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Don’t turn away from the feature article on page 44 when you notice the “alphabet soup” in the second paragraph: UL, ANSI, ASCE, USGBC. This one is all about ASTM and the standards that wall and ceiling contractors need to be aware of. While that is the primary focus, the article also provides insights on the origins and history of the ASTM organization and its evolving scope. It’s an interesting story, and I learned some new things.
We once again focus the spotlight on the outstanding ceiling work on an AWCI member contractor, so go to page 36 and read about Oregon-based Western Partitions, Inc. This company has built some remarkable and unique ceilings in the face of several challenges, some of which are also unique—like working a job with a supplier located in Germany. WPI staff also tell us about how the company makes things work in the face of high material prices, labor shortages and design miscues. Good stuff!
And our third feature article (page 26) gives good arguments as to why your company should really, really, really consider prefabrication—or at least some component of it. AWCI member contractors who are already reaping the prefab rewards, and they tell us how they did it and where they are going. A companion piece to this article is InSync, which is on page 20. Here is where you will find more specific examples of ways that prefabrication can improve productivity, increase safety and more.
Finally, I want to highlight Don Allen’s Safety & Health column on page 21. Tight deadlines, inherent risks, life-threatening exposures, chronic labor shortages and pressures to get jobs completed on time and within budget affect all construction workers’ mental health. Add the physical stresses that come with lifting wallboard, drilling and sanding overhead, accessing hard-to-reach areas in awkward, stressful positions, working in very hot and very cold conditions, and you are left with situations that could result in pain, fatigue, strains and sprains, and repetitive motion injuries.
Mental health and suicide in construction is a serious subject. Here readers are provided with resources for help and information on how your company culture may need to change to avoid the various stigmata surrounding what some may perceive as weakness in people who are struggling. Suggestion: Don’t just read this article; read it, then make copies of it and post it throughout common areas in your headquarters and in jobsite trailers. Show your employees that the company leadership is there to help. It’s a start.

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