National Initiatives Will Build a Stronger Industry
At the recent Mason Contractors Association of America (MCAA) Midyear Meeting, the Association conducted several strategy sessions aimed at increasing contractor involvement in marketing the use of masonry materials by construction customers. During discussions, we heard reports on how the industry spends millions of dollars to market various masonry materials, but as an industry we have lost market share. We also heard reports on how construction as a whole has grown, while masonry's share of the construction pie has remained stagnant.
The MCAA Board is very concerned with these trends; therefore, the Board has approved the establishment of a national fund dedicated to expanding the use of masonry and educating designers on the benefits of implementing masonry systems in their designs.
Mason contractors have a unique role in the industry; we are in contact with construction customers almost on a daily basis and have an unbiased opinion regarding masonry materials. Mason contractors are also the ultimate responsible party, whose name is signed at the bottom of a masonry construction contract. For that reason, we need to be more involved in selling masonry.
The Board's first step is to ask MCAA members to help establish this new marketing fund through a dues assessment. Once contractors step up to establish this new fund, we will then reach out to our friends in the supply side of the industry who also have a vested interest in our success in selling more masonry.
For too long, we have watched as our markets have been eroded by tilt-up and precast systems. We watched as competitive systems positioned their products against masonry and made false statements against masonry. The time has come to take the initiative and fight back. We know our building systems and materials are better. It's time to take back those masonry markets that are rightfully ours.
That brings me to a second initiative that the MCAA Board approved. For years, our industry has watched less qualified mason contractors bid low on projects and then deliver a poor final product. When this happens, we all get a bad name and our customers vow to never use masonry again. Our Board believes that the solution is to offer a National Mason Contractor Certification Program to help raise masonry construction quality, while also helping quality mason contractors win more jobs.
Our Association has already met with customer groups to seek their involvement in the development and implementation of a National Mason Contractor Certification Program. Construction customers are interested in guaranteeing the delivery of a quality masonry project and ensuring that a quality contractor is selected to do the work. And they are interested in helping MCAA shape this new initiative. We believe that our industry's customers will begin to specify the use of Certified Mason Contractors and MCAA will be there to deliver.
In the February issue of Masonry, we will provide more information on our new National Mason Contractor Certification Program, with an official launch of the program at the MCAA annual convention in Orlando later that month.
I think you will agree that it's time that we get serious about raising the standard of our profession and working to expand our masonry markets. And it's the vehicle through which our mason contractors will ensure the future vitality of our profession and industry.
About the Author
Frank Campitelli is the president and owner of Baltimore Masonry, Inc. Campitelli has volunteered countless hours for the masonry industry and spent eight years on the MCAA Executive Board, including two years as President from 2006-2008. He was presented with the C. DeWitt Brown Leadman Award for exemplary leadership in advancing the masonry industry in 2009.