NAHB sees few bright spots in residential construction stats
After housing starts showed modest month-to-month improvement yesterday, rising in May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 560,000, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) expressed concerned over the pace of economic growth.
"While the upward movement registered in today’s report is somewhat good news, housing production continues to bounce along the bottom near historic lows, and is only running at a level necessary to replace dilapidated or destroyed units," said Bob Nielsen, chairman of the NAHB and a home builder from Reno, Nev.
Single-family housing starts rose 3.7% to a rate of 419,000 units in May — their strongest pace since this January. Multi-family starts rose 2.9% to a 141,000-unit rate in May.
"Like consumers, builders remain very concerned about the pace of economic growth and are awaiting signs of improvement before moving forward with new projects," noted NAHB chief economist David Crowe. "The relative bright spot in new-home construction is on the multi-family side, where improving demand for rental apartments is spurring gains in that sector. However, access to construction credit remains a limiting factor for new building."
Alabama mill slapped with $2 million fine
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has announced $1,939,000 in proposed penalties for Phenix Lumber Co., a sawmill in Phenix City, Ala., for safety violations that include exposing employees to amputation and fall hazards.
Prior to the June 14 citations, Phenix Lumber had been cited 77 times by OSHA for serious safety and health violations since 2007, according to the OSHA announcement.
OSHA began an inspection on Dec. 15, 2010, in response to a complaint that employees working in the planer mill were exposed to amputation hazards, while maintaining, cleaning and clearing jams on pieces of machinery that did not have their energy sources locked out to prevent their unexpected startup. Two months later, OSHA received a second complaint that an employee had suffered a partial finger amputation while clearing a piece of machinery that had not been locked out. At the opening of an inspection following the second complaint, the compliance officer learned of another employee who had just suffered a severe hand injury while working on unguarded machinery.
Phenix Lumber had been cited numerous times during the past four years for allowing employees to work on unguarded machinery while it was operating, OSHA said in its announcement. Copies of the citations can be viewed by clicking here and here.
Phenix Lumber and principal John Dudley have 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
New Jersey-based Kuiken Brothers opens ninth yard
Fair Lawn, N.J.-based Kuiken Brothers opened its ninth location, in Succasunna, N.J.
The new retail site features a 12-acre, state-of-the-art, drive-through lumber and building materials facility that will serve builders, remodelers and homeowners.
“Since its founding, Kuiken Brothers has been strategically expanding its New Jersey market, which now includes Succasunna,” said Douglas Kuiken, Kuiken Brothers’ president. “We’re delivering on our promise to be the leading supplier of lumber, millwork and building materials in the markets we serve.”
The Succasunna location features thousands of residential and commercial building materials; an on-site window and door showroom; a kitchen selection center; an on-site window assembly shop; rail siding, which provides direct mill shipments; and a Benjamin Moore Paint Selection center. In addition, Kuiken Brothers offers continuing education seminars, has on-site kitchen designers, free product literature and samples, and veteran building and sales associates to help answer construction or do-it-yourself questions.
Kuiken Brothers now operates yards in eight New Jersey locations — Fair Lawn, Emerson, Midland Park, Ogdensburg, Wantage, Garfield, Succasunna and Roseland. It also has a yard in Warwick, N.Y.