In his December
column in Metal Construction News, Brad Curtis, chair of the
Metal Building Manufacturers Association (MBMA), wrote, "The MBMA
has become more engaged with the Metal Building Contractors and
Erectors Association (MBCEA) so that together we can enhance the
reputation of our industry. Just as a rising tide lifts all ships,
MBMA members are AC472 accredited and now MBCEA members are
achieving AC478 accreditation. This commitment to quality says one
thing to all potential owners, architects and developers: We don't
just talk about quality; we prove it through our commitment to
third-party accreditation by the International Accreditation
I agree wholeheartedly with Mr. Curtis but would even take it
one step further. We not only need to enhance the reputation of our
industry but perhaps more importantly our trade. Construction
journals continue to bemoan the labor shortage in construction. In
my home state of Colorado, according to a study by the Association
of General Contractors (AGC), it is estimated that we will need at
least 30,000 more workers in the construction field in the next six
years, which does not take into account those who will retire. To
help fill this gap, Colorado passed a bill pledging $10 million
over three years to fund free training for plumbers, electricians
and carpenters. But the training companies can't fill the
High schools are singularly focused on preparing kids for
college, and the kid who may be better suited for vocational work
or the trades is widely ignored. It seems we've demonized working
with our hands in this country.
Smart executives know the way to counter labor shortages is to
draw young people into their respective industries. The
construction industry has an added challenge: overcoming
misconceptions about what it means to be a construction worker.
What does the typical person think of when he hears the term
"construction worker"? Unskilled, low pay, wolf whistles and
builder's bums (aka plumber's cracks). That's not exactly your top
career choice for your son or daughter. The term "construction
worker" covers all manner of work, skills, training and
specialties, yet we continue to be lumped together and labelled
with the same old stereotypes. These perceptions influence whether
or not young people are willing to give the trades, and in
particular, the metal building trade a shot.
The National Center for Construction Education and Research
(NCCER) is working hard to coin the phrase "craft professional."
Although I don't really see it rolling off Johnny's tongue on
career day, it much better describes who we are and what we do.
Today's complicated projects take training and skill to complete.
Our new materials and methods require specialist training.
The men and women who assemble our metal buildings earn good
money and should take pride in knowing that their work is a craft.
Metal building assembly should be considered a career and not just
Readers of this magazine know it would be impossible to complete
a successful construction project if we really did live down to the
stereotype. Members of MBCEA are dedicated to safety, training and
education. Programs like AC478 are designed not just to create a
standard but to change public perception and to enhance our
reputation. The MBCEA and MBMA, through programs like AC472 and
AC478, are committed to the enhancement of our metal building
industry and our trade.
But we can't do it without you. If you are not a member, I
encourage you to consider joining. Attend our conference in New
Orleans on May 18-20. You, your business and our industry will be
stronger if you do.
The Metal Building Contractors and Erectors Association (MBCEA),
is a trade association created in 1968 to provide programs and
services to the contractor and erector segment of the metal
building systems industry. The mission of MBCEA s to support the
professional advancement of metal building. MBCEA has three main
- Education: To provide programs and venues that enhance
educational opportunities for metal building contractors and
- Image Enhancement: To develop programs to enhance the image of
metal building contractors and erectors, and the metal building
- Grassroots Support: To develop and maintain programs
specifically designed to support and respond to the needs of the
grassroots membership of the MBCEA.
AC478, Accreditation for Assemblers of Metal Building Systems
hits on all three goals and is considered a game changer for our
members. For additional information on MBCEA or AC478, please visit
our website at www.mbcea.org or contact Sasha Graver at
# # #
Mike Reynolds, president of the Metal
Building Contractors and Erectors Association, is the president and
principle owner of Systems Contractor Inc., Thornton, Colo. He also
serves on the board of directors of the Metal Building Institute
and is a member of the Steel Erectors Safety Association of
Colorado. Recognized for his extensive knowledge and expertise in
both structural steel and metal building systems, he also serves on
the erection and safety advisory panels for several building system
manufacturers. To learn more about the MBCEA, visit www.mbcea.org.