NLBMDA seeks congressional aid in lead debate
The National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association has asked Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) to conduct an investigation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule.
The NLBMDA has asked Rep. Issa, the new chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, to also look into several OSHA proposals for consideration by the committee.
According to the NLBMDA, Issa recently sent a letter to 150 companies, trade associations, think tanks and scholars in mid-December asking them to come up with a list of the most onerous existing and proposed federal rules and regulations that are hurting job creation and economic growth. The NLBMDA wrote back to Issa regarding the EPA Lead Rule, which continues to create turmoil in the installed sales business and with many dealers’ customers.
"We thank chairman Issa for reaching out to the business community and providing a platform for us to finally air our concerns and frustration with the burdensome EPA Lead Rule," said NLBMDA chairman Joe Collings, CEO of Ferguson Lumber in Rockville, Ind. "With the home remodeling market serving as a lifeline for many in the industry, the EPA Lead Rule continues to wreak havoc in the marketplace, while new EPA proposals to impose clearance testing requirements under the rule and expand it to commercial construction will only exacerbate the problems."
The NLBMDA, in a separate letter, also asked Issa’s committee to review three OSHA proposals that they say have the potential for negatively impacting dealers without improving workplace safety. The new OSHA proposals include: initial efforts to develop a combustible dust standard for general industry; a proposal that would mandate a standard for employers’ safety and health programs, referred to as an Injury and Illness Prevention Program; and an effort to revise its noise reduction requirements.
Retrofit industry boosts BPI certifications
The number of contracting companies earning Building Performance Institute (BPI) Accredited Contractor status has doubled for the second year in a row, according to the Malta, N.Y.-based BPI.
By the end of 2010, BPI had issued 20,236 certifications nationwide, 10,637 of which were earned in the past year.
The residential energy-efficiency retrofit industry has created strong demand for credential-giving bodies, the Malta, N.Y.-based group announced this week during the International Builders’ Show in Orlando, Fla.
Bricks outperform against moisture, study says
A recent study by the National Association of Home Builders Research Center compared moisture resistance among typical residential exteriors and found brick veneer provided the highest in moisture resistance and dryness.
The study aimed to determine how exterior cladding impacts the moisture content of the wooden components in wall construction. The study showed that brick veneer outperformed the other wall systems tested, including vinyl, fiber cement, manufactured stone and stucco siding, which account for approximately 90% of the cladding systems used today.
"The lab report’s findings on brick’s superior moisture resistance are extremely significant,” noted J. Gregg Borchelt, president and CEO of the Brick Industry Association, which funded the study along with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Products Laboratory and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. “Builders will want to choose brick if they wish to provide their customers the protection of a superior wall system — instead of one that is just ‘good enough.’ ”
According to the BIA, modern construction practices to increase comfort and energy efficiency have resulted in tight walls that are highly insulated and sealed against air filtration. When moisture is not sufficiently controlled, risks increase dramatically for mold growth, wood rot and infestation by insects, reduced efficiency of insulation and corrosion of fasteners. The report attributes the lower moisture content in the wood components to brick’s inherent thermal mass properties, the 1-in. air space in the brick veneer wall and the increased thermal absorption of the test brick’s red color.
Each wall assembly test consisted of interior gypsum board, wood studs with fiberglass insulation between the studs, sheathed with either OSB or plywood and clad with brick veneer, vinyl siding, fiber cement, manufactured stone or stucco and was then subjected to ambient weather conditions over a one-year period. Additionally a portion of water-resistant barrier was compromised and the wall assembly behind it subjected to a daily water injection over a five-day period to evaluate its ability to dry after a leak.
The full report can be viewed at gobrick.com/nahbrcreport.