Author Archives: CS Editor

Polyurethanes conference coming in September

Speaker at Business Conference and Presentation.

The Center for the Polyurethanes Industry (CPI) is hosting technical sessions in Dallas this September. Photo © BigStockPhoto/Matej Kastelic

The 2014 Polyurethanes Technical Conference, hosted by the Center for the Polyurethanes Industry (CPI) of the American Chemistry Council (ACC), takes place September 22 to 24 at the Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center in Dallas.

The event features 14 technical sessions, comprising more than 60 presentations by industry professionals and government officials. Technical talks include blowing agents, coating and adhesives, health and safety issues, specifications and performance, and sprayed polyurethanes, explained Lee Salamone, CPI senior director.

“This is North America’s premier gathering for professionals who work in and with the polyurethane industry to share their insights and network with leaders, manufacturers, and end users,” she told The Construction Specifier. “Attendees at the conference, including architects and specifiers, will learn about the latest advancements in polyurethane construction materials and products, as well as have the opportunity to network with polyurethane manufacturers from all over the globe.”

The conference also includes various networking opportunities, award ceremonies, and a tabletop trade show. To register, visit Early-bird rates apply until August 29.

New report: challenges with building taller structures

View On Burj Khalifa, Dubai, Uae, At Night

Supertall buildings pose tall orders when it comes to design, engineering, and construction. The Burj Khalifa (Dubai, United Arab Emirates) stands at approximately 830 m (2725 ft). Photo © BigStockPhoto/Sergii Figurnyi

A new report shows North America has been surpassed by both Asia and the Middle East in terms of ‘supertall’ buildings (i.e. greater than 300 m [984 ft]), and that more than half of the planet’s highest-rising buildings have been built in last four years.

Engineering insurer Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty’s (AGCS’) paper, “Supertall Buildings Risk Bulletin,” examines the ever-accelerating growth of new-generation skyscrapers.

By 2020, the average total height of the tallest 20 buildings in the world is expected to be close to 600 m (2000 ft)—double the height of the Eiffel Tower—thanks to new technologies, materials, and design elements.

North America now accounts for only 16 percent of the world’s tallest buildings, and its highest—the 540-m (1776-ft) One World Trade Center in New York—is believed to be just taller than half the proposed Kingdom Tower in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

South East Asia (48 percent) and the Middle East (30 percent) are home to more than three-quarters of the tallest 100 buildings. China has 30 of the world’s top 100 tallest buildings in 15 cities, while Dubai is home to 20 percent of the tallest 50 buildings.

“The eastward trend is set to stay, driven by rapid economic and demographic growth, urbanization, strong investor appetite for flagship real estate assets, and lower labor costs than in the traditional Western markets,“ explained Ahmet Batmaz, AGCS global head of engineering risk consulting.

The report also looks at challenges with supertall buildings, as the world’s first mile-high towers are approaching. Elevator technology is lagging behind, with cars capable of ‘only’ transporting people about (2000 ft) due to braking and cabling limitations. Other challenges include:
● availability of materials to potentially replace steel and cement;
● safety measures for occupants and surrounding areas;
● damping systems to reduce negative impact from wind or seismic activity;
● solar heat gain with glass façades;
● cranage and lifting items to extreme heights;
● maintaining verticality as the building height increases;
● elastic shortening of constructed building elements as the imposed weight from the completed building increases; and
● fire risk both during construction and occupied phases.


A look at the growth of tall buildings. Image courtesy Allianz


Sealant council hosting sustainability forum


Adhesive and sealant experts are coming together to discuss those products’ implications for sustainable design. Photo © BigStockPhoto/Dmitry Kalinovsky

Next week, the Adhesive and Sealant Council (ASC) is hosting its second Sustainability Forum, featuring 26 speakers and five panels discussing sustainability from all sides of the supply chain.

Held July 22 and 23 at the Hyatt Regency at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore, Maryland, the event will also feature two keynote speakers. David Constable, director of the American Chemical Society’s (ACC’s) Green Chemistry Institute, will have a talk entitled, “Sustainable and Green Chemistry: A Business Imperative,” and Jerry Yudelson, Green Building Initiative (GBI) president, will discuss “Green Rating Systems, Opportunities, and Challenges 2014 and Beyond.”

“ASC’s newly adopted long-range plan makes what we call ‘Community Knowledge Integration’ a priority, and its members have chosen forums like this one as the primary method to share, discuss, and even debate hot topics that impact the entire sector,” explained Matthew E. Croson, the association’s president. “This is exactly what a trade association should be all about—debating trends that impact the entire sector, and working together toward a common future that positions the industry as supportive of sustainability at both the manufacturing and commercial use ends of the supply chain.”

Registration is at

Harmonizing for healthier building materials

Industry groups are partnering to harmonize standards for material ingredient transparency, delving into the chemistry of building products. Photo © BigStockPhoto/Luciano de Polo

Four sustainable construction groups are partnering with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) to further transparency and optimization of building product ingredients.

The Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute (C2C), Healthy Building Network (HBN), Health Product Declaration (HPD) Collaborative, and Clean Production Action (CPA) are collaborating on a Harmonization Task Group, supported by a USGBC grant, that will aim to ensure consistent messaging, simplification, and improved assessments among the groups.

The cross-program platform will allow for various pathways depending on a manufacturer’s goals and readiness, while increasing the rigor of product ingredient information, improving the knowledge of product ingredients, and accelerating product manufacturer participation by simplifying the ability to get started on the material health path.

The Harmonization Task Group builds on the conclusions and recommendations from last year’s USGBC report, “Material Health Evaluation Programs Harmonization Opportunities,” which found substantial overlap in the methodology and best practices used by those in the “material health ecosystem.” The Task Group plans to coordinate efforts by synchronizing the inventory, screening, and hazard assessment protocols to streamline the process for manufacturers.

The HPD, GreenScreen, and Cradle to Cradle Certified Products Program are currently undergoing multi-stakeholder revisions processes, which provide an opportunity for further alignment.

“Harmonizing the various tools available for inventory, screening, and hazard assessment of chemicals will make it easier for manufacturers to engage in the process,” Stacy Glass, C2C’s vice president of the built environment, told The Construction Specifier. “As manufacturers find it easier to engage, the information available for specifiers will improve in quantity and quality.”

“While many manufacturers will start the process with an inventory or disclosure of ingredients such as the HPD, as they pursue screening and full assessments, they will ultimately, work to optimize their products and replace and eliminate chemicals of concern. In this way, specifiers will benefit from having better products to choose from,” she added.

Building Stone Institute announces award-winners


New York City’s 15 Central Park West echoes the grand apartment houses of the 1920s. Its limestone façade was cut from the same quarry that produced stone for the Empire State Building. “It’s a particular honor RAMSA selected Indiana limestone,” said Tom Quigley, CEO of Indiana Limestone Co. “This design choice identifies the building with a rich architectural tradition in New York and around the nation. Needless to say, it also imparts a beauty and permanence all its own.” Photo © Peter Aaron, OTTO

The Building Stone Institute (BSI) has named a dozen outstanding projects at its biennial Tucker Design Awards.

First presented in 1977, the program honours the work of both the building and landscape design communities; they are presented to those projects exhibiting excellence and innovation in concept, construction, and use of natural stone. This year’s winners are:
● Noble and Greenough School’s castle project (Dedham, Massachusetts) by Architerra in association with Towers | Golde;
● Schermerhorn Symphony Center (Nashville, Tennessee) by David M. Schwarz Architects;
● George “Doc” Cavalliere Park (Scottsdale, Arizona) by Floor Associates (JJR | Floor) in association with Weddle Gilmore;
● Bass Library at Yale University (New Haven Connecticut) by HBRA Architects;
● U.S. Federal Building & Courthouse (Tuscaloosa, Alabama) by HBRA Architects;
● Lakewood Cemetery Garden Mausoleum (Minneapolis, Minnesota) by HGA;
● New Country House (Villanova, Pennsylvania) by John Milner Architects;
● Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park (New York City) in honor of Louis I. Kahn, FAIA, with Mitchell | Giurgola Architects;
● Casa de las Lomas (Austin, Texas) by Michael G. Imber Architects;
● Escondido (Horseshoe Bay, Texas) by Michael G. Imber Architects;
● Fifteen Central Park West (New York City) by Robert A.M. Stern Architects (RAMSA); and
● The Barnes Foundation (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects.

For more on the winners, visit BSI’s project gallery.

In conjunction with the Tucker Design Awards, BSI recognized Peter Walker, FASLA, as its 2014 Bybee Prize winner. Given in honor of the late James Daniel Bybee, a respected and long-standing member of the Building Stone Institute, the accolade is awarded to an individual architect or landscape architect for a body of work executed over time.