International Masonry Institute News

A Solid Foundation for Building Inspectors

Building inspectors all over the country are partnering with IMI to boost their masonry knowledge, and get the best possible construction for their constituents.

Knowing a little bit about a lot of things doesn't always work well for masonry. Often, inspectors have to deal with masonry that is already covered up or unfamiliar veneer systems. When you add constant code changes and interpretations, it can get confusing fast.

That's why inspectors appreciate IMI's hands-on education, which gives them some clues of what to look for, like flashing, mortar droppings, floor preparation and proper installation of adhered veneers.

In Wisconsin, where inspectors have yearly continuing education requirements, IMI recently took a group from a variety of communities out of the classroom and onto a real jobsite - LaCrosse's new transit station. They asked a lot of questions, and vowed to keep in touch for their future projects.

"It really helps to have an expert in the field," says Calvin King, past president of the Wisconsin Building Inspectors Association.

In Chicago, IMI's South Suburban Building Officials Masonry Day in March had an immediate impact on many of the 50-plus attendees. Thomas C. Pahnke, CBO Building Commissioner for the Village of Manhattan, found the solution to a vexing water problem hampering a large residential development. The next day, he asked IMI to help revise the village's Masonry Ordinance and Design Guidelines.

In Northwest Indiana, inspectors regularly rely on IMI to keep them up on new codes and standards, and to help them be proactive about quality installation. It is particularly appreciated in a tight economy where "pickup truck contractors" try to get away with stuff (like the Lake County fellow who argued that Tyvek was the same as flashing).

Once they understand the difference that quality training and extra measures like grout certification can offer, the result is more work for quality contractors, and better values for residents.

The next Northwest Indiana session is June 2. Contact Faith Blackwell at for details.