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Original article from NCMA eNews
You often see noise barriers or sound barriers (as referenced in other parts of the country) that line busy roadways constructed from precast concrete panels or tilt-up concrete walls. However, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) required something completely different for this stretch of Route 167 in the corridor between Tacoma and Seattle.

This nearly two-mile-long sound barrier is constructed of concrete masonry units (CMU), something that Jim Reynolds, the general manager and safety director of out of Marysville, Washington, hasn’t seen constructed for at least 20 years on the west side of the Cascades.


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A new study finds that forests are key to reducing the state’s climate impacts.

A study from Oregon State University has found that logging and wood products are the biggest source of carbon dioxide in Oregon. The wood products sector generated about 1.5 times more CO2 emissions than the transportation and energy sectors.

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Cardiff scientists are set out to develop self-healing masonry

A system that can be simply applied to building stone and masonry to give it self-healing properties.

Cardiff scientists are set out to develop self-healing masonry
Image: Cardiff University

In order to develop buildings and historic structures, Cardiff scientists are exploiting the unique properties of bacteria to help develop a self-healing masonry. The system can be simply applied to building stone and masonry to give it self-healing properties.

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Construction Site Fire In Denver: 2 Missing, 5 Injured

Construction workers broke bones "jumping off the 2nd and 3rd floor" as building went up in flames a Denver Fire spokesman said.

By Jean Lotus, Patch Staff  | Updated 

Construction Site Fire In Denver: 2 Missing, 5 Injured

DENVER, CO -- UPDATE: 2nd Body Found At Denver Construction Site Fire Scene

Two persons were still unaccounted for Wednesday in a mid-afternoon Denver construction site fire that completely destroyed an apartment building under construction. Construction workers were also injured "jumping off the second and third floors" and others were injured "trying to catch them." One firefighter was also being treated for minor burns, said Denver Fire Captain Greg Pixley.

The blaze Pixley called "catastrophic and dangerous" set an adjacent building on fire, and floating embers ignited the rooftops of six other adjacent structures, Pixley said. Several construction vehicles and about 30 cars caught fire in the parking lot and three fire engines were damaged by the heat. Around 100 firefighters helped to fight the inferno.

Construction workers who spoke to Pixley said they first saw the flames on the third floor around 12:09 p.m. The fire took about 120 minutes to become "under control."

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From NCMA's eNews

Six months after flames engulfed a London high-rise and sparked concerns about similarly-clad buildings around the world, a The National Association of State Fire Marshalls Research Foundation has developed a tool aimed at making buildings safer.

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Softwood Lumber Outlook for 2018 Shaped by Wildfires, Tariffs

Filed in Business ManagementEconomics on January 4, 2018

Softwood lumber prices closed out the year at or near record highs in most areas of the country — making the average Random Lengths Composite Price for 2017 the highest in 20 years.

Prices surged early in the year due to the arbitrary tariffs levied on softwood lumber imports from Canada, which impacted roughly one-third of U.S. supply,” said David Logan, NAHB’s tax policy analyst who continually monitors the pulse of building materials prices.

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Timber buildings are growing in popularity, but are they safe?


Builders in Oregon will break ground early next year on this country's tallest building made primarily of wood. The 12-story, 60-unit apartment complex in Portland called Framework is part of a national boom in wood construction, but some fire experts are raising alarms about the safety of these structures. 

For a century, there was no safe alternative to concrete and steel but now some architects are turning to compressed wood for its surprising strength and beauty, reports CBS News correspondent Tony Dokoupil. 

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The Latest: 7 treated for smoke after senior facility fire

In this Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017 photo, residents are evacuated from the Barclay Friends Senior Living Community during a fire in West Chester, Pa. At least 20 people were injured in the massive fire at the senior living community about 35 miles west of Philadelphia.  (Steven M. Falk/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)
In this Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017 photo, residents are evacuated from the Barclay Friends Senior Living Community during a fire in West Chester, Pa. At least 20 people were injured in the massive fire at the senior living community about 35 miles west of Philadelphia. (Steven M. Falk/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)
 WEST CHESTER, Pa. (AP) — The Latest on a massive fire at a senior living community in Pennsylvania: (all times local):

2:45 p.m.

A Pennsylvania mayor says there are still some people missing after a massive fire at a senior living center injured nearly 30 people.

West Chester Mayor Jordan Norley said Friday that it's unclear how many people are unaccounted for in the late-night blaze at the Barclay Friends Senior Living Community.

He says there aren't any confirmed fatalities.

An emergency management official says that much of the scene is too unstable for investigators to enter.

The fire was brought under control around 1:30 a.m. Friday and firefighters are still dousing smoldering hotspots.

Many neighbors helped with the rescue effort, wrapping the elderly in blankets and carrying them to ambulances in makeshift gurneys.

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After decades of pushing bachelor’s degrees, U.S. needs more tradespeople


FONTANA, Calif. — At a steel factory dwarfed by the adjacent Auto Club Speedway, Fernando Esparza is working toward his next promotion.

Esparza is a 46-year-old mechanic for Evolution Fresh, a subsidiary of Starbucks that makes juices and smoothies. He’s taking a class in industrial computing taught by a community college at a local manufacturing plant in the hope it will bump up his wages. It’s a pretty safe bet. The skills being taught here are in high demand. That’s in part because so much effort has been put into encouraging high school graduates to go to college for academic degrees rather than for training in industrial and other trades that many fields like his face worker shortages.

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 Lessons not learned

Massachusetts belatedly confronts construction fire dangers

By  and , Globe Staff August 12, 2017

 THE NIGHT SKY GLOWED in East Longmeadow as firefighters raced toward a sprawling retirement complex being built on acres of farmland. They arrived minutes after the first call to find a raging inferno like nothing they had ever encountered.

Manufactured composite wood used in the construction of the unoccupied, 130-unit Bluebird Estates burned like kindling. Wind carried embers a half-mile away, forcing the evacuation of a hundred nearby homes.

“It was just a wall of fire,” recounted Paul Morrissette, now the town’s fire chief, who was a captain on the first truck to arrive at the scene in 2007.

The massive blaze was a wake-up call for fire departments and state officials to the serious potential hazards of these increasingly common engineered wood products, especially during construction, before sheetrock, sprinklers, and fire alarms are installed and operating. East Longmeadow immediately stepped up efforts to reduce the risk of fires at all construction sites, Morrissette said.




NCMA: Concrete Products University NOW AVAILABLE 

NCMA's Concrete Products University Online has courses which address specific topics in the concrete masonry and hardscapes industry. Each CPU online course focuses on important technical information, to help you maximize the profitability of your company. CPU Online courses are a great resource for industry employees, architects, engineers, designers, managers and anyone else looking to gain expert industry knowledge on concrete masonry products. 

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Mount Pleasant hotel first South Carolina building to use lumber said to be strong as concrete

Another Day, Another Wood-Framed Apartment Fire

Waterbury, Connecticut, blaze highlights vulnerable construction methods.

National Ready Mixed Concrete Association (NRMCA)  MAY 19, 2017 On Wednesday, May 17, 2017, days after a wood-framed retail-apartment complex under construction in Oakland, Calif., was destroyed for the second time in a year, five firefighters were injured in a fire that destroyed four three-story multi-family homes in Waterbury, Conn., exemplifying the danger with wood-framed residential buildings.

The fire, which displaced 20 families, – 32 people in all – comes at a time of intense scrutiny for the construction materials industry and the building codes that permit the use of vulnerable methods.

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