Dubai sets record for number of high-rise towers in a month. Permits to build eight high-rise towers in various parts of Dubai, UAE, with a total footprint of 11.3 million sf, were issued in December 2006, said Khalid Mohammed Saleh, director of Dubai's Building Department. It's a record for high-rises even in the high-rise construction mecca that is Dubai.USG completes $3.95 billion asbestos settlement commitment. Building materials maker USG Corp. said it made a final payment of $3.05 billion into its asbestos personal injury trust, ending the Chicago-based manufacturer's financial obligations under a $3.95 billion lawsuit settlement announced in January 2006.Google hires McDonough to design Silicon Valley campus.Google Inc. has commissioned William McDonough to make preliminary designs of its planned offices at the NASA Ames Research Center near Mountain View, Calif., according to two sources familiar with the deal. The assignment signals Google's intentions to go green at the facility, an ambitious complex that could encompass up to 1 million sf of office space.AIA: Billings increased 11% in the last 3 years, reached $360 billion. Billings at U.S. architecture firms increased 11% between 2002 and 2005 to reach $28.7 billion annually, while the total construction value of projects that architecture firms directly designed approached $360 billion, according to the American Institute of Architects' “Business of Architecture” survey.Chicago landmarks commission makes rare rejection. In a surprise move, the Commission on Chicago Landmarks recently rejected a proposal to dismantle and reconstruct a landmark building. City officials had supported the plan, arguing that it was an economically viable way to save the Farwell Building, on Michigan Ave. Preservationists contended it would make a mockery of Chicago's landmarks ordinance, which calls for historic buildings to be preserved in their entirety. For more: www.BDCnetwork.com.