MCAA Regional Report, Region E
Presented at the 2018 MCAA Convention
By Brian Grant
Iowa - Ted Erickson
Kansas - No State Chair
Minnesota - Dick Dentinger
Missouri - No State Chair
Nebraska - No State Chair
North Dakota - No State Chair
South Dakota - No State Chair
Workforce Development Activities
MinnesotaAccording to Doug Schroder, President of the Bricklayers & Allied Craftworkers Local Union 1 MN/ND the total bricklayer hours worked in 2017 totaled 2,377,421. That is a decrease of 0.97%.
Jody Paulson, Director of Recruiting and Administration for the Bricklayers Local 1 MN/ND, oversees organizing and managing the apprenticeship training center in a western suburb of Minneapolis. The facility offers Apprentice and Journeymen level classes, as well as, hosts workshops for architects, engineers, high school and college students, and community non-profit groups. The BAC Outreach Programs serve high school youth including general student population and at-risk youth.
Journey level and Outreach Classes total 293 apprentices. 188 apprentices are actively participating at the New Hope Training Center. The remaining 57 are working towards completing their apprenticeship hours out of greater Minnesota sites in Rochester and Duluth.
MissouriThe 2017 Bricklayers’ apprentice program has approximately 170 apprentices in the state of MO with approximately 50 Mason Tender apprentices, as well.
The area is trying to expand the use of Job Corps, a no-cost education and career technical training program administered by the U.S. Department of Labor that helps young people ages 16 to 24 improve the quality of their lives through career technical and academic training.
MinnesotaBased on bricklayer hours reported, masonry construction continued strong in 2017. Business opportunities look to continue strong through 2018 as the architects indicate there is still work in the pipeline.
The MC&MCA and the Bricklayers Local # of MN/ND agreed to include a mandatory five cents per hour bricklayer hours worked in the 11 metro counties of the state to be collected from the contractor using union bricklayers. Since May 1 these funds are being collected, along with fringe funds by a hired third party, with a monthly electronic transfer to the MC&MCA bank.
Major remodeling of the State Capitol was completed in time to open for the 2017 Legislative session. A new state office building next to the Capitol, a new St. Paul Saints baseball stadium opened in May, and the new US Bank Vikings stadium in downtown Minneapolis is open for football and other events. This year’s Super Bowl will be played in the US Bank Viking stadium drawing thousands of fans to the area and millions of dollars to our local economy. These four projects fueled hundreds of jobs for bricklayers, cement masons, and laborers. MC&MCA contractor members, both generals and specialty contractor conducted work on all four major projects! We have one more stadium to build! This one—for soccer—will be managed by Mortenson. The $120 million stadium will seat 20,000 people and be located on a 10-acre site in St. Paul. It is expected to be ready in 2018.
The Legislature passed a large bonding bill in 2017 providing additional dollars for schools, public buildings, roads, bridges, and light rail transit lines. In 2018 a Republican House and Senate will have to work with Democrat Governor Mark Dayton to address bonding, budget, and policy issues—all leading up to the November 2018 election.
Residential construction in Minnesota for 2018 remains strong with significant activity in the two downtown areas and along light rail lines. New and remodeled residential construction in downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul are fueling urban growth and vitality!
MissouriAs of October 2017, Missouri’s unemployment rate is looking exceptionally good at 3.5 percent, which is down 1.7 percent from last year. It is also lower than the nation’s rate at 4.1 percent—a 17-year low. Missouri is significantly under the Midwest regional unemployment rate of 4.9 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Ninety percent of all bricklayers are employed.
Bricklayer hours for the St. Louis area are 4.6% higher than they were last year at this same time.
Commercial contractors are reporting a slowing in their schedule, with gaps. However, they still report a strong backlog. Residential Contractors are very busy with a strong backlog.
Masonry Marketing Activities
MinnesotaThe MC&MCA continued its strong marketing efforts in 2017. Marketing Director Elena Peltsman, an architect by training and experience, made over 60 presentations to architectural firms, owners, developers, and general contractors promoting masonry products and workmanship. Our 2017 topic was entitled: “What architects need to know about Masonry Preservation and Restoration.” Peltsman contacts architectural firms statewide, sets up the lunch seminars, brings lunch for attendees, does the presentation, and offers AIA continuing education credits. Additional presentations are also being made to owners, developers, general contractors, schools, and other public owners to promote masonry construction industry in Minnesota. These efforts are paid for by member dues and marketing contributions. The 2018 presentation will be entitled: “Inspirational Masonry: Back to the Future.”
The MC&MCA hosted a “Masonry Street” project at the Minnesota AIA convention held in mid-November in Minneapolis. MC&MCA sponsored two booths and organized 14 MC&MCA contractor and supplier companies to locate their booths on Masonry Street in the exhibit hall. Over three days’ hundreds of architects and other attendees were treated to masonry magic including hand-on presentations lead by the Bricklayers Local #1 of MN and ND.
The MC&MCA remains active in the structural masonry promotional effort working with the BAC bricklayer’s union, the IMI, Laborers, and LECET. This effort targets structural masonry engineers and engineering firms. MC&MCA Marketing Director Elena Peltsman and Mark Swanson of IMI work together and retain the services of IMI structural consultant Sam Rubenzer. All four of the union representatives serve on the MC&MCA Marketing Committee.
The MC&MCA once again (over 35 years in a row now) sponsored the Excellence in Concrete & Masonry Design and Construction Awards contest. MC&MCA contractor members entered over 40 projects in nine categories. On site judging took place in September and was done by invited architects. They enjoyed the experience of seeing first hand some of the best masonry buildings in the state. The nine winners have been notified and are encouraged to invite owners, architects, and company leaders to the awards banquet to be held in February 2018. Our award dinner social features a guest speaker, leadership awards, and a silent auction.
MC&MCA and other industry organizations feel strongly that the marketing and promotional efforts need to occur during both a strong building market and during slow economic times.
Recruitment Efforts: The MC&MCA, working with our union friends, are active in worker recruitment efforts including Construct Tomorrow and other forums and opportunities.
The Masonry Institute of St. Louis (“MISL”) continues this year with the 2017-2018 season.
This season’s schedule includes:
- Phillip J. Samblanet (The Masonry Society): Development of Structural Masonry Standards in the U.S.; Common Sense Approach to Masonry Quality Assurance
- David A. Gillick (Masonry Structural Coalition): Concrete Masonry Storm Shelters
- Darrell W. McMillian (MISL): Structural Masonry Detailing: TMS 602 Specification Tolerances; Structural Masonry Detailing: Concentrated Loads and Lintel Options; Residential Concrete Masonry Foundations
- Robert E. Campbell (International Masonry Institute): Innovative Brick Building Design
- Michael Schuller (Atkinson-Noland & Associates): 3D Visualization Tools for Documenting Masonry
- Thomas Young (Northwest Concrete Masonry Association): Energy Impacts of Concrete Masonry Walls
- Russ Peterson (Ensoltech): Direct Design of Masonry with Software
- J. Patrick Rand (North Carolina State University): Sustainable Cladding: Comparison of Masonry and Other Materials
- Fernando S. Fonseca (Brigham Young University): Structural Lightweight Grout Mixture Design
- Tom Cuneio (CAD BLOX): Model Driven Design and Construction for Masonry
- David T. Biggs (Biggs Consulting Engineering): Structural Design of Pre-Insulated Concrete Masonry; Historic Masterpieces: Churches, Castles, Colosseums
Sponsorship of these bi-monthly seminars were quickly snapped up by area suppliers, since it provides affordable promotional exposure to 100-160 design professionals per session.
MISL’s Technical Director, Darrell McMillian, serves on the National BIM-M Initiative Executive Committee and is now the President of The Masonry Society. He serves on various industry committees, such as the Masonry Alliance for Codes and Standards, and Structural Engineers Association of Kansas and Missouri.
McMillian was also proud to announce the engineering course on structural masonry he pioneered over the last few years at the Missouri University of Science and Technology (Rolla) has been added to the permanent course catalog and is offered again in 2018. The course, in its sixth year, had an enrollment of 20 students.
The MCA/OSHA Partnership continues to flourish, commencing its 15th year of existence, with six contractor partners. Partners meet once a quarter with the OSHA Area Director professional to discuss best practices. A different general contractor safety professional is invited each quarter to promote masonry and to showcase the level of expertise of the mason contractors who attend.
The recently formed Masonry Structural Coalition continues to focus on builders, owners and designers in the Missouri and Southwestern Illinois region to convince them that load-bearing masonry can meet their budgets and schedules, all while providing energy efficiency, durability, safety and aesthetic value to their projects. Masonry Institute of Southern Illinois Executive Director, Lynn Vasquez, area mason contractors and suppliers are active in the coalition. Elevators and stairways have been expanding with CMU, as well as school gymnasiums to meet the storm shelter requirements of ICC 500.
The coalition continues to have success in getting the attention of school designers and is proud of its involvement in the Fulton State Hospital containing one million blocks.
MinnesotaOur main competition continues to be precast wall systems. The battle ground continues around big box stores and commercial buildings. Our masonry promotional efforts in Minnesota of working with architects, engineers, developers, and owners is to educate and inform decision makers as to the long-term benefits of masonry products and quality workmanship.
MissouriWhat we have learned in the past three years is that the “Premier Wall” is the most competitive wall system. We know this from builders and architects. The masonry wall systems gives the highest and best value for the construction dollar.
The Bricklayers’ Union Local No. 1 of Missouri and the Eastern Missouri Laborers’ District Council offer market recovery programs, funded by union membership dues. Contractors apply for these and apply to the hourly wage, material expenses or fringe benefit obligations.
About the Author
Brian Grant is the president and owner of Grant Contracting Co. in St. Louis, Mo. He has served as MasonrySystems.org Committee Chairman and Safety Committee Chairman for the Mason Contractors Association of America.