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Builders signed contracts on more homes last month than any time since early 2008, according to figures released by the Census Bureau and HUD. February seasonally adjusted annual new home sales topped out at a 539,000 annual pace, up 7.8% from a healthy 500,000 rate in January.

In percentage terms, sales increased the most in the Northeast (153% over the January rate) due to earlier weather-related declines. Inventories dropped slightly to 210,000, which, with the increased sales rate, lowered the months’ supply measure to 4.7 months. Lower inventories suggests optimism about construction growth for the year ahead. [click to continue…]


When responding to OSHA’s requests for information per the updated recordkeeping rule, make sure to keep these tips in mind:

  • State the known facts, not opinions or speculation. Speculation or opinions, particularly as to the cause of an accident or the existence of a hazard, are often misinterpreted as admissions as to what actually happened. For example, if cause is only suspected or unknown, or if the instance is still under investigation, say so.

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New residential water heater energy-efficiency standards that go into effect April 16 will require changes to the installation of many residential water heaters. Most water heaters with a capacity of 55 gallons or less will require more installation space, and those larger than 55 gallons in capacity will see additional, more significant changes. However, products manufactured before April 16 can still be bought and installed after the changeover date. [click to continue…]