News Category: Industry News

RailFX Launches Contractor Rebate Program

RailFX has launched ProFX, a nationwide rebate program available to all licensed contractors purchasing RailFX Aluminum Systems now through December 15. The cash back rebate is good for first-time submitting a rebate request to RailFX, not a first-time user. The three-tiered program offers a scalable rebate on a minimum purchase of $1,000—a 10% rebate for the first time submitting and 5% for the second and third submitted rebates. Rebates must be approved in order to move through each tier. To be eligible for a cash rebate, contractors must fill out a standard registration form on the ProFX page including uploading an invoice and three digital images of the completed project. Rebates will be issued via a check based on the verifiable information.

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Short-Term Pain Seen for Remodeling

Owner expenditures for home renovations and repairs are expected to decline at least through the first quarter of next year due to fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA) released on April 20 by the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. “While there is still considerable uncertainty surrounding the near- and longer-term impacts of the pandemic, the best available evidence suggests substantial downturns in key remodeling indicators of new home construction, home sales, and values of existing homes over the coming quarters,” says Chris Herbert, Managing Director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies. “Homeowners who are concerned about losses of income, home equity, and other forms of wealth are anxious about making large investments in improving their homes in this economic environment.” Pre-pandemic, the LIRA pointed to a healthy rebound in home remodeling spending with annual growth of 3.9% by the first quarter of 2021, but the latest data incorporating both actual and forecasted impacts of the economic shutdown point to spending declines this year with further worsening into 2021. With the unprecedented changes to the US economy since mid-March, the Remodeling Futures Program is providing a downside range for the home remodeling outlook, which incorporates forecasts for several core model inputs—retail sales of building materials, home prices, and GDP. Quarterly spending for improvements and repairs to the owner-occupied housing stock is projected to turn negative by the third quarter, according to Abbe Will, associate project director in the Remodeling Futures Program at the Center. “Annual expenditures are expected to fall to $322 billion by early next year with potential for even more severe declines to follow,” she said. “Beyond the start of next year, remodeling activity that would typically result from expanding homebuilding, sales of

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Fortress Enhances Preferred Pro Program

Consistent with its customer-first values, Fortress Building Products, Garland, Tx., recently unveiled its revitalized Fortress Preferred Program. The Fortress Preferred Program will give U.S. and Canadian building professionals helpful resources for their business through lead generation, along with the ability to confidently promote and install Fortress best-in-class products. “A member of the Fortress Preferred Program is a respected professional that demonstrates unmatched knowledge of Fortress Building Products through both promotion and installation,” said Toby Bostwick, Vice President of Product & Brand. “Fortress Preferred members will be offered a quality customer experience through every step of the design and building process.” By becoming a Fortress Preferred Program member, customers will also receive instant enrollment in the Fortress Preferred Incentive Rewards Program. Along with this perk, members receive immense benefits such as the ability to access a wide range of marketing tools including, samples, literature, and branded merchandise. Members will also be able to tap into a 5-year Limited Labor coverage on eligible Fortress Building Products and gain an official Fortress Preferred Certificate and Labor Acknowledgment for homeowners. Program enrollment is open to customers based in the United States and Canada. “Professionals that become members of the Fortress Preferred Program will have priority lead referrals and support from our expert team of Fortress Sales and Customer Care Representatives,” Bostwick said.

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Deckorators Takes Certified Pro Program Up a Level

Deckorators has introduced Deckorators Certified Elite, the highest recognition level for its growing deck contractor partnership and rewards program. Elite status is based on volume, quality, growth and partnership by market. Deck builders who achieve Elite status receive all the benefits of Certified Pro program membership, plus: Elevated representation on Deckorators.com. Qualified local sales leads. National and regional marketing partnership opportunities. Eligibility for Certified Pro Spotlight video and social media promotion. Participation in product development collaboration and feedback. The opportunity to attend the annual Pro Summit, an all-inclusive trip for top point-earning members of the Certified Pro program. In addition to establishing an Elite level for the Certified Pro program in 2020, Deckorators has also increased rewards for all Certified Pros across product lines. Certified Pros now earn 3% back in rewards points for all Deckorators purchases logged to their account—an increase of 1-2% over past rewards depending on the product category. Also new for 2020, U.S.-based Certified Pros now have the option to take advantage of discounted leads through the Deckorators HomeAdvisor program.

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MOSO International Acquires Bambeau

Bamboo specialist MOSO International BV has acquired manufacturer Bambeau Becker und Großgarten GmbH. For the time being, the brands and sales structures of both companies remain unchanged. MOSO is Europe’s largest supplier of bamboo products for indoor and outdoor applications in the construction industry and of tailor-made products for the logistics, furniture and automotive industries. The consolidation will enable MOSO International BV and Bambeau to have a stronger presence in markets where bamboo is one of the possible materials. “We have known each other for many years and have always treated each other with great mutual respect, with respect for each other’s achievements and successes,” said René Zaal, founder and CEO of MOSO International BV. The acquisition of Bambeau is an important step for MOSO in expanding its market position. “We see great potential for the future in this acquisition due to the resulting synergies,” explained Michael van Houten, sales manager, Germany, Austria and Switzerland at MOSO. German company Bambeau and the Dutch market leader MOSO complement each other perfectly with regard to the German-speaking area because of their market orientation and their sales and product structures. “For us, there are advantages in particular in the product portfolio, availability and bundling of know-how,” said Stefan Becker, CEO of Bambeau. At an international level, the consolidation of the R&D departments is important. Both companies have their own development and production teams with facilities locally and in China, that carry out valuable research for product development. In the future, the teams will work together to significantly increase the innovation power in the market; the cooperation is important in order to exploit the immense potential of bamboo. MOSO’s goal is and remains to develop and produce bamboo products for international markets. “Therefore, the central demand will be: Where can bamboo best replace classic

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Decking Retailer Drives Innovation Using Auto Industry Technology

Most composite decking manufacturers now offer a capstock line, covering their wood-plastic-composite core with an all-plastic outer layer. Tiva Building Products has gone one better—capping its PVC core with ASA (acrylic-styrene-acrylonitrile), a tough, rigid plastic known for its heat resistance, color retention, and weatherability. The product comes from a deck builder-turned-retailer-now manufacturer. “I started designing and buiding decks in 1986,” said Terry Fangrad, Tiva’s founder and CEO. “As new products evolved and came into the marketplace, we were always carrying samples around. So I thought it would be great to have a place where people could come and see multiple products; hence, I created The Deck Store.” The Deck Store’s lone retail showroom in Ontario, Canada, “grew to eight different locations and eventually, after working with every product on the market, (Terry) decided that he wanted a product that he could really stand behind,” said sales and marketing manager Megan Fangrad. So he decided to make his own. Terry’s wish list was a product that looked beautiful, performed exceptionally well, offered a wide selection of colors, and could be backed by a solid warranty. Tiva’s researchers, explained distributor Steve Rhone, Weston Forest Products, “went looking for a proven technology, something that provided greater durability, fade resistance, and richer colors. They ended up stealing a little bit of technology from the automobile industry, which conquered these problems decades ago. Remember the car dashboards of the 1980s, which used to fade, crack and split? The difference today is the development of ACS plastics.” After years of tinkering and testing, the end result is Tivadek, a PVC decking distinct from all others. It utilizes North American-sourced plastics and resins, extruded and molded in China. And the developments continue. Over the last few months, Tiva has used its proprietary technology to introduce: Charwood, reportedly

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Fiberon Expanding Western PVC Output

Renovations are underway at Fiberon’s Meridian, Id., decking plant to significantly increase capacity in the PVC category. The new equipment is expected to be up and running by the end of first quarter 2020. The facility has already begun hiring new sales and manufacturing personnel to support the expansion. “We’ll be able to better serve our customers in the West Coast region not only by increasing our capacity, but by also increasing our workforce,” said Chris Hayn, VP of sales. The news comes on the heels of OrePac Building Products taking over exclusive distribution for Fiberon in the western half of the U.S.

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Trex Kicks Off Expansion Project

Trex Co. has broken ground on a new decking plant in Frederick County, Va. The new decking plant, situated adjacent to its existing production site, is part of a $200-million multi-year capital investment program that will allow Trex to increase production output for future projected growth. Trex is also in the process of installing additional capacity at its Fernley, Nv., site that began coming online earlier this year. The additional lines are scheduled to come online in the second quarter of 2020 The new Virginia capacity will begin to come online in the first quarter of 2021. “This is a very exciting time for Trex with all signs pointing to continued growth and escalating demand,” said Jim Cline, president and CEO. “Given our strategic focus on delivering best-in-class products and driving increased conversion from the wood decking market, expanding our production capacity and workforce was inevitable. We’ve been planning this for some time and have been eager to break ground and welcome new talent into the Trex family.”

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Tropical After the Storm: South American Hardwood Chosen for Hamptons Rebuild

For nearly 70 years, the charming cottage in Southampton, N.Y., sat 5 feet above sea level, a precarious location come storm season. When Hurricane Irene hit the East Coast in 2011, the house suffered severe damage. But Hurricane Sandy, a year later, finished the job. When the storm finally passed and the water level subsided, what remained would have to be completely rebuilt. Convinced that another superstorm was inevitable, the owners opted to rebuild at 12 feet above sea level using the most resilient construction methods and materials they could find. It would sit on 130 pilings, increasing it up to 14 feet above sea level, with breakaway walls undeath to permit flood waters to pass below. And since their town had recently passed a property tax exemption for LEED-certified homes, they aligned themselves with the Sunset Green Home Project, to create a structure that would also be environmentally friendly in every way. The home itself would be 3,600 sq. ft., with five bedrooms, five full bathrooms, and two half-baths. A 1,000-sq. ft. pool house would feature a great room, two changing rooms, a full bath, and a wet bar. They’d be connected by a 2,500-sq. ft. elevated hardwood deck with outdoor shower and screen porch, all built around a 16-ft.-by-48-ft. pool with bluestone coping. In planning the home’s expansive porches and decks, the Sunset Green Home team wanted to use natural wood decking for its aesthetic appeal and comfort underfoot. But they were equally concerned about the deck’s ability to stand up to the harsh coastal environment where Sunset Green Home is located. “Exotic hardwoods are one of the best alternatives to chemically treated and composite decking, but LEED requires tropical hardwood be Forest Stewardship Council certified—which can be very cost prohibitive,” said project team leader Kim Erle, LEED

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Know When to Say No

In our over four decades as professional builders, we have experienced the best of times and the worst of times. Fortunately, we have managed to survive both. You might wonder why we might say that we have “survived the best of times.” Well, it isn’t really as complex as it might seem. When times are good, demand for our service is high. That means that there are more projects to design and estimate and, based on our closing rate, the opportunity to contract more projects. Surviving the “good times” means making the hard decision—and it IS a hard decision—to contract for only as much work as you can reasonably handle without creating chaos for yourself, your business, your office and field employees, and, most importantly, your client. Remember, you’re not the only one who is busy during a prosperous economy. Other contractors, specialty subcontractors, and material suppliers are busy too. That means that prices will usually skyrocket and product availability will become scarce. When it comes to getting the materials that you need, we suggest that you get used to the word “backorder.” And you may find that your stable of reliable subcontractors isn’t as reliable as they once were. They are likely busier than ever and they may have fallen prey to the “too much work syndrome,” which means that they won’t be as available or that the quality of their work is not up to snuff. There’s more. If you’re used to getting a building permit “over the counter,” don’t be surprised if the next time you visit your local planning/building department they tell you that your permit might be ready in three, six or twelve weeks. No joke. And you may be equally astonished at the increase in planning and permit costs. A brisk construction environment creates

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