There is nothing like a recession to sharpen your focus on priorities. For IMI, that begins and ends with keeping BAC members working. To bring BAC members through this recession and prepare for greater market share as the construction economy rebounds, IMI is focusing on the following core priorities.
The key to gaining more work opportunities for BAC members, in traditional or emerging markets, is IMI Training. That covers everyone from pre-job apprentices to journey-level members who want to expand their resumes and improve their job prospects through cross-craft and specialty training. They take advantage of IMI upgrade and certification training programs in safety and health, grout and reinforced masonry, air barriers, and flashing – all of which translate into the quality assurance that today’s construction users demand.
The structural masonry market got a big shot in the arm from new engineering software developed for IMI, which offers the dramatically shorter design times and more detailed analysis that designers are not just embracing but writing into their specifications, backed by the assurance of IMI technical support and Grout Certification training for BAC members. To date, the structural masonry push has provided hundreds of thousands of new work hours for members.
Behind the scenes, IMI’s leadership roles in key codes and standards organizations have led to numerous victories that protect and expand the use of masonry, including:
This year’s biggest code news is in tile. IMI’s success in adding exterior porcelain tile to the International Building Code (IBC) helped establish, once and for all, tile’s proper place on building exteriors. Further tile code advancements include new language matching minimum grout joint and tile, sharing responsibility with manufacturers for relocating movement joints, new sloped floor lippage standards, and defeat of an attempt to get wallboard back in the IBC as a wet area substrate. IMI also put language on the ballot for upcoming decisions on floor flatness, large tile running bonds, and other changes.
IMI code work may not be glamorous, but it can have an exciting impact, like new building code language that supports exterior porcelain tile.
In a classic case of “what’s old is new again,” masonry materials are increasingly attractive solutions to the biggest design trend of today and tomorrow: sustainability. Promoting their inherently green attributes, IMI works closely with designers to show them how masonry provides the best sustainable solutions. BAC contractors also get a significant head start through the IMI Sustainable Masonry Certification Program, where they learn how to bid and manage green projects in all BAC crafts: brick, tile, stone, terrazzo, marble, cement, plaster, and restoration. Hundreds of appreciative contractors all over the country have been certified in this popular program, which recently won the coveted seal of approval by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), developer of the LEED rating system.
The green sector has tremendous promise for creating jobs, in both new construction and retrofit. It has also focused attention on high-performing building envelopes that control air flow, moisture penetration, vapor flow, and thermal performance. Through upgrade training, contractor orientation, and design education, IMI positions BAC members and contractors as the building envelope experts in control, which helps union contractors bid this larger scope of work and gain more work hours for BAC members.
Masonry was part of the sustainable design strategy for Pittsburgh’s 1.4 million-square-foot Children’s Hospital project, which included renovation and new construction. IMI worked with everyone on the project teams to achieve sustainability goals. For Local 9 PA members, employed on the project by signatory contractors Franco Masonry, Allegheny Installations, and J.P. Phillips, Inc., that translated into thousands of work hours.