The Line Magazine, Winter 2014
T H E
M A S O N R Y
M A G A Z I N E
OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE TEXAS MASONRY COUNCIL
T E X A S
Volume 17, No. 4
Friday Night Lights . . . Big Time.
The Benefits of Building with Masonry
Joplin Tornado Offers Lessons for Texas Cities
Faux Fire Walls Cause Real Tragedies
Cover Sponsored by:
Skinner Masonry, LLP
TABLE OF CONTENTS
A PUBLICATION OF THE ASSOCIATED
MASONRY CONTRACTORS OF TEXAS
Volume 17, No. 4
TEXAS MASONRY COUNCIL
ROC Construction, Inc.
FROM THE COVER:
Friday Night Lights…Big Time.
1ST VICE PRESIDENT
2ND VICE PRESIDENT
Continental Cut Stone, Inc.
Brazos Masonry, Inc.
IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT
Hanson Brick & Roof Tile
Bill Seidel, Acme Brick Company
Debbie Brady, Hanson Brick & Roof Tile
Rusty Haile, Acme Brick Company
Stan McCarthy, Acme Brick Company
Bob Whisnant, Headwaters Construction Materials
Jim Wise, Boral Building Products
John Williams, Alamo Cement
Executive Vice President
The Benefits of Building with
Joplin Tornado Offers Lessons
for Texas Cities
Faux Fire Walls Cause Real
Prefabricated Masonry: When
Modular Construction is the
answer, Masonry is still the
Futura Publishing, LLC
Tom Faulkner, Managing Editor
Patty Huber, Advertising Manager
Neil Faulkner, Copy Editor
Allison Newsum, Art Director
2 On the Level
17 Construction Law: Crises Management
19 In the News
23 Chapter Updates
On the Level
Texas Masonry Council
Stronger Building Codes and
Development Standards Benefit All Texans
As we look ahead to 2014, we can take pride in the fact that
the Texas Masonry Council is doing, and will continue to do, its
part in making Texas better for everyone who is lucky enough to
live here. At the same time, there is much more work to be done.
I'm talking about construction standards that require the use
of true masonry products on the exterior walls, and to a greater
extent, the attempt to pass new building codes requiring masonry fire walls.
Through her Op-ed articles in the Houston Chronicle and
Austin American-Statesman and a powerful article on fire walls in
the September issue of Masonry magazine, Professor Mukaddes
Darwish at Texas Tech University has made a powerful case for
stronger building codes to protect from fire and wind storms.
The bottom line is clear: stronger building codes save lives and
masonry goes hand in hand with strong building codes.
Occasionally, Mother Nature helps us make the point. Take,
for example, the historic devastating tornado in Joplin, MO in
May 2011. Among the lessons learned: buildings with hard exteriors save lives, and masonry does the job. Texas cities can and
should learn from the Joplin experience.
The case for masonry, in terms of safety and sustainable
growth of communities, is so strong; it's almost baffling why
elected officials and city administrators in every Texas city would
not require more use of masonry in new construction. Of course,
we know why that's not the case: politics.
In making the case for more masonry, TMC needs to recognize that fighting for stronger building codes is the moral high
ground, and we should never hesitate to make that point. While
opponents will raise all sorts of false arguments about affordability and costs, ultimately the facts favor masonry and stronger
Our challenge at TMC is to continue beating the drum and
educating consumers and officials about the benefits and advantages of masonry. We must make it politically feasible for elected
officials and city administrators to do the right thing for their
Texas Masonry Council ✯ The Line
And, we're having tremendous success. We now have about
200 cities in Texas that have adopted some measure of masonry
planning, and the trend is continuing. Texas is the envy of the
nation when it comes to masonry construction standards due to
the hard work of our Masonry Planning Policy (MPP) program.
While it's only a fraction of all the cities in Texas, the number
includes most of the fast-growing, dynamic regions of the state.
The message is getting through loud and clear.
If you haven't visited our other website, www.
MasonryOrdinance.com, why not? This website makes the case
in powerful terms for masonry planning. It includes an interactive map showing where communities have adopted masonry
ordinances, case studies, sample ordinances, and news related
to masonry planning. This site, which complements the main
TMC website, www.texasmasonrycouncil.org, is a great resource
for anyone interested in strategies for making better communities.
Arm yourself with the real facts so you can be an advocate, and
share your knowledge with your circle of contacts. This happens
to be one of those rare situations where your business interests
align perfectly with the greater good. Help spread the word.
We are blessed to be part of an industry that helps to save
lives and build better communities, and the Texas Masonry
Council should make the case for masonry at every opportunity.
You are a big part of that effort.
Again, visit www.MasonryOrdinance.com and see if your town
or city has any masonry standards in place. If not, then maybe
you can help the MPP staff work with your city. You are part of the
solution to recapturing wall share for true masonry construction.
You're also helping your community.
2013/2014 TMC President
© 2012 Texas Mutual Insurance Company
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Dividends are based on performance and are not guaranteed.
Texas Masonry Council ✯ The Line
Friday Night Lights . . . Big Time.
he multi-purpose, 18,000-seat Eagle Stadium is located
in Allen, Texas, and it is designed by PBK Architects as a
sunken bowl with elevated deck on the home side. The masonry
construction was done by Skinner Masonry LLP, and consisted
of approximately 850,000 special blend King Size brick supplied
by Acme Brick – 16,000 oversized 41624 burnish and split face
custom CMU supplied by Featherlite Building Products and
approximately 275,000 lightweight CMU supplied by Headwaters
Construction Materials. The cast stone caps and accents seen
throughout the project were supplied by United Commercial Cast
Stone. The lower CMU floors contain concessions, locker rooms,
indoor golf training and driving ranges, baseball and softball batting cages, and rifle ranges. There were several challenges with
Texas Masonry Council ✯ The Line
the construction of this project such as schedule, weather delays,
steel supports and overall size of the complex. Allen ISD has built
the premier Texas high school football stadium that rivals many
college stadiums throughout the state and nation.
The stadium is oriented in a north/south direction to minimize solar glare during afternoon events. There are two main
entry points located at the 50 yard line on the home and visitor
sides, as well as four secondary entry points at the corners of
the stadium. The main concourse level is elevated above grade
approximately 10 feet, with the playing field sitting approximately 15 feet below grade, thus allowing excellent visibility to the
field from the concession areas. The field itself is surfaced with
a durable synthetic multi-purpose turf system which provides
excellent drainage. Public restrooms are dispersed around the
As the masonry contractor for this extraordinary project,
Skinner Masonry, LLP is a family owned commercial masonry
contractor located in North Texas. They were founded in 1979 and
in 1981 established their primary office in Mesquite, Texas. Their
primary focus of construction has been education facilities K-12
and higher learning facilities including work at the University of
North Texas, University Texas at Dallas, SMU and Tyler Junior
College. Through the years Skinner Masonry has worked on just
about every type of construction project including multi-story
Class A office buildings, retail, hospitals, municipal buildings,
and high rise condominiums towers in downtown Dallas, Texas.
As more companies associated with the gas, oil, tech and the
manufacturing industries continue to grow and more companies
move to the business friendly climate in Texas, Skinner Masonry
looks forward to a steady growth in construction projects for
several more years. Additionally, as the residential industry
continues its recovery and with the arrival of new industries and
relocated employees, the support structures and amenities these
communities expect with regard to retail, entertainment, education and medical buildings present excellent opportunities for
The biggest challenge Skinner and the masonry industry has
is one echoed throughout the construction industry – “lack of a
quality skilled labor force.” The masonry industry is and has been
losing out to other trades for years. They are light years ahead in
their proactive approaches to recruiting younger generations into
their work forces. Right or wrong, today’s generation is one of
“right now” which conflicts with an industry that has prided itself
on the quality of work that is obtained through years of hard work,
experience and practice; one that shows pride in achieving a level
of skill that is considered a true mason and not just a bricklayer.
The generation today is not willing to do this and our industry is
going to need to adapt to this generation. We’ll need to provide a
well-defined and adhered to path to their success in our industry
if we are to be successful in the years to come.
Texas Masonry Council ✯ The Line
The Benefits of Building with Masonry
Masonry has been mankind's number one building material
ever since cave dwellers built a crude stone wall in front of their
caves to keep out the weather and provide security.
The Egyptians built masonry pyramids; the Greeks created cities
and beautiful temples out of masonry. The Romans used masonry
almost exclusively to build their empire, with Aqueducts, forums,
roads, and living spaces…all of brick and stone. The Chinese built
an incredible masonry wall to keep out invaders. Even throughout
the Dark Ages, masonry continued to flourish with castles and
Locally, great architectural structures such as Faneuil Hall,
Quincy Market, The Custom House Tower and the Old State House
stand as testimony to the age old use of masonry products.
The fact that many of the ancient structures survive today
stands in silent testimony to the durability of masonry systems.
Well over half of the structures now existing in the world are all or
in part built with masonry construction. This is because masonry
materials are reliable, durable, and economical.
Masonry is a compatible material.
Concrete masonry backup systems are rigid and can carry the
entire lateral load of a facing system while, in contrast, the flexible
steel stud system forces the veneer facing to share most of the
lateral load thereby increasing the veneers vulnerability to cracking
Aesthetically, masonry offers a very large range of colors, textures, styles, and finishes.
These range from rough stone to brick to structural glazed tile
to architectural block…each with its own unique appeal. No other
system can offer so much variety and compatibility.
Masonry is extremely cost effective. Not only are there cost
advantages during the initial construction phase, but masonry
also helps keep costs down over the life of a building by providing
a low maintenance structure. The exterior is easy and inexpensive
to maintain; and since masonry is much more durable than drywall, interior walls are practically maintenance free…no holes in
the walls. Doors will open and close properly over the life of the
building due to the uniform nature of the construction. Masonry
buildings offer additional cost savings with lower fire insurance
costs, and lower energy costs. This is possible because masonry is
a long-term performance material.
Masonry is a proven structural system.
There are a number of engineered load bearing projects in
excess of twenty stories now in existence. No other material can
do what masonry can do.
Masonry is energy efficient.
Masonry is a “green” material.
A National Bureau of Standards study
reveals that masonry outperforms other
systems in dynamic heating and cooling
conditions more effectively than lightweight backup and wall systems. Masonry’s
mass delivers vital energy economy by
reducing heat loss in cold weather and heat
gain in warm weather. Its inherent thermal
storage qualities assist in reducing heating
and cooling loads thus providing long-term
The manufacturing process of masonry
materials is a low energy consumption
process compared to the manufacturing
process of many other materials. Masonry
doesn't deplete the forests, pollute the
land, or drain natural resources.
Masonry is a noise barrier.
Masonry walls keep the noise outside a
building or outside an area within a building. Masonry walls create a quieter environment in contrast to lightweight systems
with their lack of density and their tendency
to have “acoustical holes”. The mass and
monolithic properties of masonry make the
system far superior in its ability to reduce
sound transmission. In addition, special
masonry units, designed to absorb sound,
are available for high noise areas.
Masonry is a fire barrier.
Masonry walls provide a permanent structural fire barrier that is totally
non-combustible and will not fail in a structure due to lack of maintenance. Fire safety
is another inherent attribute of masonry
wall construction which has long been recognized and which other materials can only
claim to meet. Masonry walls are tested
under load bearing conditions up to 2000
degrees Fahrenheit and then blasted with
a fire hose. No other fire barrier is tested
in this fashion because they will fail. This
feature makes masonry an ideal choice for
schools, hospitals, nursing homes, college
dormitories an housing for the elderly.
Texas Masonry Council ✯ The Line
Masonry offers unlimited
Whether it is exterior cladding, structural applications, interior partitions, decorative applications, or paving, masonry is
the one and only system that can do it all
and keep on doing it decade, after decade,
Joplin Tornado Offers
Lessons for Texas Cities
New Hospital to have Masonry Exterior for Safety and Appearance
ith tornado season not far off, Missouri health care
executive John Farnen has two words of advice: harden
Farnen speaks from experience. On May 22, 2011, one of the
most powerful tornadoes ever recorded ripped through Joplin,
MO, killing 162 people, including one visitor and five critical-care patients at St. John’s Regional Medical Center. The hospital’s structural skeleton remained standing after the storm but
the rest of it was ripped to shreds. The facility was a total loss.
patient care areas,” Farnen said. “Building exteriors in those
areas will either be reinforced concrete, stone and brick, or precast concrete. The entire exterior skin will be made of a harder
material, which will prevent the kind of exterior damage we saw
at the old hospital and help prevent the kind of serious interior
damage that led to chaos and injuries.”
Farnen said the first and second floors of the new 900,000
square foot, nine-story structure will have exteriors of hand-laid
brick. Above those levels the exterior will be precast concrete
with brick veneer. He said they would have used hand-laid
brick for the upper levels, too, but had to use precast concrete
in order to meet the project’s compressed timetable. It’s now
scheduled to open in early 2015.
Joplin Med Flight outside ER after tornado
As executive director of strategic projects for Mercy Health
Systems, owner of the hospital and the sixth largest Catholic
health system in America, Farnen has the job of analyzing the
catastrophe and applying the lessons learned to the construction of the new $350-million replacement hospital, renamed
Mercy Hospital Joplin.
During the tornado, the building’s exterior covering and windows failed to withstand the wind and debris of the tornado. The
hospital’s exterior at that time was mostly glass, some metal
panels, with precast concrete on the main hospital with some
exterior insulation finishing system (EIFS), a lightweight synthetic cladding meant to look like stucco. There was also EIFS
on the adjacent office buildings. EIFS was popular in Texas until
problems with black mold started showing up.
“When you walked around the areas of the hospital that used
EIFS, you could see glass shards stuck in it and pieces of twoby-fours that had penetrated it,” Farnen said. “Some debris can
go right through it.”
Lesson Learned: Harden the Building’s Exterior Covering.
“The new facility will not be covered with EIFS in any of the
Mercy Hospital Joplin Sample Finishes
“Brick and stone is just a lot better look,” he said. “Not only
does it hold up better in severe weather, but you just can’t beat
the look of brick and stone. So, you get a great look and better
Another lesson learned was to harden and protect back up
power sources, and masonry plays a key role in that, too.
“Losing power created a lot of problems for us,” Farnen said.
“When the tornado hit, the transformers that provide normal
power to the facility were lost almost immediately so there
was no power of any kind inside the hospital, not even for critical-care areas.
“The new facility will have a separate central utility plant that
will be housed in a hardened structure with storm doors. That
structure will be partially buried, and mainly built with reinforced masonry block and brick.”
Farnen also noted that the hardened exterior was no budget
buster. It added only two to three percent to the construction
cost. Going forward, he added, Mercy will apply the lessons
learned in Joplin to all the new facilities it builds in its fourstate service area. Indeed, near the new Mercy Hospital Joplin,
the health system plans to break ground next year for a separate
behavioral health hospital and a rehabilitation hospital, and
these also will have the same tornado-resistant features, he
Rudy Garza, executive vice president of the Texas Masonry
Council, said a growing number of Texas communities would
agree with the Missouri health care executive. About 200 Texas
cities have adopted minimum requirements for masonry on the
exteriors of new construction. A new interactive map at www.
masonryordinance.com shows the locations of many of these
“The Joplin tornado was a historic natural disaster, and every
city should look closely at the lessons learned in that event,”
Garza said. “The hospital’s experience is an important example
and has implications for residential, as well as commercial
He added that, “Often, Texas municipal leaders cite appearance, community image, sustainability, and safety as the main
reasons for requiring masonry as the primary exterior material.”
One such community is the fast-growing city of Frisco, north
of Dallas. Frisco Mayor Maher Maso, an information technology
entrepreneur, says Frisco always has excelled at long-term planning and policies that support sustainability. That mindset led
officials to consider and ultimately adopt masonry planning.
In focusing on sustainability, Frisco officials saw it as a proverbial three-legged stool with legs of safety, durability, and
aesthetics. The Frisco Fire Department, which is ISO 1 certified, emphasized the safety benefits of masonry construction.
Officials also were swayed by the durability, low-maintenance,
and aesthetic characteristics of masonry.
Frisco planners and elected officials recognized that many
new buildings look good for a while, but the real test is how they
will look in 10, 20, or 30 years.
“As neighborhoods age,” Maso said, “what’s the best material
to withstand the test of time? What requires the least maintenance? All the signs pointed to masonry. Just about everything
we’ve built has had sustainability in mind.”
Garza said, “Texas has a rich history of building with
long-lasting masonry products. Masonry is part of the Texas
heritage, and by embracing masonry planning, local officials
and civic leaders, such as those in Frisco, are helping to build a
strong legacy for their communities.“
Research has shown that masonry (brick, stone, concrete
block) provides greater protection against fire, and windstorms,
such as tornadoes and hurricanes, than non-masonry siding
In addition, other research has shown that masonry requirements result in: 1) higher overall property values; 2) growth
in the tax base, lessening the tax burden on residents; 3) continued population and housing growth, and 4) no significant
impact on affordability for either renters or buyers of housing.
To find out if your city is protected from storms and fire by
a masonry ordinance visit the map at www.masonryordinance.
com. If your city is not protected, e-mail Rudy Garza at [email protected]
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Texas Masonry Council ✯ The Line
B AT O N R O U G E
Faux Fire Walls Cause Real Tragedies
By Mukaddes Darwish, Ph.D.
he day after the tragic explosion in the city of West, Texas
on April 17, 2013, which displaced dozens of people, an apartment fire in north Houston displaced nearly 40 residents. Earlier
in April an apartment fire in San Antonio displaced the residents
of 27 units. On May 31, 2013 a motel fire in Houston resulted in
the deaths of four firefighters and injuries to more than a dozen
people. Earlier that same month, a condominium fire in Dallas
displaced the residents of 24 units and killed a 30-year veteran of
Dallas Fire-Rescue. Last December in Austin, an apartment complex fire destroyed 68 units, displacing 80 residents. In February
2013, another apartment complex fire in Austin destroyed or
damaged all 24 units, displacing 27 people.
are only approximations because the reporting system is voluntary; the numbers could be higher, but not lower.) So far in 2013,
we appear on pace to match the previous year.
If we assume conservatively that on average five people are
displaced by each multi-family structure fire, it would total more
than 8,800 displaced people annually in Texas.
The problem, of course, is not limited to Texas. According to a
report for the National Fire Protection Association:
• In 2011, the latest available data year, there were roughly
95,500 multi-family structure fires in the USA, which resulted in 415 civilian deaths, 4425 civilian injuries, and an
estimated $1.168 billion in direct property damage.
• Of the multi-family structure fires nationwide, only 10 percent spread beyond the room of origin, but that 10 percent
accounted for 81 percent of total property damage for the
• Assuming, conservatively, that on average five people were
displaced by the fires that spread beyond the room of origin, then about 47,750 people (equal to the estimated 2012
population of Galveston, TX) were displaced temporarily
or permanently by multi-family structure fires in 2011.
Fire-ravaged Vancouver Condos
Every year, in fact, thousands of Texas families are displaced
by multi-family structure fires. The failure of many Texas cities to
adopt zoning ordinances, development standards and building
codes that require the use of masonry exterior walls and masonry
fire walls worsens our fire problem in Texas.
In 2012, according to the Texas State Fire Marshal, there were
roughly 1,765 multi-family structure fires statewide, which resulted in an estimated property loss of almost $53.7 million. There
were also more than a dozen civilian deaths, about 30 firefighter
injuries, and at least 115 civilian injuries. (The Fire Marshal’s data
In the world of fire protection, we have a vast amount of data
on types of fires, deaths, injuries, property losses, and much
more. Rarely, if ever, do we see anything – other than media
reports – about the thousands of survivors whose lives are turned
upside down by multi-family structure fires that spread beyond
the room of origin.
Economists, psychologists, and sociologists could have a
field day analyzing the ripple effects of such a large number of
displaced people. Sadly, many of the people affected already are
living on the edge. They lose what little they have in these fires.
Unfortunately, this issue seems to receive little attention. This
must change. We must fully understand the full toll these catastrophic fires take on communities, because these kinds of fires
can be prevented by stronger building codes.
Fires, especially in multi-family structures, are always a concern. Individual residents sometimes act carelessly or irresponsibly. Appliances sometimes malfunction. Wiring sometimes
becomes damaged. Bad stuff happens.
Fires happen, but the absence of real fire walls allows fires
to spread beyond the room of origin. Consequently, dozens of
families can suddenly find themselves homeless through no fault
of their own.
The national fire report referred to previously also shows that
in apartment fires where fire spread beyond the room of origin
in years 2006-10, structural framing (23 percent) and exterior
wall covering or finish (11 percent) contributed the most to fire
spread. In other words, these are combustible dwellings.
Let’s build dwellings that actually protect the occupants from
fires. The fundamentals of fire safety design are straightforward
• Prevention: reduce the chances of fire through good
housekeeping, education, building layout, and choice of
• Detection and Alarm: early warning devices, like smoke
• Suppression: sprinklers, fire extinguishers or other suppression systems to help control fires quickly.
• Containment: masonry fire walls isolate and contain fire,
toxic smoke and gases while maintaining the building’s
structural integrity. This allows for safe evacuation for residents and access for fire fighters.
The first two elements are widely accepted and for the most
part add little cost. A few business groups have fought efforts
to require sprinkler systems in new construction because of the
cost, but some cities wisely have implemented the requirement
The International Building Code (IBC) – minimum standards –
defines three wall types for fire protection— fire wall, fire barrier
and fire partition—depending on the level of protection provided
for the type of occupancy and intended use. Of the three defined
fire-rated assemblies, a fire wall is generally considered to provide the highest level of robustness and fire safety. As such, it is
intended to provide complete separation and must be structurally stable under fire conditions.
The IBC says fire walls must have the minimum fire-resistance
rating acceptable for the particular occupancy or use group
which they separate and must also have protected openings and
penetrations. A fire wall must have both vertical and horizontal
continuity to ensure that the fire does not travel over, under or
around the fire wall. In addition, the wall must have sufficient
structural stability under fire conditions to remain standing for
the duration of time indicated by the fire-resistance rating even
with the collapse of construction on either side of the fire wall.
The best solution, research has shown, is masonry fire walls.
(Actually, the term “masonry fire wall” is redundant, because
for insurance purposes, the only true fire wall is one made out
of masonry – usually steel-reinforced concrete block or brick.)
Masonry simply does not burn, and the combination of fire walls
and sprinklers can prevent fires from spreading at all.
Developers generally oppose requirements for masonry fire
walls. They claim such walls are too costly and are unnecessary.
They prefer “fire-resistant” barriers, such as coated wallboard.
Unfortunately, such barriers offer little resistance under realworld conditions – they are faux fire walls. The “fire ratings” – a
measure of a structure’s resistance to fire – for such barriers further confuse both consumers and developers.
Texas Masonry Council ✯ The Line
Masonry Fire Wall Construction Compartmentalization
Fire resistance denotes the resistances some materials may
provide yet perform differently in terms of structural integrity. It
is a term that litters the regulation of construction and building
codes. For example, one-hour rated fire resistance requirement
can be achieved utilizing wood stud construction faced with
gypsum board on both sides, or with four-inch thick concrete
The difference in system integrity between the two, however,
is very apparent. Wood-frame construction adds fuel to a fire
while the non-combustible masonry system does not. Masonry
walls will continue to provide structural integrity and will work
as a barrier.
The case for requiring masonry fire walls for all new multi-family structures (apartments, condominiums, town houses) is so
strong, you have to wonder why cities don’t already require
them. Why don’t builders and developers just do it without being
Even though studies have shown that the cost difference for
a masonry fire wall versus non-masonry “fire-resistant” barrier is
minimal, when considered in the context of total project cost,
most developers persist in believing that the cost of masonry fire
walls is prohibitive. Moreover, developers, who intend to sell the
property within a few years, have little incentive to spend more
for masonry fire walls when the building codes don’t require
Bottom line: consumers – renters and townhouse/condominium buyers – need to understand the importance of real
(masonry) fire walls and make it clear to developers that this is an
important selling point. The public also must keep the pressure
on local officials to step up and require real fire walls in all new
multi-family structures, so lives no longer are lost or disrupted
needlessly by fires that spread beyond the room of origin.
Mukaddes Darwish, Ph.D., is associate
professor, Construction Engineering and
Engineering Technology, at Texas Tech
University. EDITOR'S NOTE: A version of
the following article first appeared in the
September 2013 issue of Masonry magazine.
Photo courtesy of Constructive LLC
When modular construction is the answer, masonry is still the best option.
By Jim Gendron and Paul Koch
n answer to the need for speed that continues to be a driver of
construction productivity, prefabricated masonry walls, offering all of their inherent attributes, quickly rise to the occasion.
Custom built to any spec and height, designers can use Masonry
for ALL Its Worth giving the owner all masonry’s performance
benefits now with unparalleled speed and efficiency. Owners
appreciate consolidation of on-site labor and resource demand.
Tight schedules have created a rise in market share for modular construction, or prefabricated systems. Modular steel units
or precast concrete panels might have been what first jumped
to mind, but today, the option in prefabricated wall systems
includes masonry. Concrete masonry units (CMU), fabricated
into wall panels following International Building Code (IBC) and
Building Code & Specification for Masonry Structures (often
referred to as MSJC) requirements off site, in a controlled environment, then installed by crane, are meeting needs of designers
and owners in myriad ways.
buildings were once thought of as mostly warehouses or big box
retailers, we’re now seeing schools interested in erecting whole
buildings or large additions over the summer months to minimize time students and teachers are displaced. Select service
hotels are also beginning to take advantage of the speed prefabricated systems offer.
As building information modeling expands to include BIM for
Masonry (BIM-M), it has the potential to be a trigger to full-blown
modular utilization. For the first time, collaborative information
will be available, and through technology, this information will
have the ability to reach into the activities-level of production,
creating cost-effective construction components with speed and
precision that are unheard of even today. The design team has
more control over the production method from design to fabrication allowing, among other things, greater ability for process control and its attributes and less potential for conflicting objectives
among the various team members. Modular Revolution
There is a perception that faster is better. The construction industry is always looking for ways to innovate and meet
demands as efficiently as possible. Avoiding delays and, more
likely, making up for lost time are key factors in keeping a project
From weather conditions to soil remediation to lengthy permitting processes, construction may experience delays. Being
able to fabricate wall panels off-site through what would have
been down time can be a great advantage. While prefabricated
One feature that sets prefabricated CMU panels apart from
precast concrete is its weight. The CMU panel is hollow and,
therefore, about half the weight of a comparable concrete panel.
CMU’s lighter weight makes it easier and less expensive to transport and it can be set into place more easily, on a less-robust
foundation and with a smaller crane. Both add to overall cost
Because the wall is hollow, mechanical, electrical and plumbing components can be added anywhere. The hollow wall panel
can be pinned to the footing with reinforcing bars and grouted,
improving speed of erection.
A wall panel is typically constructed to 8', then can be stacked
and anchored together with reinforcing bars, grout and mortar.
It can be built as single wythe or insulated masonry cavity wall,
with all components — wire ties, flashing, insulation — in place
and ready to accept the hand-laid masonry exterior wythe on site.
Another feature of prefabricated masonry is the design. A
well-designed masonry building with control joints at 20' to 24'
on center can be converted to prefab panels with little effort. The
added effort is in the production of panel fabrication documents. When a modular or prefabricated design is desirable for staging or schedule reasons, a prefabricated masonry wall has all the
same performance and life cycle advantages as a hand-laid wall. It
is as durable, as attractive, as fire and disaster-resistant, provides
the same thermal mass benefits and acoustic isolation. Unlike
many steel frame modular units being shipped from overseas,
prefabricated masonry is also able to be constructed locally, with
local labor, and locally produced materials having the same ratio
of local and recycled content as a conventionally-constructed
masonry wall. Contractor’s Perspective
Contractors already have the basic knowledge and experience that will be required for the new technology to succeed. A
mason’s tool requirements will go from the same trowel, line,
hammer and chisels that their forefathers would recognize, to
including experienced rigging crews that can weld, anchor and
brace. New emphasis will be placed on shop drawing generation
and pre-construction process management. As project assembly progresses, labor and crew resource
management will be minimized at the field level. Prefabricated
masonry components will not have need for the necessary set
time to bare structural components, allowing designers to have
the ability to weave in and out of sophisticated structural systems
seamlessly. In-plant panel construction will potentially outpace
field-built construction in every facet. Hot- and cold-weather
masonry practices could become concerns of the past. All facets
of the production process will be scrutinized for efficiency from
material acquisition to waste generation and recycling. With this
will come, for the first time in generations, new requirements for
the material suppliers to meet ever-evolving standards.
Overall project cost savings will be found in the schedule of
construction. The construction manager saves expense because
his on-site staff is there for less time. A smaller crane is cheaper
to rent and more maneuverable. It only takes minutes to set prefab lintels on site, for example, which saves money. Compared to
a steel lintel, the mason could give back half of the money of a
steel lintel for a prefab lintel and still make more money with a
Beyond Wall Panels
It was after a preconstruction meeting for a Detroit Public
School where the question was raised of whether the specified
120 masonry lintels should be replaced with steel to save time,
that the impetus for creating a prefabricated masonry lintel that
could be installed quickly and easily was born. Adding carbon fiber to the CMU lintels made them stronger and lighter than rebar would have. Carbon fiber carried the
required stress loads. Lintel production was handled off-site,
indoors, at the same time as the loadbearing masonry wall was
being laid on site. Lintels were delivered with just-in-time preci-
Texas Masonry Council ✯ The Line
sion, then placed, reinforced and grouted with the wall, achieving
a monolithic pour. DPS was able to benefit from masonry lintels
that provided an uninterrupted aesthetic and minimized life cycle
maintenance since masonry doesn’t require periodic paint and
corrosion repair of steel lintels.
At a parking garage project, a tight site made scaffold erection
on the exterior impossible. Hand-laid masonry walls were staged
and built from the inside and prefabricated masonry lintels were
brought in and placed by the crane that was already on site to
assist the other trades. Prefabricated masonry lintels have now been installed in
projects around Michigan and Ohio. The same concept is being
applied to triangular gables attached to parapet walls. Building
signage surround structures can be installed, connected to electricity and operational on busy street corners in a short period
of time, with minimal material staging or construction work zone
A Broad Reach
A patent-pending process has been developed in collaboration with a block producer, a structural engineer and mason contractor, with input from other masonry experts, including a carbon
fiber specialist. We all invested time and resources in order to
keep trying until we had the formula for success. A streamlined
program for determining quantity of carbon fiber based on size
and weight of the masonry structure has been developed to
make the program accessible to all designers and contractors.
Conventional hand-laid masonry is as viable as ever, allowing
design flexibility, utilizing readily-available materials. By adding
unit masonry to the modular construction pie, a whole new world
of opportunities emerges utilizing manufacturing’s exponentially
increasing productivity for the masonry construction process. Source: Smart dynamics of masonry
Crisis Management - Have a Plan!
Attorney Spike Cutler, and the firm of Cutler-Smith, P.C., are staunch advocates for the rights and interests
of construction trade contractors. Cutler provides legal counsel to a number of trade organizations, including
the Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC) of Texas, IEC- Dallas, IEC – Fort Worth, the Subcontractors
Association of the Metroplex ("SAM"), the Texas Masonry Council, the United Masonry Contractors
Association of DFW, and the North Texas Stone Fabricators Association. He is also a member of the Attorneys
Council of the National Subcontractors Alliance.
Chasing leads, bidding work, running jobs, administering
employees, and (of course) collecting the money you've worked
so hard to earn – these and more are the things you worry about
every day. Unfortunately, however, many businesses discover
that which they are overlooking, only too late; what if something
goes terribly wrong?
Few trade contractors have a Crisis Management plan in
place, and yet, in an industry with as many "moving parts" as
ours, accidents and crises are inevitable. How you respond
when the unexpected occurs will have a profound effect on how
badly the occurrence hurts you.
Examples of crises which you might anticipate include accidents leading to serious bodily injury or fatality, fire, serious
motor vehicle accidents or a chemical or pollutant spill. Don't
forget, these can be occurrences caused by your work, or by
others at a jobsite where you are working which, nonetheless,
still affect you. A written crisis plan, prepared in advance, can
guide you through the initial hours, and reduce the harm to
your business and employees.
In the chaos following an accident, your written plan for
“who-does-what” is critical – make sure that your field forces
know about it! Every jobsite should have, accessible to your
foremen or superintendents, your plan, with a comprehensive
list of important contact numbers. Late night or weekend at a
jobsite is not when you want people casting around, trying to
find a phone number.
The minutes and hours after an accident are crucial – you
have to preserve evidence, and you have to make sure that you
know what witnesses saw (and didn't see). With the prevalence
of cell phone cameras, taking pictures right away is easier now,
but you should consider having a better quality camera in your
job box or in the superintendent's truck.
Don't let strangers or employees disturb the scene – while it
may be tempting to change conditions to look more favorable
after an accident, doing so can readily be seen as a deceptive
act (and maybe even criminal), and will come back to harm you.
Taking pictures right away can preserve the image of the jobsite,
so you will know how things were before work resumed.
Secure statements from as many witnesses as possible –
especially your employees; often, mere hours after an accident,
plaintiff's attorneys persuade an accident victim's coworkers to
skew their story against the employer, to enhance the potential
recovery in a lawsuit by their coworker. Your transcribed witness statements can make all the difference in preventing this
dishonest behavior. Don't forget that you may need a translator
to ensure that statements you get are accurately transcribed,
so make sure you have capable translators in your contact list.
Getting witness statements right away also improves the
accuracy of the statements – events are fresh in the minds of
the witnesses. It can help to have witnesses look at a plan or
drawing, to help them recall exactly where they were when the
events occurred. Don't forget to get statements from other witnesses at the site, too – other subs, emergency responders, and
employees of the client.
Call your counsel immediately, and get
them to the accident site as soon as you
can! While it is important to notify your
insurance carrier of an accident, so they
can investigate and open the file, do not
rely upon the insurance carrier to provide
counsel; your lawyer, with your interests
exclusively at heart, will help orchestrate
evidence and witness statement gathering.
Should you call OSHA? Do not automatically call if it's not required; notice
to OSHA is only mandatory in the event
of fatalities, or serious injuries to three or
more employees. If OSHA does show up,
of course, you must be cooperative – but
don't volunteer for more trouble. Again,
your attorney can be hugely beneficial in
managing your interaction with governmental agencies, including OSHA.
Don't forget to be sensitive to the
needs of the family and coworkers. An
accident with injuries or fatalities is a
traumatic experience, and compassion
and care shown by you will go a long
way to maintaining calm, and avoiding
needless harsh feelings. Consider having
trained counselors on call to assist in this
Designate one person as the contact
for the media, and make sure all employees know that only that designated contact is to talk to media. What your representative says to the media can make, or
break how your company comes across in
reporting. Don't speculate, and respect
the privacy of your people; there's nothing wrong with telling a reporter simply
that you are conducting an investigation,
that you're concerned about the safety
of all your employees, and that you are
working to determine exactly what happened. Then stop; the reporter’s need for
Texas Masonry Council ✯ The Line
a story doesn’t create an obligation to
give them one!
These are the highlights – review with
your construction-knowledgeable counsel what you need to include in a Crisis
Management plan, and how to implement it. While accidents, injuries and
fatalities can create huge disruption in
your business, being prepared for them,
and taking affirmative steps in advance
to control the damage, can make all the
difference in how much harm ultimately
results. Your actions in the first 24 hours
after an accident can be worth, literally,
millions in damages avoided.
I would like to thank Ricky Locke, of
Independent Insurance Group in Dallas,
for the inspiration for much of the content of this article.
in the News
200 Texas Cities Adopt
Masonry Planning as Strategy
for Ensuring Safe, Attractive,
Says Texas Masonry Council
The adoption of masonry planning as a
strategy for sustainable growth continues
to gain favor among Texas cities, with 200
cities statewide now embracing the concept
by adopting minimum requirements for
masonry in new construction, according to
the Texas Masonry Council.
The number of cities is about double the
total of from five years ago, said Rudy Garza,
TMC executive vice president. Although the
number of cities is only about 16 percent of
the 1,215 incorporated cities in Texas, the
200 that have embraced masonry planning
are strategically located in the fastest
growing regions of the state, Garza noted.
Council, like the other masonry-friendly
cities, cited multiple reasons:
• Masonry helps protect property
values, provides for durable longlasting structures, and helps ensure
aesthetically pleasing structures and
a stable tax-base;
• Masonry is the preferred residential
and non-residential building
material for improved fire safety,
lower insurance rates, increased
property value appreciation,
increased energy efficiency, and
lower home maintenance costs;
• Building standards for nonresidential construction will help
attract high-quality commercial
development and preserve property
An interactive map at http://www.
masonryordinance.com shows where masonry planning has been adopted in Texas.
About the TMC
Lewisville Animal Shelter
Leander Elementary School
“This is where the growth is occurring,”
he said. “These 200 forward-thinking cities in
the major metropolitan areas of Dallas-Fort
Worth, Austin, San Antonio and Houston,
recognize that they have the power to
determine whether the dramatic growth
they are experiencing or potentially facing,
will result in a safer environment and better
quality of life for their residents.”
On Jan. 13, 2014, the city of Troy, in Central
Texas just north of Temple, became the 200th
city in Texas to adopt masonry requirements
and masonry planning as a strategy for
sustainable growth. Troy anticipates a
surge in growth with the widening of IH-35
between Temple and Waco.
In its resolution justifying adoption of
the masonry requirements, the Troy City
The Texas Masonry Council represents
the masonry manufacturers, suppliers,
and contractors in Texas. The TMC
assists communities seeking to enhance
their appearance, safety, and long-term
sustainability by incorporating masonry
planning into their development plans. Visit
Acme Brick Vision Wins
Product Innovation Award
From Architectural Products
The recently completed 2013 Product
Innovation Awards competition, sponsored
by Architectural Products Magazine, selected Acme Brick Company’s new Acme Brick
Vision iPad app as a winner.
Architectural Products Magazine’s
Product Innovation Awards (PIAs) deter-
mine and honor innovation in the development and refinement of building-related
products that range from cladding systems
to interior finishes. Judged by a group of
50 independent industry professionals,
the program is a mechanism to impartially
review products and present them to Architectural Products Magazine’s readers.
This new, free app – Acme Brick Vision
– allows iPad users to view Acme Brick
Company’s brick product line on both residential and commercial building elevations, or as a brick sample in a close-up
view. Acme Brick Vision allows the user to
pick an elevation, put their choice of brick
on the building, and change variables such
as mortar color, trim paint color, and roof
color. With Acme Brick Vision, it is possible to create over one million unique combinations of brick, mortar, roof, and trim
Acme Brick Vision enables consumers
and building professionals to compare
brick and mortar color selections and view
them wherever they have access to the
Internet, even on site. This ability to view
and compare selections indoors or out, at
a moment's notice, makes the brick and
mortar selection process more efficient
and accurate. Download the Acme Brick
Vision app at the Apple App Store at https://
Jim Crockett, Editorial Director of Architectural Products Magazine commented, “Building on the success of last year’s
inaugural program, our second edition
of the Product Innovation Awards proves
commercial building manufacturers are
committed to, and are working arduously toward, delivering more sustainable
products, as well as products that deliver
better performance, life, and affordability.”
The November issue of Architectural
Products Magazine presented this year’s
most innovative product introductions. The
staff of Architectural Products Magazine
firmly believes that these award winners
will help architects in their specifications,
be they from efforts to achieve greater
energy efficiency, or simply to add visually or
aesthetically to a space.
For information about Acme Brick
Company, contact your local sales office
or: Marketing Department, Acme Brick
Company, PO Box 425, Fort Worth, TX 76101
or visit www.brick.com. For more PRESS
information contact: Ron Taylor (8l7) 377l042, cell (817) 874-8206, or [email protected]
Limestone ties Modern Texas
Home to Landscape
For the construction of their retirement
home in Lampasas, Texas, a couple turned
to limestone to match the landscape and to
tie a traditional Texas ranch home feel to a
unique contemporary design.
￼ Set on an 85 acres in Lampasas
is the Triple Creek Ranch, or more
affectionately known by passers-by for its
unique, contemporary design, the “Casa de
Corazon,” (heart house) and the “butterfly
house.” While it is a revered local landmark
for its unique shape and modern style, the
2,000-square-foot residence stays true to its
traditional Texas vernacular with the use of
It was built to be a couple’s retirement
home. The homeowners, a retired chemical
engineer and his wife, a high school teacher,
challenged architect Winn Wittman, AIA, of
Winn Wittman Architecture, “to make the
house look like the bones of the earth, to be
like the skeleton of a dinosaur.”
“In addition to incorporating this great
metaphor to the design, we drew from some
of the Texas tradition in terms of limestone,
metal and stucco; things you would see
in a Texas ranch but in an updated way,”
stated Wittman. “The owner wanted a lot of
curves — the curved steel beams to support
the roof would serve as ‘the bones’ — so
we tried to integrate as many curves as we
could without getting too expensive. All in
all, I think that we were pretty successful at
keeping within a budget of $500,000 for the
Achieving the Design Goals
The limestone, supplied by LMJ Stucco,
Inc., serves to soften the contemporary feel
of the home both inside and out. To enmesh
with the modern style, the limestone was
coursed. The blocks were varied in size and
ran in a horizontal banding. Joint lines go
all the way around — giving order to the
arrangement of the stone. But there is a
roughness to the limestone itself.
“Limestone serves to ‘ground’ the
house and tie it into the landscape,” stated
Wittman. On the front-facing facades of
the ranch, limestone is on the bottom half
of the walls and finished off on top with
complementary stucco. Located in the
back of the main house, where the steel
Texas Masonry Council ✯ The Line
beams that support the roof have seemingly
metamorphosed into wood, is where the
walls are covered completely in limestone.
The pool also makes use of limestone, where
it forms the catch basin.
In the home’s living space, where views
from the large windows reach well beyond
the pool and contemporary steel beams,
the floor is laid in cement, and the room is
complemented by a limestone fireplace. The
limestone makes up the fireplace, lending
itself as the living room wall and then
extending into the kitchen.
Continuing through the 21st century
Texas ranch house, 1- x 1-inch mosaic tile
is set as the backsplash of the kitchen
counter as well as the prep area. The tile is
from Hakatai’s Ashland Series and called
The countertops in the prep area are
a white variety of quartz surfacing from
Caesarstone’s “Quartz Reflections” line.
Caesarstone “Quartz Reflections” is also
installed as the vanity tops in the bathroom
and complements the 1- x 1-inch mosaic
glass tiles from Hakatai’s Classic Series in
“Lake Blue.” The glass mosaic tiles are laid
around the tub, in the shower and on the
lower half of the bathroom walls.
“The client chose blue,” stated Wittman.
“The budget, structure and functionality
of the home didn’t permit us to have more
curves throughout the home, so we went allout in the bathroom.”
The design process took six months, and
the construction took one year. “The reaction
to the project has been very positive from
people who love modern architecture,”
stated Wittman. The workers really enjoyed
building the house; it has become a local
landmark.” Locals often slowdown in
passing to take a look at the home. Source: Kerri Walker, associate editor,
Acme Brick’s Arkansas Wetlands
Program Celebrates 20th Year
In 1993, regional engineer Rick Hice of
Acme Brick Company began investigating
natural solutions to a natural problem—
acidic runoff from pine woodlands located
above Acme’s plant in Perla, Arkansas. The
acid rainwater washed across the Perla
property and continued downstream. The
traditional approach to this problem involved
the continued addition of neutralizing
chemicals to the runoff water. Acme’s staff
opted for a more efficient, ecologically sound
and cost-effective solution that became the
“Wetlands Project.” A series of five filtration
ponds were built, and special aquatic plants
were established that could neutralize the
acidic water. Each pond was one acre in size.
Today, some 20 years later, Acme’s
Wetlands continue to fulfill their original
mission and much more. The area has
evolved into a beautiful wildlife haven for
a variety of creatures, such as deer, small
game, and of course abundant waterfowl,
including some geese that came and never
“To see this area now so lush and full
of life is an amazing bonus benefit to our
original goal of solving the acid runoff
problem. The Wetlands has become a real
contributor to the ecological health of this
area,” said Dennis Knautz, President and
CEO of Acme Brick Company. The Wetlands
project has also become a teaching tool
that is visited by secondary schools and
For more information, please contact
your local Acme Brick sales office or visit
www.brick.com. Acme Brick Company, the
largest U.S. brick company, is a member of
the Berkshire Hathaway family of companies
headed by famed investor Warren Buffett.
The company celebrated its 122nd birthday
on April 17, 2013.
Construction Firms Expect
Growing Demand in 2014 as
Contractors Plan to Start Hiring
and Add New Equipment, but
Worry about Worker Shortages
More Firms in Utah Plan to Start Hiring
than in Any Other State; As Industry Grows
Firms Will Contend with Rising Costs,
Regulations and Tougher Competition
Many firms plan to start hiring again and
most contractors predict demand will either
grow or remain stable in virtually every
market segment this year according to survey
results released recently by the Associated
General Contractors of America. The survey,
conducted as part of Optimism Returns:
The 2014 Construction Industry Hiring and
Business Outlook, provides a generally
upbeat outlook for the year even as firms
worry about growing worker shortages, rising
costs and the impact of new regulations and
federal budget cutting.
“Contractors are more optimistic about
2014 than they have been in a long time,”
said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association's
chief executive officer. “While the industry
has a long way to go before it returns
to the employment and activity levels
it experienced in the middle of the last
decade, conditions are heading in the right
Sandherr noted that many firms plan to
begin hiring again, while relatively few plan
to start making layoffs. Forty-one percent of
firms that did not change staff levels last year
report they plan to start expanding payrolls
in 2014, while only two percent plan to start
making layoffs. However, net hiring is likely
to be relatively modest, with 86 percent of
firms reporting they plan to hire 25 or fewer
new employees this year.
Among the 19 states with large enough
survey sample sizes, 100 percent of firms
that did not change staffing levels last year
in Utah plan to start hiring new staff this
year, more than in any other state.
Contractors have a relatively positive
outlook for virtually all 11 market segments
covered in the Outlook, in particular for
private-sector segments. For five of those
segments, at least 40 percent of respondents
expect the market to expand and fewer than
20 percent expect the market to decline in
2014. The difference between the optimists
and pessimists – the net positive reading
– is a strong 28 percent for private office,
manufacturing and the combined retail/
warehouse/lodging segments, and 25
percent for power and hospital/higher
Among public sector segments,
contractors are more optimistic about
demand for new water and sewer construction,
with a net positive of 17 percent. Contractors
are mildly optimistic about the market for
highway construction, with a net positive of
10 percent. Respondents are almost equally
divided regarding the outlook for the other
four segments, ranging from net positives
of 5 percent for public buildings, 4 percent
for schools, 3 percent for transportation
facilities other than highways, to a negative
of 2 percent for marine construction.
Sandherr added that contractors’
market expectations are significantly more
optimistic than they were at this time last
year. At that time, more contractors expected
demand for highway, other transportation,
public building, retail, warehouse and
lodging, K-12 schools and private officers to
shrink than expected it to grow.
Many contractors also report they plan
to add new construction equipment in
2014. Seventy-three percent of firms plan
to purchase construction equipment and 86
percent report they plan to lease it this year.
The scope of those investments is likely to
be somewhat limited, however. Forty-four
percent of firms say they will invest $250,000
or less in equipment purchases and 53
percent say they will invest that amount or
less for new equipment leases.
One reason firms may be more optimistic,
association officials noted, is that credit
conditions appear to have improved. Only 9
percent of firms report having a harder time
getting bank loans, down from 13 percent
in last year’s survey. And only 32 percent
report customers’ projects were delayed or
canceled because of tight credit conditions,
compared with 40 percent a year ago.
“While the outlook is significantly more
optimistic than in years past, there are still
areas of concern for most contractors,”
said Ken Simonson, the association's chief
economist. “Many firms will struggle to find
enough skilled workers, cope with escalating
materials and health care costs, and comply
with expanding regulatory burdens.”
Ninety percent of construction firms
report they expect prices for key construction
materials to increase in 2014. Most, however,
expect those increases will be relatively
modest, with 43 percent reporting they
expect the increases to range between 1 and
5 percent. Meanwhile, 82 percent of firms
report they expect the cost of providing
health care insurance for their employees
will increase in 2014. Despite that, only 1
percent of firms report they plan to reduce
the amount of health care coverage they
Simonson noted that as firms continue to
slowly expand their payrolls, they were likely
to have a harder time finding enough skilled
construction workers. Already, 62 percent of
responding firms report having a difficult
time filling key professional and craft worker
positions. And two-thirds of firms expect
it will either become harder or remain as
difficult to fill professional positions and 74
percent say it will get harder, or remain as
hard, to fill craft worker positions.
Those worker shortages are already
having an impact, the economist added.
Fifty-two percent of firms report they are
losing construction professionals to other
firms or industries and 55 percent report
they are losing craft workers. As a result, a
majority of firms report they have improved
pay and benefits to help retain qualified
staff. One reason they are likely worried is
that nearly half of the firms believe training
programs for new craft workers are poor or
Adding to their challenges, 51 percent
of contractors report that demand for their
services is being negatively impacted by
federal funding cuts, new federal regulations
and/or Washington’s inability to set an annual
budget. “It would appear that Washington
is not here to help as far as contractors are
concerned,” Simonson noted.
Association officials added that survey
respondents would prefer that Washington
officials work on other priorities. Seventyseven percent of firms reported listed
having Washington find ways to make it
easier to prepare the next generation of
skilled workers as a top priority. Sixty-three
percent listed repealing all or part of the
Affordable Care Act as a top priority. And 63
listed renewing tax deductions and bonus
depreciation for construction equipment as
a top priority.
The Outlook was based on survey results
from over 800 construction firms from every
state and the District of Columbia. Varying
numbers responded to each question.
Contractors of every size answered over 40
questions about their hiring, equipment
purchasing and business plans.
A Facelift for the Historic
National Academy of Sciences
The National Academy of Sciences
received a sophisticated makeover while
maintaining its original design and materials
The National Academy of Sciences in
Washington, DC, enlisted the help of Quinn
Evans Architects to provide new stone
flooring that complemented and enhanced
the existing stonework found in this 1927
historic building. The flooring was provided
in the major circulation spaces — which
included large enclosed courtyards and
very wide corridors — accents around the
perimeter of carpeted conference rooms,
bases of walls in both stone flooring and
carpeted areas, and placed in areas where
original stone had been removed.
Several different stones were used to
achieve this goal. Vermont Verde Antique
marble from Vermont Verde Antique
International and Unfading Green slate from
Vermont Structural Slate were used as new
flooring in multiple locations and to restore
the flooring in the East Gallery. The Vermont
Verde Antique — which is referred to as a
marble, but is technically a serpentine —
was selected to match the existing stone
from additions completed during the 1960s.
Meanwhile, Unfading Green slate and
Verde Andeer quartzite — supplied by Stone
Source of Washington, DC — were used in
the North Court and West Corridor as well
as for the elevator lobby between the East
Gallery and East Corridor. At the North
Court, where there is a glass floor down the
center of the space, the wall on the right
is the original 1960s auditorium addition,
which was completed with Imperial Danby
marble from Vermont. The thresholds are
Golden Wheat marble, similar to the use of
yellow marble for thresholds in the historic
part of the building.
According to Thomas Jester and Katie
Irwin of Quinn Evans Architects, the primary
reason the stones were selected was to
match the color and texture of the existing
materials used in the original building’s
Great Hall as well as within the existing
galleries. The Great Hall features a field
of Pennsylvania Bluestone, accented with
bands of Unfading Green slate and Utah
Bird’s Eye marble, a yellow/gold material.
The Great Hall’s original, historic columns
are Vermont Verde Antique with American
Cream Lens stone. Within the existing
galleries, the floors have an existing field of
Unfading Green slate, accented with black
slate around the perimeter.
Sourcing the Stone
Jester estimated using approximately
5,000 square feet of new stone flooring and
900 lineal feet of new stone base throughout
the renovation. The majority of the stone
used features a honed finish, although
the Unfading Green slate used in the West
Court has a cleft finish to provide more of
an “outdoor feeling” within the space. This
room also features a wall of the original
South Dover marble from New York, which
was installed in 1927.
Texas Masonry Council ✯ The Line
The architect explained that some
research went into selecting specific
materials to match the existing color
palette. “We found stone to match existing
and then looked at a variety of green stones
available at Stone Source here in D.C.,” Irwin
said. “Ultimately, Verde Andeer quartzite
was chosen as the new stone to bring in to
complement the Unfading Green slate and
give some variety. We looked at the available
colors of Vermont slate from Vermont
Structural Slate, but ultimately decided to
stick with Unfading Green and not introduce
the mottled, purple or red colors. The owner
of the Vermont Verde Antique quarry also
came and walked around the building with
me. We looked at the wings that were added
in the 1960s where the architects installed
Vermont Verde Antique. Two colors were
installed — a very brecciated medium
green and a very dark green. In our project,
we were removing some areas of this stone
and reinstalling or providing new stone in
Where carpets were used on the interior,
colors were chosen to complement the bluegreen hues. New signage colors matched
the Unfading Green slate, and colors of new
wood paneling and paint colors were all
coordinated with the stone.
As expected, the design team faced
challenges along the way. Their biggest
hurdle was coordination of the joint
locations. “The challenges were overcome
with careful review of the shop drawings and
close coordination with the construction
manager and installers for mock-ups and to
address field conditions,” Jester and Irwin
Bob Goldstein at Atlantic Refinishing &
Restoration, Inc., as well as approximately
15 other workers, used the thinset technique
to install the stone on the walls and floors,
using Mapei Kerabond Keralastic. This
method was chosen based on the thickness
of the stone and substrate involved. The
installation portion of the job was completed
over a period of several months.
Ultimately, all of the planning and hard
work paid off. The client was extremely
happy with the results, and the project has
won several awards, including the District
of Columbia’s State Historic Preservation
Officer’s Award in 2013.
Source: Sara Garafalo, associate editor,
2014 Calendar of Events
2014 Officers & Directors
March 20 – Board Meeting (In person – Chuy’s Restaurant,
Round Rock, TX)
March 27 – General Meeting (Pappasitos Cantina)
April 17 – Board Meeting (Conference Call)
May 2 – Golf Tournament
May 23 – Board Meeting (In person – Chuy’s Restaurant,
Round Rock, TX)
June 13 – Gold Trowel Awards (Renaissance Hotel, Austin, TX)
June 19 – Board Meeting (Conference Call)
July 17 – Board Meeting (In person – Chuy’s Restaurant,
Round Rock, TX)
July 24 – General Meeting (Pappasitos Cantina)
August 6–8 – TMC Annual Convention (The Adolphus Hotel,
August 21 – Board Meeting (Conference Call)
September 18 – Board Meeting (In person – Chuy’s Restaurant,
Round Rock, TX)
September 25 – General Meeting (Pappasitos Cantina)
October 9 – Sporting Clay Shoot*
October 23 – Board Meeting (Conference Call)
November 13 – Board Meeting (In person – Chuy’s Restaurant,
Round Rock, TX)
December 5 – Holiday Party*
* Tentative Date(s)
President - Rick Stone - Rick Stone Masonry, Inc.
Vice-President - Don Tarrillion, Tarrillion Masonry
Treasurer - Penny Previtera, Integrity Insurance Agency, Inc.
Secretary - Andy Cordova, Blackson Brick Southwest
Director - Danny Bryant, Acme Brick/ Featherlite
Director - James Groesbeck, Groesbeck Masonry, Inc. Director - James Douglas Housman, D. Housman Enterprises
Director - Sam Lopez , C & S Contractors, Inc.
Director - Dan Martinelli, DJM Masonry Enterprises, Inc. Director - Mike Previtera, Integrity Insurance Agency, Inc.
Director - Roger Schmelter, Headwaters Construction Materials Director - Jeff Windham , Alamo Cement 2014 Calendar of Events
February 26 – General Membership Meeting
March 12 – Board of Directors Meeting
March 26 – General Membership Meeting
April 9 – Board of Directors Meeting
April 3 – Golf Classic – The Republic Golf Club
April 30 – General Membership Meeting
May 14 – Board of Directors Meeting
May 28 – General Membership Meeting
June 11 – Board of Directors Meeting
June 19 – Golden Trowel Awards Banquet – The Club at Sonterra*
June 25 – General Membership Meeting
July 9 – Board of Directors Meeting
July 18 19 – Fishing Tournament – Aransas Pass
July 30 – General Membership Meeting
August 13 – Board of Directors Meeting
August 27 – General Membership Meeting
September 4 – Sporting Clay Tournament & BBQ Cook- Off
September 10 – Board of Directors Meeting
September 24 – General Membership Meeting
October 8 – Board of Directors Meeting
October 22 – Moonlight Golf Tournament – Alamo Golf Club
Thursday – Sunday, October 16-19 – Four Wheeling Adventure
October 29 – General Membership Meeting
November 12 – Board of Directors Meeting
November 19 – General Membership Meeting
December 4 – Holiday Celebration & Banquet
December 10 – Board of Directors Meeting
* Tentative Date(s)
Save the Date!
2014 TMC Convention
The Adolphus Hotel
(Room rate $139/night)
• Conveniently located in downtown Dallas
• Steps from a vibrant and sophisticated district teeming with eclectic restaurants and a
short drive to fabulous shopping at the exclusive North Park Center
• Just blocks from iconic Lone Star attractions such as the Sixth Floor Museum, Dealey
Plaza, and the Texas Longhorn Cattle Drive Sculpture
• Lone-Star legend meets 4-Diamond luxury - Impeccable service and architectural splendor set every stay at The Adolphus as truly exceptional
Thursday Night Dinner and Silent Auction: The City Club
• Experience the breathtaking panoramic views
• The tallest building downtown, 900 ft above the rest, with an unforgettable 360 degree
view of the City and delicious cuisine
• Located at 901 Main Street suite 6900 of the Bank of America Plaza building
Friday Night After-Party: The Iron Cactus Bar
• Located in the heart of Downtown Dallas, just steps behind The Adolphus Hotel.
• With a 2nd floor patio that boasts a fantastic view of the famous Pegasus Plaza
• Features: a full-size bar, tequila wall, margarita machines and all your favorite cocktails
If you would like to see your business card listed in this section, seen by 10,000
readers, contact Pat Huber at (512) 310-9795."
Texas Masonry Council ✯ The Line
TEXAS’ MASONRY MVPS
PORTLAND LIME & SAND MORTAR
SPEC MIX® Portland Lime & Sand Mortar is engineered to
meet project specifications and the ever important needs
of masons workability, boardlife and the ability to hold
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preblended mortar mix designs are specially designed
for optimal mechanical bond, strength and durability.
Available in Types M, S and N.
SPEC MIX Colored Mortar is the reliable, consistent solution
to guaranteeing your masonry building meets every
expectation. We pre-weigh all mortar components to ensure
the exact formulation, including pigment, is factory blended
to achieve the specified color. Designers and contractors can
choose from the SPEC MIX standard colored mortar line of
10 colors, or specify a unique color that our production
technicians will create or match to ensure the vision and
aesthetic value of the project is achieved. SPEC MIX Colored
Mortar assures color consistency, every batch.
Our full line of masonry products engineered for new construction and restoration
projects are available in 80 lb. and 3,000 lb. BAGS all over Texas through our
network of distributors. YOU GOT THE JOB, WE GOT YOU COVERED!
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© 2014 SPEC MIX INC.
Call Trey Harris at SPEC MIX®-TEXAS
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