The Associated Builders and Contractors’ (ABC) Construction Backlog Indicator (CBI) for the fourth quarter of 2014 declined 0.1 months, or 1%. Despite the quarter-over-quarter decline, the backlog ended the year at 8.7 months, which is still 4.4% higher than 2013’s.

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“Inconsistent growth in the volume of public work continues to suppress the pace of nonresidential construction; however, private construction momentum continues to build,” said ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “With hotel occupancy rising, office vacancy falling and demand for data climbing exponentially, a number of key private segments are positioned for rapid growth in construction spending this year. There are a number of factors that are likely to be beneficial to nonresidential contractors in 2015,” Basu said.


Following a nine-month stretch of positive billings, the American Institute of Architects‘ Architecture Billings Index (ABI) showed no increase in design activity in January.

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The January ABI score was 49.9, down from a mark of 52.7 in December.


The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) the U.S. Green Building Council, and the Illuminating Engineering Society are considering the developing biomass requirements for inclusion in their new, co-sponsored green building standard.

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Prior to the current biomass debate, the USGBC had a years-long internal feud over the use of wood as a building material and which organizations could certify wood as “sustainable” for LEED projects.


We at MetalMiner pride ourselves on our extensive international trade coverage both from a content and events perspective. Now we have an opportunity to explore how big metals and mining firms with an international trade presence can streamline their trading processes to create real cost savings. From my own personal trade horror stories (which you […]

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) released the results last week of its first Consensus Construction Forecast of the year. AIA’s survey of the architecture, engineering and construction industries’ leading forecasters predicts that overall spending for non-residential buildings will rise 7.7% in 2015 and 8.2% in 2016. In 2015, the commercial sector is projected to increase 11.8%, industrial to increase 10.5% and institutional to rise 5%.

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AIA Chief economist Kermit Baker said construction spending at the peak of the market in 2008 was exactly $500 billion. The market’s trough was in 2011, when it was $337 billion. He said the AIA estimate (final revised numbers are not yet in) for 2014 is $377 billion.


General contractors will have an easier time learning how to comply with federal and state environmental guidelines thanks to a new partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency and the private sector. The partnership is between the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), EPA and the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences (NCMS) will allow for a significant upgrade to the Construction Industry Compliance Assistance website, or CICA Center for short, association officials noted.

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“Getting a construction project underway is challenging enough without having to figure out which environmental rules apply and how to comply with them,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, CEO of the AGC. “This revamped site will make it a lot easier for contractors to take the necessary steps to comply with all environmental regulations for their projects.”


80% of US construction firms plan to expand their payrolls in 2015, while only 7% expect to reduce headcounts according to a new survey released yesterday by the Associated General Contractors of America.

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“Contractors are extremely optimistic about the outlook for 2015,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, AGC’s CEO. “Indeed, if their predictions prove true, industry employment could expand this year by the most in a decade.”


Usually, Japanese aluminum physical delivery premiums are set before the start of the quarter in which they apply but this year, the premiums have been delayed as buyers and sellers have struggled to find common ground.

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Buyers were said to have set their sights on $390-400/metric ton over the LME price, according to Reuters, but major producers had been pushing for $435-440/mt. Finally most have settled around $425/mt with the tight North American and European markets supporting the producers' position. Although this is the fifth straight quarter of price increases not all of it is going the producers' way.

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With consistent investor-friendly messages being sent out, diversified global mining giant Rio Tinto has turned bullish on India. The investor-friendly noises that the Modi government’s been making in the last few months seem to be the primary reason. In the last few days, Rio Tinto has announced or indicated renewed interests in kickstarting a spate of projects across sectors.

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For starters, Rio said it was firm on investing $2 billion to set up an iron ore project in India’s eastern state of Odisha. Rio already holds 51% of the Odisha iron ore venture, which is expected to yield as much as 20 million tons a year when it starts.


In bearish metal commodity price cycles (many of you must be tracking copper markets) – clever companies seize process efficiencies to boost bottom line results.

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For large mining firms and producers shipping billions of dollars worth of goods around the world, the ability to shave one day or even as much as 7 days can yield an enormous financial benefit. And we all know that by reducing inventory levels, companies can improve their financial performance.