Industries of Venice, Fla., has announced that it will sponsor the first fortified home project in Southwest Florida in partnership with the Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) and Arthur Rutenberg Homes/ARBC Corp. of Naples, Fla.
The project home, “The St. Lucia”, will be built in Bonita Springs, Fla., and incorporate PGT® WinGuard® impact-resistant windows and doors.
According to PGT, the fortified home will educate Southwest Florida consumers on the importance of building a home to withstand Florida’s environmental challenges such as high winds, flooding and wildfires.
Hanson Profits Decline
First-half profits for London-based Hanson PLC are down from a year earlier, the company recently reported. The building-materials company, which sources a significant proportion of sales in North America, blamed the weak U.S. dollar and an expected $41.8 million rise in its 2003 pension costs for the profit decline.
In addition, weather and exchange-related declines in North America have hurt the company, although increased trading profit in the U.K. and Australia has partially offset these losses, according to the company.
In addition to sagging profits, Hanson also faces significant exposure to asbestos-related legal action in the U.S. The company expects new asbestos-related claimants during the first half of 2003 to total 21,000. Outstanding claimants have risen to about 120,000 from 81,500 at the end of 2002 when asbestos-related liability, before expected insurance recoveries of $112 million (U.S. dollars), totaled $225 million. After first-half utilization of about $20 million, Hanson expects to record a non-cash charge at the half-year to increase the provision for this liability to about $320 million from $215 million.
|Sunset Moulding Opens New Facility
Sunset Moulding Co. of Live Oak, Calif., has announced the opening of a new facility in Idabel, Okla. According to the company, the Oklahoma division will specialize in the production of Suntrim, which is a premium multi-density fiberboard (MDF) printed moulding.
In related news, Sunset has also completed expansion projects at their California-based divisions. The Live Oak facility has added a new architectural MDF line that will increase production by 25 percent. In addition, the Cottonwood division has added two Weinig moulders to improve production of wider patterns. Finally, the Chico facility has added a second paint line to accommodate the increased demand for primed products.
AAMA Expands InstallationMasters™ Program
The American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) of Schaumburg, Ill., has broadened the scope of its InstallationMasters™ program and established a new entity, the InstallationMasters Institute, devoted solely to training and certifying window installers. Governed by its own board, this new institute is completely separate from AAMA.
By offering instructor accreditation to those outside the window-manufacturing sphere, AAMA has increased the availability of InstallationMasters classes throughout the nation. Window installation companies, manufacturers of related building components, educators, consultants and other qualifying parties who have been accredited to teach the program may now conduct training classes.
“Until the InstallationMasters program was thoroughly tested and refined, we had limited accredited instructors to only manufacturers of fenestration products, who used it to train their customers’ window installers,” said Larry Livermore, AAMA’s installation program manager. “Our first goals were to develop an effective training program and launch it within a manageably sized target audience. With those goals met, the program has been expanded to make it more readily available to builders and subcontractors. In addition, a policy change now allows trainee-level workers to participate in the program, which expands the course’s qualifying criteria for registrants.”
According to Livermore, qualifications remain the same for an experienced installer to become certified as an InstallationMaster. Prior to attending the course, the candidate must have at least 12 months of field experience working as an installer, apprentice or helper involved in physically installing windows. Upon completing the course and passing the written exam, the candidate becomes certified.
A trainee-level installer—a registrant having less than 12 months field experience—who completes the course successfully is awarded an InstallationMaster trainee card. After a year of working in the field and successfully passing the exam, the cardholder becomes certified as an InstallationMaster.
InstallationMasters is a nationwide training and certification program for installers of residential and light commercial windows and patio doors, developed by AAMA. The association promotes the program as being designed to teach installers the best practices and installation techniques for both new construction and replacement applications. The program covers numerous topics, ranging from the proper selection and use of installation materials to final cleaning and product maintenance.
Finyl Vinyl Opens East Coast Mfg. Facility
Huntington Beach, Calif.-based Finyl Vinyl Building Products Inc. has opened a new East Coast manufacturing facility. The new plant, located in Greensboro, N.C., will ship orders to dealers throughout the Eastern United States.
“Our new East Coast plant will allow us to better serve our customers, offering them shorter lead times and reduced shipping cost,” said Don Barlow, president. “It also enables us to expand our manufacturing capacity to accommodate the next phase of our company’s growth.”
All orders east of the Rocky Mountains will be shipped from the new Greensboro plant, which began operations in mid-May. Orders from the western states will continue to be filled from the company’s Huntington Beach, Calif., facility.
The Greensboro plant, which covers 45,000 square feet, is managed by William Joines.
Bill Roberts Sales Recognized as Sales Rep of the Year
Dallas-based Bill Roberts Sales has been named manufacturer’s sales representative of the year by Texas Wholesale Building Materials, also of Dallas.
The award was presented on July 11, 2003, by Joe Cornett, corporate executive officer of Texas Wholesale, at its annual vendor appreciation dinner. Texas Wholesale personnel and its vendors attended the event.
Southeastern Opens New Plant in Georgia
Southeastern Forest Products of Asheville, Ala., has begun operations at its new lumber-manufacturing complex in Cordele, Ga. Full production of approximately 400 meters per shift should be reached within 60 to 90 days, according to the
company. The facility will manufacture spruce-pine-fir studs and dimension, and spruce-yellow-pine boards and dimension. John Peaslee serves as general manager of the facility and George Savage is handling sales.
Weyerhaeuser Closes Two Oregon Mills
Federal Way, Wash.-based Weyerhaeuser has announced that it will close two mills in Junction City, Ore., and North Bend, Ore. The company attributed the North Bend close to a decrease in demand for packaging (the plant makes the wavy paper that is used in corrugated boxes). The mill closed in July, but due to federal labor laws, its 158 employees will be paid through October 13.
“There simply is not enough market demand for the product,” said James R. Keller, senior vice president for containerboard packaging and recycling.
The plant in Junction City, which produces laminated veneer lumber for the company’s operations in Eugene, Ore., and Stayton, Ore., employs 128 people. The company will close the plant, but will create 90 new jobs in Eugene and Stayton. Weyerhaeuser said it closed the Junction City plant due to continued economic weakness.
APA Adds Phone Number to Label
The Engineered Wood Association (APA) recently announced that APA-rated panel products will now bear the phone number of the APA help desk directly on the trademark stamp. The APA’s help desk number is 253/620-7400.
“We hope that builders at the jobsite will take advantage of our help desk to assure they use correct product installation techniques that reduce callbacks,” said Merritt Kline, APA help desk product specialist.
APA vice president Dennis Hardman agreed.
“The help desk is just a natural extension of our comprehensive education and communications efforts on behalf of the engineered wood industry,” Hardman said. “We just want to make it easy for builders to use our members’ products and install them correctly.”
Crestline Offers New Dealer Support Program
Crestline Windows & Doors of Mosinee, Wis., has announced the introduction of new dealer support tools to help dealers nationwide market Crestline’s full product offering of wood, clad and vinyl windows and patio doors.
“Our local dealers are the key to Crestline’s success,” said Pfeiffer, Crestline brand manager. “Our dealers are extremely knowledgeable in windows and doors, but they need help marketing that expertise and our products. Our new dealer support program helps them with marketing activities that complement the brand’s national program.”
According to the company, the foundation of the dealer support program is an extensive sales and marketing manual that guides dealers through the creation of an effective marketing program.
New Governments Adopt Green Building Standards
More than 30 federal agencies and state and local governments have adopted green-building standards for their building projects, according to the U.S. Green Building Council, which certifies buildings as green under its three-year-old Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program. The council rates and certifies buildings based on a project’s location, building materials, water usage, energy performance, design innovations and indoor environmental quality.
“A number of jurisdictions are realizing this is a prudent tool in protecting taxpayer investment in their facilities,” said Christine Ervin, the U.S. Green Building Council’s chief executive.
Previously, both the public and private sectors had avoided building green, primarily because the cost of developing green buildings was 5 to 10 percent higher than traditional construction costs. But these days, green building is winning over more converts, mostly from public sector. Facing additional financial constraints with leaning budgets, many state and local governments are moving beyond focusing on the upfront costs and considering instead the long-term savings of constructing, operating and occupying green buildings.
“We’ve found that green buildings are very cost effective,” says Greg Kats, a principal at Capital E LLC in Washington, D.C. “Green buildings not only reduced electricity use overall, but they shift away demand from peak times during the day. [Which means] in elsewhere, you can build more commercial buildings without significantly increasing [power] transmission and distribution lines.”
|Home Depot Teams Up with TLC
Atlanta-based Home Depot recently became the new category exclusive sponsor for the popular TLC series, “Trading Spaces.” The company had already been serving as the sponsor of “While You Were Out,” and will continue to do so.
The latest partnership will run from the fourth quarter of 2003 through the third quarter of 2004.
“This partnership is groundbreaking as The Home Depot receives the unique benefit of category exclusive sponsorship for two of the hottest shows on cable, with formats that couldn’t be a better match for their business,” said Joe Abruzzese, president, advertising and sales, for Discovery Networks, which owns TLC. “We’re thrilled at the innovative opportunities to showcase The Home Depot to our viewers.”
Home Depot’s executive vice president John Costello is also excited about the opportunity the partnership will afford his company.
“This extension allows us to hammer home Home Depot’s know-how like never before on cable television,” Costello said. “A program like ‘Trading Spaces’ shows consumers just how easy it is to improve and personalize their home[s].”
Under the terms of the agreement, The Home Depot will provide the budget, products and materials for the design projects on both shows.
Simonton Joins Television Show
Simonton Windows®, based in Parkersburg, W.Va., has become the newest corporate sponsor of the popular television show, “Today’s Homeowner with Danny Lipford.”
The home improvement show is seen nationwide in more than 175 markets on a weekly basis. The focus of the show is remodeling projects with regular segments dedicated to “Best New Products,” “Around the Yard” and “Simple Solutions.”
Danny Lipford, host and producer of show, said he is excited about the partnership.
“Simonton Windows is the ideal partner for our show. [The company] manufactures top-quality replacement vinyl windows and patio doors that are widely available to homeowners involved in remodeling projects,” Lipford said. “Our show has a long history of working with industry leaders and Simonton Windows fits perfectly in this mix.”
As part of the show sponsorship, Simonton Windows will be supplying windows for remolding projects featured on the show.
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