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Bad drywall from China? Posted by on

Health and building officials in Florida are looking into the possibility that drywall made in China and installed in US homes could be dangerous to residents' health. It is also alleged that it does damage to wiring.

The complaints seem to be coming from homes built or renovated around 2005 and 2006 in Florida, though it could be more widespread. There is no information available at this time pertaining to the name of the brand names of drywall involved, where it was sold in the country or by what suppliers.

(CNN) -- Officials are looking into claims that Chinese-made drywall installed in some Florida homes is emitting smelly, corrosive gases and ruining household systems such as air conditioners, the Consumer Product Safety Commission says.
Gas emitted from defective drywall corrodes copper wiring, turning it black, some Florida homeowners say.

Gas emitted from defective drywall corrodes copper wiring, turning it black, some Florida homeowners say.

The Florida Health Department, which is investigating whether the drywall poses any health risks, said it has received more than 140 homeowner complaints. And class-action lawsuits allege defective drywall has caused problems in at least three states -- Florida, Louisiana and Alabama -- while some attorneys involved claim such drywall may have been used in tens of thousands of U.S. homes.

Homeowners' lawsuits contend the drywall has caused them to suffer health problems such as headaches and sore throats and face huge repair expenses.

The drywall is alleged to have high levels of sulfur and, according to homeowners' complaints, the sulfur-based gases smell of rotten eggs and corrode piping and wiring, causing electronics and appliances to fail.

Wood Structures is no more Posted by on

Wood Structures, Inc. the Saco, Maine based yard that sold raw lumber and manufactured trusses and other materials for lumber yards throughout New England, has closed and will be liquidated through Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceedings.

Wood Structures has been struggling for some time as the housing sector steadily declined. The company, more than 40 years old has had multiple owners, according to news reports. The current owner was listed as Roark Capital Group of Atlanta, GA. The final 50 or so employees, who were members of Carpenters Local 1996, were laid off on Monday.

Employees who belong to Local 1996 of the New England Regional Council of Carpenters will be owed a week's pay for every year of service, said Bob Burleigh, the union's industrial representative. Severance and vacation pay will be among the issues the union will seek for workers during bankruptcy proceedings.

Union workers earned wages ranging from approximately $15 to $25 an hour and received benefits, including health care, a retirement plan and paid vacation.

"They were very good jobs," Burleigh said.

In addition to being a well known name to lumber yards and contractors in the region, Wood Structures was a familiar site to any New Englanders travelling to Maine. Its property sat right alongside Route 95, with its yard and materials in full site of passersby.

You'd hardly know from the news Posted by on

Another independent poll shows Americans would like it to be easier for unions to organize workers.

A new Gallup Poll finds just over half of Americans, 53%, favoring a new law that would make it easier for labor unions to organize workers; 39% oppose it. This is a key issue at stake with the Employee Free Choice Act now being considered in Congress.

Not all that surprising considering consistent annual findings by the Gallup folks that Americans support unions.
Previous Gallup polling has shown that Americans are fundamentally sympathetic to labor unions, and these underlying attitudes are no doubt reflected in their general support for legislation characterized as making it easier for workers to unionize. For example, Gallup's annual polling on workplace issues, conducted each August, has found consistently high approval of labor unions in recent years, including a 59% approval rating last summer. The current level of support for a new law facilitating more union membership -- 53% in favor -- is only slightly less favorable to unions.

Glimmer? Maybe a very slight, distant one Posted by on

Interesting run of news in the industry lately.

Yesterday, news broke that new home construction was up.

WASHINGTON (AP) ?? The number of new housing projects that builders broke ground on in February rose sharply, defying economists' forecasts for yet another drop in activity.

The Commerce Department reported Tuesday that construction of new homes and apartments jumped 22.2 percent from January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 583,000 units. Economists were expecting construction to drop to a pace of around 450,000 units.

February's pickup was led by a big increase in apartment construction.

By region, all parts of the country reported an increase in overall housing construction, except for the West, which led the housing boom and has been hard hit by the bust.

Some economists said the new housing figures offered a glimmer of hope.
But on a local level, all the news is clearly not good. Today, the Globe reports that LNR is apparently further delaying construction on a massive project in South Weymouth, MA.
An executive briefed on plans by LNR Property Corp., the project's developer, said the firm does not expect to close on the $43 million purchase by a March 31 deadline. That means construction of the long-anticipated SouthField development, a cluster of villages set to include businesses and homes, will remain on hold.

Carpenters Arrive on Site Posted by on

The first crew of Union Carpenters arrived on site this week, working for H. Carr & Sons.

Carpenter Steward Desmond Roach, Local 33 and Foreman Andy Guay, Local 67, installed safety railings around the perimeter of the building.

Steward Desmond Roach.

On the first floor, a temporary office/meeting space is being built. Here carpenter Bruce McDonald, Local 218, is working on the metal stud framework.