Expansion can be good or bad. While an expanding waistline is bad, anyone would look favorably on expanding business. I thought about this as I read the Concrete Sawing and Drilling Association’s (CSDA) recent survey of its members.

“The results of these latest CSDA surveys show us that there is an upturn in the sawing and drilling market,” said CSDA executive director Patrick O’Brien. “Contractors are finding more work—whether it be traditional concrete cutting or new work created by adding services—and manufacturers are experiencing increased sales while maintaining a new-found optimism about the market.”

Almost half of the contractors surveyed said productivity has increased in the past year. Main reasons for this were a greater emphasis on training and better equipment. The point I found most interesting was that almost 20% of the contractors expanded their range of services to bring in new business. “If your market is going down and you have a certain percentage of it, your business also will go down,” O’Brien told me. “Looking to get into other areas is good business.”

For example, a contractor in the past may have just sawed or drilled the concrete and left for another job. Now, that same contractor also may break up the material and remove it. Also, as more project owners try to capture LEED points, some sawing and drilling contractors have expanded into concrete recycling. Finally, if a subcontractor can perform more jobs, it means a contractor can hire fewer subs. This is something any contractor would favor.

None of the respondents laid off employees; a third increased their labor force by 10% or more. For the rest of 2011, 62% expect to either hire new employees or maintain the same number.

Manufacturers were upbeat, as 43% saw an increase in demand for their products, with an equal percentage reporting demand remaining the same. That means only 14% of manufacturers said demand has decreased.

For more on the association, visit www.csda.org.

Surfaces Pavilion Returning to WOC

The Concrete Surfaces & Decorative Pavilion will return to 2012 World of Concrete in Las Vegas. This outside area is home to contractors and manufacturers who specialize in decorative and polished concrete and concrete repair and coatings. See what people said about this area at the 2011 show at www.worldofconcrete.com/attendee/events.aspx. Online show registration begins in early September.

L.M. Scofield Appointment

Lee Hertz has been appointed director, research and technical services. He brings several years of experience in the coatings and paint industry. He was most recently new products manager with Valspar Corp., Chicago, and also worked for Wacker Silicones Corp., Adrian, Mich., as technical service specialist. Visit www.scofield.com.

OSHA Alliance

The Sealant, Waterproofing & Restoration Institute (SWRI) renewed its alliance with OSHA to reduce workers’ exposure to hazards, such as falls, chemical exposure, and confined spaces. The alliance will focus on advancing safety and health by providing SWRI members and others in the sealant, waterproofing, and restoration industry with information and training. Visit www.swrionline.org.