Executive Council and Labor-Management Craft Committees:
New Products and New Opportunities for Members and Contractors
Journal: Issue 2 - 2008
Expanding work opportunities through new products, and selling the “green” benefits of materials installed by BAC members, were a central focus of the winter Executive Council and Labor-Management Craft Committee meetings. Toward that end, the IU, the International Council of Employers of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers (ICE) and IMI have coordinated efforts to identify new products and technologies as they are introduced into the market. This ensures that BAC members have access to the required training and certification programs and contractors have the information needed to bid on new work. At the individual Craft Committee meetings, BAC labor representatives, officers and signatory contractors discussed products and technologies in their respective crafts with industry representatives.
“One of the greatest challenges we share as labor and management representatives is staying on top of changes in the construction market, and doing everything we can to ensure that these changes create new work opportunities for BAC employers and members,” IU Secretary-Treasurer James Boland told attendees. “That means being aware, and willing to take advantage of new materials, methods, delivery systems, technology and equipment. BAC, IMI and ICE are committed to developing and promoting the training programs, and conducting research and development to increase signatory contractors’ market share and keep BAC members working.” (To learn more about training and certification programs, go to www.imiweb.org.)
Traditional materials – brick, tile and stone, for example – are also receiving renewed and positive attention from architects and owners as the U.S and Canada embrace green building practices and materials. “Given its evolution from design trend to social movement, it’s no secret that green building practices are transforming the construction industry,” Fred Kinateder, IMI Co-Chair and the President of the International Council of Employers of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers told the joint session of the BAC Executive Council and the Labor-Management Craft Committees. “And fortunately for our industry, masonry solutions present an immediate and measurable way to impact sustainable building. Thanks to strong leadership at all levels of BAC and IMI, action is being taken through a growing matrix of coordinated initiatives designed to position BAC contractors and craft workers as recognized leaders in green building.”
“To understand our opportunities in the market today, we must understand how our buildings impact sustainability,” Maria Viteri, IMI Director of Program Development, told attendees. Buildings have a huge impact on the environment, accounting for 12% of water used, 39% of carbon emission, 65% of waste generated, and 71% of electricity consumed. The products installed by BAC members can reduce a building’s impact on the environment. With 75% of all buildings scheduled to be built or renovated by the year 2037, that translates into opportunities for the masonry industry and BAC members. In 2007 alone, there was more than $12 billion in green building starts, according to McGraw Hill and the 2007 energy bill encourages a continuation of this upward trend.
“Sustainable initiatives and views are redefining the way our buildings are designed,” said Viteri. Today, there are a variety of building-specific guidelines for schools, hospitals, federal facilities and commercial buildings. The most recognized is LEED, a guideline provided by the United States Green Building Council. LEED for New Construction has four levels of certification, starting with LEED-certified at 26 points and continuing to the highest level, Platinum starting at 52 points. The products installed by BAC members and contractors contribute up to 35 points toward the Platinum score.
The BAC/IMI strategy stresses masonry not just as a material solution, but as an energy system and performance solution. IMI is actively implementing this strategy and getting the word out to architects, builders, government agencies and owners through its American Institute of Architects-approved green building presentations, as a registered education provider for the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), and through educational programs for BAC members and signatory contractors.