U.S. House Approves Concrete Masonry Check-Off Program
The U.S. House of Representatives has approved HR 985, the Concrete Masonry Products, Research, Education and Promotion Act of 2015 by a vote of 355 to 38.
The legislation provides authorization for the concrete masonry industry to pursue the creation of an industry-wide commodity “Check-Off Program.” These types of programs have enabled other industries – such as the wood industry – to pool resources to support market development efforts related to their commodity products.
Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY) and Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL) sponsored the bill and compiled a co-sponsor list of 247 House representatives that was balanced with nearly equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans.
About the bill
Funds collected by the Concrete Masonry Check-off Program will be used to advance the industry by supporting three primary initiative areas: research, education and promotion, according to the National Concrete Masonry Association (NCMA).
Building codes and standards have a significant impact on the how concrete masonry products are used, says the NCMA. Research is needed to document the performance of concrete masonry to support code changes that will open additional markets, reduce unnecessary conservatism, and make concrete masonry more market competitive.
Research needs for concrete masonry include areas related to sustainability, fire-resistance, structural building performance in seismic and wind events, recycled materials, manufacturing improvements and energy.
Supporting research at the university level will offer additional benefits. Faculty researchers become more familiar with concrete masonry as a building material. Masonry classroom education and hands-on exposure for students of engineering, architecture, construction management and materials science can be increased.
A Concrete Masonry Check-off Program can provide resources to support the continuing education of engineers, architects, contractors, inspectors, building officials, and more, regarding best practices for use of concrete masonry products, says the NCMA.
Increasing the exposure of future designers and industry professionals to concrete masonry construction will make them more comfortable with using it, once they become practicing professionals.
The program can support the development of the tools and resources needed to increase the efficiency of construction professionals as it relates to the use of concrete masonry, as well as education to help them learn how to use those tools and resources, whether in the form of design guides, construction resources, software or online tools.
After product development, research and education have occurred, promotion is in order. The concrete masonry Check-Off Program can support promotion at the local, state, regional or national level, as needed, to make sure that the audiences who have the ability to consume the product or information know how to do so and why.
For more information, visit www.cmucheckoff.com.