October 17, 2005
Economic and Construction Outlook for the Gulf Coast States
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Susan Smith - Managing Editor

by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
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About this Issue….

Welcome to AECWeekly! Design and construction professionals will be interested to note the dour forecast of the AIA as they predict higher prices for building materials such as gypsum and concrete, and a rise in the cost of local lumber and plywood prices as some regional timberlands were destroyed by the hurricane. Read about what's happening in the area of infrastructure and construction in the Gulf Coast region in this week's industry news.

AECWeekly is a news magazine featuring important industry news profiles, a summary of recently published AEC product and company news, customer wins, and coming events. Brought to you by AECCafe.

AECWeekly examines select top news each week, picks out worthwhile reading from around the web, and special interest items you might not find elsewhere. This issue will feature Industry News, Announcements, Awards, New Products, Around the Web and Upcoming Events.

AECWeekly welcomes letters and feedback from readers, so let us know what you think.

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Susan Smith, Managing Editor

Industry News

Economic and Construction Outlook for the Gulf Coast States

By Susan Smith

President George W. Bush signs an autograph for a volunteer on site in Covington, La. Photo by Kim MacDonald.

President George W. Bush signs an autograph for a volunteer on site in Covington, La. Photo by Kim MacDonald.
Design and construction professionals are probably wondering what areas of opportunity might exist in the Gulf Coast region for building and construction after Hurricane Katrina. A report from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) addresses those economics, while the immediate critical need continues to be finding housing for those displaced by the destruction.

The needs of some former residents of the Gulf Coast are so critical that they won't ever be able to go home. Before any massive construction projects take place, the focus is on temporary housing. Bechtel and FEMA teamed up to deliver 5,457 trailers for occupancy, and over 7,700 residents had moved in by last week. About 1,600 people, mostly local suppliers and contractors, are working on the effort. Bechtel was first asked to provide temporary housing by FEMA the day of the hurricane, and by September 8 the first mobile units were installed.

Bechtel has been on the scene for emergency response and restoration work around the world, including rescue and recovery efforts at the World Trade Center after 9/11, building Kosovar refugee camps in Albania, and civil reconstruction work in Iraq.

The firm has set up temporary emergency housing operation centers (TEHOCs) in three southern Mississippi counties -- Hancock, Harrison, and Jackson where more than 14,500 people have registered with FEMA for housing. Bechtel has also established seven fully equipped and staffed FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers in Biloxi, Gulfport, Moss Point, Ocean Springs, Pascagoula, Poplarville, and Waveland. More than 25,000 disaster victims have used those centers to register for FEMA assistance.

Bechtel encourages local contractors and suppliers to register at the
Bechtel Supplier/Contractor Site. There you will find a list of all needed equipment and instructions on how to complete registration in the database. Also for those seeking non-manual employment with Bechtel visit
Bechtel Careers. Those interested in manual employment should call 800-644-7244.

In addition to their hands-on relief efforts, Bechtel and its employees have contributed $1.5 million to the American Red Cross.

Habitat for Humanity is rebuilding a home with the Lindsey family in Slidell, Miss. after their mobile home was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. The walls for the house were built as a part of Make A Difference Today, which is a partnership between Habitat for Humanity, NBC News “Today” show and Warner Music Group. Last week Rockefeller Plaza was renamed “Humanity Plaza” just for the week, while this home was pre-built - walls framed and sheathed, trusses added - to demonstrate to others what Habitat was building as part of Operation Home Delivery for those left homeless by
Hurricane Katrina.

In all, 65 homes were framed last week, 45 in Humanity Plaza, 14 in Jackson, Miss., and six in Burbank, Calif., and transported to the Gulf region where they will be rebuilt as soon as possible.

The home-building effort in Slidell has drawn volunteers from Detroit Habitat for Humanity, from Whirlpool, which provides a range and refrigerator for every Habitat home, Lowe's, and others, including Harry Connick Jr., a New Orleans native and entertainer, and spokesperson for Habitat for Humanity International's Operation Home Delivery, the ministry's hurricane rebuilding program; Maurice Spencer, formerly of the New Orleans Saints and founder of the Spencer Foundation; U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., who represents the district; and U.S. Rep. Bobby Jindal, R-La.


While efforts are obviously underway to provide housing for people in the affected Gulf Coast region as quickly as possible, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) announced in a report this week entitled “
The Economic and Construction Outlook in the Gulf States after Hurricane Katrina,” what they believed were key economic components related to the rebuilding process of the affected regions. Design and construction professionals will be interested to note the dour forecast of the AIA as they predict higher prices for building materials such as gypsum and concrete, and a rise in the cost of local lumber and plywood prices as some regional timberlands were destroyed by the hurricane.

Stated AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA: “What is interesting from a labor perspective is that the increased demand for skilled trades in the gulf region is coinciding with an expected national slowdown in residential construction. That translates to a strong potential for a relocation of labor to the hurricane impacted regions.”

Another important factor is that prices for petroleum-based construction products (roofing products, PVC piping, and asphalt paving) will add to the dramatic increases in transportation costs, making the cost of rebuilding extremely high.

The AIA also anticipates that less than half of the lost housing stock in Louisiana is expected to be rebuilt due to decreased population base. The so-called good news is that the short-term spike in construction materials is not expected to translate into long-term increases.


Bentley Systems, Incorporated announced
BE Conference Europe 2006, being held June 11-15 at the Hilton Prague, Czech Republic. This new learning opportunity for users and their managers in the architectural, engineering, and construction (AEC) community is modeled after the highly successful BE Conference held annually in the United States. The decision to hold two BE Conferences next year was based on high interest from users in Europe and the Middle East for an annual major training event in their geography.

Sage Software (formerly Best Software) announced that its 2005 Sage Summit customer conference sessions, for the

The company will initiate its program participation at Sage Summit, November 2-5, 2005 in San Diego. The event is also Sage Software's inaugural customer conference. For more information about Sage Timberline Office
construction estimating software and other business management products, please view the
website or call 1-800-628-6583.


Last week we ran an excerpt from two press releases which we inadvertently ran together. Our apologies to both companies for this error. The two separate announcements were as follows:

Primavera Systems, Inc., announced the formation of a new public sector group and launch of a public sector-specific project management product suite. Together, Primavera's public sector group and solution offer the federal government a trusted and proven resource for program performance evaluation and management.

“In a time of increasing mandates surrounding program performance and fiscal responsibility, federal agencies require tools that offer increased visibility into, and management of, projects,” said Joel M. Koppelman, CEO of Primavera. “Our public sector solution enables federal agencies to not only develop 'green' Exhibit 300 submissions, but also ensure programs stay aligned with their submitted business plans - executing projects that support mission objectives and increase operating efficiencies.”

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