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Best Practices in Contracting: Why Use Domestic Steel Pipe in the Industry –Views of Wheatland Tube - speaker, Greg Maurer


Wheatland supports the recently announced initiatives by the Trump administration to increase the use of domestically made steel in steel pipelines, increase the domestic steel continent in fabricated products to grow U.S. jobs and allow communities across the country to take advantage of a manufacturing renaissance.  Wheatland Tube had the opportunity to participate in a podcast addressing this topic.  Lauri A. Rollings, Executive Director of the Plumbing Mechanical Sheet Metal Contractors’ Alliance was the moderator and Greg Maurer, Director of Technical Services for Wheatland Tube provided his views and a few key insights on this topic.

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This year’s annual MCAA Convention for the Mechanical Contractors Association of America was a huge hit. 

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Improvements Continue at Wheatland's Council Avenue Plant

We currently are at phase 5.5 of 6 phases of the project. We started up from our winter shutdown on January 4, 2016. During the shutdown we tied in additional capacity to our straightening, facing and testing operations. Since the start-up we have increased our finished tons per week by 17%.

Additionally, our shipping capacity has improved by handling the finished bundles as opposed to our previous method of manual order breakdowns. Our average time to load the customer trucks is around 35 minutes. We also have additional capacity by adding crews and/or shifts as needed.

We continue to make improvements to our coatings and stencil through rigorous testing and process improvements.

Our in-line threader, a PMC model, has outstanding thread quality and the hex packaging with off-set coupling ends and capped ends blend nicely with our other hex finished bundles.

Our final phase will be completed over the mill shutdown in July of this year. This phase is the installation of a second MAIR plain end. This plain end will be a twin machine to the high-speed 4-spindle machine we installed last summer. The new plain end will be in line with our mill and testing operations. The newly designed plain ends have length and inspection systems. This machine will replace a 45 year old facing unit.

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The difference between SureThread CW Pipe & Import ERW Pipe

When it comes to standard pipe (and really any steel pipe or tube product), there’s always a question of quality when comparing domestic and import products. At Wheatland Tube, we’re committed to manufacturing the highest quality products, including our SureThreadTM continuous weld (CW) standard pipe. That’s why we’ve set out to educate pipe consumers (distributors and contractors) about the differences between our CW pipe and import ERW pipe, specifically when referring to the smaller diameters of ½” to 2”.

Made to ASTM A53 Type F Grade A specifications, SureThreadTM CW pipe is easier to work with than import ERW pipe because of its uniform grain structure. This makes it easier to bend, cut and thread.

The difference in quality all begins with how the pipe is manufactured.

Where import ERW pipe is cold-formed, SureThread is hot-formed. Throughout the process of CW pipe formation, the entire steel pipe is heated, not just the edges as in ERW pipe. During a process called annealing, the manufacturers heat and slowly cool the steel to reduce its brittleness. When the steel reaches 2,450° F, it is rolled into a cylindrical shape and the edges are fused together through pressure and heat. During the ERW process, the edges of the steel are heated to 2,600° F by revolving copper discs (that serve as electrodes) and fused together.

For SureThreadTM, the result is a stronger, more ductile pipe with a smooth weld seam and uniform grain pattern throughout the entire pipe. Import ERW pipe, on the other hand, is harder and more brittle with: irregular grain patterns, a bump at the weld seam, and a weld seam with different metal properties that the rest of the pipe.For contractors using standard pipe, the difference really is in the quality of pipe used. According to a survey, 70% prefer working with SureThread over import ERW pipe.

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Wheatland Tube’s Plant Revitalization Continues

Back in July, we announced the revitalization program that our Council Avenue plant is undergoing and how it will benefit our customers. Since our last post, we’ve made great progress with the upgrades, and we continue to work diligently to complete this project so our customers receive an even better product from Wheatland Tube.

Well into phase five of six total phases, here are some highlights of the project:

• We have installed and commissioned an 8-head high speeds hydro and flush system. The high speed hydro tester will help eliminate operational bottle necks, enhancing our product throughput, and improving cycle times and customer service. The flush system will improve the ID (inside diameter) of our product, and both systems will add MIC shield to our product.

• We have installed and commissioned a new 4 head PMC threader. This new threader is an upgrade from our current threading machine. It will produce a world-class thread, while the unit automatically installs thread protectors. The new threader will install thread protectors (TPs) on one end of the pipe, while a coupling is applied to the other end. The pipe is then put into a hex-bundle which helps in stacking/storing the material. 

• Improved painting, stenciling and packing expertise, resulting in an overall higher quality product.

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Wheatland Tube Plant Revitalization Will Prove Beneficial For Customers

Wheatland Tube, a division of JMC Steel Group, recognizes the issues contractors face day in and day out. As manufacturers, we experience many of the same pain points as it relates to labor, costs, quality and service. Recently, we launched a revitalization program for our Council Avenue plant in Wheatland, Pennsylvania.

By adding new equipment, we are realigning our manufacturing footprint and automating many processes throughout the facility. 100 percent invested in this project, our goal is to ensure that we continue to deliver our customers the highest quality products, specifically a product that bends, cuts, and threads easier with our SureThread™ continuous weld (CW) standard steel pipe.

This investment will create a safer, cleaner workplace; eliminate production bottlenecks; reduce work-in-process inventory levels; optimize production efficiencies; and improve customer service in the most cost-effective manner.

How will this revitalization benefit our customers?


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Who Said Aesthetics and Surface Conditions Aren’t Important?

Summer is around the corner and the construction season is getting off to a slow, but steady start. Wheatland Tube wants to assure you when you specify our galvanized mechanical tubular products that you are taking the first step in making sure that your projects are protected against corrosion and white rust. When you specify Wheatland's ThunderCoat™ or SURcoat mechanical tubing you get a product that can withstand the elements on its own.

Pre-galvanized products do not provide the "complete" protection of the SURcoat process. On the inside of a SURcoat tube, a corrosion resistant zinc rich coating is applied after the tube is welded, providing 100% corrosion protection on the interior including the weld seam. This becomes a tough baked-on coating during the in-line galvanizing process offering a combination of barrier and galvanic protection to the ID of the tube. Wheatland's SURcoat process provides all tubular products with a smooth, shiny, clean appearance that will not flake or chip during fabrication. The synergistic triple coating impedes oxidation (graying down) and flaking common to many pre-galvanized products. Our "triple coat" or "triple threat" as we tend to call it also works to combat white rust formation on the surface of the zinc coating that may be seen on some pre-galvanized products.

When you are looking for a coating that can withstand the rigors of your fabrication process look no further than our ThunderCoat coating to be your option. A heavier zinc coating is applied in-line to prepare the tube for outdoor applications or any highly corrosive environments. Twice the level of 99.99% pure zinc compared to our SURcoat product, ThunderCoat is ideal for outdoor applications. Our in-line galvanizing process gives you the benefit of the galvanic protection of a durable zinc layer and then makes it even better with the application of a conversion coating to stop white rust, and a top coat to seal the surface from the elements. While our nearly pure zinc coating is protecting the bare steel beneath it, our top coats are protecting the zinc as well. The weld is completely covered in our process, unlike pre-gal products that must try to repair the weld surface after forming.

The synergistic effects of this coating system are well established in which the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Our highly controlled, uniform OD coating provides protection that can still be easily fabricated, welded, or powder coated while maintaining superior corrosion protection.

Both our SURcoat and ThunderCoat coatings from Wheatland Tube helps to minimize cost associated with superior corrosion protection. We deliver product to you that’s ready to use without additional cost or lead times, providing you with the quality of products that you expect and deserve.

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Machinability Has A New Name: SureThread

Wheatland Tube is excited to announce the new brand name of its continuous weld (CW) pipe to SureThread. This name speaks to the excellent threading and fabrication characteristics of CW pipe. Many of our customers tell us that our CW pipe “threads like butter” and doesn’t have all of those hard spots like imported ERW pipe,” so SureThread just made sense. Wheatland Tube is North America’s only full-line producer of A53 SureThread (CW) and Electric Resistance Weld (ERW) standard steel pipe.

Wheatland Tube’s SureThread pipe’s uniform grain pattern and smooth surface cause less wear and tear on tools and dies than ERW pipe. In a recent survey of contractors, 72% of respondents indicated they believe our SureThread continuous weld pipe to be easier on their tools. A new engineering study confirms their belief as fact: Threading tools use 22% less wattage while threading continuous weld pipe (compared to ERW pipe)

Not all pipe is the same, and it’s important that when you specify SureThread pipe, by Wheatland, you can rest assure that you’re getting better efficiency, better durability and better results.

Bending, cutting and threading made easierBlack, passivate, bare, pickled and oiled, and hot-dip galvanized finishesSizes: ¼” to 4”Standard and Extra heavyProduced to ASTM A53A 53M, federal specification WW-P404 and ASME B36.10MNSF-61 compliant

When you want a pipe that offers all of these benefits and is Made in America, ask for it by name. Ask for Wheatland’s SureThread pipe and look for the blue stencil.

We are the only producer of CW pipe in North America and likely, one of the only producers of CW pipe in the world. For more information about our SureThread product call 800.257.8182 or visit our website at wheatland.com.

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Wheatland Tube has Solutions to your Tube Welding Problems

Happy New Year! It may be the dead of winter but construction season is around the corner for Wheatland and our customers. This month Wheatland would like to focus on welding processes, guidelines and safety practices. Wheatland's mechanical tubing provides excellent structural integrity making it easy to fabricate, powder coat and weld so you save on fabrication, installation and labor costs. The precision, toughness and long-lasting protection of galvanized mechanical tubing make it ideal for projects that demand superior surface finishes and precise dimensions. Users of our in-line galvanized products are much more competitive in their respective market places.Are you reluctant to weld galvanized tubing? Are you spending too much time and effort welding uncoated products, only to have them later hot-dipped galvanized? Are you seeing your products, warp, twist or crack after hot-dip galvanizing, well look no further Wheatland creates tube that is easy for you to weld in the factory and easier for you on the job site. It's really simple, the 99.99% zinc, highly uniform coating can give you a faster more dependable weld, typically without needing to remove the coating. In-line galvanized mechanical tube creates a tough, easy-to-handle product with superior corrosion resistance and should be your preferred choice for OEM applications.

Learn more about our welding designs, welding processes and safety practices by downloading our Welding Guidelines on our website http://www.wheatland.com/mechanical-tube. Also, download our Fact Sheet about welding we may have a solution to some of your reoccurring problems.

For more information about our mechanical tube products, contact your local Sales Representative at 800-733-5608.KNOW BETTER. KNOW WHEATLAND.

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Wheatland Tube is NSF-61 compliant, are you?

Wheatland Tube recognizes the importance of being lead-free, as our standard pipe supply has been lead-free for over a decade. As of January 4, 2014, all manufacturers, distributors, plumbers and builders must be in compliance with the Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act, affecting all potable plumbing products sold or installed in the United States. The new national mandate requires that every pipe, fixture, and fitting used to convey water for potable use contain less than 0.25% of lead by weight. Professionals can comply with the new law by selling and/or installing NSF-61 certified products.

The sure way to comply is to stock Wheatland Tube. Look for NSF-61 stenciled on our pipe and ensure that you are in compliance. Wheatland has achieved third party compliance through Water Quality Association (WQA) http://wqa.org on its black and galvanized pipe.

A53 CW and ERW PipeGalvanized Pipe (99.99% pure zinc)All sizes (1/8" – 6"NPS)

We have years of experience in water system component safety. Wheatland has prepared a technical briefing to help distributors and contractors understand the new regulations regarding lead levels in drinking water. Know better. Know Wheatland.

For more information, visit wheatland.com/NSF-61


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The Benefits of Steel Tube in Solar Racking Structures [Webinar]

OYA Solar Inc. (OYA), a premiere developer of Solar PV systems, recently completed the first phase of its largest solar project with Atlas Tube, a division of JMC Steel Group. On Wednesday, November 13, OYA and Solar Power World will host a webinar to provide a cost benefit analysis of using steel tube for rooftop racking structures and offer a comprehensive comparative analysis versus traditional rooftop options.  Project Background: OYA installed Canada’s largest rooftop Solar Photovoltaic plant utilizing 100% steel tube for the racking structure. The 718.08 Kilowatt (kW) solar plant, which spans over nearly 120,000 square feet of roof top space, the length of 7 hockey rinks, is the first phase of a planned 3.5 Megawatt (MW) rooftop project. This installation will be largest operating rooftop solar installation in Canada and will supply enough electricity to power 60 homes for a whole year, with an annual power output of 897,128 kilowatt-hours (kWh). Attend this webinar to learn about:  Canada’s single largest rooftop Solar PV installation. The cost benefit of using steel tube in rooftop racking structures. A comprehensive comparative analysis of using steel tube versus traditional rooftop options. Date: Wednesday, November 13, 2013 Time: 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM EST

Click here to register


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[INFOGRAPHIC] Contractors Favor American-made Steel Pipe

American-made products are a hot button when people are out of work, when the economy is sluggish, during election season and so on. The perception, and reality, is that domestic companies do more for the U.S. economy and American jobs than foreign companies. While fair competition is what this country was founded on, the upheaval of imports and decrease in exports have greatly impacted domestic manufacturers like Wheatland Tube. We've even gone to Congress to testify against unfairly priced foreign steel and have been successful. The recent resurgence of Made in the USA has become critical to Wheatland's job creation and new business expansion as dumped imports present a real threat to U.S. manufacturing.

As part of a larger, corporate initiative to identify the unique characteristics and behavioral drivers of mechanical contractors, Wheatland conducted an American-made products survey; open to participants May 1 – July 31, 2013. The study was conducted in response to what Wheatland Tube is already observing through in-depth field interviews, particularly an increase in calls from contractors looking for domestic product to support ARRA and Buy America projects. Survey participants were incentivized to take the survey by an opportunity to win an iPad® and 95 percent of participants completed the survey in a blind manner (i.e. they were unaware that Wheatland sponsored the survey).

Our latest infographic highlights the results of the survey and provides additional evidence supporting the increased demand for domestic products.

Share this infographic on LinkedIn.

Share this infographic on Twitter. 

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Seven Benefits of In-Line Galvanized Mechanical Tube

In-line galvanization offers superior flexibility and quality when compared to products made from pre-galvanized coil or post hot-dipped galvanized tube. In-line galvanizing produces a bright, virtually lead-free coating that is exceptionally durable and can stand up to the most severe fabrication processes — all without flaking or chipping.

Galvanized tube is triple coated using a high-grade zinc alloy, followed by a conversion coating designed to reduce white rust and a clear polymer that seals the tube, adding a bright, long-lasting shine. These coatings offer precision, toughness and long-lasting protection for our mechanical tubing.

In-line galvanized mechanical tube creates a tough, easy-to-handle product with superior corrosion resistance and should be your preferred choice for OEM applications.


1. 99.99% high grade zinc exterior coating – The trip-coat process starts with a high-grade 99.99% pure zinc coating. Therefore, the heavy metals that may be found in other coatings are not significant components within the in-line galvanized product.

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Guess Who’s Back in the Mechanical Tubing Market…

Wheatland Tube has over 100 years of experience in making steel tube and pipe, and is a division of the largest independent tube manufacturer in North America – JMC Steel Group.   After significant organizational changes we have renewed and galvanized our commitment to servicing the mechanical market, delivering only the best products and customer service that you deserve.

What makes us different from the competition?  Well for one, we know that every job is different, and Wheatland makes the right tube for every project; whether it’s solar racking structures, greenhouses, playgrounds and recreational equipment or agricultural and dairy products.  Our mechanical tubing provides structural integrity and unmatched corrosion resistance.  By eliminating additional secondary galvanizing as well as added freight, handling and labor, you can achieve quicker turnaround and fewer SKUs and deal with fewer vendors in your supply chain.  Wheatland’s higher strength products means you can often achieve lighter wall thickness, so more tubing can fit on a truck, reducing deliveries and associated costs.

Our tubing is easy to fabricate, powder coat and weld.  We offer custom lengths to match your specific needs, can provide value-added fabrication services upon request and deliver the mix of tubular products you require, as needed.

What sets us apart from the rest?  It’s simply The Wheatland Difference:

Exceptional Customer ServiceCost Efficiencies with Dependable Lead TimesInnovative Coatings providing 100% corrosion protection on both the OD and IDMake to Order ProductionMade in the USA – Guarantee

Wheatland will fight for your business!  Click here to find out more http://www.wheatland.com/mechanical-tube.  For more information about our mechanical tube products, contact your local Sales Representative at 800-733-5608.

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Corrosion Protection

As part of Wheatland’s initiative to educate our customers on our products and processes, we have developed this Q&A resource to help you to understand what corrosion protection is, the industry requirements and how Wheatland meets those requirements, and which those environments require special coatings for protection. We have enlisted our in-house expert, Mike Ziegler, product development, coatings and quality, to answer a few questions about this subject.

Q: In the steel pipe world, what does corrosion protection mean?

     A: Basically, the idea of corrosion protection in our industry comes down to keeping the steel of the pipes from being converted to iron oxide (rust). The main way in which this is done is to coat the pipe with something that prevents that oxidation reaction from occurring. The two most common examples of this are galvanizing and painting.

Q: What are the industry requirements for corrosion protection?

     A: Given the wide variety of end-markets that we support, that’s a complicated question to answer.  For pipe products that go into electrical applications (e.g., conduit), there are a number of requirements maintained by organizations such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL). These requirements detail the length of time that a pipe must be able to withstand being exposed to various corrosive environments without degradation. Other end-use areas — such as sprinkler pipe, gas transmission pipe, drill casings, drinking water piping and others — are also governed by various regulations that address the type of environments those pipes are likely to be exposed to as well as how long the pipe should be able to withstand those environments. For example, the industry requirement for corrosion resistance in electrical conduit is 600 hours of exposure to a saltwater mist without any visible red rust formation on the surface.

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Top Five Reasons Solar Manufacturers Switch to Steel

Patriot Solar, a racking manufacturer, made the switch from aluminum to steel to become a more practical, sound design choice for customers. With over eight million steel structures worldwide, they have established functionality, durability, availability, capacity and cost effectiveness as motivators behind their switch to steel.

In a recent webinar, hosted by Solar Power World, Patriot Solar provides solar manufacturers a strong insight into the benefits of switching from aluminum to steel.

FunctionalityYou have to be able to adapt to your customers’ requirements and be able to fulfill their needs to bring a solar project to reality. Steel is able to adjust to these specific requirements allowing racking manufacturers to change on-the-go and meet customers’ needs. The flexible material offers multiple post options, various sizes gauges, thickness and lengths and easier installation processes.DurabilityWhile properly alloyed aluminum can equal the yield and strength of steel, steel possesses approximately three times the modulus of elasticity (E) of aluminum. Thus, under load, identically-sized steel members deflect only a third as much as aluminum. For certain applications, this stiffness is important.When multiple parties and companies are committing to a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA), it is important to be confident that the structure will hold and withstand throughout that 25-year PPA period. In fact, steel has been used in applications that are well over 50 years old and still standing.AvailabilityRacking manufactures need to work with suppliers who have the product volume and location availability to meet their needs.  According to the U.S. Geological Survey, in 2012, U.S. steel production was 91 million tons, while U.S. aluminum production was 2 million tons. Furthermore, about 48 companies produce raw steel at about 108 minimills. Five companies operate about 10 primary aluminum smelters, four of which were temporarily closed in 2012. CapacityAnyone in the business knows that solar projects never begin on their scheduled time. The solar construction industry is a hurry-up-and-wait scenario. Steel’s production capabilities result in high volume of materials that meet the strict deadlines and project needs for customers. Wheatland Tube products are rolled in the shortest cycle times, every three to four weeks, resulting in reduced lead times.  As the largest independent pipe and tube manufacturer, Wheatland Tube has the capacity to meet large requirements or produce standard sizes in multiple facilities, so they can deliver the pipe and tube solutions you need as soon as you need them. CostCompared to steel, aluminum requires larger or more members to support to same load. With steel tubing, you can reduce the amount of parts required in your design, which affects your labor and installation time, and ultimately saves you money.

“When we switched to galvanized steel rails for our racking solutions, we were able to span a further gap due to the strength of the steel,” said Sam Jaquette, “which brought a lower price per watt over racking, that we passed on to our end customer.”

Making the switch to steel also provides additional value such as integrated wire management, a singular set of hardware to connect rails to truss and environmental benefits, such as recyclability.

Learn more about making the switch and watch the full webinar here: http://www.solarpowerworldonline.com/webinars/

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Product Information and Educational Tools Go Mobile

In an information-driven society, it is only fitting that the needs of professionals in the plumbing, mechanical and fire safety industries have access to technical and product information quickly.  We’ve responded to this need in its recent release of the Wheatland Pipe Catalog app for the iPad®.

The advantages of the growing mobile application offerings are tremendous. With the launch of Wheatland Pipe Catalog, valued steel pipe sales teams and customers are now equipped with up-to-date product-specific and educational material, accessible anywhere, anytime.

The new, user-friendly app will give professionals access to Wheatland’s steel pipe product information, in addition to the latest technical papers and videos. The Wheatland Pipe Catalog app allows users to:

View and share the Wheatland steel pipe product catalogAccess educational videos, briefings and fact sheets about Wheatland productsLook up product specifications for Wheatland productsReference code compliance information about Wheatland productsView and share the entire library of Wheatland pipe and fire sprinkler brochures and submittal sheets

Upon downloading the Wheatland Pipe Catalog app, professionals in the plumbing, mechanical and fire protection industries will have convenient access to Wheatland's steel pipe product information, in addition to the latest technical papers and videos.

To download the new Wheatland Pipe Catalog app for iPad, visit the App StoreSM. Wheatland’s first interactive iPad app, Wheatland Electric Catalog, is also available for download.

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Standard Pipe Showdown: Continuous Weld vs. Electric Resistance Weld

Nick LaMonto, piping superintendent at Chicago-based Atomatic Mechanical Services, threads pipe every day. As an experienced piping professional, he knows the importance of tool longevity and what it can cost when working with an inferior product.

We put Nick’s machines to the test, threading both types of steel standard pipe: continuous weld and electric resistance weld.


First up, Nick threads continuous weld standard pipe.

“It cuts awful nice,” Nick said, “without any hard spots.”

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What the DoD Proposed Military Construction Budget Means for Contractors

In February, the Department of Defense released its budget request for the 2013 fiscal year. Of particular note was the allocation for Military Construction (MilCon).

According to the DoD, MIL-CON accounts "provide funds for new construction, construction improvements, planning and design, and host nation support."

Additionally, "projects funded by these accounts include facilities for operations, training, maintenance, research and development, supply, medical care and force protection, as well as unaccompanied housing, utilities infrastructure and land acquisition."

The DoD's proposed request for MilCon in the FY 2013 budget was approximately $11.2 billion, a decrease from the enacted FY 2012 budget of approximately $13.6 billion and the enacted FY 2011 budget of approximately $17.4 billion (see table 1). The comptroller stated that the FY 2013 MilCon investment is "less than investments in prior years until the Department reassesses its investment strategy next year, when the impacts of forced structure changes on infrastructure requirements has been assessed."

The DoD breaks down MilCon into three main components: General MilCon, Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) and Family Housing. General MilCon (FY 2013 proposed $9.1 billion) consists of the "beddown" of weapons systems, providing operational and training facilities, and recapitalizing aging facilities and modernizing facilities. BRAC (FY 2013 proposed $0.5 billion) funds environmental and caretaker costs for properties not yet conveyed in prior rounds. Family Housing (FY 2013 proposed $1.7 billion) funds construction, improvements, operation and maintenance of government-owned family housing worldwide to provide quality, affordable housing to the U.S. military and their families.The top five states for MilCon and Family Housing per total obligational authority - as well as two of their main projects of note - for the DoD's FY 2013 budget are as follows:

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