The Gulf Coast should be rebuilt strong and green with energy-efficient homes, according to a recent Government Accountability Office report. In the same report, it also was found that local construction worker's lack of knowledge regarding effective building methods hinders any progress in this region.

“Disaster Mitigation for Residential Construction,” is an instructional class sponsored by The Home Builder's Institute (HBI) and funded by the Portland Cement Association, the National Association of Home Builders' Concrete Home Building Association, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. It aims to supply Gulf Coast home builders with construction techniques and materials to better protect against natural hazards, such as hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, wildfires, and earthquakes.

The four-hour class will cover proper installation techniques and product options relating to foundation systems, above-grade walls, roofing systems, door and window openings, roof-to-wall connections, and exterior cladding. For more information on the HBI concrete courses, visit

Alphonse E. Engelman, owner and CEO of Engelman Construction Inc. and Bethlehem Precast Inc., passed away July 27, 2007 in Philadelphia. A true industry leader, Engelman was a dedicated advocate for the tilt-up industry and donated time to a number of associations. He was a member and past president of the American Society of Concrete Contractors, fellow of the American Concrete Institute, past president of the Tilt-Up Concrete Association, and member of both the National Precast Concrete Association and the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association. As a graduate of the University of Detroit, he was a professional engineer in both Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Online condolences may be made to

According to a study released by Automatic Data Processing Inc. (ADP) and Macroeconomic Advisers, employment in the construction industry has fallen 156,000 from a peak reached in April 2006. Further declines are predicted to occur through the end of 2008. The ADP National Employment Report notes that the largest percentage declines in employment have occurred in medium- and large-sized construction companies. To view the complete report, go to

Experience from recent earthquakes has shown that correctly designed concrete structures can survive such natural disasters without significant loss of strength. The Portland Cement Association (PCA) recently released its “Seismic Detailing of Concrete Buildings” manual that details the requirements for concrete structures in earthquake-prone areas. Numerous tables and figures illustrate the provisions for components in buildings located in regions of moderate- and high-seismic risk.

A supplemental CD with electronic files prepared by PCA is included to further explain seismic detailing of concrete structures. These files provide reinforcement details for beams, columns, two-way slabs, walls, and foundations that meet the ACI 318 seismic provisions. For more on the publication, visit

Concrete prices have remained flat lined during the months of April and May with only a modest 0.1% gain, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Producer Price Index. In the last 12 months, concrete prices have changed at a considerably slower rate than steel and asphalt increasing 4.5% since May 2006. According to the spring PCA Cement and Construction Forecast, these improvements will increase the national cement intensity (or tons of cement per dollar of construction activity) in 2007. Learn more at

— Compiled by Kate Hamilton. Send your news and events to