Chairman’s Message: July 2023

Words: Larry Vacala

Since 1950, the MCAA has educated, trained, and represented mason contractors. This has been done by promoting the use of masonry, influencing reasonable codes and standards, workforce development and public affairs, the association actively advances the use of masonry. Your MCAA Board, President, and Staff are actively following the mission statement of the association.   

We work closely with the associations that represent our masonry material suppliers and producers. We consider them our industry partners and together we are stronger!

Jeff Buczkiewicz, Dick Dentinger, Kent Huntley and I recently took a trip to downtown Charleston S.C to attend the Brick Industry Association (BIA) spring meetings. We attended some of their informative meetings. The Government Affairs & Compliance Committee Meeting, Research, Codes, and Standards Committee Meeting and their Board of Directors Meeting.

Many of BIA’s goals are in line with the MCAA. They are working with architects, along with state and local government agencies to educate them on the benefits of building with brick. Too often safety and sustainability factors are overlooked in building codes and design. This is in no way an attack on architects, but we’ve heard there is not much information taught about the value of masonry in architecture schools. That is why it’s so important for all of us to show the benefits of building with masonry.

To demonstrate the strength of masonry walls, BIA is involved in technical research. They are currently doing a study on load capacity of anchored brick veneer walls. They are also involved in doing a seismic load study. This research is done on a load shake table to study the limits of movement a brick wall will withstand. These are great ways to prove masonry is superior to other building products.

BIA also discussed updating their EPD (Environmental Product Declaration) “cradle to grave study” which would replace their earlier EPD which limited the declaration to cradle to gate. It would be a dramatic change in the usefulness of the brick EPD and should add to the sustainability attributes of utilizing brick.  We are hopeful this new initiative will be starting soon. An EPD shows the public the lifespan of a product (in this case a brick). Many brick buildings have been standing for 150 to 500 years. If you track the life of a brick, it would be even more since many are recycled and repurposed into new projects. We enjoyed our time with the BIA team and look forward to continuing our partnership for the advancement of our industry.

We look forward to attending another industry partner’s midyear convention next month, the Concrete Masonry and Hardscape Association (CMHA) meetings (formerly NCMA).

We live in a great country despite the difficulties our country is currently experiencing due to the personal agendas of some high ranking politicians in office. Do not forget the history of this country and the reasons we celebrate our great holidays. It’s not because you get a day off from work, it’s to celebrate and recognize the true meaning of these historic dates.

We recently celebrated Memorial Day, Monday, May 29. Originally known as Decoration Day, It originated during the American Civil War when citizens placed flowers on the graves of those who had been killed in battle.  In 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May. The change went into effect in 1971. The same law also declared Memorial Day a federal holiday.

Memorial Day is an American holiday, observed to honor the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. We must never forget these brave men and women for the sacrifice they made for our freedom. If you see a member of our military in uniform or a veteran proudly wearing a hat representing their branch of the armed forces, you should thank them. It is because of them that we live in the best country in the world.

Thank you and God bless all our Military members and their families for the sacrifices they made serving our great country!

Now we will celebrate the Fourth of July—also known as Independence Day. July 4th has been a federal holiday in the United States since 1941, but the tradition of Independence Day celebrations goes back to the 18th century and the American Revolution. On July 2nd, 1776, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence, and two days later delegates from the 13 colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence, a historic document drafted by Thomas Jefferson. From 1776 to the present day, July 4th has been celebrated as the birth of American independence.

Wishing you all a fantastic Independence Day!

Stay Safe and Stay Strong
Larry Vacala

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