LUMBERYARDS

Owens Corning unveils collaborative painting

BY Ken Clark

Owens Corning unveiled its “[email protected]” group-project painting, a work of art that was produced by brush strokes from 1,300 different people. 

The painting celebrates the company’s 75th anniversary, and was a work in progress during the 2013 International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas in January. Visitors to the company’s booth contributed to the painting under the watchful eye of an artist. 

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NAHB sees crews going back to work

BY Ken Clark

In the wake of Tuesday’s housing starts report, the National Association of Home Builders said demand for housing is “definitely rising." 

Nationwide housing production edged up 0.8% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 917,000 units in February, according to government data released Tuesday. This slight upward movement represented gains in both the single-family and multi-family sectors, with single-family housing starts reaching their fastest pace since June2008.

“Demand for new homes and apartments is definitely rising as the spring buying season approaches and more young people move out on their own,” said Rick Judson, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Charlotte, N.C. “Builders are responding to this improved demand by putting more crews back to work and pulling more permits for future construction, though this positive activity is being constrained  by continuing issues with appraisals and credit availability for both builders and buyers, and also by newly arising challenges such as lot shortages and increased costs for labor and materials.”

Single-family housing starts eked out a 0.5% gain to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 618,000 units in February, bringing them to their highest level since June 2008, while multi-family starts rose 1.4% to 299,000 units.

“Today’s report indicates that, despite some bumps in the road, overall housing production continues on the solid upward trend that we saw throughout 2012,” noted NAHB chief economist David Crowe. “Moreover, further gains in permit issuance are a positive sign that home construction will continue to drive economic and job growth in the coming months, albeit at a slower pace than would be possible without certain limiting factors.” 

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More with less in home building

BY Ken Clark

A National Public Radio report examines how technology brings efficiency in the home-building industry, specifically Mid-Atlantic Builders, based in Rockville, Md.

The builder is one of many post-recession companies doing more work with fewer employees. Technology allows for increased efficiency, along with fewer employees.

Also emphasized in the report is the modern builder’s reliance on suppliers. For instance, 84 Lumber’s manufacturing capabilities are highlighted in the article, as the builder turns to the dealer for more services.

The broadcast, “Technology Upends Another Industry: Homebuilding,” can be found here.

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How much credit should be given to the co-op business model for the success of the independent hardware and building supply dealer over the last half century?