For the LACN, a new name fitting of an expanded role
It’s official. The Lumber Association of California and Nevada is now the West Coast Lumber & Building Material Association (WCLBMA).
In an announcement letter, the association’s Executive Director Ken Dunham explained the motive for the name change:
“In making the decision for the name change, the board noted that LACN was geographically limiting with the association currently having members in 19 states and several Canadian provinces. It was also noted that economic and political actions throughout the West Coast region have implications for the entire region and will be monitored more extensively.”
The organization also considered it important to include in its name building materials beyond lumber, while maintaining lumber as a central part of the name and emphasis of the group.
The change was approved by the California Secretary of State’s Business Services Division last week. The change was authorized in April by the LACN board after “extensive member input and discussion,” according to Dunham.
Telephone numbers, e-mails, the association’s web site address and physical address remain unchanged.
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Barr Lumber closes West Covina yard
An LBM chain that has been eroding away in California’s Inland Empire is set to close another location, this one in West Covina. At one time Barr Lumber had seven locations in southeastern California, but according to the Sun Gabriel Valley Tribune, stores in San Bernardino and Apple Valley have also closed.
Owner John Shirley purchased the West Covina location in 2008, when it was Pick’s Building Materials. While recognizing that housing starts in Riverside and San Bernardino were plummeting, Shirley remained interested in Pick’s because it served a number of commercial/industrial businesses.
“In this business, you have to take the opportunities that come along to expand,” Shirley told Home Channel News at the time of the purchase. “The long-range opportunities make it worth the risk."
The economic downturn in the Inland Valley continues unabated however. Unemployment in July was 14.3%.
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General contractors getting caught in the squeeze
Too many contractors taking on too much low-bid work just to stay alive may soon result in a market shake-out, according to a report by FMI, a leading provider of management consulting and investment banking to the engineering and construction industry.
FMI’s third-quarter nonresidential construction report index has dropped 5 points, putting it back at second-quarter 2010 levels. On the rise is the number of contractors participating in self-funded projects as a financing partner with owner/developers, the report said.
“Eighty-five percent of our work is being funded through self-funding or in some case, equity investors,” said one construction industry executive who serves as panelists for FMI’s quarterly surveys. The survey found fewer bank loans for construction and more government backed loans and grants.
The rising material and labor costs, combined with lower project management fees and profit margins, are resulting in an upturn in bankruptcies for construction industry firms, the report said. Nearly a third of the panelists surveyed have seen a decline in trade contractors, with more than 10% noting fewer general contractors and design firms.
“There are still too many contractors chasing too little work,” commented one survey participant. “Owners still seem to be selecting the lowest price, driving margins to the lowest level we have ever seen.”
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