What’s New in 2008?

Donald E. Smith, CCS

January 2008

Because this is being written less than a week before the holidays, my phone and e-mail has been quiet; therefore, I thought I would bring you up-to-date on some of the activities I am working on on your behalf. Just a little forewarning: This might seem like an advertisement for the Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industry’s upcoming annual convention in Las Vegas, but AWCI’s convention is the perfect place to address some of the "hot button” issues our industry faces.

Since AWCI places a high degree of importance on safety and providing assistance to your safety program, an update on AWCI’s Safety Software, which is now available online, is in order. If you are subscriber to the program and are using version 2.0, you are eligible to use the online version. A list of current subscribers is being prepared and new CDs will be mailed out so you can bring your program up-to-date. What this means to you and your safety director is that information concerning your safety program no longer requires paper to keep it current. Your field personnel who conduct tool box talks can access current tool box talks from the AWCI safety Web site calendar and include an electronic copy in the database for the record. This means that your safety records will be up-to-date and accessible from the field. One of the enhancements will be the ability to print out an employee identification card that will list the safety training an individual has completed.

Another area with a high degree of priority are the educational programs that AWCI offers specifically to our portion of the industry. The AWCI technical services department takes an active role in all of AWCI’s education programs—EIFS—Doing It Right, Steel—Doing It Right and the new and developing Stucco—Doing It Right. Technical Services also is a member of the AWCI Education Committee and attends the planning sessions that determine the programs offered at AWCI’s Academy as well as the education programs for AWCI’s convention and fall conference. This participation includes not only suggesting program content but reviewing the final content for technical accuracy and making sure the big picture of the overall approach is covered as well. Another important role is in the development of future "Doing It Right” programs. We are always interested in your input to come up with programs to fill the gaps in formal education programs.

Some of the "hot button” issues currently on the table are the integration of software programs into a common access platform to help eliminate the task of making multiple entries of the same data to the different programs required to manage your business data and produce meaningful business reports. AWCI’s Construction Management Technology Committee was established to deal with these issues. The first step in the process is the development of a seminar to be presented at the AWCI convention this March 2008. There will be a panel of experts from the IT field, software vendors and three of our members who are involved heavily in IT. The panel will present methodologies to integrate the different software programs into a single database for managing your business. This will run the gamut from estimating to accounting and all of those other area of concern in between. The CMTC will be incorporated into the Construction Technology Council and will have a slot in the CTC meeting.

Another "hot button” that is already in play and undergoing major changes is the Green Building issue. A move is currently under way to develop a consensus standard for green buildings. Maribeth Rizzuto of the Steel Framing Alliance will bring the membership of AWCI up-to-date on the green changes in the field at convention. Rizzuto is a LEED Accredited Professional and is involved in the new Green Building Standard currently being developed. If you are involved in publicly funded work, either federal or local, you cannot afford to miss this important presentation. You might even consider having an employee qualify as a LEED Accredited Professional, which is a big plus in helping you understand the green building process and how it affects your way of doing business as well as looking good in your company brochure.

Building Information Management, or BIM, is yet another hot button. It appears that more and more architects and engineers are using this method to produce contract documents. The good news is that you get to see a three-dimensional view of the building you are bidding on. It also helps in determining conflicts that cause major problems during construction. Check out the education program on BIM, also scheduled during the AWCI convention in Las Vegas.

About the Author
Donald E. Smith, CCS, is AWCI’s director of technical services. Contact him at smith@awci.org or call (703) 538.1611.