Volume 46, Issue 10 - November 2011


Steel Day Attracts Aspiring Glaziers
at Events Across the Country

Approximately 110 professionals and students attended the annual Steel Day on September 23 at the Iron Workers Local 5 Union Hall in Upper Marlboro, Md. The Ironworkers train people to install glass and curtainwall. Companies such as TSI Exterior Wall Systems, Harmon Inc. and Permasteelisa use graduates of the Iron Worker apprenticeship program, says Kenny Waugh, director of industry liaisons at the Ironworkers Management Progressive Action Cooperative Trust (IMPACT) and coordinator of the Steel Day event.

Nationally, 8,500 architects, engineers, contractors and students were expected to attend the 700 Steel Day events across the United States and Canada, Waugh says.

Steel Day is a hands-on, interactive day of learning about the steel industry, Waugh says.

The Local 5 trains people with high school degrees to be ironworkers, says David McNair, apprenticeship director. The courses are college-credited, and students graduate with 47 credits. “The National Labor College accepts those credits, and you could almost get a bachelor’s degree,” he says. “Students need to have a high school degree with a C average to attend classes.”

The students don’t have to pay for their courses, Waugh added. “We all give certain cents per hour to run this,” he says. “We have 900 members and 110 apprentices.” The teachers are paid and accredited. “We have 8 to 10 teachers, and they come here at night to teach,” he says. “The students have to have 800 hours inside and 8,000 hours outside over the entire course of four years to graduate.” About 75 percent to 80 percent of the students graduate.

One semester is dedicated to curtainwall, McNair says. “It’s part of our core curriculum.”

Alexei Ogai took the Local 5 4-year apprenticeship program and graduated in 2008. “I worked for CSI as a foreman for five years, and am now working as an independent contractor,” he says. “It’s a good program and gives you all the aspects of ironmanship and glazing. I’m doing a lot of glasswork, curtainwalls and window walls, and 95 percent of my business is glass-related.”

IMPACT, the labor-management arm of the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers, hosted Steel Day, an annual event sponsored by the American Institute of Steel Construction, its members and partners, and held at local venues throughout the United States and Canada.

Another Drop for Architecture Billings Index
Following the first positive score in four months, the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) Architecture Billings Index (ABI) reversed direction again in September. As an economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate nine to twelve month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending. AIA reported the September ABI score was 46.9, following a score of 51.4 in August. This score reflects a sharp decrease in demand for design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 54.3, down from a reading of 56.9 the previous month.

“It appears that the positive conditions seen last month were more of an aberration,” says AIA chief economist Kermit Baker. “The economy is weak enough at present that design activity is bouncing around more than usual; one strong month can be followed by a weak one. The economy needs to be stronger to generate sustained growth in design activity.”

Key September ABI highlights include:

• Regional averages: Midwest (51.0), Northeast (50.8), South (47.3), West (46.7);

• Sector index breakdown: commercial/industrial (52.4), mixed practice (50.0), institutional (48.0), multi-family residential (46.4); and

• Project inquiries index: 54.3.

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