Demolition contractors and C&D recyclers have to comply with state and federal regulations regarding many aspects of their businesses from stormwater runoff, to dust and noise control, to safety, to what markets they can sell their end products into.
Regulations can be a hassle or add expense to a project. Sometimes they can prevent end markets from being developed. A recycler or demolition contractor may even determine that a particular law is unfair. While legislation and regulations can be well intentioned, they can often have a negative impact on a particular industry segment. When that happens it is important to make your concerns known.
In the March/April issue of Construction & Demolition Recycling, Turner Construction’s Michael Deane said he was in favor of industry regulations as they help create an even playing field. They reduce the likelihood of a competitor cutting corners because everyone has to play by the same rules, he said.
So far, 2014 has resulted in some major victories for the recycling industry on the regulatory front. In March, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed an amendment to its Non-Hazardous Secondary Materials Rule, making allowances for C&D wood, creosote-treated railroad ties and paper recycling residuals to be used as boiler fuel. This is welcome news for the C&D recycling industry and other industries that have been lobbying for this rule change for years.
Other victories for recyclers are the EPA’s beneficial use determinations for the use of coal ash in concrete as a substitute for portland cement as well as the use of flue gas desulfurization gypsum as a substitute for mined gypsum in wallboard. Perhaps it will open the door for other secondary materials to be considered in these and other processes.
It sounds as though the EPA is listening to industry input, and the same is happening on the state level. Illinois has begun to allow recycled asphalt shingles and other secondary materials in its road base. Hopefully more states that aren’t yet doing this will soon follow. Additionally, many C&D recyclers say they hope their state regulators would determine beneficial uses for C&D fines and residuals. But in order for change to occur, the industry needs to continue to speak up.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA’s) proposed silica rule is another issue that is creating concern among recyclers, demolition contractors and many construction trades. The Construction Industry Safety Coalition (CISC), a group of about 25 trade organizations, has provided more than 100 pages worth of comments to OSHA about why the rule is too stringent. The CISC argues that the new proposed permissible exposure limit of crystalline silica would be nearly impossible for the industry to meet. (You can read more about in the article, “Limited exposure” on p. 40).
I hope OSHA will take the construction industry’s concerns into consideration. If the previous examples of how industry has influenced regulators’ decisions is any indication, then I think there is a good possibility efforts by the CISC will have an impact. When other related industries have the same interests, being a united force can and is making a difference. Don’t underestimate the influence you can have on lawmakers and regulators by letting them know how their decisions are affecting your livelihood.
Since the doldrums of the recession caused by the subprime mortgage crisis, contractors and subcontractors serving the building industry have been on the lookout for a soaring rise in construction spending levels.
That surge in activity has never happened, although early 2014 seems to have at least brought about reliably positive indicators that the construction sector is finally recovering and poised to grow a little more in ensuing months.
Separately, public spending on highways received a temporary boost with the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA, also known as the stimulus plan). Since 2010, it has subsequently languished depending on the status of federal highway spending and the health of transportation department budgets in each of the 50 states.
Throughout 2014, highway project planners and paving contractors will be keeping an eye on whether bipartisan support can coalesce in Washington around a long-term plan to finance the federal Highway Trust Fund (HTF), although many signals are positive.
Paving contractors and producers of recycled concrete and asphalt are encouraged by the forward momentum. However, they will most likely have to wait through the spring and summer to hear encouraging words about a bipartisan compromise on the HTF.
The American West, as portrayed in the song “Home on the Range,” is a place “where seldom is heard a discouraging word.”
However, recycled aggregates producers there, as in the rest of the country, had plenty of discouraging words to say from 2008 to 2012, when a lack of activity caused existing stationary plants and fleets of portable crushers to scramble to compete for a sparse amount of work. As well, producers of concrete and asphalt crushing services who managed to land project work often ended up with unsold stockpiles of material.
Hot spots and cold spells
Recycled aggregates markets, which suffered almost uniformly from tough conditions from 2008 to 2013, are beginning to exhibit greater signs of regional disparity.
One factor affecting activity levels for contractors and subcontractors who produce and sell recycled aggregates is the health of state highway departments.
While funding for the federal Highway Trust Fund remains in limbo pending the expiration of its current funding source in September of this year, some states have taken action to bolster their own funding structures.
In 2013, voters in Arkansas approved a half-cent increase in the statewide sales tax for all consumer goods in order to fund highway improvements. Elected officials in Missouri are considering a similar idea.
Drivers in Maryland, Massachusetts and Wyoming are now or will soon be paying a higher state gasoline tax to help fund highway maintenance while increased gasoline taxes at the wholesale level have been approved in Pennsylvania.
Other states, such as Ohio and New York, are issuing bonds to maintain highways or rebuild bridges.
Regional variations in the wider construction sector, which is both a source and consumer of recycled aggregates, are caused by a variety of economic and seasonal factors.
U.S. Department of Commerce data in early 2014 shows bright spots in California and Texas while many of the slower construction markets are in the eastern and midwestern U.S.
In the period from February 2013 to 2014, construction employment expanded at a healthy clip in Houston (plus 9,600 jobs, up 5 percent), Los Angeles (plus 8,000 jobs, up 7 percent) and Orange County, Calif. (plus 8,600 jobs, up 12 percent), according to Department of Commerce figures summarized by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), Arlington, Va.
Among the metropolitan areas shedding construction jobs were Gary, Ind. (minus 4,700 jobs, down 25 percent), Bethesda-Rockville-Frederick, Md. (minus 3,100 jobs, down 10 percent) and Putnam-Rockland-Westchester, N.Y. (minus 2,100 jobs, down 8 percent).
As the long winter of 2013-2014 turns to spring, one recycled aggregates producer in that region is optimistic that the spring and summer of 2014 is bringing with it a better market for recycled aggregates.
“Our area recently has been significantly positively impacted by the oil and gas business,” says Rick Givan, manager of special projects with Denver-based Fiore & Sons. The company’s operating area includes Colorado and other states in the Rocky Mountains and Great Plains region, including the oil-rich Dakotas.
Additionally, says Givan, Denver has been “blessed with a heavy infusion of light rail and HOV (high occupancy vehicle) lane projects.” These transportation projects in the home town of Fiore & Sons help the company procure new crusher feedstock and also absorb material from the company’s stockpiles.
The Fiore & Sons operating region in the Western U.S. also is home to a roster of projects stemming from serious flooding that occurred in 2013, notes Givan. “Colorado is recovering and it has entailed major civil projects involving road and canyon restoration,” he comments.
As of late spring 2014, Fiore & Sons “is still doing projects” related to the rebuilding. These factors added together means “our heavy civil highway sector has come back,” states Givan.
Among the signs of the comeback in the West is that “equipment and personnel are starting to run short,” says Givan. “I won’t say that’s the case in crushing because there had been excess capacity, but it is for machines like scrapers, dozers and graders. There are shortages out West of these machines.”
In the recycled aggregates sector, the rebound should help soak up the excess equipment capacity and existing stockpiles, says Givan, who predicts “stable prices” in the region. “We’ve had a long, long dry period of excess accumulation. I don’t anticipate turning this market around that quickly. In the next couple of years we might get close to being back in balance. Most operators already have huge stockpiles of asphalt and huge stockpiles of crushed concrete.”
A crushing plant operator in the Northeast, who prefers to remain anonymous, says he likewise sees the summer of 2014 being busier than the previous five summers, and he is hopeful he can cut into his stockpiles. “I’ll keep seeking work, but it would be nice to end the year with less inventory than we started with,” he comments.
On the demolition side of the equation, Fiore & Sons produced some 33,000 tons of crushed concrete and asphalt stemming from its St. Anthony Hospital project in Denver in 2013. (See the article “Neighborhood renewal” in the January-February 2014 edition of Construction & Demolition Recycling.)
The 2014 demolition calendar is still shaping up, says Givan, but he says Fiore & Sons is seeing an increased number of bids being put out for hotel and restaurant demolition and rebuild projects relative to the previous leaner years.
If the 2014 spring and summer highway and demolition seasons shape up the way he anticipates, Givan says it will provide some much needed good news in the recycled aggregates sector.
Statistics gathered by government agencies point to an overall healthier construction sector while transportation spending may benefit from a desire by both political parties in Washington to appear to have accomplished something in 2014.
On the job
Sector-specific employment data is one of the critical yardsticks measuring the health of the construction industry and, by that measure, early 2014 is showing positive signs of better health.
U.S. Department of Commerce statistics gathered and analyzed by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), Arlington, Va., have pointed to increased construction sector employment in the majority of metropolitan areas in early 2014.
The year started off with one of the more upbeat AGC reviews of a 30-day period since the onset of the subprime mortgage crisis. Between January 2013 and January 2014, construction employment expanded in 195 metropolitan areas, while being flat in another 54 and declining in 90 market regions.
“It is a sign of the continued strengthening of the construction industry that nearly 60 percent of metros added construction jobs from a year earlier despite the severe winter conditions in much of the country this January,” remarked Ken Simonson, the AGC’s chief economist, when the figures were announced.
Thirty days later, when February 2014 figures were announced, the momentum was slowed somewhat but by no means reversed. Between February 2013 and February 2014, construction employment expanded in 175 metro areas, was flat in 58 and declined in 106.
“It is encouraging that contractors added workers in so many locations despite severe weather that delayed some project starts,” said Simonson. In analyzing both January’s and February’s figures, Simonson also expressed words of caution.
“The industry’s recovery has a long way to go, with only a smattering of metro areas exceeding their previous peak January levels of employment,” Simonson commented when those figures were released in March.
When analyzing the February numbers, Simonson referred to an imbalanced construction sector recovery. “It’s clear that the upturn in construction is far from universal. Activity is flat or declining in many metro areas, while contractors in the hottest locations are having trouble finding skilled workers.”
AGC CEO Stephen E. Sandherr has voiced concern that the forward momentum will be slowed unless elected leaders in Washington can agree on a highway spending strategy. “The industry is slowly digging itself out of a construction employment hole that got pretty deep during the past few years,” says Sandherr. “If Congress and the Obama Administration can’t figure out a way to address highway funding shortfalls very soon, that hole is only going to get deeper.”
Avoiding a bumpy road
Figurative gridlock between the two political parties in Washington is threatening to create literal gridlock on highways across the country, according to backers of bills to fund the federal HTF.
In mid-April, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx told assembled media correspondents and workers at an Ohio factory that the HTF would run out of money by September 2014 if Congress did not bring forward a funding bill for President Obama to sign by that time.
The Obama Administration is backing a $302 billion plan that it claims offers a better path forward than annual “top-offs” that have lately been provided by Congress.
Any new bill passed in 2014 will replace the expiring MAP-21 (Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act) funding and authorization bill, which expires in September.
In MAP-21 and previous acts, the HTF has been funded largely by the federal gasoline tax. That tax has remained at 18.4 cents per gallon since 1983.
One of the proposed HTF funding methods is to increase the gasoline tax. Although tax increases seldom garner popular support, raising the gasoline tax has a surprising number of backers. While environmentalists and other advocates of fuel conservation are among the backers, so are the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Trucking Association, Arlington, Va., both of whom see benefits in the form of improved highway safety and maintenance as well as construction spending and employment.
Whether it involves increasing the gasoline tax or some other combination of taxes and fees, compromising on a method to fund the HTF will be a critical chore facing Congress in the late spring and summer of 2014. An inability to compromise will likely affect the recycled aggregates market sooner rather than later.
An April 2014 article in Better Roads magazine portrayed several state departments of transportation (DOTs) as prioritizing projects in advance, sorted between those to be funded before the HTF dwindles away and those that will have to wait.
While several advocates (led by industry trade associations in the paving and construction sectors) clamor for long-term stability for the HTF, one former U.S. Secretary of Transportation has predicted more of the same from Washington.
Ray LaHood, a former Republican congressman who was Secretary of Transportation from 2009 to 2013, predicted in the political magazine the National Journal that on or around Sept. 30, 2014, as MAP-21 expires, Congress will “pass an extension of MAP-21” and will “take some money out of the general fund. They’ll limp through the election, and then I don’t know what will happen after that.”
Unfortunately for highway project planners and contractors who would prefer longer-term stability, LaHood’s forecast points to a set of crutches helping the road building sector limp forward but no groundbreaking procedure that will help the sector run at full speed.
The author is editor of Construction & Demolition Recycling and can be contacted at email@example.com.
|// Scrap Iron RMDAS
No. 1 Heavy Melt Steel Pricing
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42% Percentage of all square footage pursuing LEED certification existing outside the U.S. (Source: U.S. Green Building Council)
Solid Waste & Recycling Conference and Trade Show,
Bolton Landing, N.Y.,
The Federation of New York Solid Waste Associations,
518-783-2827 or www.nyfederation.org
Messe München International,
Solid Waste & Recycling Conference and Trade Show,
Bolton Landing, N.Y.,
The Federation of New York Solid Waste Associations,
Messe München International,
NRRA 33rd Annual Recycling Conference & Expo,
Northeast Resource Recovery Association,
ISRI Gulf Coast Summer Convention & Exposition,
Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries Inc., Gulf Coast Chapter,
Contractors Environmental Conference
Associated General Contractors of America,
CARI 72nd Annual Convention,
Canadian Association of Recycling Industries,
905-426-9313 or www.cari-acir.org
24th Annual Recycling & Organics Conference,
Professional Recyclers of Pennsylvania,
717-236-0800 or www.proprecycles.org
CRRA 38th Annual Conference,
San Jose, Calif.,
California Resource Recovery Association,
Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA),
301-585-2898, ext. 240 or wastecon.swana.org
Sept. 29-Oct. 1
24th Annual ARC Conference and Trade Show,
Eureka Springs, Ark.,
Arkansas Recycling Coalition,
Peterson recognizes 2013 Dealer of the Year
Peterson Pacific, a Eugene, Ore.-based manufacturer of horizontal grinders, drum and disc chippers, blower trucks and screens, has announced Barry Equipment Co. of Webster, Mass., as its 2013 Dealer of the Year. This is the second time in two years that Barry Equipment has won the award.
“Barry Equipment Co. has achieved this award twice due to their assembly of a world-class sales and product support team,” says Brian Gray, Peterson eastern sales manager. “Their support after the sale is unsurpassed within our industry, and Barry’s dedication, focus and vision to the Peterson product line and the markets we serve make them a tremendous partner and raises the bar for dealer performance. Peterson is honored to have Barry Equipment Co. as a dealer and proud to present the Dealer of the Year award for the second time to recognize their superb performance in 2013.”
Charlie Bagnall, Peterson’s northeastern sales rep agrees. “The 2013 Dealer of the Year award underlines Barry Equipment’s commitment to their customers,” he says. “Barry Equipment is the total package. They provide superior equipment, advice and support for their customers. If a machine goes down, they are right there to get our clients back to work. I’m proud that we have the best partner in Barry Equipment here in the Northeast.”
Barry Equipment Co. Inc. was established in 1985 and is a family owned and operated equipment dealership located on Interstate 395 in Webster, servicing New England and New York state.
Morbark signs contract with manufacturer
Morbark Inc., a Winn, Mich.-based manufacturer of wood waste reduction equipment, has signed a contract with Precision Sharpening Devices Inc. (PSDI), Erie, Pa., to become the exclusive original equipment manufacturer (OEM) to sell the Bevel Buddy chipper knife sharpener through its authorized dealer network.
PSDI has been manufacturing counter grinding/back beveling equipment for knives used by a variety of industries, mostly for the pulp and paper, sawmill, plywood, and whole tree chipping markets since 1988. The sharpener allows the knives to be resharpened without needing to be removed from the machine. The knives can be resharpened this way two to three times, reducing customer downtime, according to the company.
“The partnership between Morbark Inc., and Precision Sharpening Devices, with their line of Bevel Buddy chipper knife sharpeners, will offer our customers a product that helps them operate their equipment at the highest levels of efficiency,” says Mark Mills with PSDI. “The results are fuel savings, meeting production quotas, less downtime and greatly reducing their overall costs while maintaining a quality product and a safer work environment. Both parties view this as a ‘What’s best for the customer’ focus.”
“We’re always looking for ways to make our customers more productive, more efficient and more successful,” says John Foote, Morbark vice president of sales and marketing. “Partnering with Precision Sharpening Devices to offer the Bevel Buddy through our worldwide network of authorized Morbark dealers gives our customers easy access to another tool to help them be more productive and ultimately more successful.”
Hammel adds dealer in western US
Hammel New York LLC, Bohemia, N.Y., has announced Bejac Corp. as its official dealer covering all states west of the Rocky Mountains. Hammel New York is the North American distributor for Germany-based Hammel Recyclingtechnik GmbH, which offers a line of primary and secondary shredders and sorting equipment for the recycling industry.
Bejac Corp. is based in Placentia, Calif., 30 miles south of Los Angeles. The company will represent Hammel products from its seven branches located in San Diego, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Fresno, Redding, the Oakland Bay, Calif., area and Phoenix.
Since the 1980s, Bejac has been partnering with manufacturers to offer sales, rental and service for a wide variety of construction and niche markets. The company says it chooses suppliers who “focus on one product line to build an equipment mix that maximizes opportunities for its customers.”
The markets it serves include material and scrap handling, C&D recycling operations, waste transfer stations, forestry operations, terminal facilities, demolition contractors, wood, steel, paper and grain mills and cattle operations, in addition to some traditional construction markets.
More information is available by contacting Robert Cycon, vice president and general manager of Bejac Corp., at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bomag to open North American headquarters in South Carolina
Bomag Americas, a manufacturer of asphalt reclaimers, compaction equipment, milling machines, pavers and other equipment for road building and construction markets, has announced plans to establish its North America headquarters in Ridgeway, S.C.
Bomag says it will invest $18.2 million and employ more than 120 people at the new facility. The headquarters location also will include a showcase room and an assembly operation.
The new 127,600-square-foot facility will be constructed at the Fairfield Commerce Center in Ridgeway and will include a spare parts warehouse, an assembly area and office space.
Bomag expects to break ground on the new facility in March with estimated completion in October. South Carolina’s Coordinating Council for Economic Development has approved job development credits and a $1.1 million rural infrastructure grant for site preparation and infrastructure improvements.
“Our intent with this project is to strengthen our North American organization with the objective of being closer as well as better serving our customers,” says Walter Link, president of Bomag Americas.
New machine designed to improve air quality
Company Wrench, a Carroll, Ohio-based demolition, scrap and construction equipment dealer and rental company, has patented its green technology invention, the Hi-pressure Air Water Cannon (HAWC).
Designed and created by its manufacturing division, C.W. MachineWorx, the machine is used to bring down harmful particulate matter that affect air quality around job sites by shooting a high-powered stream of mist at dust sources, which bring the particles to the ground.
In addition, C.W. MachineWorx and Company Wrench recently unveiled their newest dust suppression unit, the Mini HAWC at Con Expo/Con-Agg in Las Vegas in March. It is a smaller, more water-conscious mobile diesel unit that features control system updates and the exclusive Cummins QSF.2.8L Tier 4 engine.
According to the companies, the Mini HAWC is the first and only mobile dust suppression unit in the world to achieve Tier 4 emissions standards.
Equipment industry veteran retires
William Guptail, a 46-year employee of General Kinematics Corp. (GK), Crystal Lake, Ill., has officially announced his retirement.
Guptail, who spent much of his career focusing on the scrap and C&D recycling sectors, was inducted into Construction & Demolition Recycling Association’s (CDRA’s ) C&D Recycling Hall of Fame in 2013.
According to GK, Guptail started working in the recycling industry in the early 1980s. “His involvement in construction and demolition [recycling] was an outgrowth of his work in the waste-to-energy industry, where companies were looking for opportunities to recover various commodities from the construction and demolition waste stream,” the company says.
Guptail started his career with GK as an engineer, but his “innate mechanical curiosity, hands-on approach and amiable personality helped him to move along to positions of sales engineer, industry sales manager and his most recent position of director of recycling,” says GK.
Guptail pioneered and patented several innovations into C&D sorting systems, according to GK, including:
- the primary finger screen for size separation, designed to provide recovery rates from 40 to 60 percent;
- the secondary B-line for fines, which could improve recovery rates to beyond 70 percent;
- the vibratory Destoner for density separation, designed to bring recovery rates beyond 80 percent; and
- modified internal design changes of the vibratory Destoner for enhanced separation.
Guptail’s other work and research focused on mechanical sorting techniques for use in downstream automobile shredding applications.
“The General Kinematics core philosophy of combining innovative technologies with production process insight and creativity to deliver the highest quality equipment and solutions in the industry is demonstrated by Bill’s career and commitment to seek improvements through design changes in more than 50 C&D sorting facilities across the United States, Canada and Europe,” GK adds.
Shredder manufacturer receives technology award
Lindner-Recyclingtech, based in Austria, has been awarded the Global CemFuels Award. This is the second time the shredder manufacturer, which operates in the United States as Lindner America, has received the award. The Eighth Global CemFuels Conference and Exhibition was held in Vienna, Austria, Feb. 25-26, 2014. More than 190 delegates from more than 30 countries took part in the conference that centers around alternative fuel for the cement and lime industry.
The annual award was presented during the Global CemFuels gala dinner at Palais Ferstel in Vienna’s historic district. The international Global CemFuels Award, covering five categories, reached a new record this year by receiving 1,200 votes from alternative fuel experts from 42 countries. In the category “Most innovative technology for alternative fuel use” Lindner-Recyclingtech was announced as the winner for its refuse-derived fuel (RDF) compact line.
The company says features of its RDF shredder lines include:
- produce a high quality fuel that is fluffy and consistent in size;
- output is consistent over the life of the cutting knives because of its unique cutting arrangement and the adjustable counter knives;
- low operating expenses due to the simple and effective adjustment of the counter knives. This keeps output at maximum, while extending the life of the cutting tools;
- use of kinetic energy in their drive system, which lowers power peaks, hence, lower power cost; and
- maintenance access doors, the internal ram and other crucial design details for simple maintenance and operation.
In 2009, Lindner-Recyclingtech received a previous accolade and won the award for its comprehensive range of recycling solutions. The company says it is the only shredder manufacturer to receive a nomination or award since it was first presented in 2008.
Missouri shingle recycler looks to ClearSpan for storage solution
APAC-Missouri Inc. is an asphalt, construction and aggregate company with locations throughout the state of Missouri. Owned by Oldcastle Materials, APAC covers operations ranging from concrete and asphalt paving to aggregate production.
The company recycles used roofing shingles into asphalt material for use on highways and roads, which are highly porous and easily absorb moisture and radiant heat from the sun. Since APAC lacked storage space for the asphalt material, it was stockpiled outdoors, in full contact with the Missouri elements. The company needed to explore more options, says APAC Asphalt Plant Superintendent Robbie Freels.
“We just had to pile them outside, and they were collecting a lot of moisture,” Freels explains. “Before the shingles could be recycled into usable asphalt material, complete removal of all moisture was required. This increased fuel and handling costs, and also added unnecessary time constraints to the process.”
Freels spoke to several farmers in the Missouri area who had purchased ClearSpan Fabric Structures for use in their agricultural operations, and who recommended the durable, versatile buildings as a storage solution. With those recommendations as a stepping stone, Freels began exploring his options. After researching several companies that specialize in fabric structures, Freels decided to work with ClearSpan, headquartered in South Windsor, Conn.
The company purchased three 65-foot-wide by 60-foot-long Hercules Truss Arch Buildings from ClearSpan for locations in Marshall, Columbia and Linn Creek, Mo. All of the structures are currently being used to store the asphalt material to keep it out of the weather.
APAC built each of the structures on a 6-foot concrete block wall. “We got the most space we could possibly get,” says Freels. “We pile the shingles up to the rafters.”