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Times Have Changed … Really!

It has been said that extraordinary businesses do things extraordinarily well. In my book, it starts with customer service: knowing your customers’ needs and delivering a service one step ahead of the competition; make your competition a questionable choice. For contractors, this is achieved through sound estimates and informative proposals, followed by comprehensive submittals, scheduling and construction, including proper close-out. To accomplish this, you must be adept in all aspects of wall and ceiling construction and exhibit your expertise to the client every day on every project.

While your experience and past successes may offer a certain comfort level (and ultimately protect the company’s bottom line), be sure to consider all of the new products, regulations, code changes, safety requirements, certifications, programs and mandates now required. Also consider the many upcoming ones you read about in AWCI’s Construction Dimensions, the AWCI newsletter and e-newsletter that are only for members, and the news section of our website ( AWCI media resources are great ways to learn more about many of these changes, but these forums do have their limitations.

At one time this was a simple business, but times have changed. For instance, there are more than 30 standards (many conflicting) among five standards-setting organizations that address code compliance for non-structural steel framing. Another case in point is the standards set by the American Society of Heating and Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers for the new International Energy Conversation Code.

I have received a few half-hearted comments on my educational challenge, but you really can have an influence in some of these processes without becoming a mechanical engineer. I highly encourage you to get involved in one great venue—AWCI’s Construction Technology Council.

But it does not have to be through an AWCI program. Your involvement also can make a difference with you simply sitting in front of your computer monitor (you don’t have to attend any meetings) and becoming a member of ASTM. To learn more about how to become alternatively engaged, check out this month’s Wachuwannano on page 26.

In addition to being the 2010–2011 president of the Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industry, Allen is vice president of Compass Construction in Columbus, Ohio.

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