An Opportunity We Can’t Afford to Miss
Can someone please explain
to me what is going on? When did my burly, steel-building erector
compatriots turn into a bunch of scaredy cats? We develop a game
changer of a program that will make us better and stronger; that
will separate the good guys from the rascals; that is a
confirmation of all the stuff we have been saying we do all along
and still I hear bitching and moaning. "Ooh, too much paperwork."
"How come the union endorses it?" "Why so many inspections?" And
lions and tigers and bears, oh my.
I am talking about the new accreditation program, AC478, which
is a companion to AC472. I keep saying this is a game changer and I
truly believe it is. AC478 is an opportunity; an opportunity to
elevate our reputation not just for our individual companies but
for our industry as a whole. Accreditation is used worldwide to
verify the competence of companies and organizations. Yes, it
involves a formal assessment performed by a third-party
(accrediting organization), and yes, there is a lot of
documentation, but that is why the program has teeth. Things worth
doing are worth doing right!
I am sick and tired of being just another contractor of low
bids, of rascals on the building site. There is a way to turn this
around; to mandate a high standard. And that way is a formal
accreditation program administered by a worldrenowned agency such
as the International Accreditation Service (IAS).
Think about it. Accreditation is tangible proof that you are
performing to a certain standard. It is not fluff on your website
or LinkedIn page. It is not a rubber stamp. It is the real
For those of you intimidated by the process, I say "trust me."
It is highly likely you are already doing the vast majority of what
is required. The paperwork is not that bad. Taking the time to
build a documented, internal system is empowering. Achieving and
maintaining accreditation will most likely improve your operational
efficiency and quality of end-state product, which means more
business and more profit. Isn't that what we all want?
Let's face it, metal building systems continue to become more
complex, finely detailed and highly engineered. As assemblers, we
need to keep up and stay ahead of regulations. This accreditation
program is designed to ensure our long-term viability.
Who among us does not feel gutted when we hear about a building
that has come down or a man seriously injured on the job?
Unfortunately, these things happen too frequently. When they do,
the ramifications for our industry are much more farreaching than
just the immediate players involved. Building failures and serious
injuries are a black mark on our trade. They adversely affect all
of us. They undermine our reputation.
Tom Gilligan, president of Butler Manufacturing, Kansas City,
Mo., and president of the Metal Building Manufacturers Association
(MBMA), says AC478 and AC472 is a winning combination and, "If
accredited manufacturers and their builders team up with these two
quality assurance programs, it will make our industry more
competitive and increase its prominence. This is a commitment to a
partnership in quality and a reflection on us all. It is an
opportunity we can't afford to miss."
"An opportunity we can't afford to miss!" MBCEA members believe
our commitment to quality, safety and training is what truly
differentiates us from the competition. AC478 is the tangible proof
we need. It will prove that we have the personnel, organization,
experience, knowledge, management procedures and commitment to
assemble metal building systems properly. The internal discipline
of working within a documented management system is what will
prevent building failures. This same discipline will ensure our
longterm profitability and success.
For those of you intimidated by what the program entails, I
encourage you to contact MBCEA or attend a workshop. You will find
you are already doing the vast majority of what is required. That
is if you are one of the good guys. I assure you this is an
opportunity we cannot afford to miss.
# # #
Gary T. Smith is president of Thomas
Phoenix International Inc., Mount Holly, N.J. He serves as
president of the Metal Building Contractors and Erectors
Association, chair of the Metal Buildings Institute Apprenticeship
Committee and chair of the MBCEA Accreditation Review Committee. He
is an outspoken proponent of training and education for the metal