Volume 43, Issue Number 7 July 10, 2009

SMACNA Working for You…Mid-Year Report

Table of Contents
SMACNA homepage

Market Sector Councils

  • Held a joint meeting of SMACNA’s Industrial Council Steering Committee and the SMWIA’s Power Generation Committee, where a representative from Bechtel Corp. reported on projected nuclear plant development in the next decade.
  • Published an update to the members-only publication, "HVAC Contractor’s Guide to Bidding Green Building Projects," that helps HVAC contracting firms successfully bid green building construction projects.
  • Published the new guide, "SMACNA Guide to Cost Recovery for Sheet Metal and HVAC Equipment," third edition, in electronic format. Formerly called the "Blue Book of HVAC and Sheet Metal Equipment," this valuable document is a rate guide on ownership and operating costs of equipment.
  • Completed a new manual entitled "HVAC Systems: Understanding the Basics." The manual addresses HVAC system basics, central heating and central cooling equipment, hydronic and air distribution systems, central HVAC systems, HVAC system controls and the components that comprise these systems. This manual can be used for self-study, group training, or reference.
  • Published two SMACNA Contracts Bulletins: Contracts Bulletin No. 104, "It’s Not Easy Being Green: Legal Pitfalls of Green Construction," which describes the key legal challenges surrounding "green" projects; and Contracts Bulletin No. 105, " "FAR Out! Understanding Changes to Federal Acquisition Regulations to Obtain Stimulus Money," which provides timely information on contracting with the federal government.
  • Published the new SMACNA document, "Successful Building Project Coordination," which explains the critical importance of project coordination on commercial and institutional construction projects and includes concepts of Building Information Modeling (BIM).
  • Launched a new SMACNA Building Information Modeling (BIM) Web site featuring educational and informative links to BIM resources for SMACNA members. The site includes a members-only BIM listserv to share information and address BIM-related issues.
  • Published a new electronic issue of the Architectural Metal newsletter, featuring a member contractor who custom fabricated a new copper cupola on a national historic landmark.
  • Released a new electronic issue of the HVAC Systems Expertise newsletter, featuring an article about a member contractor’s role in creating the mechanical system for the dramatic new California Academy of Science in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco.
  • Published a new electronic issue of the Industrial Insights newsletter, featuring opportunities in the growing nuclear power market and how to track developments in the nuclear market with the Energy Department’s Nuclear Power Deployment Scorecard.


  • Held a 2009 National Issues Conference on May 11-13 in Washington, D.C., to raise the profile of union-signatory contractors and their legislative issues on Capitol Hill. Issues discussed included energy efficiency, health care, misclassification reform, three percent withholding, pensions, funding for school construction.
  • Presented a pre-conference session at the National Issues Conference on the green building/government marketplace
  • Sent a joint letter with the SMWIA to the Presidential Transition Team on energy initiatives that SMACNA recommended for the economic stimulus package.
  • Supported the Multiemployer Pension Plan Coalition 12-point plan to gain relief for employers and plans struggling to meet the funding benchmarks for multiemployer defined benefit pension plans. In addition, endorsed efforts in Congress to include a section in the retirement relief legislation addressing as much as possible the defined benefit plan issues impacting SMACNA firms.
  • Supported reform of the estate tax laws to protect the small business transfer of assets most common between generations of owners in construction.
  • Endorsed the Obama Administration’s efforts to utilize and expand Project Labor Agreements in federal construction efforts.
  • Provided the Congress with a comprehensive procurement reform plan as part of the Quality Construction Alliance.
  • Contacted Congress to support repeal of the 3% withholding law to be implemented in 2011 on all public contracts.
  • Supported the efforts in Congress to expand the coverage of the Davis-Bacon Act and related quality-oriented procurement initiatives.
  • Created Recovery Trak, a special members-only Web site designed to serve as a resource and information center to share the market opportunities available to SMACNA members only from the passage of H.R. 1, The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-5).
  • Provided state-by-state breakouts of the latest market opportunities, jobs and money available through the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act stimulus legislation and future appropriations measures providing infrastructure projects on the new Recovery Track section of the SMACNA Web site.
  • Supported legislative efforts on Capitol Hill to introduce legislation designed to prevent the widespread industry practice of willful misclassification of employees as independent contractors by contractors seeking to gain an unfair competitive advantage in the marketplace.
  • Contacted every member of Congress in support of The Smart Buildings Act, H.R. 2198, legislation that cuts in half the depreciation period for high-efficiency HVAC systems in commercial and multifamily residential buildings.
  • Endorsed federal school construction legislation, H.R. 2187, a bill to provide $6.4 billion in grants and low-interest loans to local educational agencies for the construction, modernization and/or repair of public kindergarten, elementary and secondary educational facilities. Also endorsed The Green Schools Act, H.R. 58, a bill to provide matching grants for green school efficiency-related improvements.
  • Joined with the SMWIA to oppose the taxation of employer-provided health-care benefit programs to Congress in letters, Capitol Hill visits and media outreach. SMACNA also directed a message of opposition to taxing health-care benefits and efforts to reduce the tax exemption for employers providing health-care programs, as well as attempts to increase payroll taxes to fund national health care.
  • Became an active member of Rebuilding America, a high-level collaborative national leadership coalition of energy efficiency and finance-related organizations dedicated to implementing a rapid building retrofit agenda throughout the United States.
  • Alerted members to the U.S. General Services Administration’s (GSA) announcement to spend $5.55 billion to convert federal buildings into high-performance green buildings, and to renovate and construct federal buildings, courthouses, and land ports of entry nationwide.

Labor Relations

  • Notified members of a change on worker privacy in payroll reports for federal construction.
  • Published the "SMACNA Annual Labor Report, featuring the results of the "2008 State of the Industry Survey." It provides chapters and contractors with an analysis of the state of the industry throughout the U.S. The report is compiled based on surveys provided to chapters. It includes an analysis of trends, competitiveness factors and includes regional summaries. 
  • Held 2009 Collective Bargaining Orientation, Feb. 3 in Dallas, Texas, which focused on priming contractors and chapter executives for collective bargaining.
  • Created a bargainers listserv allowing management negotiators to share timely information, competitive proposals, solicit opinions, discuss current industry trends and share their successes and strategies during the bargaining season.
  • Shared SMWIA-developed local union density data with SMACNA members. Union density is calculated by comparing the number of union versus non-union crafts’ workers in a local area.
  • Notified members that the e-verify executive order had been postponed.
  • Provided Davis-Bacon guidance by encouraging members and SMACNA chapters to research the prevailing wage determinations currently in effect for their areas to ensure that they are accurate and up-to-date.
  • Began development of a program to make it easier for SMACNA chapters and contractors to keep the prevailing wage rates for their areas updated.
  • Notified members of the National Pension Fund’s new paperless way to report benefits.
  • Published three Labor Report newsletters.
  • Distributed an annual bargainers mailing that provided chapters and contractors with timely bargaining data. This mailing included the latest information on health care cost projections, federal mediation and conciliation service assistance as well as filing requirements and the most recent wage and fringe manual.
  • Notified members of revisions in the SMWIA’s Code of Excellence.
  • Presented a webinar on the SMWIA Code of Excellence to more than 210 contractors, employees, and SMACNA chapter executives, who learned from two top attorneys about the legal and collective bargaining implications related to the SMWIA Code of Excellence.
  • Shared bargaining strategies, creative thinking and business tactics during a webinar focusing on Collective Bargaining During Tough Economic Times.
  • Released a new report by the Construction Labor Research Council (CLRC) on the cost of construction industry contract bargaining terms and conditions.
  • Heard seven grievances by midyear, the same number that panelists heard at the midterm the previous year. Issues grieved included an improper steward layoff and travel pay.
  • Arbitrated eight interest arbitration contract renewal cases.
  • Presented a comprehensive webinar on multiemployer pension plans.
  • Continued to issue Labor Bulletins and the "Wage and Fringe Manual," along with regular updates, for the sheet metal industry.
  • Conducted a seminar on Mutual Gains Bargaining on Jan. 13-14, 2009, which was designed to improve labor/management relations and the collective bargaining process. Mutual gains bargaining provides a systematic, non-adversarial approach to bargaining and problem-solving which results in better solutions, greater compliance by the parties and improved long term labor/management relationships.

Partnership Programs and Services

  • Announced the 2010 Partners in Progress conference dates, March 18-20, 2010, at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. The conference is being designed around the theme "Driving Change, Creating Opportunities." The SMWIA/SMACNA conference will be held in conjunction with the International Training Institute’s Apprenticeship Contest. The 500 apprentices attending the contest will also be encouraged to attend the conference.
  • Helped spread the word on "excellence," with the Partnership Communicator newsletter, which focused on a presentation by Mark Breslin and the importance of embracing the SMWIA Code of Excellence.
  • Assisted the Local St. Louis and Kansas City partnerships in creating market opportunities for SMACNA contractors and SMWIA members with the SMACNA/SMWIA Best Practices Market Expansion Program.
  • Published two issues of the Partners in Progress magazine, "Industrial Market Growth: Are We Ready?" and "Take Us Home! Opportunities in the Residential/Service Market." 
  • The magazine, a joint publication of SMACNA and the SMWIA, has a readership of 145,000 throughout the United States and Canada and is available via the Partnership Web site.
  • Signed an additional 25 joint apprenticeship training centers, locals, contractors, and chapters to use the SMACNA Expertise logos this year, bringing the number of registrants to 307 since the program’s inception. To reap the benefits of this branding and advertising effort, contractors are encouraged to display the Expertise logos on all their business and marketing materials to show their customers that they employ highly skilled technicians with hands-on expertise. Our goal is have every contractor, chapter, local, and JATC use the logos.
  • Actively developed a DVD to promote the Code of Excellence, which is expected to be released in the late summer or early fall, with the Labor Management Cooperation Committee (LMCC).
  • Continued to build on branding the concept of "expertise" through SMACNA’s HVAC, architectural, and industrial expertise Web sites as a way to differentiate the SMACNA/SMWIA partnership in the eyes of the customer. The Web sites also allow individuals to search for SMACNA members and contractors, which results in potential work opportunities for contractors.

Safety and Health

  • Provided members with a free copy of the new manual "SMACNA Guide To Safety And Health Policies, Procedures and Model Programs." The CD contains written policies, procedures, and model programs to help members improve their safety and health programs, comply with OSHA standards, and complete project bidding and contract requirements.
  • Reminded members to post OSHA Injury and Illness Records in accordance with OSHA recordkeeping requirements. The summary of injury and illness records for the calendar year 2008 should be posted and available for employee review from Feb. 1 through April 30, 2009.
  • Collected more than 300 surveys from members for the 2009 SMACNA Safety Excellence Awards Program (SSEAP). This annual program is the tool SMACNA uses to determine winners of the annual safety awards, to obtain valuable information about its members’ safety and health programs, and to provide its members with important safety feedback.
  • Developed new safety posters that address three significant issues in the sheet metal industry: eye protection, hearing protection, and cut prevention. The posters are available for purchase on the members-only publications store Web page.
  • Distributed more than 650 free copies of SMOHIT’s "Safety Orientation 3 – Safety for Supervisors," which provides safety and health program guidance to supervisors and foremen.
  • Alerted members to two OSHA rulings affecting the sheet metal industry. The first ruling was on the new permissible exposure limit for hexavalent chromium (Public Citizen Health Research Group v. Department of Labor). In the second decision (Solis v. Summit Contractors Inc.), the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that "controlling employers" may be responsible for the safety and health of other employers’ working on multiemployer work sites.
  • Notified members that Heat Stress and Heat Illness Tip Cards were available to train employees about the hazards of heat exposure to supplement heat stress training.
  • Promoted the Construction Users Roundtable (CURT) Safety Awards Program. A SMACNA member won a CURT award in 2008 and SMACNA acts as the sponsoring association for any member interested in entering this national award program.
  • Attended meetings of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) B11 – Safety Standards for Machine Tools Accredited Standards Committee, including providing a presentation on the benefits of the SMACNA Press Brake Safe Distance Safeguarding Program.
  • Conducted two sessions of Safety and Health Supervisory Training for more than 100 supervisors and foremen in Houston, Texas.

Business Management and Education

  • Presented these successful webinars: "The SMWIA’s New Code of Excellence: What All Contractors Need to Know," "Building Information Modeling, The Key to Unlocking Your Future," "Collective Bargaining During Tough Economic Times," "Weathering the Storm, Tools for Managing in a Turbulent Market," "HVAC Duct Construction Standards," "Multiemployer Pension Plans," and "LEED in Construction."
  • Held the successful Business Management Graduate Program on Jan. 26-28 in Tempe, Ariz., covering advanced topics in financial management, marketing, contracts and organizational structure.
  • Conducted the sold-out 2009 Business Management University in February in Tempe, Ariz., concerning Contractor’s Survival Guide, change orders, surety issues, financial management, productivity, negotiations, business planning, and leadership.
  • Turning project managers into project owners was the objective of SMACNA’s new, sold out Project Managers Institute, held in March in Raleigh, N.C. and June in Tempe, Ariz.
  • Developed a new program for members on Business Negotiations scheduled for Nov. 9-10 in Tempe, Ariz.

Technical Services

  • Issued the Technical Resources Bulletin "HVAC Duct Sealant Usage Requirements on U.S. Green Building Council LEED Projects."
  • Issued the Technical Resources Bulletin "LEED Version 3," which explained the various business opportunities that may be available to HVAC contractors.
  • Published the new "Seismic Restraint Manual: Guidelines for Mechanical Systems," third edition, 2008, an updated set of guidelines that shows designers and contractors how to determine the correct restraints for sheet metal ducts, piping and conduit, so they are more likely to remain attached during a seismic event. The seismic manual was approved as an ANSI standard, ANSI 001-2008.
  • Uploaded 59 native file format drawings from the new edition of the Seismic Restraint Manual, to the members only section of the SMACNA Web site for free download for members.
  • Conducted the highly successful webinar "HVAC Duct Construction Standards" that demonstrated how to use SMACNA’s "HVAC Duct Construction Standards – Metal and Flexible," third edition, to determine the proper range of construction options of rectangular duct used in today’s commercial market.
  • Contributed to ASHRAE’s new Commissioning Process Management Professional certification, which recognizes those with optimal knowledge of the entire building commissioning process. The program was developed with input from SMACNA and other industry organizations.
  • Signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the International Code Council (ICC) agreeing to jointly advance and promote the mutual interests of the sheet metal and air conditioning construction industry, including marketing new products and services collaboratively, supporting cooperative standards and codes development, and sharing each other’s product and services with their members.
  • Released the new, revised "Bubble DVD Destroys Design Myths," which illustrates the airflow movement variations through typical duct systems and how to correctly design/install duct fittings to reduce energy use.
  • Developed an article on the U.S. Green Building Council LEED 3.0 for the May issue of the Architectural Metal newsletter showing the opportunities on LEED projects that can be enhanced through architectural metals.
  • Submitted code change proposals for the ICC Code Development Cycle for inclusion in the 2012 ICC family of codes.
  • Provided a contribution of $10,000 to the American Society for Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) for research project No. 1319-RP "Laboratory Testing of Duct Fittings to Determine Loss Coefficients."
  • Issued the revised Technical Resources Bulletin "STRI Wind Uplift Testing Project" that incorporated the final material test results showing edge flashing and coping details within the SMACNA "Architectural Sheet Metal Manual" to be compliant with the IBC – SPRI ES-1 Standard.
  • Provided answers to more than 400 technical inquiries from architects, members, and non-members that were received via the SMACNA Web site, telephone and fax.

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

Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors' National Association
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