PCA Expects Slow Start, Better Finish

The on-going correction in residential construction is expected to drag down overall 2007 construction activity, according to a forecast from the Economic Research Department at the Portland Cement Association (PCA). Cement consumption is expected to decline by 1.5% this year.

PCA Chief Economist Ed Sullivan anticipates gradual gains throughout the second half of 2007, but not large enough to offset the first half weaknesses. The increased construction activity that is expected to begin mid-year, however, will carry over to 2008 and contribute to an estimated 3.9% growth in consumption.

Gains in nonresidential and public construction will not be large enough to offset the harsh downward trends in the residential market, according to Sullivan. His 2007 projection reflects a nearly 6 million metric ton decline in residential cement consumption levels, compared to 2006.

Even with an overall decline in consumption, Sullivan sees a 1.5% increase in cement intensity in 2007. (Cement intensity refers to the tons of cement per dollar of construction activity.)

Acme Lays First Brick for New Headquarters

Acme Brick has produced billions of hard-fired clay bricks for the Texas and national market since the company built its current headquarters in 1952. However, none was more special than the ceremonial first brick produced for Acme's new headquarters being built in Fort Worth and laid by President and CEO Dennis Knautz.

Acme's three-story headquarters will total 77,000 sq ft, with an expected completion this fall. The building's exterior will be comprised of several Acme brick blends and native Texas limestone from its Texas Quarries natural stone division. Brick blends from each of Acme's 23 plants and products from all of Acme's affiliated companies are being incorporated into the design.

Natural Stone Council Launches Web Site

The Natural Stone Council (NSC), a collaborative organization representing business and trade associations that promote stone under the Genuine Stone brand, has developed a new Web site: www.GenuineStone.org. The site is a central clearinghouse providing overviews of natural stone products and links to more detailed information, depending on the type of stone and/or project.

The site, developed in partnership with McKee Wallwork Cleveland, reflects the NSC's new branding message, “As Genuine as You,” and offers architects, designers, and builders examples of ways to bring that message to life using genuine stone. “Our primary goal is to create a one-stop shop for people to find the answers and resources they need with regard to stone,” said Sarah Biondi, account manager at McKee Wallwork Cleveland. “The Web site tackles some of the misconceptions and myths currently in the marketplace about natural stone products.”

The site offers a photo library of stone applications and installations, as well as the variety of products available. There is a section devoted to green building, which explains what the NSC is doing to establish stone as an eco-friendly building material.