• Architecture, engineering firms earn highest profits in seven years. Architecture, engineering, and environmental consulting firms have earned their highest profit margins in seven years, a new report shows. ZweigWhite's newly published 2006 Financial Performance Survey of Architecture, Engineering, Planning & Environmental Consulting Firms indicates the median pre-tax, pre-bonus profit on net service revenue is now a record 12.5%, up from its previous high of 11.1%, set in 2001.
• Bush bans taking private property for commercial interests. One year after the Supreme Court's controversial Kelo decision, President Bush has signed an executive order banning the federal government from taking private property for purposes other than those that benefit the general public. The recently signed “Protecting the Property Rights of the American People” order puts strict limits on the federal government's ability to seize property for private development.
• AIA endorses private hospital rooms. Private rooms would be standard in new U.S. hospitals under new recommendations from the American Institute of Architects that say building design can help curb infectious diseases and medical errors. Recommendations on hospital design from the AIA are used as the basis for regulations in 42 states, and private rooms are increasingly favored by hospitals nationwide to address safety, noise, and privacy issues.
• Several “dry states” among the top states for mold risk. If you think your next project in Arizona, Nevada, or Oklahoma is safe from mold claims, think again. These states, along with Kansas, are among the dry climate states to make Greenguard Environmental Institute's list of top 10 states at risk for mold. Texas topped the ranking, which compared mold losses on insurance claims with premiums paid on property and liability coverage in all 50 states.
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