One bright spot in this economy is school construction. Between demographics and stimulus funds, the need to build and repair schools will continue. When you add in the emphasis on sustainability, masonry systems are more desirable than ever.
IMI educates contractors on how they can take an active role in school construction. This June, we launch our Sustainable Masonry Certification Program.
Another way we help contractors get school work is solid relationships with firms like Fanning Howey Associates. The prominent firm, which tops national lists for both school work and green design, had more than 720 K-12 school projects worth $5.2 billion in the past five years. We recently convened a special panel to address their technical concerns and offer ways for the firm to be more competitive with masonry. We provide similar advice for school officials all over the country.
We like schools because they offer a chance to apply masonry’s full palette of materials. At the Pennsylvania School Boards Association’s annual School Construction Summit last week, for example, terrazzo was back in fashion, thanks to its affordability and durability.
Those qualities are important to protect America’s schools investment. What also helps is quality installation, which we work towards through programs like grout certification and flashing training. Those make all the difference, say contractors like Ed Ford, manager of Kirk Bros. Co. masonry division in Ohio:
“After being a bricklayer for 20 years I did not know all the details to install flashing properly…until I attended my first IMI class. Fanning Howey, 360 Architecture and Turner Construction are very impressed with the education and training the IMI brings to the table. They are confident we are going to give them a quality product. “
Working with the Ohio Schools Facilities Commission, we enlightened more than 90 architects, engineers and construction managers at a special “Masonry Education Day” held at Smoot Construction in April.
When it comes to schools, quality masonry construction is the smart choice.
“There's new energy to harness, new jobs to be created, new schools to build… Above all, I will ask you to join in the work of remaking this nation, the only way it's been done in America for 221 years — block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand. “ - Barack Obama, 11-04-08