MCAA Key Accomplishments 2010-2011
Your membership dues at work
By Bob Birdsell
Membership dues to the Mason Contractors Association of America (MCAA) is the largest source of funding that we have. Its importance cannot be understated - it is a vital part of the association which enables us to continue to fight for our industry on behalf of all mason contractors. Our involvement on all fronts from regulatory reform to continuing education and training help to ensure the survivability and viability of our industry for generations to come. These are just some of the key accomplishments supported by 2010-2011 membership dues:
EPA's Favorable Ruling Regarding Masonry Built Fireplaces and EmissionsThe Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently decided not to pursue the inclusion of masonry site-built fireplaces in the rewriting of the New Source Performance Standard (NSPS) for new residential wood heaters.
The EPA had been advocating regulation of emissions on all masonry site-built fireplaces constructed in the U.S. This would have been a major change from the original NSPS published in 1988 that exempted fireplaces. The Mason Contractors Association of America (MCAA) has worked with the Brick Industry Association (BIA) and other interested parties to educate EPA representatives about the masonry site-built market and the implications of regulating that market.
A key component in the EPA's decision was the agreement by the MCAA to develop an educational series on the proper construction and use of masonry site-built fireplaces to be used in the Masonry Certification program. Look for more information regarding these program details and developments in the months ahead.
MCAA Now Offers a Members-Only Perk ProgramWe've recently partnered with BizUnite to offer the "Members Marketplace" as a no cost, added-benefit for our association members. Participation in this program will allow you to save an average of 20% off your operational expenses with cost-savings programs from vendors like Sprint, OfficeMax, Goodyear, Hyatt, Avis, Grainger, and many, many more! As a member, you get access to 40+ business service programs specifically designed to reduce costs and increase profitability. But the program benefits aren't just exclusively for the owners or principals of our member companies. Employees will also be able to take advantage of these money saving benefits! All you need is your company's User ID and Password to get started.
Our Educational Webinars (brought to you by MCAA's South of 40) Reached New HeightsThe MCAA is proud of our weekly webinar's. Over 24 separate topics have been discussed since it's original launch back in July of 2010. The program continues to develop a following and the offerings are getting more and more diverse. In May of 2011, we implemented the ability for members to access these webinars On-Demand, 24 hours a day seven days a week. If you have not had an opportunity to attend one, you need to do so. The information is fantastic.
Regulatory OverkillThis past year the MCAA has been dealing with the recent rash of overly aggressive regulation of our industry. Just this past year alone, the MCAA had worked to abate a potential EPA ban on masonry wood burning fireplaces, an ASTM issue which was not in the best interest of contractors, identifying potential trends in OSHA action and testifying on behalf of contractors on the impact a new OSHA silica rule would have on mason contractors.
Early in 2010, the MCAA worked to help defeat a change to an ASTM standard, which would have cost contractors more dollars and ultimately would have created confusion in the architectural community. As a result of this issue, the MCAA was able to get larger contractor participation levels on ASTM and now has a very nice voice that we have never had before on ASTM. Our group meets when new ballots are sent out to review and discuss ballots and the impact they will have on our industry. As a result of this, the MCAA has become more proactive and has worked with supplier groups in assessing proposed changes so we can voice concerns before they go to ballot.
The MCAA Safety Committee held it's very first safety forum this past April. Over 20 contractor companies participated in the forum and discussed safety issues they have seen in the industry. While identifying OSHA trends is an important aspect of the forum, an even greater component is the ability of our members to share safety initiatives and to discuss how they have resolved and improved safety on their job sites. These forums are free to members and all members are strongly encouraged to participate.
The MCAA has been tracking OSHA and their potential new rule on silica. While this was pretty quiet most of 2010-2011, it began movement again in April of this year. We are expecting a new rule very soon. In April, MCAA was a part of a coalition to testify before the Office of Management and Budget (which reports to President Obama) on the impact a silica rule would have on our industry. The coalition has requested that if the rule is issued that construction be initially exempt due to the inherent difficult conditions of applying such a rule to a difficult job site environment.
We thank you for your support!
About the Author
Bob Birdsell was the Director of Membership for the Mason Contractors Association of America.