Innovations Previews Summer Collection

From large-scale brushstrokes to the rich patina of oxidized stonework, Innovations showcased pattern at the Hospitality Design Exposition & Conference last week. Their curated selection of new Type II vinyl, cork and textile wallcoverings offered a sneak peek at their summer collection, including new printed cork Chimera. 

From underground cities like Cappadocia—inspiration for Chimera—to the once-hated, now-beloved textile blocks of La Miniatura, the summer collection explores architecture and how Innovations fits into the larger architectural project. The collection goes beyond the wall, expanding Innovations’ line of draperies and sheers, and revisits the classic grasscloth construction. 

About Innovations:

A design-driven, family-owned company, Innovations in Wallcoverings, Inc., has been creating unique solutions for interiors since 1975. Their Design Studio, based in New York City, collaborates with artisans around the world to develop solutions for the vertical surface—wallcoverings, textiles and faux leathers—all offered with the highest level of personal service. At Innovations, the name speaks for itself.

Posted in New Products |
Project Management and the Stockholm Syndrome

Let’s face it — being a project manager is arguably the most difficult job one can have in the A/E industry. A project manager is responsible for directing and coordinating seemingly countless activities and interactions. Each day in the life of a project manager can involve dozens of interactions with clients, consultants, employees and firm principals.

The primary mission of a project manager is to achieve a successful project outcome. In my opinion project success at an A/E firm is defined by three criteria. Meeting or exceeding client expectations, professional satisfaction with project results and a fair profit for the owners of the firm. For major projects achieving success is a balancing act that requires skill, assembling the right staff, support of the firm’s principals and perhaps even a little bit of luck..

One of the obstacles to the successful project outcome is what I refer to as that Stockholm syndrome of project management. The Stockholm syndrome is a psychological phenomenon in which hostages express empathy and sympathy and have positive feelings toward their captors, sometimes to the point of defending and identifying with them. The Patty Hearst kidnapping and her subsequent willing participation with her captors in a bank robbery is a classic example of the Stockholm syndrome.

So what does this have to do with project managers at A/E firms? Well in my experience, I have seen project managers develop extremely close relationships with their client and the project they are managing. He or she does a great job in meeting or exceeding the client expectations and they are professionally satisfied with the quality of work. However due to the amount of time they are spending with their client working on the project, they begin to be an advocate for the clients interests to the exclusion of their employers. This is not to say it is a conscious decision on their part — but a natural evolution of the client/project manager relationship — especially if the principal of the firm is relatively hands off.

When focusing on tight deadlines and in an effort to keep the project going it is very easy to overlook the steady increase of project scope. Scope creep as it is commonly referred to, can take many forms such as additional meetings, extended schedules, “small” redesigns, program changes and so on. The project manager not wanting to delay the project or to avoid uncomfortable conversations with the client simply performs the work requested.

When presented with the financial impact of these actions by the Controller or other management, the project manager often becomes and advocate for the client and the project to justify their actions or inaction. This is an example of the Stockholm syndrome of project management in action. By not identifying the project scope creep up front and requesting a fee adjustment before the work is performed we are steadily chipping away at the project profits. Sometimes the scope creep is so large that it would more accurately be categorized as scope leap!

How to Avoid the Stockholm Syndrome of Project Management!
Here are a few tips on how to guard against the Stockholm syndrome at your firm:

1. Do not leave your project manager as the sole client contact. It is important that a partner or firm principal be also be in regular contact with the client. This is for the benefit of the project manager, the client, the project and the firm.

2. Hold regular project business reviews (twice a month) where we compare percent of budget spent to the percent of project complete. Any negative variance from budget can be an indication of unpaid scope creep and the Stockholm Syndrome.

3. Financially reward project managers for expanding the paid scope work before it is performed.

As always, I look forward to your comments and feedback.

Posted in Vendor News |
About ConsTrack360

ConsTrack360 is a strategy research and consulting firm providing the most comprehensive, accurate, and unbiased business intelligence platform on building & infrastructure construction, green building construction, and prefabricated technologies across 50 countries. 

Our platform comprises over 150,000 data point and 1000+ reports that help you gain unique insights into construction industry dynamics. ConsTrack360’s unbiased and accurate analysis combines industry level opportunities, consumer dynamics, and market risks to deliver unique insights.

For more information, please visit our website or email us –

Posted in New Products |
ComputerEase Software Approved as CPE Sponsor

ComputerEase, a leading provider of accounting and business management software for the construction industry, announced today that it has been approved as an official sponsor on the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy’s (NASBA) National Registry of CPE Sponsors. 

This new sponsorship approval means that ComputerEase will be able to offer Continuing Professional Education (CPE) Credits to attendees at their regular Educational Webinars, particularly those aimed at Construction CPAs. 

“We’ve always focused very heavily on education in the construction accounting field,” says ComputerEase President John Meibers. “It’s such a unique niche in the accounting industry, and this is the latest step toward making it easier for those involved.” 

NASBA has stringent standards on the companies that can be listed on their Registry. The process lasted for several weeks and included an audit of one of the classes to be offered. Meeting these standards means that ComputerEase is prepared to offer construction-focused CPAs the highest quality of continuing education credits, ensuring that their trade knowledge remains relevant. 

“Our CPA Partners have often requested CPE credits as a benefit to the program,” Meibers continued, referring to ComputerEase’s free partnership program that provides CPAs with a free copy of ComputerEase Software to help them coordinate with clients and ensure that they’re on the same page. “With this additional value, we feel confident that even more CPAs will join our growing network.” 

Meibers noted that CPA Partners will have access to the ComputerEase customer portal, where video recordings of each webinar will be archived and available for re-watching. 

Click here to learn more about the ComputerEase CPA Partner Program 

About ComputerEase Software
Founded in 1983, ComputerEase develops integrated construction accounting and project management software that helps contractors solve problems and increase profits. The scalable, modular structure of ComputerEase makes it the ideal fit for companies of all sizes and specialties. In addition to accounting and job costing, ComputerEase offers robust equipment, purchasing, service and document management solutions. ComputerEase takes great pride in providing a matchless level of customer support by employing a team of experts with experience in the construction industry. For more information, visit:

Posted in Vendor News |
Hand Hygiene Arrives 21st Century

 Introduction of Hand-In-Scan Semmelweis Scanner, a Red Dot Design Award Winner 


Most restaurants, food distributors and healthcare services are concerned with hand sanitation. Most restaurants and food distributors etc. have in place various education and training programs to teach new and existing employees the importance of hand sanitation. Hand-in-Scan is simply a monitoring system incorporated into your existing educational training program to help achieve compliance 


Hand-In-Scan developed a Total Quality Management solution that employs digital measurement stations – quality check points – optimized training tools and a unique reporting system for management. The core of this technology is digital imaging combined with proprietary software technology to create objective assessment on the quality of hand hygiene. It has been proven that the application of the Hand-In-Scan management system fosters continuous quality improvement. Hand-In-Scan can also teach the validated WHO’s 6-step hand washing protocol (part of the US CDC recommendation and EN1500), with higher cost effectiveness and less human effort.  

Food Safety Facts and Figures

Reviewed by Eleese Cunningham, RDN

Published July 22, 2016  

Did you know? …that each year roughly one out of six Americans (that’s 48 million people) get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die from foodborne diseases. Excerpt: by SS ACtlonS … Improved Hand Hygiene to Prevent Health Care-Associated Infections … shown to reduce the spread of HAI (26-32).  

Did you know? …a large percentage of food poisoning cases could be eliminated if people washed their hands more often when preparing and handling food.  

Did you know? …that reducing foodborne illness by just 1 percent would keep about 500,000 Americans from getting sick each year. Reducing foodborne illness by 10 percent would keep about 5 million from getting sick.  


There are 1.4 million cases of HAI a day globally, resulting in a quarter of a million unnecessary deaths a year in the developed countries alone over 10% of restaurants patrons and patients in U.S. hospitals acquire HAIs, costing tens of billions of dollars’ annual loss, despite government campaigns and education programs. Food processing plants and fresh food handling stations regularly face hygiene challenges, which can lead to foodborne illnesses, great loss of PR and brand value devaluation.  

Business summary

Hand-In-Scan is an innovative health-tech company focusing on the prevention of healthcare-associated infections (HAI), control of outbreaks and biological contamination. Hand-in-Scan provides technology-based, quality assured solutions that includes hand hygiene education and control – leading to a safer and more efficient operation in food industry, healthcare, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals. Fostering technology-induced behavioral change in hand hygiene saves lives on a global scale.  

Hand-in-Scan and Compliance work hand in hand to achieve a safe environment! 

Contact: Clean Scan, LLC 888.249.6645

Posted in New Products |
ZipWall Helps Homeowners in Flooded MidWest

Homeowners in flooded areas of Missouri will soon be using the ZipWall® Dust Barrier System during drying and restoration of affected areas. 

Record flooding in Missouri has resulted in millions of dollars in damage. As flood waters recede, Missouri residents are grappling with the aftermath. 

To help families get back on their feet, ZipWall today announced it has donated 100 10-foot dust-barrier poles, 40 zippers, 20 carry bags and 24 ZipDoor® kits to AmeriCorps in Missouri. 

ZipWall poles, when used with polyethylene sheets, quickly create temporary walls that allow contractors to section off a part of a room or part of a house. The isolated area can then be  dried, repaired and renovated without affecting other parts of the residence, allowing the family to remain in their home. 

Entryways through the barrier can be created using ZipWall® Self-Adhesive Zippers, and existing doorways can be sealed off in under a minute using the ZipWall ZipDoor®  Kit. 

During the flood restoration phase, after the area is dried, the ZipWall Dust Barrier System can be used to contain dust while damaged drywall is removed and renovations take place. 

“ZipWall allows us to perform mold remediation in areas of an affected residence while protecting the family that continues to live there,” said Bruce Bailey, executive director of AmeriCorps, St. Louis Emergency Response Team. 

“We’ve used ZipWall in the aftermath of many disasters to help vulnerable survivors remain in, or quickly return to, their homes and stabilize their lives,” continued Bailey. 

“We are thinking of the people of Missouri facing flooding during this challenging time,” said Jeff Whittemore, founder and CEO of ZipWall. “Disasters like these take a toll on families, and we’re hopeful that our contribution can help them recover quickly.” 

For more information about ZipWall, visit

Posted in Vendor News |
Emerging Flooring Technologies

New processes that are changing commercial flooring

As time marches on, new technologies, processes and techniques shape the way commercial flooring contractors operate. From lean construction and the prefabrication of materials to the increased demand for LVT and design involvement, things are changing to improve quality, reduce installation time and promote best-value decisions. 

Lean construction

The biggest change in the commercial flooring world is the push toward lean construction. This method of construction management has been passed around since the early 1990s, but has been utilized most often in the past few years. Lean construction is a mindset that seeks to minimize the waste of materials, time and effort. This can only be achieved through the participation of all project participants – the contractors, owner, end-user, managers, etc. These participants from various industries, under a variety of roles, work together instead of in isolated groups.

Under traditional construction management approaches, each contractor’s crew worked in isolation, lacking communication with the other projects. Instead, the general contractor and sub-contractors for plumbing, electrical, flooring, etc., all meet regularly to determine where everyone is on their projects, how those timelines may affect everyone else’s projects and what tasks need to be done to ensure goals are met. The projects are mapped out every morning, that way no one is butting heads. Additionally, it keeps accountability high.

Another part of lean construction is a new method for scheduling projects. Traditionally, projects were scheduled from the start date forward. Now, under what is called the Last Planner System, projects are scheduled from the end date through the start date. Scheduling a project this way allow contractors to work out issues in advance and know when things need to be done to stay on time. This is maintained through biweekly regroupings to review the schedule and stay on track.

Prefabrication of materials

An important change in the commercial flooring world is the prefabrication of flooring materials. By knowing the dimensions of the upcoming project, flooring contractors are cutting the flooring materials to fit beforehand instead of traditionally doing it on site. These prefabricated materials are then stored in the contractor’s warehouse until the project is ready to begin.

By employing the prefabrication of materials method, flooring contractors are able to keep the project’s job site clean and free of unnecessary debris while also greatly reducing the amount of time spent on site during the installation process.

Continued demand for LVT floors

Luxury vinyl tiles (LVT) are not new to the commercial flooring world. What is new is the increasing demand for them and explosion of LVT manufacturers. With more LVT manufacturers comes a reduction in price and an increase in available aesthetics. LVT now comes in a huge range of prices due to a vast array of quality and design options.

The drive for LVT demand is the desire for low-maintenance, high-durability flooring options. With LVT, there is no waxing and stripping. Instead, simple cleaning methods are all that is needed for floor maintenance.

Design involvement

As part of the change in the way flooring contractors operate, there is a recent push by flooring contactors to get involved in the design aspect of a project. Designers, architects and engineers have usually mapped out a project before a flooring contractor is even contacted. Often times they have chosen materials that don’t match with the design or are not suited for the application.

Relying on the expertise of a flooring contractor helps find the balance between aesthetics, functionality, durability and costs. It’s referred to as value-engineering and flooring contractors are implementing it on projects across the nation. While value-engineering isn’t necessarily new, it’s use for flooring projects is increasing.

These methods, practices and materials are emerging more and more in the commercial flooring industry. Each one is having a profound impact on the way flooring contractors approach and complete a project.

About the author

Aaron Hartung is the Communications Manager at Spectra Contract Flooring, the largest commercial flooring contractor in the U.S.

This article was originally published on the Spectra Contract Flooring learning center.

Posted in Uncategorized |
A. O. Smith names new president, chief operating officer

A. O. Smith Corporation (NYSE:AOS) today announced that Kevin J. Wheeler has been named president and chief operating officer.

In his new role, Wheeler will be responsible for A. O. Smith’s global water heater and boiler operations as well as its global water treatment business.  He also will oversee the company’s research function including its Corporate Technology Center in Milwaukee as well as the information technology function.  Wheeler will report to Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Ajita G. Rajendra.

The $2.69 billion company has 20 manufacturing plants and 10 product engineering facilities around the world and employs approximately 15,500 people.

Since 2013, Wheeler has served as senior vice president, president and general manager of North America, India, and Europe water heating, A. O. Smith’s largest operating unit.

“With his extensive experience, in-depth knowledge of our businesses, and passionate interest in customer satisfaction, Kevin Wheeler is the ideal person to take on this challenging new assignment,” Rajendra said in making the announcement. “Under his leadership, our North American water heater business has achieved record sales and profitability.

“Kevin also brings extensive international experience and has been instrumental in growing that part of our business, first as managing director of our European operations, then leading our China business, and subsequently, the entry into the Indian market.”

“I am confident he will continue to be a major contributor as A. O. Smith pursues its strategy of becoming a leading global water technology company.”

Wheeler brings 23 years of company experience to his new position.  He joined A. O. Smith in 1994 as a regional sales manager for the former Water Products Company.  In 1999, he was named managing director of A. O. Smith Water Products Company B.V., headquartered in Veldhoven, the Netherlands.  In that role, he was responsible for the company’s water heater business in Europe and the Middle East.

Wheeler returned to the U.S. in 2004 to serve as vice president-international with responsibility for all European and Asian operations.  During this time, the company expanded its business in China and began evaluation of the Indian residential water heater market.

In 2007, he was named senior vice president and general manager of the U.S. retail business for the Water Products Company.  In that position, he oversaw all aspects of the U.S. retail business including sales, marketing, manufacturing, product engineering, and customer service.

Wheeler was named senior vice president and general manager of the North America, India, and Europe water heating business in 2011 and became president of that business in 2013.

He has been active in a number of industry associations, most recently serving as an at-large director of the Air-conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI).

Wheeler is a graduate of the University of Nevada-Reno and the Advanced Management Program at Harvard University.

About A. O. Smith
A. O. Smith Corporation, with headquarters in Milwaukee, Wis., is a global leader applying innovative technology and energy-efficient solutions to products manufactured and marketed worldwide.  The company is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of residential and commercial water heating equipment and boilers, as well as a leading manufacturer of water treatment products. For more information, visit

Posted in Vendor News |
Surface preparation for commercial kitchens

In 2015, it emerged that the beard of one of the most well-known works of art in the world, the 3000 year old mask of Tutankhamun, had been accidentally broken off. What made matters worse was that it had been stuck back on with the wrong type of glue and was damaged as a result. The patch-up job was fixed by reattaching the beard using a more appropriate adhesive. Just like using the right glue was important to correctly fix the requirements of the ancient mask, tricky floor renovation jobs require the right surface preparation equipment.  

Here, Scott Coffey, territory sales manager at National Flooring Equipment discusses what contractors should keep in mind when performing commercial kitchen surface preparation. 

Surface preparation for commercial flooring can be a challenging job and it is certainly not one to be underestimated. Proper surface preparation is essential for a flooring renovation project to be successful in the long term. However, not all surface preparation jobs are created equal. Particular care must be taken in locations with limited square footage, existing equipment and fixtures such as the commercial kitchen. 

Protecting equipment

When undertaking a project in commercial environments, such as laboratories and kitchens, the contractor faces a unique set of challenges. One such challenge is that it is not always possible to move expensive equipment out of the room while the surface preparation project is underway. This means that the contractor needs to find a way to protect equipment throughout the duration of the project. 

Careful analysis of the area by an experienced contractor is necessary at this stage to assess what surface preparation equipment will be most appropriate for the space limitations and the type of flooring that is to be laid down. This way, the contractor can recommend the machinery that meets the requirements of the size and complexity of the space. 

The best way to approach environments filled with existing equipment is to first eliminate all the obstacles that can be removed. The remaining equipment can then be covered up to prevent damage during renovation. Proper dust collection should be in place, because a dusty environment increases the risks of damaging specialty equipment, such as cookers or fridges. An important part of this is pairing the chosen equipment with the corresponding dust collector. 

Managing difficult spaces

In larger spaces, a high capacity shot blaster, like the 3397 10.5 inch shot blaster could be suitable, but larger equipment is unlikely to be the best choice. In a small space where it is difficult to maneuver equipment, it is best to use a smaller machine. 

For the difficult to reach areas, such as under built-in cabinets, hand grinding might be necessary. This should be assessed early on as it can be time consuming, particularly if there is a thick mil floor to remove or if a larger area requires hand grinding.  

To reach directly into difficult corners, the contractor can use a corner preparation and polishing tool, such as National Flooring Equipment’s 3535. This tool allows them to completely grind the floor to ensure preparation is correct. 

Safety and hygiene

Safety and hygiene are essential in a commercial kitchen. The finished kitchen floor must be hygienic, offering easy cleaning and be non absorbent to food grease or water.

It is also important that kitchen floors are non-slip to minimize the risks of accidents.  

A popular low cost flooring choice for kitchens is vinyl. For vinyl flooring to last, good surface preparation is essential, because vinyl has a tendency to stick to uneven surfaces and to rip. Thorough grinding or shot blasting ensures vinyl flooring lasts for longer. Other popular flooring choices include high build epoxy with a non-skid factor, or for commercial kitchens on display to the public, tile may be a more aesthetically pleasing choice. Different floor covering will require different surface preparation, so it is important to understand the specific requirements of every flooring project you work on.      

If the client has concerns about the project timeline, careful scheduling is the best option. In some projects it is possible to shut down one area at a time, but if this is not possible, careful planning becomes even more important. No matter the schedule, floor preparation in commercial kitchens should never be rushed, as it is important for it to be done using the correct equipment and materials – just like reattaching Tutankhamun’s beard.

About National Flooring Equipment: Founded in 1968, National Flooring Equipment designs and manufactures quality flooring equipment and supports it with unparalleled customer service. Almost five decades later, National’s commitment to these key principles remains as strong as the day the company began.


With dozens of patents, National Flooring Equipment boasts the most extensive product offering currently available in the surface preparation industry. National Flooring Equipment engineers and manufactures equipment based on finding solutions to industry inefficiencies. Increasing production, reducing labour and enhancing the standard of quality are the technical benchmarks from which the company designs, builds and services. Working with its most valuable asset, the customer, National’s commitment reaches beyond expectation and it’s proven in the company’s technology, innovation and customer service.


For further information, please visit


Posted in Uncategorized |

Dur-A-Flex, Inc., a leading manufacturer of commercial, industrial and institutional, seamless, resinous floor and wall systems, has added Dylan Snyder to their Technical Services Team as Technical Service Manager – West.

Snyder joins Dur-A-Flex with a wealth of practical field knowledge. Spending his entire career thus far within the coatings industry, he worked his way through the jobsite ranks from foreman to estimator to finally project manager.  With his real-world, hands-on experience, Snyder brings valuable expertise to the West Regional Team.

Snyder has extensive experience with Dur-A-Flex products, both installing the floor systems as well as managing crews. This solid foundation of proper application technique allows him to immediately serve Dur-A-Flex’s installer network and customer base.

“Dylan has had a relationship with Dur-A-Flex for many years and we were thrilled when he expressed interest in joining the team,” notes Patrick J. Meade, Vice President, Sales and Technical Support.  “We’re confident in Dylan’s ability to provide our West Coast customers with a high level of technical expertise that can only come with years of boots-on-the-ground, jobsite experience.”

Dur-A-Flex’s Technical Service team offers 24-7 technical assistance to Dur-A-Flex’s world-wide network of installers, offering offsite project planning and guidance as well as on-site project oversight without any added cost to the customer. Snyder will take over the team’s Western division, working closely with installers to insure the quality of Dur-A-Flex floor and wall systems that are being installed every day.


Dur-A-Flex, Inc. is a family owned manufacturer of high-performance, resinous floor and wall systems. With over 50 years in business, Dur-A-Flex is recognized for its ability to continually deliver new and innovative products to the coatings industry. Its unmatched level of customer service is derived from an experienced team of technical service experts as well as stringent quality processes; providing customers with the confidence that they are installing the best product for the job. Named one of the “Best Places to Work in CT” five times by the Hartford Business Journal-sponsored awards program, Dur-A-Flex considers its people its most valuable asset. For more information on

Dur-A-Flex floor and wall systems, please visit

Posted in Vendor News |