Selling Masonry vs. Tilt-up in the School Market
Among the many educational sessions provided during the Masonry Showcase was Chris Huckabee's much-anticipated "Selling Masonry vs. Tilt-up in the School Market" class. Huckabee gave a brief overview of the tools available to assist mason contractors in taking back their market share in this competitive market, such as cost comparisons, specific case study examples, and explaining the confusion that architects are experiencing with masonry, as well as the messages that they're receiving from other industries.
"I am convinced that if the masonry industry had a unified message, you would have business like you wouldn't believe," Huckabee said. He explained to participants that the masonry industry is the only wall system with no formal, unified message and there are too many special interests within the industry.
He then went on to explain how these two elements are affecting the architect/designer communities.
"Few architects understand masonry," he said. "People believe that masonry is too expensive, and that's just not correct." He later went on to say, "If they're using masonry properly, then it's not too expensive."
Huckabee showed a handful of the cost comparisons that his company, Huckabee Inc., has completed for its clients over the years. He stated that, for a large majority of the cost comparisons, masonry was more cost-effective from Day One. When taking into account that two-thirds of the cost of a building is spent over the life of the building, masonry wins hands down.
He then went on to explain that the wall system typically accounts for 18 to 22 percent of the total cost for a building. "Wall systems really don't cost anything," Huckabee said. "However, for architects, the number-one liability is the roof and the wall system." He explained that it's only logical for an architect to make sure they have the best quality, most dependable roof and wall systems.
"I have allergies ... I'm allergic to lawyers," he joked. "Let me tell you, masonry has really saved me over the years. It's a very forgiving material."
When asked why he was a proponent of masonry, he said he was in favor of the total building solution that masonry provided for his clients. The advantages that masonry systems provide — such as the initial competitive cost, overall lifecycle cost, maintenance savings, a more healthy environment, fewer chemicals, safety in the face of natural and man-made factors, and a decrease in legal issues — were what he favored for his clients.
In closing, Huckabee said, "I'm here to support [the masonry industry] and I believe in your message."
About the Author
Masonry, the official publication of the Mason Contractors Association of America, covers every aspect of the mason contractor profession - equipment and techniques, building codes and standards, business planning, promoting your business, legal issues and more. Read or subscribe to Masonry magazine at www.masonrymagazine.com.