LUMBERYARDS

Ply Gem Windows to add 200 jobs

BY Brae Canlen

Ply Gem Windows will expand its facility in Rocky Mount, Va., adding 200 jobs and upgrading new extrusion tooling, equipment, products and information technology. The Cary, N.C.-based manufacturer of residential and light commercial window and patio doors expects to complete these capital investments at its Rocky Mount plant by the end of 2014.

New hires will include such jobs as unit assemblers, coordinators, value stream leaders, process owners, process engineers, technicians and IT support.

“We are focused on enhancing Ply Gem’s product offering and customer experience to support planned growth from the housing market recovery, as well as improved market share from new customers and products,” said Lynn Morstad, president, Ply Gem Windows.

The investment was made possible, in part, by grants from the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission, Franklin County and the Town of Rocky Mount. The company also is receiving assistance from the Virginia Jobs Investment Program through the Virginia Department of Business Assistance.

The current manufacturing facility was established in 1939 and acquired by Ply Gem in 2004. Over the years, the plant has manufactured such products as storm windows, aluminum windows, and window and door frames.

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ProBuild withdrawing from some Eastern markets

BY Brae Canlen

ProBuild Holdings, the nation’s largest pro dealer, has decided to close down some of its newly built facilities in the Pittsburgh area, as well as operations in Hagerstown, Md. 

An HCN confirmation of an internal memo by ProBuild CEO Rob Marchbank last week showed that the Denver-based pro dealer has revisited its decision to operate three brand new LBM facilities in the Pittsburgh region. 

An attempt to reach ProBuild for comment or explanation received no response.

In January 2012, ProBuild opened a new location in Altoona, Pa., approximately 100 miles east of Pittsburgh. The 65,000-sq.-ft. Altoona facility included a kitchen, bath and millwork showroom, as well as a full assortment of building materials. ProBuild Altoona also offered installation services. 

Last year, ProBuild opened two other locations near Pittsburgh, which is the home turf of rival pro dealer 84 Lumber: White Oak, Pa., and Morgantown, W.Va. 

ProBuild will close operations in Pittsburgh, affecting the Altoona and White Oak, Pa., locations, as well as Morgantown, W.Va., and Hagerstown, Md.; in last week’s announcement, Marchbank said the Winchester, Va., and Frederick, Md., locations will handle the redirected Hagerstown business. 

"The strategy of opening a greenfield location in a competitive market with challenging economic conditions is not an effective approach to market growth," Marchbank wrote in the memo.

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EPA delays lead paint rule for commercial buildings

BY Brae Canlen

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has delayed its plans to expand the Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule to commercial buildings until 2015, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reported. The existing rule that governs any single-family housing continues to apply, including multi-family residential units that are part of mixed-use construction, or any commercial space where a child under the age of six resides or “regularly” visits, such as day care centers.

The EPA had entered into a voluntary — and controversial — legal settlement with environmental groups that will significantly expand the residential lead paint rule to commercial buildings. The final element of the legal settlement required EPA to accelerate the development of the commercial buildings rule, and the agency agreed to introduce one by September 2012.

However, as NAHB and other trade groups repeatedly pointed out to EPA and members of Congress charged with EPA oversight, the agency failed to perform prerequisite studies on the potential lead dust exposures to adults — not children — during renovation activities in pre-1978 commercial buildings.

Under federal law, the EPA is required to perform these studies prior to proposing a commercial building rule. To date, the EPA has not conducted the required study.

Because lead-based paint can still be used in commercial and industrial buildings, the commercial rule would apply to every commercial building in the country regardless of when built.

In addition, EPA has yet to approve a test kit for the presence of lead-based paint that meets the accuracy standard it said it would require when the residential rule was implemented in 2010.

The residential rule has created a competitive disadvantage for professional remodelers bidding against fly-by-night contractors, and lack of consumer awareness only fuels this disparity. Many professional remodelers are being outbid because their prices include compliance with the rule while their competitors do not.

NAHB continues to voice its concerns that this same inequity may transfer to the commercial market. The EPA’s three-year delay in developing the lead paint rule for commercial buildings is in part a recognition by the agency that it has not conducted the required analysis to move forward in the near term, the NAHB states.

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