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Convention Wrap-up

This month I thought I would recap of a few things that came up in the meeting of AWCI’s Construction Technology Council that was held during AWCI’s Convention in Las Vegas last month.

New Standard for Drywall Finishing

First of all, Darin Coats of the Technical Services Information Bureau and Ben Duterte of the Drywall Information Trust Fund are developing a new standard for the finishing of drywall. This standard, as I understand it, will move beyond the current ASTM C840 standard for installation and finishing of gypsum board. The current levels of finish will remain the unchanged.

The major change will be the definition of drywall primers and their makeup. Currently C840 only states that a primer must be applied to the gypsum board before a coating of paint is applied, but paint as a material is not covered by ASTM Standards. With the requirement for low VOC in paint products, there are primers on the market that are little more than water with color additives included. Of course, this can be a disaster when the wall is finished and the finger-pointing starts.

Darin and Ben are working with the Painting and Decorating Contractors Association and the master Painters Institute in the development of the new standard. Also included in the new standard will be an inspection protocol to eliminate the use of 3200 watt flood lights when inspecting drywall installations. It will also deal with the issue of critical light and how to eliminate issues after the fact.

Darin and Ben are planning to have a draft available by AWCI’s fall conference and also the fall meeting of ASTM Committee C11. If you would like to play a part in the development of this new standard, let me know and I will put you in touch with Darin and Ben. I am sure they would more than welcome your input.

Safety and Loss Control Forum

Those who attended the Safety and Loss Control Forum were treated to a presentation by OSHA’s Joy Flack, CIH area director. Two major items were discussed. First was the issue of electronic filing of reports. While there is no deadline in place, this will happen. The easiest method of compliance is to use the AWCI Safety Software package. When you use the software for the reporting of injuries, the document is stored and ready to go when filing is required by OSHA.

The other item dealt with was the Voluntary Protection Programs. VPP promotes effective worksite-based safety and health. In the VPP, management, labor and OSHA establish cooperative relationships at workplaces that have implemented a comprehensive safety and health management system. Approval into VPP is OSHA’s official recognition of the outstanding efforts of employers and employees who have achieved exemplary occupational safety and health. I had indicated in my February column that OSHA was not entering into any new alliances, but Joy indicated otherwise; she said the VPP will continue.

While we had a decent turnout for the Safety and Loss Control Forum, we are still looking for ways to increase participation from the industry’s safety directors and senior management. One area under discussion is to hold separate training sessions during AWCI Academy, which is normally held in the beginning of each year. Our safety webinars will also continue, so be on the lookout for announcements about future webinars.

Doing It Right

For the first time, AWCI hosted three Doing It Right seminars after the close of the INTEX Expo. This seems to be a good delivery method because the participants get to attend the trade show and then come to the seminars. It was so successful that AWCI is considering providing these same seminars after next year’s convention in Charlotte, N.C.

Several of the participants inquired about seminars on demand. This is a very cost effective way of providing educational programs for your team. The biggest expense is contracting for the venue and then the travel expense for the participants. But with a by-request education seminar, we come to you. Another advantage is you can invite your favorite building official or architect to attend. I know for a fact that building officials are always in search of educational programs for their staff, but needless to say, they are looking for the least expensive method to obtain this training. It also provides your staff a way to meet building officials in something other than an adverse situation. If you want to host a by-request program, contact Annemarie Selvitelli at for more information.

In closing, it was great to catch up with all of the members that I only see and get to talk to twice a year. I am already looking forward to Charlotte in 2012.

Donald E. Smith, CCS, is AWCI’s director of technical services. Send your questions to, or call him directly at (703) 538.1611.

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