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Building a Future for Distributors and Dealers of Building Products

March 2006                                Volume 45,  Issue 2

Builder's Block

Recent News in Homebuilding
Warratied Panels Offered by Structurwood

WARRANTIES

Boise, Idaho-based Weyerhaeuser has introduced its Structurwood Edge Gold® floor panels, which it says deliver the ability to work in wet conditions. As proof, the company now offers a stronger, extended limited warranty of 50 years.

The company’s proprietary wood-resin combination has a proven history of standing up to harsh weather, which is why a 90-day no-sand guarantee is now being offered. Builders can be assured that their crews won’t waste time with edge sanding due to water exposure.

The company says that each panel also is consistently touch-sanded to deliver a more uniform appearance and tighter thickness tolerances to ensure every panel lays flat. Installation is also fast and easy thanks to the tongue and groove for a tapered profile and self-gapping fit.

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MERGERS

Two Leading Home Plan Providers Create Single Source for Home Designs 

Active Interest Media has merged the assets of Garlinghouse Co. LLC with the COOL House Plans Co., a fully-owned subsidiary of Virtual Marketing Concepts LLC (VMC), a provider of home plans on the Internet. According to a news release from VMC, the combined collections of the two companies will exceed 30,000 home and project plans, making it the largest provider of home plans in the United States.

The COOL House Plans and Garlinghouse websites will continue to be run independently under a newly-formed House Plans Division of VMC. 
The VMC House Plans Division will be based in Chantilly, Va., where Garlinghouse currently runs its base of operations. 

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POLITICS

U.S.-Mexican Agreement to Alleviate Cement Shortages

The nation’s homebuilders applauded an agreement-in-principle announced by the United States and Mexico to settle a 16-year dispute on anti-dumping duties on Mexican cement imports, noting that it will lead to free trade in the commodity and help to alleviate shortages reported in more than 30 states.

Under the proposed settlement, which is scheduled to go into effect this spring, the United States will reduce duties on Mexican cement to $3 per ton from $26 per ton, and Mexican imports would be permitted to grow to 3 million metric tons annually, up from last year’s level of approximately 2 million tons. After three years, the quotas and duties would be entirely eliminated.

The accord is structured so that Florida and the Gulf region, areas facing shortages, will be able to increase shipments of Mexican cement significantly. The negotiated framework also provides the flexibility to allow President Bush to direct an additional 200,000 metric tons of cement to areas hit by natural disasters.

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SAFETY

Avoiding Power Tool Accidents

According to safety experts, more than 8 percent of industrial accidents result from the improper usage of power tools. Whether it’s employing the wrong tool for the job, carelessness, or failing to wear protective gear, the consequences are oftentimes tragic.

Virtually all power tool accidents are preventable. Rosemont, Ill.-based McGill, a provider of electrical safety equipment, offers the following checklist for safely using power tools:

1. Use tools only for the specific task they’re designed for, and never operate any tool—power or manual—unless you’re trained to do so;

2. Carefully read the owner’s manual before using a tool;

3. Inspect power tools before each use. If parts are worn or damaged, especially cords that become frayed, replace or repair them. Because vibration can loosen the tool’s parts, its screws, nuts and bolts may need tightening;

4. Keep workshops and storage spaces clean and dry to prevent accidents. Sparks ignite scraps, sawdust and solvents. Water conducts electricity;

5. Prior to plugging or unplugging tools, be sure the power switch is turned to “OFF.” Never disconnect power by pulling on the cord. Instead, remove the plug from the outlet;

6. If working on a ladder or scaffolding, carefully set your power tools on a flat surface or in a bin secured to the ladder itself;

7. Always use a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) when working with power tools;

8. Remove rings, jewelry or loose clothing before operating a power tool; and

9. Wear personal protective equipment, such as face shields, safety goggles and disposable masks.

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