The National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) will celebrate Women in Construction (WIC) Week March 5-11, 2017. WIC Week is an important date on the NAWIC calendar. This week helps NAWIC advance its mission to enhance the success of women in the construction industry.
“NAWIC has enhanced the success of women in the industry for more than 62 years. We are proud to highlight contributions of women to the industry during Women in Construction Week,” says NAWIC president Connie M. Leipard, CIT.
The focus of WIC Week is to highlight women as a visible component of the construction industry. It is also a time for local chapters to give back to their communities. WIC Week provides an occasion for NAWIC’s members across the country to raise awareness of the opportunities available for women in the construction industry and to emphasize the growing role of women in the industry.
“Women work in every facet of construction in important roles,” states Leipard. “NAWIC’s goal during WIC week is to raise awareness and visibility of the women in these roles. This increased visibility will promote the recruitment of more women and encourage others to start careers in construction. This will ultimately ease the workforce shortage in the industry.”
NAWIC chapters across the nation will celebrate WIC Week with a variety of activities. Community service projects, jobsite tours, membership drives, children’s activities, hands-on workshops, fundraisers and school programs are some of the ways local chapters will observe WIC Week. Local chapters are also appealing to their local, state and national representatives to issue official WIC Week proclamations. Visit the website to locate a NAWIC chapter near you.
The Architecture Billings Index (ABI) concluded the year in positive terrain, with the December reading capping off three straight months of growth in design billings. As an economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate nine to twelve month lead time between architecture billings and construction spending. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the December ABI score was 55.9, up sharply from 50.6 in the previous month. This score reflects the largest increase in design services in 2016 (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 57.2, down from a reading of 59.5 the previous month.
“The sharp upturn in design activity as we wind down the year is certainly encouraging. This bodes well for the design and construction sector as we enter the new year”,” says AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “However, December is an atypical month for interpreting trends, so the coming months will tell us a lot more about conditions that the industry is likely to see in 2017.”
Key December ABI highlights:
- Regional averages: Midwest (54.4), Northeast (54.0), South (53.8), West (48.8)
- Sector index breakdown: commercial / industrial (54.3), institutional (53.3), mixed practice (51.9), multi-family residential (50.6)
- Project inquiries index: 57.2
- Design contracts index: 51.2
The regional and sector categories are calculated as a 3-month moving average, whereas the national index, design contracts and inquiries are monthly numbers.
Work continues in Corrigan on an oriented strand board (OSB) manufacturing plant, the first such facility in the Lone Star State for RoyOMartin. Due to open in fall 2017, the plant represents a $280 million investment, is situated on 158 acres, and adds 165 direct jobs. The Corrigan OSB LLC greenfield OSB plant will ship products throughout the U.S. OSB is primarily used for roof and wall sheathing in construction.
Company officials and the East Texas community celebrated the grand opening of the plant’s administration building, which marked the beginning of the transition from a construction site to a fully operational facility. Construction began in July 2015 and is nearly halfway complete. About 30 employees have been hired to date. Corrigan OSB LLC will complement RoyOMartin’s other OSB mill in Oakdale, La., in manufacturing RoyOMartin-branded OSB products that include Eclipse OSB Radiant Barrier, Eclipse OSB Wall System, TuffStrand, WindBrace, and Structwall.
“We believe East Texans share our passion for excellence and experience,” says Roy O. Martin III, president, CEO, and CFO of RoyOMartin. “We have sold into the Texas market for a long time, and now we look forward to becoming a proactive partner in the community.”
Named a 2016 Manufacturer of the Year by the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, RoyOMartin brings more than jobs to the region. The company has also earned accolades for safety and employee development programs, including WoodWorks and RoyOMartin University. The former is a program in local high schools that trains students for careers in the wood products industry. The latter is an on-site training program that provides employees a perspective on the business and prepares them for advancement within the company. It also aims to teach behaviors and instill principles that make graduates valued participants in the communities in which they live.
“We’ll extend our philosophy of being ‘employer of choice’ and ‘vendor of choice’ to the region, while maintaining the stability of a company committed to its stakeholders,” Martin adds.
Witnessed elsewhere in technology, when open platforms like lienwaivers.io enter the market, there’s a shift from buyers purchasing software suites to customers choosing technologies which communicate through APIs. In partnering with industry leaders such as Notarize.com and HelloSign, lienwaivers.io has empowered their customers to take control of their disbursement process.
With lienwaivers.io, lenders, contractors, title companies and property owners can automate their disbursement process and build better relationships, all at a price point that competes with the cost of a check.
You worked hard all summer and made a lot of money. But now summer is over and winter is quickly approaching. With winter comes downtime.
When you’re young, temporary lay-offs can be fun: Parties, travel, music and sporting events make layoffs easier to handle. When you’re older, with bills to pay and mouths to feed, layoffs can be very worrisome. There are a few basic steps you can take to help deal with temporary layoffs.
If you’ve been laid off, you should file for unemployment insurance as soon as possible. The sooner you file, the sooner you can be deemed eligible and the sooner you can start receiving funds. The unemployment agency will verify with your employer the reason for you losing your job.
If you are not happy in the roofing industry you might be interested in retraining, not only to learn new job skills but also to keep your mind sharp. Consider the following:
- Take some community college courses. Community colleges are relatively inexpensive and offer a wide variety of courses to improve work skills while earning valuable college credits that may lead to a possible degree.
- Visit your local unemployment office. It will have lists of apprenticeship and training opportunities that can lead to a more secure position.
- Select courses at a location vocational/technical school. These schools offer a wide variety of hands-on training at reasonable costs.
- Purchase books or software to use on your own. There are many free and reasonably priced online training and education classes available.
See “Training Resources” below for some additional ideas.
If you love roofing and want to remain in the trade, there are steps you can take to keep your head above water—financially speaking.
John M. Grohol, Psy.D., writes in “7 Ways to Cope with a Layoff” that you need to take a realistic look at your finances and budget. Do not put this off longer than a week after you are laid off. Although we may not enjoy dealing with our finances, failure to do so could result in a far worse situation down the road (which always arrives sooner than you think). Dr. Grohol suggests: “Be creative in analyzing your budget for places to cut.” Most of us assume we need things like digital television and unlimited mobile calling plans. But most of us don’t. He adds, “Now’s the time to put aside your wants temporarily and focus exclusively on your and your family’s needs.”
Your savings, rainy-day fund and even your 401(k) may offer you some temporary financial relief. Borrowing from your 401(k), for instance, is usually less expensive than adding to your credit-card debt because you are paying back the loan with interest to yourself (not a credit card company). However, borrowing from your 401(k) and other retirement accounts is usually recommended only as a last resort.
Take care of your insurance. We often don’t think about insurance until we’re faced with a layoff and find out just how expensive insurance really is. Your employer will likely offer you COBRA, which allows you to continue your employer’s health benefits with one catch: You now have to pay what your employer was paying for your benefits. Be prepared for sticker shock. Most people are amazed that a family of four’s health insurance on COBRA might be as high as $1,000 or even $1,500 a month; for a single person or couple, it can be anywhere from $500 to $800 per month. When paying bills is already going to be a challenge, COBRA might be out of reach.
Shop around. With the Affordable Care Act, there are a lot more health-insurance plans available at a wide range of costs. You may find other health insurance coverage for your family that is less expensive and won’t cut your benefits in any significant way. Weigh the costs with what you can afford. For example, you may have to pay a higher deductible for inpatient hospital stays to achieve a lower monthly premium.
If you want or need to keep working, hit the classifieds. Nearly all classified sections now are online, so searching through them is far easier than it was 10 years ago. Although it might seem like nobody is hiring (and in the construction profession, that may very well be true), you should keep an eye out anyway. Jobs sometimes become available as people retire or a company’s focus changes. Extend your search somewhat outside your trade, as well, just to see what else might be available. Check out your “dream job”, too. Some people use a layoff as an opening for a new opportunity.
Use the unemployment resources available to you, whether through your ex-employer or through your local government. Libraries, too, often offer a great set of employment and career resources (such as résumé writing services). Don’t be afraid to network. Make your situation known, build connections and, soon, unemployment will be a thing of the past!
The following are examples of free or low-cost training opportunities you may want to consider when you are laid off:
College courses from American Standard University
Solar training in New Jersey from Information & Technology Management
Your state may offer free training, like New York
Penn Foster Career School
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration provides information and services to assist workers who have been or will be laid off.
Search for apprenticeships and youth education/training programs, like one in New York.
Because he was the only participant from Queen City Roofing, Draper navigated the elements of the program completely on his own. He enjoyed the support of his boss, the company owner, Larry Stock, who is a big believer in training and education. It was no small undertaking for either of them.
The ProForeman Certificate Program is a robust, multi-faceted program aimed at helping field leaders become excellent foremen. It also enables them to become company ambassadors, as well as well-rounded and knowledgeable employees within the roofing industry as a whole. The six areas of emphasis are general education, roofing technology, construction/business practices, leadership, safety and training others.
The roofing technology portion of the certificate program required Draper to complete two programs about codes, write a recent job report and watch a technical issues webinar conducted by Mark Graham, NRCA’s vice president of technical services. The purpose of the codes programs is to expose field managers to their complexity and purpose rather than for participants to learn all the codes that affect roofing. Similarly the technical webinar is a snapshot of issues roofing contractors have to deal with every day. Each of these three programs help turn field managers, like Draper, into better-educated employees who can appreciate the complexities of their industry and, therefore, be better representatives of their companies and more understanding team members.
Draper’s recent job report discussed aspects of a TPO installation. He was required to anticipate methods, safety concerns and common problems, as well as share specific concerns for one job. Because he is a more experienced field manager, he was able to accurately demonstrate his knowledge and experience.
This segment of the certificate program is designed specifically to help field managers appreciate the roles and concerns of management. Draper reported aspects of these segments to be helpful to him and some others in the office. Three elements comprise this section—a webinar about customer service, a webinar about foreman daily planning and a company-based activity during which participants shadow several key management employees—from which participants learn the responsibilities and concerns of many office employees. For instance, a “daily huddles” webinar helps field managers appreciate the financial picture of the company, seen through the lenses of a job. It explains the impact a field manager’s leadership can have on a job and the company’s bottom line.
ProForeman leadership components are the heart of the program. They are comprised of two day-long, in-person programs and two follow-up webinars. Each of these elements is aimed at teaching leadership awareness and skills.
NRCA’s premise is that most field managers already are excellent managers. They know what it takes to successfully install a roof system and are drive to achieve goals. Where roofing industry field managers often lack awareness is how to effectively influence the people who work for them.
Queen City Roofing is lightyears ahead of many companies. According to Draper, Stock is committed to creating an atmosphere in which people enjoy their jobs and want to come to work, and he wants people to be committed to customer service. To that end, being part of the ProForeman Certificate Program was not Draper’s first exposure to leadership concepts. He has been talking to the foremen at Queen City Roofing about concepts like this for some time. NRCA’s For Foremen Only programs, which are part of the certificate program under the leadership section, helped provide Draper with additional material to discuss with the company’s field leaders. Draper notes that over time he has seen foremen come to treat their crews differently, and he reports that hardly anyone manages by yelling anymore.
It was the position of NRCA legal counsel that no one should be able to earn the ProForeman certificate without having expertise in safety. To that end, there are more requirements in this section than any other. When the program first debuted, NRCA required a roofing-specific OSHA 10-hour card, which could be substituted by a non-specific 30-hour card. There was lots of confusion over the way this was worded, so the requirement was changed to simply require an OSHA 30-hour card. Although a roofing-specific 10-hour can still satisfy, the idea is that ProForeman certificate holders be “above and beyond” when it comes to safety.
Other elements in this section include a webinar about what it means to be a competent person, a fall-protection video and assessment, job-site inspections of current jobs and a full-day NRCA program about fall protection: Roofing Industry Fall Protection A to Z.
Draper successfully completed all the requirements. In a conversation with him, he stated that Queen City Roofing experienced a transformation in its safety culture four to five years ago. Since that time, leadership and safety have taken a front seat. Draper has embraced learning and training as a way to keep these things in front of the employees at Queen City Roofing.
The final section of the certificate program focuses on helping field managers to become excellent trainers for their employees. Not many companies have someone skilled in being a trainer, though all foremen fill this role to some extent. The intent behind these elements is to help foremen be more comfortable in their role as teachers, which is a huge advantage to the individual and the company.
The three items Draper was required to complete in this section were the following:
- Watch an online module about what it means to be an excellent trainer.
- Record a video of himself doing a teaching demonstration, such as part of a safety talk (a participant who is a current authorized CERTA trainer does not need to do this exercise).
- Teach an actual classroom training session.
The classroom training exercise is an opportunity to train new (or newer) field employees on the basics of roofing. The session includes classroom time, demonstration and hands-on activities. NRCA recognizes roofing involves a lot of on-the-job training but does not believe sending new employees up on to the roof right away to learn everything is the best approach. It often frustrates busy foremen, slows down crews that need to work around what they perceive to be dead weight, and tends to weed out workers who might be highly successful if they were provided with a more structured or methodical way of learning a new skill.
Draper reported this classroom training experience to be positive for him and those who participated in the class. Queen City Roofing celebrated participants’ completion by awarding certificates and making a splash of their successes. The company is committed to using this program with future new employees.
First of Many
Draper was the first person to complete the NRCA ProForeman Certificate Program and it helped solidify and improve his skills in many existing Queen City Roofing initiatives. In many ways, Draper was ahead of the curve, coming from a company with an existing commitment to leadership development and a thriving safety culture. It was NRCA’s pleasure to award the jointly held certificate to Draper and Queen City Roofing. NRCA mailed the certificate and, with it, some award items to Draper, such as a Carhartt vest and Thermos mug with the ProForeman logo. NRCA does not expect certificate holders to attend the International Roofing Expo, but finishers are recognized at the award ceremony by name and company.