MCAA Communities: An Update
In my previous article, I covered the basic layout of the MCAA Communities Board, its functionality, and some of the perks and benefits members can gain from optimizing its use. In this article, however, we’re taking an in-depth look at some of the most recent threads in the Communities Forum to see some actual examples of how digital community engagement can solve real-life problems on the jobsite.
Challenges and problems abound during masonry work. With so many different components, materials, tools, projects, and plans, it’s easy for things to go awry. Even with a detailed, well-designed plan and skilled employees, nature has a way of throwing a wrench into things. Maybe you have a wall that you just can’t seem to get to plumb no matter how hard you try, or perhaps you’ve recently been having some issues with mortar stickiness that may or may not have to do with the temperature. Whatever the case may be, you may not always have a trusted mentor to solve these problems; or maybe you already have, and they’re stumped too! The MCAA Communities board exists to address this very issue!
COVID 19 and Water
This discussion topic was originally posted two months ago and is all the more relevant as the COVID-19 pandemic is still very active in the United States while we are well into the hot summer months. The original question, “How is everyone handling providing water to employees during this Covid-19 pandemic?” was posted by mason Casey Allison of R. B. Weatherman Masonry, Inc. in Chouteau OK.
Within 24 hours, Zach Everett, Corporate Safety Director of Brazos Masonry, Inc. in PLACE, Texas, had responded that his company was doing “nothing but bottled water” for safety concerns. A conversation then followed this exchange with other members sharing their procedures and further adding to the Discussion with questions of their own.
Multiple people agreed that pallets of water were the preferred choice, with mason Kyrle Knouse commenting this was an outstanding question. After explaining that his company too had been utilizing bottled water, recently cold was becoming a more frequent request. While he suggested, he may purchase “everyone their own Personal lunch bag/cooler and some reusable ice packs so they can keep the water cold and keep it with them throughout the day. I certainly would like to hear what others are doing also.” Kryle followed up by asking how others were keeping their stores and pallets of water cold, which prompted several suggestions from other users and even an offer of additional resources.
In the final response to the thread, Executive Director of the Mason Contractors Association of California (MCAC) responded to Greg Adams of Lang Masonry & Restoration Contractors, Inc. in Waterford, Ohio’s request for a Heat Stress plan with a link to a sample Heat Stress plan they use in California. In just one exchange, nine people from California to Oklahoma, Texas, and beyond were able to quickly and seamlessly exchange information, in turn keeping employees safer and more informed.
High School Masonry Programs
The discussion board is not just for jobsite-related inquiries, as demonstrated by this equally popular recent thread. Andrew Jenkins of Jenkins Masonry, Inc. in Chattanooga, Tennessee, kicked off the discussion with a simple question: if “ anyone had success with starting high school masonry programs?” He went on to explain that in his home state of Tennessee, they have some “masonry” programs at the high school level, but they were still relatively new and that he was working with a brand new program starting in Bradley County, Tennessee.
He then appealed for any “advice or general course requirements they would like to share for high school programs? We have a 3-year apprentice course that we teach, but I feel like it would need to be toned back some for high school age. It seems like young masons are harder to come by, and I feel this would be a good program to start.”
It seems Jenkins came to the right place. Within a day, responses came pouring in with offers of networking connections, resources and offers for help, including one from Curtis C. Hoover, Masonry Instructor at the Center of Applied Technology North in Severn, Maryland. Hoover advised that he used the NCCER curriculum with his students, and for high school, students use Masonry I and Core curriculums.
He concluded his post with an open invitation for more questions and an offer of help at any time. While these two men are located in entirely different parts of the county and may or may not have met in person before, through the MCAA Discussion board, they were able to network, connect, and hopefully better the lives of students in both places.
Some inquiries are more specific than others, like MCAA member Matt Jones of Southern Brick, LLC in Richmond, Virginia when he posted the following question:
“We have a project in which we have to grout existing parapet walls that currently have no grout in them. Looking for suggestions from anyone that's done this. What have you found to be the most effective way to post-install a grout stop application in an existing wall?”
In this instance, Matt was able to attach a photograph of the plans in question to get as specific of a response as possible. Within less than 24 hours, Sean Spraungel of All Stacked Up Masonry, Inc. in Hamel, Minnesota, responded that “it looks like it would be a high lift anyway, so when you cut in the cleanout, you can effectively plug the core.” That’s some practical and useful advice!
MCAA Members, See For Yourself
These are just some of the many, many positive, and helpful suggestions and interactions that MCAA members have exchanged within the last few months via MCAA Communities boards. With COVID-19 still, a significant concern on the jobsite, a contact-free place to exchange health, safety, and other important information is essential to the masonry industry. Even if your question is time-sensitive, with an average turnaround time of fewer than 24 hours, you will still likely receive a prompt reply to your inquiry no matter where you are. Check out the MCAA Communities board, and all of the other masonry resources available at masoncontractors.org.
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