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Focus on Temporary Bracing

For 2018, MBCEA will focus on training and education about temporary bracing

Wentworth Keith

The Metal Building Contractors & Erectors Association (MBCEA) and our sister organization, the Metal Buildings Institute (MBI), continue to focus on new ways to train and develop skilled labor with an added emphasis on safety. Our focus for 2018, and the theme of our upcoming conference, is “Quality, Training and Education.” Three simple words, but they represent exactly who we are.

The association is stronger and bigger than ever. Now in our 50th year, MBCEA members are known for their commitment to quality, training and education. We are proud of this reputation and are constantly reflecting on what tools we need to continue to deliver. With this in mind, we decided one of our priorities for 2018 needed to be temporary bracing. Helping our members understand the requirements and capabilities of temporary bracing hits all the right notes of quality, training and education with an overall emphasis on safety.

Metal building systems are efficient, cost-effective solutions that are highly engineered, optimized structures with virtually all elements of the building structure working as an integral system to meet the strength and serviceability requirements for the project. Unfortunately, these same characteristics make our metal building systems prone to strength and stability deficiencies during assembly and erection when all elements of the structure are not yet in place.

Ensuring stability during assembly rests squarely with the contractor and erector. (See sidebar.) For too long, our members have had to deal with this on their own. MBI, with the support of MBCEA, the Metal Building Manufacturers Association (MBMA) and the industry, is developing two new tools to help our members with temporary bracing.

I am chairing a project team to develop the new training programs that will aid and assist the average contractor and erector. We have a fantastic team: Tim and Dylan Seyler, S&S Structures, Blandon, Pa.; Mike Reynolds, Systems Contractor Inc., Thornton, Colo.; Sean Smith, Thomas Phoenix International, Eastampton, N.J.; Tom Frahm, Butler Manufacturing, Kansas City, Mo.; Andy Lee, SFS intec, Wyomissing, Pa.; Justin Waller, RedIron Construction, Baton Rouge, La.; and Jackie Meiluta from MBCEA. To round out this team of industry experts, we have contracted with John Rolfes, CSD Structural Engineers, Milwaukee.

Our team is developing a guidebook for use in the office. This will be a useful reference when we are developing our site-specific plans, planning our erection sequence and determining where and how to brace.

But we knew we couldn’t stop there. We also need to make sure our field workers understand the importance of temporary bracing. They need to take it seriously, not cut corners or take shortcuts. Their lives and our projects depend on it. To that end, the guidebook will have a companion piece: a 30-minute training video geared to field workers. This will be a supplement to the existing Quality and Craftsmanship Training Series.

Developed in 2002, the Quality and Craftsmanship Training Series continues to be the only source for field training specific to metal building assembly. It will soon have a new and updated website to call home. In addition to the new temporary bracing video, a long-awaited video focused on proper installation of insulated metal panels will be available later this summer.

We hope to be able to preview these new tools at our conference May 2-4 in San Antonio. If you have not yet made plans to attend, do so now so you do not miss out. The conference is the place to be so you can hear, touch and see what is new—what is happening—not only at MBCEA but also with the industry associates who supply our needs. The conference is also the best place for you to give feedback to leadership about your priorities and training needs.

For more information about the conference or any of these great tools, please contact Sasha Demyan at the MBCEA office or visit us on the web at

Keith Wentworth is president of the Metal Building Contractors & Erectors Association and vice president of Dutton & Garfield Inc., Hampstead, N.H. Wentworth holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Merrimack College, and has more than 20 years of experience in commercial and industrial metal building design-build construction. He is proud to be a third-generation Butler builder. Wentworth also serves on the board of directors of the Metal Building Institute and is a past president of the New England Chapter of the MBCEA. To learn more about the MBCEA, visit