Training News

Designing Future Work Opportunities

Journal: Issue 2 - 2010

IMI training and onsite quality control services guaranteed a job for a Chicago BAC contractor tackling the area’s first loadbearing application of autoclaved aerated concrete (AAC) on the Richton Park Community Center.

If you don’t like change, you really won’t like irrelevance.” That stark statement from an economist underscores a painful lesson from the recession: the world and the workplace are going to look different.

To see what the world of masonry is going to look like, IMI constantly searches the horizon to identify trends and create training and industry development programs that will claim tomorrow’s jobs for BAC members and contractors. The next step is informing architects, engineers and construction managers of the advantages of using Union masonry for those new applications, which IMI does in collaboration with BAC, contractor associations and industry partners.

“We have to both take and make every opportunity to prepare our members
for a more competitive workforce,” says IU President James Boland.

“Every contractor interested in working on a LEED project needs to attend” the IMI sustainable certification program, says one Michigan attendee.

One of the biggest design issues of today and tomorrow is sustainability. To help BAC contractors successfully bid and manage green projects, IMI launched the Sustainable Masonry Certification Program, which covers all BAC crafts: brick, tile, stone, terrazzo, marble, cement, plaster and restoration. Scores of BAC contractors all over the country have been certified, with hundreds more slated for certification in 2010. “I am amazed at how much I learned,” says Dave Sherman from Brand Contracting Co., who attended a Michigan session in April.

Sustainability and energy conservation are also driving the trend toward the building envelope approach to manage air flow, moisture migration, vapor and energy. Designers and construction managers look for a trade to handle the entire system properly, from wall to insulation to cladding, and IMI works to position BAC members and contractors as building envelope experts through upgrade training, contractor orientation and technical seminars.

New Products, New Jobs

IU President James Boland addresses members of Locals 4 and 5 NJ and student designers (top) at the New Jersey Institute of Technology’s impressive design build challenge (bottom).

During a lighter moment at the competition, Michael Schmerbeck of Speranza Brickwork and past president of the Masonry Contractors of New Jersey, presents a New Jersey Devils hockey jersey to President Boland.

IMI programs like this spring’s Masonry Day in Connecticut offer designers a better understanding of new products and design trends. “It’s a great way for everybody to get together and understand how masonry can play an important role going forward,” says Gerald Marotti, President of BAC Local 1 Connecticut. “They leave inspired, and they find that we can meet the demands of whatever an architect or owner needs.”

In Chicago, IMI training and jobsite assistance guaranteed a job for a Union contractor for the area’s first loadbearing application of autoclaved aerated concrete (AAC). Along with an intensive certification class for members of Illinois Locals of the Administrative District Council 1, IMI provided jobsite quality control, both of which went right into the specifications. It sparked so much interest among other designers that IMI organized a jobsite tour.

As more designers push for quality control, IMI upgrade training and certifications provide that critical reassurance that helps win work. Members of Local 4 Indiana/Kentucky, for example, have a series of certification classes—part classroom, part hands-on—that covers grout and reinforced masonry, flashing, safety and more.

In New York City, where a rash of scaffold accidents prompted tougher oversight, IMI developed a program that has kept thousands of members of Locals 1 New York and 7 New York/New Jersey safely working.

This year’s New Jersey Institute of Technology design build challenge welcomed IU President James Boland and Executive Vice President Gerard Scarano, and featured future designers working alongside members of Locals 4 and 5 New Jersey of the New Jersey Administrative District Council. The opportunity to work together is enough to convince students just how important skilled craftworkers are to fulfilling their designs. For Michael Schmerbeck, Executive Vice President of Speranza Brickwork, Inc. and immediate past president of the Masonry Contractors of New Jersey, seeing the masonry professionals and designers collaborate and progress “is one of the most unforgettable moments.”

For projects today or tomorrow, IMI training and technical expertise and skilled craftworkers make BAC members the right ones for the job.

IMI scaffold safety classes have helped keep members of Locals 1 NY and 7 NY/NJ working safely and in compliance with new regulations in New York City.

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