Newsletter May 30, 2003

Firestop Industry Conference Announcement
FCIA Education and Committee Action Conference (ECA) Sponsor Thanks
Insurance Issues
FCIA New Member Drive
McGraw Hill Economic Report

FCIA Firestop Industry Conference - November 12 - 13, 2003 - Orlando, FL - "Disney World is about what's good in America and our world", state Disney visitors from the US and Overseas. FCIA's Firestop Industry Conference heads to the Contemporary Resort, at Walt Disney World for our Fall Conference. Firestop Industry speakers, new and renewal FM DRI Testing among other things will be part of the agenda. (Renewing DRI's, visit FM 4991 Approval for FM CEU forms for filing). Young and older (that means above 21), Disney is an awesome place. Mark your calendars now.

FCIA ECA Sponsorships - FCIA Thanks the sponsors who supported the Education and Committee Action Conference" (ECA). Tremco, Inc. bought lunch Thursday and Specified Technologies, Inc. on Friday; Jim Shriver, Thermafiber brought the Powerpoint Projector, and Mark Schneider, ALBION Engineering, supplied the "T-Shirts" for attendees.

The FCIA ECA Golf Outing was a great success with 12 people on the links at "Stallion Mountain Golf Club", in Las Vegas. Lonnie Rogers & HILTI, Inc. sponsored two golf holes, and donated golf balls. (Many are still on the course to be retrieved!) Dick Lintelmann, Nelson, Inc. and Chad Landry, Tremco Sponsored a golf hole as well. Also, thanks to Charbel Tagher& Specified Technologies, Inc. for a supply of Golf Towels and tees, markers, and divot repair devices.

Firestop Contracting Insurance - The FCIA office received a number of calls from member and non member Firestopping Contractors about insurance rates increasing specifically for Firestopping. FCIA member, Chris Downey, (C.L. Downey Construction, Inc.) reports that in the Carolina's, insurance carriers recommend covering Firestopping work separately from other work, and not as part of another trade's finished product. "A separate policy should be purchased by an electrician, plumber or drywaller doing their own firestopping work in addition to the trade they specialize", according to Chris and his insurer.

Insurance companies see Firestopping as a separate trade, as should General Contractors and owners buying this service. Additionally, if the many "trades" don't have a separate insurance policy for firestopping, they may not be covered if a loss occurs. Typically, these "trade contractors" only purchase general liability insurance for their primary work; plumbing, electrical, drywall. This loss may not be covered because the insurance firm may be unaware of the additional risk associated with insuring a fire and life safety trade. The GC's are responsible for insuring the complete project, and will be "hung out to dry" if not covered for firestopping through the trades, should a loss occur. You can choose to make potential customers aware of this omission by others, as you pay for "firestopping insurance", while other trades may not.

Thanks Chris Downey for the idea that can move firestopping to specialist contractors who provide an important fire and life safety service to our communities. Respond to this Email if you have experiences with this insurance situation so we can build information about it.....

FCIA New Member Drive - FCIA Announces a new "Firestop Contractor Member" drive for 2003. FCIA Logo Sportswear & other prizes will be given to the top 5 FCIA new member "ambassadors" at the Firestop Industry Conference in November.

If you need an "Elevator Pitch" about FCIA, here it is........"FCIA is a group of Firestopping professionals concerned with fire / life and property protection in the construction industry". Members benefit from FCIA by:

  • www.fcia.org - Listing on FCIA's website, visited by over 2000 individual locations per month, is "worth it's weight in gold", according to member Bill Hoos, who recently won a project from a lead generated by a contact who found him on www.fcia.org .
  • Discounts - The MOP ($50), FCIA Conferences ($100) are all cheaper when buying or attending as a member.
  • Code & Architectural Communications - FCIA is building relationships and communication with those who influence our industry's effectiveness in compartmentation and fire / life and property protection. FCIA is involved in NFPA, CSI, SCIP, ICC and other organizations to promote quality installation of firestopping by qualified firms (FCIA Members) with code/fire officials, architects, engineers and specifiers.
  • Relationships - FCIA is the "Hub of the world for Firestopping", and includes a forum for contractors, manufacturers, distributors, code officials, fire marshal's inspectors and architects / specifiers to meet and discuss life safety through firestopping.
  • E-Newsletter - Published 9 times per year, the FCIA E-News is full of information valuable to your firm.
  • Conferences - Educational speakers provide industry leading presentations about topics that make your operations better. And, the ability to meet with other contractors, manufacturers, and associate members of FCIA brings big benefits to your firestopping knowledge.

FCIA is the place to be...... Bring the prospective member to FCIA's website, www.fcia.org while on the phone, or face to face, to promote the benefits of FCIA membership. Once FCIA's industry impact, resources, and dynamics are understood, the value FCIA membership offers more than offsets the financial investment !! We track this by the "Sponsor Name" on the FCIA Membership Form. Make sure your name is listed to receive credit towards rewards.

Dennis Nolan - State of Nevada - Dennis, a speaker at the ECA Conference in Las Vegas appreciated speaking to the FCIA Membership. "I certainly did enjoy the opportunity to speak to the FCIA. It was extremely encouraging to find out there actually are some people trying to do the right thing on purpose!" A couple of people asked for the web site reference to obtain documentation of President Truman's 1947 Fire Prevention Conference quotes. If you need to reach Dennis, E-mail him.

FCIA at the NFPA Show - FCIA Members Rick Stokes, FIREBLOCKERS, Inc. and Don Sabrsula, FIRESAFE of HOUSTON, Inc., attended and worked the Trade Show Booth at the NFPA Show. FCIA is displaying at three shows this year:

  1. The CSI Show- Construction Specifications Institute and International Facilities Management Association (April, 2003, well attended)
  2. NFPA - National Fire Protection Association (May 2003)
  3. ICC - The International Code Council "ICC Show", September 6 & 7, at Opryland, Nashville, TN. Don Murphy, PPMI Firestop, Inc., and The Marketing Committee seeks volunteers for the ICC Show. Respond to this email if you are available

McGraw Hill Construction Outlook - In mid May, the "Construction Outlook" forecast by Bob Murray, McGraw Hill's Construction Economist, was presented in Chicago. Below is "The Construction Economy Scorecard" summary from the presentation by industry segment for planning your strategies:

The Construction industry continues to enjoy a robust environment, overall. Although total Construction value in dollars have leveled off or is down since last year, ($490.3 billion, 2003, vs. $501.4 billion in 2002) construction market activity is high in comparison to years past ($447.2 billion, 1999). Looking forward, the upcoming Tax Cut stimulus will help the economy, but not immediately. Employment and spending are strengthening in 2003, with 2004 looking better according to Bob Murray. Here's a few summary points:

  • Residential - The lowest mortgage interest rates in over 25 years keep this market robust even through some early signs of slowing. Repair market continues be brisk with refinancing keeping the supply of money to buy strong. Concerns are the unemployment rate and consumer confidence levels have a way to go before reaching 2000's numbers.
  • Multi Family - 2003 will bring a slight increase in activity over 2002, with the Northeast and California strong as demand increases due to the "Echo Boom" kids aging into their 20's and looking for apartments/condos. Additionally, downtown "redevelopments" to turn cities into "24/7" places to live and work, has helped this market and retail.
  • Institutional - Although Libraries, Courthouses, Ball Parks, Museums and College/University construction have decreased, Elementary through High Schools continue to expand as kids fill classrooms and referendums for expansion pass...until the 9th grade through 12th grade population peak is past in around 2006. Universities, with equal population demands, had endowments invested in stocks (that declined) limiting the ability to fund construction expansion programs recently.
  • Public Works - There is a near term decline in public works projects like sewage treatment plants, water supply, etc. Transportation is expected to decline slightly, short term, with a long term upward trend. Airport terminal and runway construction will recover sometime in 2006 to pre 2001 levels. Concerns continue to be funding sources as fiscal spending at state and federal levels change.
  • Hospitals - A bright spot in the construction environment over the past few years, this segment will decline some in 2004, then remain strong long term due to an aging population. The Growth will continue in both new construction and renovation.
  • Offices - As employment declined ("The Tech Bubble"), so did demand for offices. This market has been so depressed, that it will increase in '03, with a stronger upturn in 2004-2006. There was a marked increase in regional cities like Madison & Milwaukee WI and Indianapolis, IN.
  • Hotels - A 2% Growth in Mid-Scale, (Hilton Gardens type) properties and Casinos is projected. Occupancy rates are weak at 59%.
  • Retail - The competitive landscape in retailing means much rehab work to keep stores looking fresh. This construction will continue to the foreseeable future. The residential boom in inner cities is fueling retail expansion there as well.
  • Industrial - With production capacity usage at about 73%, expansion is unlikely. As the dollar value falls vs. the Euro and Yen, this should help our exports, increasing manufacturing here, and the demand for space. The Automotive Industry bottomed out in 2003.

Overall, McGraw Hill sees the construction industry as much more stable now than in the 70's or 80's due to offsetting patterns in different industry sectors and a strong single family housing market. Also, the total construction value is to rebound by about 4% in 2004. The risk to this forecast is in schools and hospitals due to funding problems from states and federal government.

For Firestopping what does a this economic news mean? First, firestopping, performed by a specialty firestop contractor, is a concept that is "relatively new", when compared to plumbing or roofing. The new IBC and NFPA Codes have reduced the need for compartmentation in buildings, which reduces the demand for Firestopping. However, Firestop Contracting, as a "specialty trade", is growing faster than the general construction market due to a low market share already. Estimates of the "Specialty Firestop Contractor" performing all trades work, range from 25 -35%. That leaves about 65 - 70% of the market still available for growth. Additionally, there still isn't 100% enforcement yet for Firestopping....meaning opportunity exists specialize in Firestop Contracting and impact fire / life safety and property protection.

AFSCC News - FCIA is a member of the "Alliance for Fire and Smoke Containment and Control" (AFSCC). The AFSCC consists of members from all "Passive Fire and Life Safety Systems" industries; Fire Walls/Floors, Fire Dampers, Fire Doors, Firestopping, and others. The major firestopping manufacturers are also members, and have supported AFSCC with personnel and funding.

The "Alliance for Fire Safety" (AFS) is a committee of the AFSCC, charged with turning codes back to safer buildings through a balanced approach of Fire and Life Safety that includes compartmentation and sprinklers as a part of the total building protection package. The adoption of less stringent height and area tables has reduced the need for compartments in buildings meaning less "passive" fire / life safety and property protection. The AFS is managing a PR Campaign, run by the Al Paul Lefton Company, a PR Firm in Philadelphia. To fund the campaign, manufacturers and contractors have made financial donations, as Charbel Tagher, STI explained at the "Education and Committee Action Conference in Las Vegas. Donation forms, and a newsletter are posted at www.fcia.org/articles . The AFSCC Annual Meeting is June 18 & 19, Denver CO. If you are interested, visit their website for registration info.

As the school year winds down, graduations take place, and vacations start, the FCIA Office wishes a great summer season to it's members and friends. Bill McHugh, FCIA Executive Director

Bill McHugh, FCIA Executive Director

Copyright FCIA 05/30/03. Permission is hereby granted to forward, print, circulate, quote with credit to FCIA.

FCIA is a non profit, volunteer organization of Firestop Contractors, Contractor Branch Offices, Manufacturers and Associate Members interested in furthering life safety through the Professional Specialty Firestop Contractor concept, (experience, value, expertise) and life safety in the industry. For more information, contact the

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