Volume 37, Issue Number 13 December 19, 2003

SMACNA 2003 - Year in Review

Table of Contents
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  • Urged the Congress to pass H.R. 1776, the Pension Preservation and Savings Expansion Act of 2003. Of special emphasis for SMACNA firms was section 708 of H.R. 1776 that would have doubled the time allowed for amortizing the extraordinary investment losses over the past three years from the current 15 years to a 30-year period.

  • Endorsed many of the energy efficiency initiatives before Congress, most notably S. 14 and H.R. 6. A number of additional energy bills were introduced with increased performance contracting emphasis and other positive benefits to the nation’s energy efficiency. SMACNA supported these bills, too.

  • Expressed support for The Contractors Accountability Act (H.R. 1218) that seeks to create a database where procurement officials would have access to the latest information about those seeking federal contracts.

  • Urged co-sponsorship of The Business Property Revitalization Act of 2003 (S. 576). This legislation proposes an amendment to the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide a 10-year depreciation life for leasehold improvements to commercial facilities.

  • Continued to support efforts to make the repeal of estate taxes on small firm transfers permanent. Legislation that would make permanent the repeal of federal estate and gift taxes in 2010, H.R. 8, passed the House and a similar bill, S. 169 awaited Senate action. Passage of both failed due to budgetary considerations.
  • Supported the inclusion of prevailing wage law (Davis-Bacon) as part of The Clean Water Infrastructure Financing Act (H.R. 20). This bill would authorize spending $25 billion over five years to address overdue clean water infrastructure needs in regions where national funding is vital.

  • Continued to support legislative efforts to ban the practice by general contractors of "shopping" bids on federal projects. The most recent bill, H.R. 1348, would have encouraged greater federal construction quality and prevented certain abusive contracting practices by requiring each federal bidder for contracts over $1 million to honor the list of the subcontractors that the contractor intended to use to perform the contract. The bill failed to reach the House floor for a vote.

  • Successfully worked to keep the Congress from excluding multiemployer pension plans in legislation designed to help single employer pension plans. ERISA funding rules, unprecedented stock market declines and slow economic recovery all converged to put many multiemployer plans in danger of reaching minimum funding levels.

  • Urged Congress to review the Statement of Financial Accounting Standards No. 150 (FAS 150) and contact the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) concerning our serious concerns over the unintended financial consequences the new rule presents to a significant segment of America’s businesses. The proposed rule would significantly misstate, reduce or eliminate the net worth of many non public, non SEC-registered companies on their financial statements.
  • Presented, through SMAC PAC, close to $200,000 in party and candidate contributions to help elect current members of the 108th Congress.

  • Took the Campaign for Quality Construction message to Capitol Hill, during the 2003 National Issues Conference. Focused on issues such as pension plan funding, permanent estate tax repeal and contractor accountability, more than 250 contractors met with legislators and their staffs during 250+ scheduled meetings. Sponsored an educational seminar for Capitol Hill staff to provide a better understanding of multiemployer pension plans.

  • Held meetings with members of Congress in Washington, D.C. and in their congressional districts hosted by SMACNA Chapters to discuss training, school construction and prevailing wage laws as well as the Campaign for Quality Construction.
Business Management and Education
  • Partnered with Drexel University to provide a Web-based project management education course. Offered via the Internet, “Basic Principles of Project Management” provided students with instruction in a variety of project management topics.

  • Provided leadership training to industry professionals at the annual Business Management University.

  • Offered an in-depth review of sheet metal/HVAC firm financial management during SMACNA's Business Management Graduate Program II: Financial Boot Camp. This program is designed to increase key employees' knowledge and expertise when it comes to understanding and maximizing a firm's financial information for high performance.

  • Published the third edition of SMACNA’s “Guidelines for Change Orders.” The new book includes numerous practical examples of how a company handles various aspects of change orders.

  • Provided ten educational courses so that chapters could offer their contractors national caliber programs locally. Courses included Basic Sheet Metal Estimating, Customer T.R.U.S.T.™ Program, Introduction to Design Build, Design-Build Project Management, Design-Build Risk Management, Developing a Service Department as a Profit Center, Financial Preparedness for Firm Principals, Effectively Managing Key Employees Across Generations, How to Get the Job at Your Price and Fundamentals for Financial Managers. At year’s end, SMACNA funded 33 of these programs for chapters.

  • Began development of a new Advanced Sheet Metal Estimating Program to be offered as part of the 2004 chapter education schedule. The program will be designed for those ready to move past basic estimating and tackle more complex job costing and estimating concepts.

  • Initiated revisions to the current “Contractor Operations Manual” to reflect changes in technology and better methods of productivity. Continued to work on revisions to SMACNA’s financial planning library to be offered to members in mid 2004.

  • Provided 32 chapters and more than 850 participants with 40 supervisory training programs with funding through the labor/management entity, the International Training Institute (ITI).
Safety and Health
  • Continued to offer the online Occupational Safety and Health Administration Recordkeeping Rule Training Course at no charge on the “Members Only” section of www.smacna.org. During the past 18 months, more than 400 members have taken the course online.

  • Assisted the Sheet Metal Occupational Health Institute Trust (SMOHIT) in developing several innovative safety and health training products by providing technical review on a Lead Awareness DVD, the “Big 4 + 2” safety DVD and more than 40 Toolbox Talks.

  • Distributed complimentary SMACNA and SMOHIT safety and health products to chapter executives to promote the use and availability of all safety and health products and programs.

  • Informed SMACNA members of OSHA activities as well as a host of other topics through the Safety Bulletin series.

  • Strived to advance partnerships with various federal agencies. SMACNA met with the Director of OSHA’s Construction Directorate to discuss several key issues affecting the sheet metal industry. SMACNA conducted research and met with representatives from OSHA Office of Outreach and Alliances and is proceeding with steps toward signing a formal alliance with OSHA. In addition, SMACNA participated in the OSHA Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health (ACCSH) regarding several issues including confined spaces in construction, silica, hexavalent chromium and fall protection. SMACNA also attended a meeting of OSHA’s National Advisory Committee on Ergonomics (NACE) and met with the Director of the Office of Advocacy for the Small Business Administration.

  • Continued to serve on the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) A10 Construction Standards Committee and the ANSI A11 Standards Committee for Machine Tools.

  • Sponsored seven SMACNA member firms for recognition by the Construction User’s Roundtable (CURT) safety awards program. One SMACNA-sponsored firm, J.B. Henderson Construction, won an award in the “Building Construction” category.

  • Distributed SMACNA Safety Statistics Evaluation and Awards Program report to members allowing them to compare their own safety performance against the results. Safety Award winners were recognized during the annual convention.

  • Responded to more than 300 telephone calls from members and chapters and nearly 100 e-mails.

  • Published two issues of the Safety Focus newsletter.
Labor Relations
  • Provided labor and management trustees of sheet metal worker health care plans with crucial information to address the issue of rising health care costs at the Health Care Cost Management Seminar. The one-day seminar examined cost management strategies for ensuring program quality, funding retiree benefits and controlling prescription drug benefit costs.

  • Organized two Best Practices Market Expansion Programs in Florida and Phoenix. Teams comprised of both labor and management analyzed the sheet metal market potential in the architectural, residential, HVAC, commercial, and industrial sectors and began the process of evaluating actions necessary to gain union sheet metal access to each sector.

  • Distributed the “SMACNA Guidelines on Substance Abuse and Testing Policies for the Sheet Metal Industry” to assist local chapters interested in negotiating a comprehensive drug testing policy.

  • Presented four Best Practices presentations to SMACNA chapters and SMWIA locals. The goal of these presentations is to share the success stories of partnership efforts aimed at improving market performance and duplicate this success in other regions.

  • Collaborated on the production of four new issues of the “Partners in Progress” magazine.

  • Provided SMACNA Contractors and chapter executives with training to increase the ability of labor and management to negotiate more effectively by turning face-to-face confrontation into side-by-side problem solving during the Mutual Gains Bargaining (MGB) Seminar.

  • Co-sponsored with other construction industry associations and labor unions The Center for Military Recruitment, Assessment and Veterans Employment. The center will strive to recruit 700,000 workers for the construction industry from discharged military personnel.

  • Distributed key information regarding health care cost projections, Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service assistance and filing requirements, as well as an updated wage and fringe benefit manual to all bargainers.

  • Presented the popular Labor Seminar. Attended by close to 100 contractors the two-day program focused on current labor relations issues, how to establish a substance abuse policy, changes to jurisdictional disputes process and how to control health care costs.

  • Notified chapters of prevailing wage surveys scheduled for their area and stressed the importance of union contractor participation in the process.

  • Developed and distributed the annual Labor Report summarizing the economic climate, labor relations environment and bargaining trends of the year 2002.

  • Established with the SMWIA the Labor-Management Cooperative Committee to oversee the joint industry marketing program.

  • Promoted industry stability through the operation of the National Joint Adjustment Board (NJAB). SMACNA and SMWIA panelists rendered unanimous decisions resolving 12 grievances. The NJAB resolved two grievances and 13 Article X, Section 8 contract renewal disputes.
Industry Involvement
  • Represented SMACNA Contractors at the AHR Expo in Chicago — the most comprehensive exposition in the HVAC&R industry attracting engineers, contractors, consulting engineers, dealers, distributors, architects and builders, industrial plant operators, facility owners and managers.

  • Represented SMACNA’s architectural sheet metal contractors by participating in the trade show and educational marketplace at the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) convention in San Diego, Calif.

  • Continued to monitor and comment on proposed changes to the Construction Specifications Institute’s MasterFormat as well as code changes to dynamic fire dampers and issues regarding duct sealant classifications.

  • Contributed $10,000 to ASHRAE research project “Underfloor Air Distribution – Life Cycle Cost and Environmental Analysis.”

  • Coordinated SMACNA’s media coverage which includes distribution of close to 75 news releases. Magazine articles about SMACNA, its members and technical manuals were also part of SMACNA's news coverage. The articles and news releases focused on legislative and market issues and contractor accomplishments.

  • SMACNA board members visited chapters through the Board Liaison Program to provide a communication link between SMACNA national and local chapters.

  • Continued to offer assistance to chapters through the Chapter Support Representative program.

  • Awarded educational scholarships of $1,200 each for the 2003-2004 academic year – three from the College of Fellows and one from SMACNA Women in Construction – to help educate the leaders of tomorrow.
  • Recorded more than 280,000 visitor sessions to the SMACNA Web site. This is a 25 percent increase in Web site traffic over 2002.

  • Developed the SMACNA Guestbook to provide visitors to the SMACNA Web site easy access to the most frequently asked questions. While more than 400 guestbook requests were handled by SMACNA staff, Web site usage reports indicate that most visitors to this section of the site found answers to their questions from one of the four links on this page – convention, membership information, technical inquiries and the publications store.

  • Recorded a 20 percent increase in online publications sales, including a 50 percent increase in instant downloadable publications.

  • Tracked a progressive increase of SMACNA electronic communications, including member and chapter updates, SMACNEWS and market sector newsletters.

  • Created an online Member Profile form so members can register for the Members Only Web site, select communication vehicles for electronic delivery and update their company/individual records.

  • Redesigned the Chapter Education and Supervisory Training section of the Web site. By visiting the Educational Programs section of the Members Only site contractors may search for available education programs by chapter or course title, review its description and locate chapters offering the program.

  • Created an online resource for mold information related to technical, legal and liability as well as safety and health issues.

  • Offered for the first time online, the SMACNA Safety Statistics Evaluation and Awards Program questionnaire so members could complete and submit it electronically.
Technical Services
  • Represented SMACNA on the Homeland Security Standards Panel (HSSP) established by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

  • Announced the approval of SMACNA’s “Round Industrial Duct Construction Standards,” (second edition) as an ANSI American National Standard.

  • Conducted the annual Technical University where industry leaders instructed participants in the methods and concepts for use of SMACNA technical standards.

  • Introduced CADD 2.0 which makes 169 architectural sheet metal figures from SMACNA’s “Architectural Sheet Metal Manual” available in AutoCAD.

  • Continued offering, via the SMACNA public Web site, technical papers on a variety of topics, including the SMACNA CAD Standard, duct leakage and ICC International Code Adoption.

  • Produced a new first edition of the “TAB Procedural Guide.”
  • Served on the Industry Advisory Group of the International Code Council (ICC), that seeks to improve the quality of building codes and the effectiveness of their development process.

  • Collaborated with the National Institute of Building Standards (NIBS) to include several SMACNA standards into its “Whole Building Design Guide.”

  • Initiated revisions to SMACNA’s “HVAC Systems – Duct Design Manual” and “Seismic Restraint Manual.”

  • Published the seventh edition of SMACNA’s “Fibrous Glass Duct Construction Standards.”

  • Continued SMACNA staff representation on the International Alliance for Interoperability (IAI) Codes and standards domain.

  • Premiered the sixth edition of SMACNA’s “Architectural Sheet Metal Manual” with 3-D drawings on CD-ROM.

  • Continued revisions to SMACNA’s “Rectangular Industrial Duct Construction Standards” and “HVAC Duct Construction Standards – Metal and Flexible.”

  • Began development of the first edition of a sound and vibration manual.

  • SMACNA staff conducted local SMACNA chapter and ASHRAE technical presentations.

  • Began development of an architectural sheet metal inspection/maintenance guide.

  • Continued SMACNA staff representation on various NFPA, AWS and ASHRAE technical committees.

  • Responded to more than 1,100 technical inquiries and formal interpretations of SMACNA standards.
Market Sector Councils
  • Offered the new “Creating the High-Performing Contracting Company – Best Practices for SMACNA Contractors” publication through the SMACNA Web site. Available at no cost, this publication offers motivation to build a successful business as well as easy to implement, practical guidelines to help SMACNA members become high-performing contractors.

  • Offered members a SMACNA-sponsored consulting service for the High Performing Contractor Program that began in the third quarter. Seven SMACNA members participated in the program at year’s end.

  • Premiered the first issue of the HVAC Systems Expertise newsletter, a source of information for HVAC and service contractors, plus duct manufacturers as well. Distributed via e-mail, this newsletter was widely accessed by recipients.

  • Examined the complexities of waterproofing at the Architectural Sheet Metal Forum during SMACNA’s annual convention.

  • Began developing a new one-day Service Managers Training Program to be offered through the chapter education program.

  • Published ten issues of Contracts Bulletin, the series examines issues ranging from the sick building syndrome to one-sided contracts.

  • Offered custom fabricating and manufacturing contractors marketing guidance during the Custom Fabricating and Manufacturers Forum at SMACNA’s annual convention.

  • Provided duct manufacturers expert management advice on how to manage a duct manufacturing and a job shop under the same roof during the Duct Manufacturer’s Forum at SMACNA’s annual convention.

  • Published new electronic issues of the Market Sector Council newsletters that include Architectural Metal, Industrial Insights and Residential Report.

  • Administered the Architectural E-mail List Serve allowing nearly 100 architectural sheet metal contractors to discuss topics ranging from training, equipment purchases, to branding.

  • Explored the variety of electronic advances available to assist HVAC/service contractors manage their businesses during the forum program at SMACNA’s annual convention.

  • Appointed two SMACNA contractors to participate on the National Energy Management Institute (NEMI) Residential Retrofit and Service Market Task Force. The end result will be statistical data showing potential market opportunities and a market entry plan for contractors wishing to enter this market.

  • Shared tips for managing fast-track industrial projects in the Industrial Contractors Forum at SMACNA’s annual convention.

  • Discussed the challenges and opportunities of the residential indoor air quality market during the Residential Contractors Forum at SMACNA’s annual convention.

  • Began development of a residential retrofit and service operations management program to be offered through the Chapter Education Program. The pilot program is planned for fall 2004.

Editor: Rosalind P. Raymond rraymond@smacna.org  |  Asst. Editor/Writer: Cynthia Young cyoung@smacna.org

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