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SPRING EDITION 2019

UNIFIED Message SEAA part of industry-wide push to market, recruit, and train craft professionals

THE OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF THE STEEL ERECTORS ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA

16 Working with Certified Detailers 20 Good Ways to Destroy Bad Rigging Gear 26 Preview: 47th Convention & Trade Show


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•

c ntents

SPRING EDITION March 2019

FEATURES Management

16

Working with Certified Detailers Knowledge of structural steel construction contributes to project accuracy. By Fred Tinker

In the Field

20

Good Ways to Destroy Bad Rigging Gear Best practices for disposing of damaged hardware, wire rope, and slings. By Mike Close

26

Special Focus Preview: 47th Convention & Trade Show Join the race to Charlotte 2019.

seaa.net ONLINE HIGHLIGHTS

32 Cover Story Unified Message Industry organizations are joining forces to work on marketing craft trades as a career; attracting new workers; and training those new workers to perform their jobs skillfully, accurately, and safely. By Lucy Perry

On the Cover: Cooper Steel, Shelbyville, Tenn., has developed a Fabricator Training Program that adapts a combination of welding and ironworking modules available through NCCER. Credit: Shelby Sudduth

DEPARTMENTS 8 Perspective

QQMarch 15 Deadline for Project of the Year and Training Grant Applications

10 Association News

QQNew OSHA Requirement: Employers Must Evaluate Crane Operators

12 Product Focus

QQWhite Papers from IPAF Explain Work Platform Standards

38 Business Operations

QQSEAA Participates in Workforce Recruiting Initiatives

Check out our latest social media feeds. See more photos of 2018 Education Fundraiser Golf Tournament

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42 Topping Out Connector received Superstar Award from Construction Marketing Association. The Steel Erectors Association of America (SEAA) is dedicated to advancing the common interests and needs of all engaged in building with steel. The Association’s objectives in achieving this goal include the promotion of safety, education and training programs for steel erector trades, development and promotion of standards and cooperation with others in activities which impact the commercial construction business.


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THE OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF THE STEEL ERECTORS ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA

Membership in Steel Erectors Association of America provides Safety, Education, and Productivity benefits for its members. As a trade association representing Steel Erectors, Fabricators, General Contractors, and Vendors, businesses with complementary interests gain invaluable opportunities to learn from each other.

SEAA is the only national trade association representing the interests of steel erectors, fabricators, and related service providers. Connector reaches both small and large contractors working in union and open labor markets.

Your Industry No other national association represents the unique interests of all steel erectors and fabricators. Members are experts in construction of commercial buildings, arenas, bridges, and highway structures. Members enhoy opportunities to network with other industry professionals at the Anuual Covention, golf tournaments, member events and training classes.

Improve Safety and Productivity Members have access to custom Ironworker Craft Training Curriculum. Studies show 24% of businesses experience lower productivity due to the lack of skilled ironworkers and welders. A better trained workforce delivers lower accidents rates, higher productivity, and increased profits.

Accredited Credentials at Reduced Cost SEAA’s NCCER (National Center for Construction Education and Research) sponsorship means that member companies can provide industry-recognized credentials to your employees with the benefit of SEAA adminstrative support and at a lower cost to members than going direct through NCCER.

Competitive Advantage SEAA’s U.S. Department of Labor-approved Ironworker Apprenticeship Program allows members to create formal training that meets standards recognized by Federal and State governments. Pariticipation allows merit shop contractors to utilize government approved apprenticeship rates on Davis Bacon Wage Projects.

Influence Industry Standards SEAA strategic partnerships with industry groups provide member companies with industry representation with American Institute of Steel Construction, Steel Joist Institute, Steel Deck Institute, National Institute of Steel Detailing, and others.

Steel Erectors Association of America Piedmont Leaf Lofts 401 E. 4th Street, #204 Winston-Salem, NC 27101-4171 336-294-8880 www.seaa.net OFFICERS & EXECUTIVE STAFF David Schulz, President Josh Cilley, Immediate Past President Carrie Sopuch-Gulajan, VP, Associate Representative Geoff Kress, VP, Industry Representative Greg Phillips, Treasurer Chris Legnon, Secretary and Media Committee Chairman Tom Underhill, Executive Director PUBLISHING PARTNER Chris Harrison, Publisher connectorsales@seaa.net Phone 660-287-7660 Tracy Bennett, Managing Editor editor@seaa.net Phone 816-536-7903 Eileen Kwiatkowski, Art Director eileen@ekaygraphics.com MEDIA ADVISORY COMMITTEE Chris Legnon, Fabricators, Cooper Steel Jim Simonson, Fabricators, Steel Service David Deem, Erectors, Deem Structural Services Glen Pisani, Erectors, MAS Building & Bridge Ben Wein, Erectors, SSW Erectors Bryan McClure, Safety, Trivent Safety Consulting Connector™ is published quarterly by the Steel Erectors Association of America, 401 E. 4th Street, #204, Winston-Salem, NC 27101-4171

Join by calling the SEAA office 336-294-8880 or visit www.seaa.net Discover why a SEAA Membership is a good investment for your business.

6 | THE STEEL ERECTORS ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA

Copyright 2019 by the Steel Erectors Association of America. No material may be reprinted without permission from the Executive Director. While the information and recommendations contained in this publication have been compiled from sources believed to be reliable, the Steel Erectors Association of America, its affiliates, employees, contributors, writers, editors, designers, photographers, and media advisory committee, makes no guarantee as to, and assumes no responsibility for, the correctness, sufficiency or completeness of such information or recommendations and cannot be held responsible for the outcome of any action or decision based on the information contained in this publication or claims made by advertisers. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without prior written permission of the Publisher. Permission is only deemed valid if approval is in writing.


Connector | SPRING EDITION March 2019 | 7


PERSPECTIVE

By Tom Underhill

The Three Ds: digital, database, and demographics

T

he impact of new technologies on the construction industry is perhaps the hottest topic in decades. Digital tools pervade how we communicate, how we interact with customers and other contractors, how we train workers, and how we do our jobs whether we are in the office or in the field. “Many of the important tech trends for 2019 don’t involve new technology, but how existing technologies are finding a new niche in construction applications. These innovations are poised to help project managers, superintendents, subcontractors and developers collect the hard-to-get data that will help them address inefficiency and lost productivity,” said Sergey Sundukovskiy, co-founder and chief technology and product officer of Raken, in an article published on ConstructionExec.com. The same is true for associations like SEAA. At the January board of directors meeting, we discussed how to apply digital tools to better connect with members and get in front of erectors who are not yet members. Here are just a few of the ways SEAA is using technology to provide a better membership experience. Several years ago, SEAA made its publication Connector available in digital format. An archive of back issues is accessible on our website. Using our Subscribe form, you can choose to receive Connector in print only, digital only, or in both formats, and you can opt-in to receive any of our newsletters. Last fall we launched an event app, to drive more direct engagement with attendees at our events. The new app provides a way to register right from your phone, includes push notifications, and encourages engagement on social media. It also allows us to reduce the amount of paper we print for in-person events. We’ve moved away

Tech trends for 2019 don’t involve new technology, but how existing technologies are finding a new niche in construction applications.

Tom Underhill is the Executive Director of the Steel Erectors Association of America. Contact him at tomunderhill@seaa.net. 8 | THE STEEL ERECTORS ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA

from paper registration forms, although pdfs can still be downloaded from our site. Instead online registration provides us with a more efficient and accurate way for us to manage event attendance. Membership recruitment remains a high priority for the board. That means we are looking to meet erectors across the nation, and in regions where we have not traditionally had a large presence. In 2019 we are planning Meet & Greet receptions in California and North Carolina. The value of in person networking remains, but to encourage participation, we offer a way for any steel erection companies local to the area to RSVP online. It’s an easy, low-commitment way to find out how SEAA can help your company. In 2019, we’ll also be employing new digital marketing toolkit geared at retargeting campaigns across social media in order to reach new audiences. To that end, we’ve invested in working with an audience development expert to assign meaningful relational metrics to the names in our database. This is a project long overdue, and creates symmetry for the demographics we gather for all contacts. Finally, we are looking for ways to integrate short, explanatory videos into SEAA’s ironworker craft training materials. This project has been many months in the making, but by the 47th Annual Convention & Trade Show we hope to be ready to roll out several samples. The goal is to supplement the content in a way that brings the learning modules to life for learners. With the exception of the video training modules, much of the work we are doing is behind the scenes, but it is important work. We spent so much of our time in the recent board meeting discussing these digital, database, and demographics issues that I thought a recap was worth sharing. SEAA’s recent participation with other industry groups, such as the Skilled Trades Coalition and Industry Lift, exposes us to methods others are using to attract new workers to the ironworker profession. From an outsider’s perception, this is a nuts and bolts industry. But the reality is that we are increasingly using the latest technologies on the jobsite. That message along with the fact that ironworking provides a well-paying career is one we must convey to recruit new workers to fill the workforce shortages.


Connector | SPRING EDITION March 2019 | 9


ASSOCIATION NEWS ■■Ironworker Training Network to Expand

EVENTS & ACTIVITIES 2019 NASCC: The Steel Conference St. Louis, Mo. April 3-5, 2019

47th Annual Convention & Trade Show April 24-26, 2019 Embassy Suites Charlotte Concord, Charlotte, N.C.

National Safety Stand-Down To Prevent Falls in Construction May 6-10, 2019 OSHA.gov/ StopFallsStandDown/

SEAA announces that three additional companies have joined the nationwide network of SEAA/NCCER Ironworker Training Units and Assessment Sites. They are ASPE-South LLC of North Carolina, Trivent Safety Consultants of Colorado, and Monterey Structural Steel Inc., of California. ASPE-South is a division of American Steel & Precast Erectors. The family owned business was founded in 1982 and is now run by second-generation leaders. ASPE-South will offer ironworker training and assessments. Trivent Safety Consultants offers OSHA compliance expertise to help companies develop, implement, and maintain safety and health programs. Featuring instructor led onsite training, the company will offer mobile crane operator certifications in addition to SEAA’s U.S. Department of Labor-approved Ironworker Apprenticeship program and assessments. Monterey Structural Steel Inc., Watsonville, Calif., a fabricator of structural steel, miscellaneous metals, stairs and ornamental iron, will utilize the ironworker training and assessment program. “We deliver the SEAA’s DOL-approved Ironworker Apprenticeship program using the SEAA/NCCER curriculum to several steel erection companies in the Denver area,” said Bryan McClure, Owner of Trivent Safety Consulting. “The companies send their apprentices to us for one full day a month per apprentice level. SEAA enables us to give these apprentices portable, professional credentials for the Ironworker trade. Without SEAA & NCCER’s backing, these tradesmen would not have a clear pathway to obtaining a nationally recognized journeyman status in their chosen profession.” “SEAA’s craft training program has been a phenomenal success—representing a new revenue stream for the association, a key attraction for new members, and most important—an affordable way for member companies to deliver consistent training and assessment of worker qualifications,” said Dave Schulz, President of SEAA.

■■SEAA Participates in Workforce Recruiting Initiatives

SEAA and member companies are taking an active role in skilled trades recruitment through a variety of initiatives that bring together organizations and industries that align with structural steel construction. In December, SEAA joined the Skilled Trades Coalition as a partner. Tom Underhill, Executive Director of SEAA, Safe + Sound Week attended the inaugural meeting, held at the American Welding Society’s headquarters in Miami, Fla. The Coalition August 12-18, 2019 OSHA.gov/ includes more than a dozen industry groups, such as the American Welding Society, American Institute of Steel safeandsoundweek/ Construction, and Fabricators and Manufacturers Association. “By coming together, we can share best practices and hopefully reduce duplication of effort when it comes to marketing and recruiting for the skilled trades,” said Tom Underhill, SEAA Executive Director. In November SEAA was invited by Bill Issler, former President and Owner of FabSuite LLC, to a meeting to explore ways to empower and excite individuals about careers in the structural steel supply chain. Issler has formed IndustryLift, a foundation dedicated to providing a platform to attract a new generation of workers through technology, education, and supply chain coordination. Like the Skilled Trades Coalition, IndustryLift wants to increase cooperation with like-minded organizations. IndustryLift will exhibit at NASCC The Steel Conference, April 3-5, 2019 in St. Louis, Mo., and will offer Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality demonstrations, as well Representatives from 17 industry partners met for the inaugural Skilled Trades Coalition meeting. as videos showing the various aspects of the structural Two additional meetings are planned for 2019. steel industry. 10 | THE STEEL ERECTORS ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA


■■Drop Test Videos Now Available for Members In August 2016 several SEAA member companies pooled their resources together to conduct nine drop testing scenarios for the most common fall arrest methods used by steel erection companies. Results from the tests are available to members only, and can be accessed by logging into the SEAA website using your membership credentials. Due to the variety of steel structures and environments that steel erectors work in, there is not a one-size-fits-all option for providing fall arrest systems during the erection process. For this reason, most steel erectors need to deploy fall arrest systems that have been designed by a qualified person, but that there is little performance data for. These nine scenarios were determined to be some of the most common methods of fall arrest being used by the SEAA member companies. The reports show data on the forces being applied to the systems as well as the total fall distances that can be expected. SEAA purchased these reports and videos to be used as a benefit for the safety of all SEAA members.

In order to access the resources, member companies will need to log into their profile using the credentials created when membership was set up. Click Login in the top menu bar at SEAA.net. Enter your Username and Password. Click the link under Member Benefits in your Member Profile. Contact admin@seaa.net if you need assistance.

Scenarios that were tested 1. 6’ Elevated 3/8” Cable Horizontal Life Lines Anchored to Structural Steel 2. 60' Self Retracting Life Line Attached to 3"x3"x1/4" Welded Angle HLL 3. Cable Choker Anchor vs. Sliding Beam Anchor (Beamer) Attached to Structural Steel 4. Sliding Beam Anchor (Beamer) Attached to Structural Steel 5. Cable Choker Anchor Attached to Structural Steel 6. Intermediate line- 6’ lanyard suspended by 3/8” aircraft cable anchored by 3”x3”x1/4” Welded Angle 7. Intermediate line suspended by 3/8” aircraft cable anchored by 3”x3”x1/4” Welded Angle 8. Vertical 3/8” aircraft cable anchored to structural steel 9. 3”x3”x1/4” Welded Angle Supporting HLL

How to use reports •  As part of a fall protection plan submittal supporting the means and methods that the erector intends to use to protect the company’s employees from falls from height. •  As information to be used when purchasing various fall protection equipment. •  As training for employees on the various fall arrest methods that can be used. •  As training for safety professionals on the best methods for fall arrest based on the project. Connector | SPRING EDITION March 2019 | 11


PRODUCT FOCUS

■■Tekla Structures Features Point

Cloud Functionality

Tekla Structures 2018 provides improved productivity and workflows for steel detailing and drawing production. With new point cloud functionality, users can import and overlay native point cloud files on a Tekla Structures model for comparison, or use point cloud data to generate a 3D model. In addition, users can now link documents including PDF drawings, DSTV (CNC) and IFC files to model objects in Trimble Connect, Trimble’s cloud-based collaboration platform. Enhancements have also been made to Model Sharing, which allows multiple users to collaborate on a single modeling project.

■■Kneewall Connector Redesigned

with Two-Anchor Option

Simpson Strong-Tie has redesigned its RCKW rigid kneewall connector for cold-formed steel construction to provide a versatile, two-anchor option for contractors using 1/2"- or 3/8"-diameter concrete anchors, for faster and more efficient installation.

■■Mini

Crane Delivers Inside Job

On a building project in Austin, Texas, architectural and structural steel fabricator, Austin Iron, recently used a Maeda model MC305-2 mini-crane for steel erection in tight quarters. Surrounded on all sides by other buildings and streets, the 51-inch wide mini-crane worked at a maximum lifting height of 47 ft. from inside the job perimeter of the building project to avoid closing street lanes.

12 | THE STEEL ERECTORS ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA

When higher loads are required, the RCKW can be combined with the RCKWS stiffener to provide additional capacity for maximizing overturning moment resistance. Fabricated from heavy-gauge, G90 galvanized steel, the RCKW and RCKWS have three large holes allowing either a one-anchor solution at the edge or center of a slab or a two-anchor solution for applications requiring higher capacities at the center of the slab. The screw holes and anchor holes in the stiffener line up with those in the RCKW clip, making fastener and anchor installation a snap. In addition, Simpson Strong-Tie has successfully tested the two-anchor solution with 3/8"-diameter anchors, suited for shallower-embedment applications such as fluted decks.


■■3D Lift Plan Expands Setup, Rigging Features A1A Software LLC continues to improve the interface and features of 3D Lift Plan, so customers can use the crane lift planning program as a sales tool, for bid proposals, crane selection and setup, lift planning, and documentation. New features expand the options for users as they plan which type of crane pads or mats are best for the ground conditions. Ground bearing calculations can now be made for steel mats with an option for layering over timber. This is in addition to the previous ability to select wood mats or DICA’s SafetyTech® or FiberMax® engineered outrigger pads or crane pads. Likewise, printouts of the crane mats in your lift plan now display corresponding images of steel mats instead of wood. Other improvements provide users greater control of planning for unique lifting scenarios. Finally, a new rigging configuration, featuring two spreader bars and four roll-blocks, has been added to the standard options in the Advanced Rigging Design portion. When this configuration is selected, 3D Lift Plan will calculate the sling angles and tension.

■■Welding Fume Extractor Offers Automatic

Filter Cleaning

Lincoln Electric’s new Statiflex® 800 is a wall-mounted weld fume extraction and filtration system designed to curtail operating costs via a self-cleaning filtration system that reduces the frequency of filter replacement. The system is designed with dual-arm capacity that includes an optional extended reach of 27 feet. Statiflex 800 is ideal for heavy-duty extraction and filtration in facilities with fixed workstations and limited floor space. Airflow in the Statiflex single-arm configuration is 735 CFM, while the airflow for the dual-arm configuration is 1200 CFM. The system includes a filter capacity of 568 square feet, and an internal spark arrestor that functions as a pre-filter for larger size particulate.

■■High-Speed Mag Drill Increases Carbide

■■Pre-Fab Solution for Stairs

Hougen Manufacturing, Inc. has released a new model of portable magnetic drill, the HMD906. A high-speed mag drill, it is designed to take full advantage of carbide annular cutters. With the high torque, high RPM motor, the HMD906 cuts holes more efficiently with carbide then standard mag drills. The HMD906 is available with one of two different arbor configurations. One uses the tool-less quick-change system for rapidly switching out different sizes of cutters that utilize the Fusion2™ or one-touch shank. The second arbor takes advantage of more tool life using the rigid two flat cutter mounting system. Powering the drill is a proprietary two-speed Hougen motor designed to maximize tool life and increase torque when using larger diameter cutters. The addition of a two-stage magnet increases magnetic holding power by 30% when the drill motor is turned on, saving energy and increasing magnet life.

RediCor, manufactured by Nucor Vulcraft/ Verco Group, is a pre-fabricated, ready-to-set modular steel form system custom engineered to simplify and accelerate the construction of reinforced concrete stair and elevator core structures. RediCor’s modular steel form system and easy on-site installation allows for factory-built, ready-to-set cores to be simultaneously stacked for up to several levels, saving time, energy, and money, according to the manufacturer. Specialized factory manufacturing environment reduces jobsite labor resource and schedule needs, and the elimination of the fall hazards inherent in vertical concrete formwork construction methods enhances jobsite safety.

Cutter Life

14 | THE STEEL ERECTORS ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA

and Elevator Cores


MANAGEMENT

By Fred Tinker

Working with Certified Detailers Knowledge of structural steel construction contributes to project accuracy

T

Working with a certified detailer has benefits for the fabricator and erector. IDC-certified detailers are tested in 15 different categories encountered in structural steel construction.

he National Institute of Steel Detailing (NISD) created the Individual Detailer Certification program (IDC) in response to the steel industry's need to determine the skill level of individuals performing steel detailing services. This includes the knowledge and ability to produce quality shop drawings according to various codes, specifications and contract documents. Individuals who achieve IDC have been examined and evaluated according to an industry-wide professional standard of practice. Working with a certified detailer has benefits for the fabricator and erector. IDC-certified detailers are tested in 15 different categories encountered in structural steel construction. The design team requires that architects and engineers

be licensed. Expecting the same of detailers contributes to more accurate projects. A certified detailer is more experienced and understands what erectors and fabricators require and what information they need to see on the erection and shop drawings. Certified detailers are aware of safety issues for erectors and they will incorporate erection aids as well as safer steel connection details. The following Q&A with Fred Tinker provides insight into the benefits of the IDC Program.

Fred Tinker owns a steel detailing company and is on the Board of Directors for NISD. He is chairman of the IDC committee. He has more than 55 years of steel detailing experience.

Who is the IDC program for? Steel detailers worldwide may apply to be certified in either Bridge or Structural/Miscellaneous. In order to be eligible, applicants must meet the

What's new? The test is now administered online. A third-party testing company provides the test to a proctor at a school or library where applicants can take the exam in the computer lab. The test is given, graded and the results are turned over to the NISD administrative office before certifications are awarded.

16 | THE STEEL ERECTORS ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA

following requirements in either of these two classifications: •  Senior Detailer [Class I] - This classification is for applicants who have a minimum of 10 years detailing along with checking experience. •  Detailer [Class II] - This classification is for applicants who have a minimum of 5 years detailing experience. Both of these classifications require the applicant to submit a detailed experience history and a letter of recommendation along with their application. The letter of recommendation may be from a steel fabricator, engineer or an IDC Certified Senior Detailer. The NISD Individual Detailer Certification stays with the detailer wherever he or she may be employed.


How can a detailer get certified? Eligible detailers can submit a completed application and deposit. Visit NISD.org for application forms, fee structures and other information. A proctored testing location will be needed to take the certification test. The NISD's IDC Program Administrator will review the applications to determine that all requirements have been satisfied. Plan for testing to take up to eight hours. To assist candidates in preparing for the certification test, NISD offers a list of study materials for each discipline. The bridge candidates test will have additional questions that relate to reference materials published specifically for bridge work. This is not a test of memory but a test of ability. The emphasis is on a candidate's knowledge of the various materials, techniques, codes and specifications involved in detailing. It is an open book exam in which each candidate is permitted to have reference material on hand to look up formulas, schedules, tables, etc. as they may require. What subject areas does the certification cover? The Bridge certification test is made up of 145 true/false and multiple-choice questions, and problem solving. The Structural/Miscellaneous certification test is made up of 170 questions randomly picked from 15 categories. Some of the categories are welding, bolting, connections, painting, Detailing Guide for Erector's Safety & Efficiency and 10 other subjects. The category on Erector's Safety & Efficiency is taken from a manual written by SEAA and NISD. Members of the two organizations are now working on the 3rd Edition, soon to be released. New questions from the updated manual will be added to the database for future tests. Re-certification is required for all certified detailers every three years. All test scores are kept confidential by the NISD administrative office. Why should a requirement for the steel detailer to be certified be included in specifications? It basically gives contractors and engineers a greater assurance for a successful steel project. It should be stated that the detailer be certified. With a certified detailer on board, it can only benefit the steel sub-contractor and all the other trades working on the project.

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CREATED FOR AN ERECTOR BY AN ERECTOR

60 YEARS DEDICATED TO QUALITY AND SERVICE Sixty years ago Hougen invented the annular cutter and not long after that the small lightweight magnetic drill. From day one we worked hard to ensure every cutter and mag drill we produced was worthy of our customers time and money. While technology has changed, some things stay tried and true, and our commitment to our customers is number one. We still build our mag drills one at a time and quality check every cutter that we make. We have stood behind our products for sixty years and always will.

MAGNETIC DRILLS ANNULAR CUTTERS 800-426-7818 SERVICE • INTEGRITY • RELIABILITY HOUGEN.COM Hou-746-SEAA.indd 1

1/3/19 1:27 PM


IN THE FIELD

By Mike Close

Good Ways to Destroy Bad Rigging Gear Best practices for disposing of damaged hardware, wire rope, and slings

W

hen it comes to the disposal of rigging hardware, wire rope, or slings, best practice is to render the items in question as unsalvageable, or in such a condition as to make further use impossible. With no clear industry-wide rules on retiring or destroying damaged or failed rigging hardware and slings, permanent disposal is typically left up to the owner or end-user. This can become problematic, as a damaged or failed piece of rigging equipment needs to be removed from service, quarantined, and be rendered useless so that it will never be used to perform a lift again. Government agencies and larger projects will typically require destruction of any damaged rigging, while independent contractors and end users will simply throw the “failed gear” into a scrap heap or dumpster. It should be noted that OSHA, ANSI, WSTDA, AWRF or other professional organizations DO NOT provide clear direction on what to do with this Mike Close is the Content Manager for Mazzella Companies. He writes industry blog articles for Mazzella’s Lifting & Rigging Learning Center, where this article originally appeared, and co-hosts the Mazzella Companies Podcast on www. mazzellacompanies.com/resources.

type of material once it has been effectively removed from service. As a company that offers inspection and repair services for rigging gear, we often accept damaged rigging gear into our facilities for inspection and are subsequently tasked with disposing of the material if we determine that it cannot be repaired. Because of this, we have put together the following suggested best practices to render the items in question as unsalvageable, or in such a condition as to make further use impossible.

Disposal of wire rope and wire rope slings Many operating conditions can affect the life of wire rope. Bending, stresses, loading conditions, speed of load application (shock load), abrasion, corrosion, sling design, materials handled, environmental conditions (heat or chemical exposure), lubrication, and history of usage will all factor into how long wire rope can stay in service. If during the course of an inspection any of the following damages are observed, it could indicate that the wire rope or sling is unsafe and needs to be discarded: •  Severe corrosion •  Localized wear on the outside (look for shiny worn spots)

20 | THE STEEL ERECTORS ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA

•  A one-third reduction in outer wire diameter •  Damage or displacement of end-fittings—including hooks and latches, rings, or links—by overload or misapplication •  Distortion, kinking, bird caging, or other evidence of damage to the wire rope structure •  Excessive broken wires If it’s determined that the wire rope will be removed from service, we suggest cutting it down into more manageable sizes before discarding. This extra effort will help to accommodate the needs of most recycling facilities that will accept the damaged wire rope and also help to make sure that it cannot be used any further. Keep the following in mind when disposing of wire rope slings and wire rope cable. •  Cut into approximately 3’ to 4’ sections. •  Cut, or destroy, the eyes of the wire rope sling to prevent any further use of the sling. •  If the sling body is long enough to allow for an eye to be reformed by other means, the wire should be cut down to shorter lengths. •  Use proper PPE when handling the pieces of cut wire—cut or frayed ends of the wire rope will be sharp.


•  Remove, or separate, any tags and labels from the sling. •  Place scrap into your facility’s metal recycling bins and coordinate pickup or delivery.

edges and metal burrs. •  Remove, or separate, any tags and labels. •  Place scrap into your facility’s metal recycling bins and coordinate pickup or delivery.

Disposal of alloy chain slings

Disposal of synthetic web slings

While chain slings are ideal for lifting applications because of their strength, they’re still susceptible to being damaged to the point where they are no longer safe to keep in operation. Environmental factors, such as exposure to extreme heat or chemicals, wear beyond specified tolerances, stretching, kinks or binding, and nicks or gouges in the links, can all be criteria for removal from service. Any of these factors can weaken chain slings and may increase the potential for an accident. As with wire rope slings, if the chain slings and assemblies are rejected during inspection due to damage or failure, they need to be quarantined and removed from service. We suggest taking the following actions to help make sure that the chain sling can’t be re-purposed into some type of usable assembly. •  Cut into smaller 3’ to 4’ sections to prevent use of any salvageable lengths of chain. •  Cut off Master links and hooks. •  Use proper PPE when handling pieces of cut chain—cutting can leave sharp

Nylon or polyester web slings are strong enough to handle many different lifting applications, but also have the benefit of being soft and flexible to handle all types of loads— including expensive loads, highly finished parts, fragile parts, and delicate equipment. While a web sling has a higher resistance to mildew, rot, some chemicals, and abrasion—they can still be damaged to the point where they need to be removed from service. If during any point of the inspection the following is observed, the web sling should be removed from service and discarded: •  Acid or caustic burns •  Melting or charring of any part of the surface •  Snags, punctures, tears, or cuts •  Broken or worn stitching •  Wear or elongation exceeding the manufacturer’s recommendation •  Distortion of fittings When disposing of a web sling, cutting the eye in most circumstances will render the sling as unusable. However, as noted previously—when the sling body is long enough,

CUT OR DESTROY EYES TO PREVENT FUTURE USE

CUT INTO 3' TO 4' SECTIONS TO MAKE MORE MANAGEABLE & RECYCLE

REMOVE OR SEPARATE ANY TAGS OR LABELS

WIRE ROPE SLINGS 22 | THE STEEL ERECTORS ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA

the webbing should be cut into shorter sections, and the sling should be disposed of as general waste or trash. Keep the following in mind when disposing of web slings. •  Cutting, or destroying, of the eyes prevents any further use of the sling. •  As an additional step, if the sling body is long enough to allow for an eye to be reformed by other means, the sling should be cut in to shorter lengths of 3' to 4'. •  Best practice is to remove, cut, or separate any tags or labels from the sling. •  Place scrap into your facility’s recycling bins.

Disposal of synthetic roundslings A synthetic roundsling is strong, flexible, and pliable—allowing it to adjust to and tighten around loads better than some other types of slings. Roundslings are an economical option that are versatile and can be used in a variety of hitches including vertical, choker, or basket—so they can be used in many different types of applications. Another benefit is that they have a jacket that provides an added level of protection to the inner load-bearing fibers. When performing a roundsling inspection, you’ll want to identify a potential issue and take action on it before the sling is connected to any rigging hardware. A small cut, burn,

CUT OFF MASTER LINKS & HOOKS

CUTTING OR DESTROYING OF THE EYES PREVENTS ANY FURTHER USE OF THE SLING

CUT INTO 3' TO 4' SECTIONS TO PREVENT USE OF ANY SALVAGEABLE LENGTHS OF CHAIN

CUT INTO SHORTER LENGTHS OF 3' TO 4'

REMOVE OR SEPARATE ANY TAGS AND LABELS

REMOVE, CUT OR SEPARATE ANY TAGS OR LABELS

ALLOY CHAIN SLINGS

SYNTHETIC WEB SLINGS


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ANY BRAIDED OR CONFIGURED EYES SHOULD BE CUT TO MAKE THEM UNUSABLE ALLOW FOR DESTRUCTION BY CUTTING THE BODY IN HALF

REMOVE, CUT OR SEPARATE ANY TAGS OR LABELS

SYNTHETIC ROUNDSLINGS

•  Acid or caustic burns •  Evidence of heat damage •  Holes, tears, cuts, abrasive wear, or snags that expose the core yarns •  Broken or damaged core yarns •  Weld splatter that exposes core yarns •  Discoloration or brittle or stiff areas which may indicate chemical damage or prolonged UV exposure •  Distortion or damage to the fittings If it is determined that a roundsling meets the removal from service criteria, then the following actions need to be taken to discard and render the sling unusable. •  The standard endless configuration of a round sling typically allows for destruction by cutting the body in half. •  If the sling has been braided or configured to form an eye on each end, then the eyes should be cut to make them unusable. •  Best practice is to remove, cut, or separate any tags and labels from the sling. •  Place scrap into your facility’s recycling bins.

Disposal of rigging hardware CUT OR DESTROY USING TORCH OR ABRASIVE CHOP SAW

REMOVE AND SEPARATE PINS AND/OR LATCHES

REMOVE OR SEPARATE ANY TAGS AND LABELS

RIGGING HARDWARE tear, or hole in a synthetic roundsling can compromise the strength and lifting capabilities of the sling when under load and therefore the sling must be removed from service immediately. Look for the following signs of excessive wear or damage:

Rigging hardware used for lifting purposes includes: shackles, links, rings, swivels, turnbuckles, eyebolts, hoist rings, wire rope clips, wedge sockets, and rigging blocks. Prior to each shift, or change in lifting application, a visual inspection of the rigging hardware shall be performed. The purpose of this inspection is to identify any hazards that may affect the integrity of the hardware and safety of the lift, including: •  Bent, twisted, distorted, stretched, elongated, cracked, or broken load-bearing components •  10% or more reduction of the original dimension •  Excessive nicks, gouges, pitting, or corrosion •  Indications of heat damage including weld splatter or arc strikes •  Loose or missing nuts, bolts, cotter pins, snap rings, or other fasteners or retaining devices •  Missing or illegible rated load identification As with all types of slings, destruction of the damaged hardware so that it cannot be re-purposed is the most effective way of disposal. •  Use a torch or abrasive chop saw to cut the hardware.

24 | THE STEEL ERECTORS ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA

•  When possible, remove and separate pins and/or latches. •  Remove or separate any tags and labels. •  Place scrap into your facility’s metal recycling bins and coordinate for pickup or delivery.

Best practices for disposal When it comes to the disposal of rigging hardware, wire rope, or slings, best practice is to render the items in question as unsalvageable, or in such a condition as to make further use impossible. Because there are no standards or clear instructions developed by industry authorities, we have outlined what we suggest to be best practices. Keep the following things in mind, when disposing of lifting and rigging gear. •  Only scrap slings if you have been trained, and are authorized to do so, by your employer. •  Use caution when operating saws or torches and use proper PPE when handling cut pieces of wire rope, chain, or hardware. •  Wire rope, chains, and synthetic slings need to be cut into 3’ to 4’ lengths before being disposed of, so that they cannot be salvaged or re-purposed. Also, cut or destroy any eyes on the ends of slings. •  It is recommended that all tags and labels be removed from any sling or hardware before being scrapped. •  When possible, remove and separate pins and/or latches on any lifting hardware. •  Synthetic slings can typically be disposed of as general waste or trash and can, in most areas, be introduced into the waste stream. At Mazzella Companies, we offer a sling inspection and repair program. If you’re unsure whether the gear you’re using is still in proper working condition, or whether it needs to be removed from service, we have highly trained and qualified personnel that can come on-site and perform a field inspection that complies with OSHA and ASME standards. We also offer pick-up and delivery services where we’ll come to your facility, take your lifting gear, and bring it back to our facility where it will be inspected and then repaired and tested, if possible. Our factory-trained technicians are available 24/7 to perform emergency repairs, or perform authorized warranty repairs, on slings and other lifting equipment.


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SPECIAL FOCUS: Convention Preview

The Race to Charlotte 2019

G

et ready to start your engines. SEAA’s 47th Annual Convention and Trade Show returns to Charlotte/Concord, N.C., April 24-26, 2019. The meeting commences with the popular Welcome Reception and Trade Show. Program highlights include golf at the Rocky River Golf Club and fishing at Lake Norman, and award-winning Project of the Year presentations. Plus, you don’t want to miss Dinner & Awards Banquet at the Speedway Club overlooking Charlotte Motor Speedway. Headlining the speaker program is Kayleen McCabe, the winner of DIY Network’s Get up to date details about the program online at Stud Finder competition and SEAA.net/events or download the SEAA Events App longtime host of TV’s Resfor onsite notifications and updates. cue Renovation. McCabe is a licensed contractor and indusApril 23 try ambassador. Her work 4-7 pm SEAA Board of Director’s Meeting focuses on tightening the skills gap, encouraging women to April 24 Keynote Speaker: Kayleen McCabe, the winner of DIY enter a male-dominated field, 6:30 am Lake Fishing on Lake Norman with Gus Gustafson Network’s Stud Finder competition and longtime host of TV’s and showing alternative paths 11 am George R. Pocock Memorial Golf Tournament Rescue Renovation. to the traditional college route. 7-9:30 pm Welcome Reception & Trade Show Attendees will have options to attend six other sessions for managers or field level perApril 25 sonnel. Field topics include aerial work platform selection 8 am Trade Show and high angle rescue training. Management topics cover 10:30 am Keynote Speaker workforce and technology issues. An additional workshop 1-4:15 pm Breakout Sessions reviews frequently overlooked rigging problems and new 6:30 pm Dinner & Awards Banquet products available on the market. This year, the Trade Show features some dedicated exhiApril 26 bition time without concurrent activities. Both indoor and 9 am Business Meeting outdoor exhibits will feature live demonstrations. 9:15 am AISC Update Be sure to also join us for the Board of Directors meet9:30 am Education Session ing prior to the start of Convention, which is open to any 10:45 am Workshop member to attend, and on Friday, don’t skip the annual Noon Adjourn membership business meeting and AISC update.

AGENDA

26 | THE STEEL ERECTORS ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA


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SESSION HIGHLIGHTS Employee Rescue Teams—Beyond 9-1-1. Brent Wise, co-owner and COO of Tech Safety Lines, Inc., is also a veteran of the Dallas Fire and Rescue Department. Wise will discuss the importance of employee-based rescue teams, creating a safety plan in emergency situations, and how ERT training can create a quality Rescue Program. Rigging Refresher. Kevin Benner, Rigging Trainer and Field Sales Representative for the Indusco Division of Mazzella Lifting, will address often overlooked rigging problems. He will also share information about new rigging solutions. Projects of the Year. Panel discussion and presentation of award-winning structural steel construction projects in four contract classes enlightens members as to some of the most creative, efficient, and dramatic work being done today. Developing your Talent Pipeline. Gregg Schoppman, a Principal with FMI Corp., specializes in best practices for productivity and project management, and was recognized as one of the Top 25 Consultants in 2014 by Consulting magazine. He will help attendees explore recruiting strategies, what to look for during the recruiting process, and how to discover common mistakes contributing to poor employee retention.

28 | THE STEEL ERECTORS ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA

Reskilling the Workforce of the Future. Peggy Smedley is the Editorial Director for Constructech Magazine and the President of Specialty Publishing Media. She is an award-winning journalist with a long history of covering Internet of Things, manufacturing, and construction technology. She will speak to labor opportunities the construction industry is missing, explain how employers can entice Gen Z to the construction industry, and how technology can reduce the worker shortage. As a bonus, SEAA will purchase each attendee who opts in a subscription to Constructech magazine. What’s AISC been up to? Todd Alwood, Director of Certification for the American Institute of Steel Construction, will update attendees on programs, resources and market activities. From SpeedCore to tariffs to Student Steel Bridge Competition, and the latest AISC publications.


Connector | SPRING EDITION March 2019 | 29


NETWORKING 2019 George R. Pocock Memorial Golf Tournament at Rocky River Golf Club in Concord, NC  Register to join the annual golf tournament. Fees $175 (members) and $200 non-members. Designed by Dan Maples, nationally known for creating some of the Carolina’s top courses, Rocky River Golf Club is the premier public course in the Charlotte metropolitan area and is owned by the City of Concord.  Prizes awarded at Welcome Reception & Trade Show.

EXHIBITORS AISC Ashley Sling Inc. CLC Lodging DACS Inc. Elrod Stud Welding Freedom Tools LLC G.W.Y. Inc. General Equipment & Supply Hilti Inc. LeJeune Bolt Company Lifting Gear Hire M&P Specialty Insurance

For info and registration: seaa.net/seaa-convention--trade-show.html

Mazzella Companies Miller Electric Manufacturing Co. North American Crane Bureau Inc.

Lake Fishing with Gus on Lake Norman, NC. Register by April 8 to join a guided fishing tour. Fees $200.  With Gus and The Fishing Pros you will learn techniques to improve your fishing and allow you to catch more fish on your own boat. Light tackle is used to maximize the excitement of lake fishing. During the 5-hour trip we’ll fish for striped bass, bass, catfish, crappie, perch, and mountain trout. Registration Cut Off Date: April 8, 2019.

National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators National Institute of Steel Detailing SC Steel LLC SDS/2 SEAA SEAA Connector SidePlate Systems Inc. Speak Easy Communication Solutions LLC

Boom LIft Ball DropAnnual fundraiser for the Education & Training fund. Winner splits the pot. Chances are $20 each. Be sure to purchase your golf balls on site at registration.

Steel Joist Institute Tradesmen International TRYSTAR W.O. Grubb Crane Rental *As of 2/18/19

30 | THE STEEL ERECTORS ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA


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COVER STORY

By Lucy Perry

A UNIFIED Message SEAA part of industry-wide push to market, recruit, and train craft professionals

Joe Everett, President of Superior Cranes Inc., welcomed 350 students to the company’s Lift & Move USA event, a one-day career exploration into specialized transportation, crane and rigging operations.

W

hile SEAA’s workforce development focus is on training ironworkers, the association recognizes there is a broader need for various skilled professionals across manufacturing and construction. To that end, industry organizations are joining forces to work on marketing craft trades as a career; attracting new workers; and training those new workers to perform their jobs skillfully, accurately, and safely. According to the Manufacturing Institute 2015 Skills Gap Report, over the next decade nearly 3.5 million manufacturing jobs will likely be needed and 2 million are expected to go unfilled due to the skills gap. Lucy Perry operates WordSkills Editorial Services in Kansas City, Mo. She has spent 20 years following the North American construction industry. She can be reached at wordskillseditor@gmail.com.

And NCCER reports that 1.5 million craft professionals will be needed in the construction industry by 2021. The retirement of baby boomers, strength of the economy, and attractiveness of the industry are ranked among leading factors impacting the talent shortage.

Joint efforts Five years ago SEAA launched Superior Cranes employees shared personal stories of their an ironworker training curriculum journey into the industry and showed students different kinds designed to be delivered by member of equipment. companies to their local communities around the country. But training is just one piece of the process. “SEAA has discovFor example, the Skilled Trades Coalition ered that working with other like-minded desires to bring together an exclusive group of groups means that we can have a consistent thought leaders who are shaping the future of message and we don’t have to re-invent the trade careers. SEAA was asked to participate marketing and recruiting process for each in the inaugural meeting in December 2018 industry niche or specialty,” said Tom Under- to explore awareness, recruitment, training, hill, Executive Director of SEAA. and retention of skilled trades workers. Of the

32 | THE STEEL ERECTORS ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA


17 participating partners, others included the American Welding Society, American Institute of Steel Construction, and Fabricators & Manufacturers Association. “Each of our organizations faces the same struggles with having enough quality skilled workers in the pipeline to fill job production requirements for the industry we serve,” said Underhill, who represented the steel erection industry at the meeting. “By coming together, we can share best practices and hopefully reduce duplication of effort when it comes to marketing and recruiting for the skilled trades.” Following its first meeting, the group identified some key truths about the skilled trades, which will help formulate future actions: •  Long lead times are required to bring people into the skilled trades. •  Average age of apprentices is 28; needs to be reduced by 10 years. •  Women and minorities are under-represented. •  Working in skilled trades requires lifelong learning. In the future, the Skilled Trades Coalition will explore attracting workforce talent and managing the perception of the skilled trades. The group plans to hold two meetings in 2019. Meanwhile, the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) convened a similar initiative, which brought together the U.S. Departments of Labor and Education, and dozens of employers and associations representing diverse industries for a oneday Summit.

“Every industry in the economy reveals they’re facing a worker shortage,” laments Michael Connet, Associate Deputy Executive Director – outreach and partnership development for ACTE. He explains that the goal in bringing these groups together was to help participants discover what others were doing and to create opportunities for collaboration. A number of construction and equipment groups participated, including NCCER, Associated Equipment Distributors, and Associated Builders and Contractors. Others represented retail, process technology, restaurants, and jewelers, to name a few. “It was surprising how much we shared in common,” said Tracy Bennett, Director of Lift & Move USA, which represents specialized transportation, crane and rigging operations. “In order to make a real difference in our society, industry, education and government have to be working together. I was impressed with the ACTE’s initiative to open that dialog between these groups,” said Bennett.

Performance That Can Be Trusted.

Marketing and recruiting resources Build Your Future, an initiative of NCCER, is one such group that provides resources for promoting careers in construction to employers, educators, and students. Stats on craft labor demand, details on specific construction careers, information on career paths, marketing materials and career day planning guides are just some of the materials BYF offers on its website. “This is a great place for steel erectors to start if they are considering how

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The Skilled Trades Coalition representatives broke into small work groups to prioritize action items related to improving the perception of the skilled trades and attracting workers.

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to begin workforce development efforts,” said Underhill. Focusing on hands-on, equipment demonstration programs, Lift & Move USA is an in-person career exploration event organized by the Specialized Carriers & Rigging Association, SC&R Foundation, National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators, and KHL. Last fall, Superior Cranes Inc., which is member of both SC&RA and SEAA, hosted a Lift & Move USA event at its headquarters in Rockingham, N.C. About 350 students attended, where they rotated through different stations that either demonstrated an industry-related task or offered hands-on activities for participants. “It’s no secret that the skilled-labor market is an employment opportunity,” said Brian Schleicher, Director of Marketing and Communications for Superior Cranes. “Our workforce is getting older and, historically, it is not replenished year after year. The average age of a crane operator in North America is over 55. While that is great because you have experienced people in the business who know what they’re doing, that also leaves a pretty big gap over the next 10, 15, and 20 years. Safety Products Inc. and FallTech showed students how harnesses work at the Superior Cranes Lift & Move USA event.

What are all these companies going to do when experienced craft workers retire?” “Lift & Move USA works with SC&RA member companies to organize events around the country. Since 2015 we’ve exposed several thousand students and teachers to the skills needed and the career opportunities,” said Bennett. The Superior Cranes event featured nine stations: crane and welding simulators, truck and transportation equipment, rigging Blueprint reading, math, and measuring skills are unique to the Cooper gear, and lift planning were just a Steel Fabricator training curriculum. Credit: Shelby Sudduth few. One station was dedicated to fall-protection, which is crucial in “Now, we need to turn this event into a the steel erection industry. Using a fall-proteccatalyst to decide how we’ll address opportion simulator, sponsors Safety Products Inc. and FallTech showed students how harnesses tunities with a younger workforce. I see us work and how they save lives. “We had safety doing this again and having young folks be come to life for those folks,” says Schleicher. a part of organizing the event. Think of the “That was the goal of the event. We wanted impact you’d have with a 22-year-old talking to make sure it was as hands-on as possible about how they took the path they’re on now,” for students, rather than them just listen- he says. ing to people talking to them. Our goal was to make stations as interactive as possible,” Training for the ages explained Schleicher. These programs are changing the perception of construction as a fallback career into a career of choice because it offers high salaries, job satisfaction, growth opportunities, and more. But once you have the attention of students, viable work-based learning and apprenticeships must be in place to provide the training to start them on that career path. “Structural steel construction is a niche business. Recruiting ironworkers, welders, riggers, crane operators, fabricators, details, etc., is all critical to the future of the construction industry and structural steel erection, specifically,” says Underhill. SEAA partnered with NCCER to develop its ironworker craft training curriculum, and launched an effort to establish craft training and assessment sites among its members across the country. Participating members have access to three levels of ironworker training, plus additional NCCER curriculum in more than 70 subject areas. Tim Eldridge, President of Education Services Unlimited and SEAA’s Craft Training and Assessment Administrator says the network currently is comprised of 19 training units and 21 assessment center sites. The newest training units and assessment sites are ASPE South in North Carolina, Trivent Safety Consultants in Colorado, and Monterey

34 | THE STEEL ERECTORS ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA


Crane and welding simulators, provided by CM Labs and Airgas, are critical to giving students a hands-on experience at Lift & Move USA events.

Structural Steel Inc., of California. “The goal is to grow SEAA’s network of training providers throughout the country so when people move or are on location in other states they could continue their training. Likewise, people transitioning from one job to another go to different companies, so training would be consistent among companies,” said Eldridge. Eldridge helped SEAA member Cooper Steel, Shelbyville, Tenn., develop a Fabricator Training Program the company is offering to both current and potential employees. The company saw a need for a more advanced training regimen for fitters and decided to adapt a combination of welding and ironworking modules available through NCCER. The curriculum covers not only an introduction to the trade, but topics such as rigging, fastening, welding, reading drawings, and flux core for ironworking. “Blueprint-reading, math, and other skills we require in our shop are above what the local trade schools offer, and we just can’t find anybody with those skills,” said Duff Zimmerman, president and COO of Cooper Steel. Cooper Steel was familiar with the SEAA/NCCER ironworker training program, which is what inspired them to develop the custom fabricator training. Cooper opened its first 12-week fabricator training session in January with 10

Open For Design.

participants. Two are from the Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT), near the company’s Shelbyville offices, and eight are Cooper Steel employees. TCAT already teaches Welding 1 and 2 classes, and agreed to allow Cooper to use their facility. Two Cooper Steel shop employees teach the class. The company has been in discussion with a local high-school program director currently teaching NCCER’s Welding 1 and 2 programs and certifying their graduates. “We’re in discussion with them to add our fabricator training course to their program so their graduates are ready to work for us in Virginia,” he says, adding, “Our Number One goal is to help the guys in the shop move up from welders to fitters, and get some folks from outside the company to join Cooper Steel,” said Zimmerman. Though the curriculum is not accredited yet, the company is working toward NCCER accreditation with a plan for the program’s broad use across the industry. “We’ve seen the importance of the SEAA/NCCER ironworker training and its benefit for members. Likewise, developing an accredited fabricator program through NCCER would greatly benefit SEAA members,” said Chris Legnon, Cooper Steel’s Vice President of Preconstruction. “We hope to get endorsement from SEAA at our next annual meeting for Cooper Steel’s program,” says Eldridge, “and we hope to see

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Efficiency That’s Built To Last. Cooper Steel developed a fabricator training program to prepare fitters for the specific skills needed in steel fabrication. Credit: Shelby Sudduth

them carry that program on. Other people want to do fabricator training, so they could use the same curriculum manual.”

Shared strengths The mutually productive relationship between SEAA and NCCER plays out in efforts such as the fabrication training program. Zimmerman considers that positive relationship one of the benefits of membership in SEAA, saying he wouldn’t have been exposed to NCCER resources if it weren’t for the connection between the two organizations. “NCCER has all kinds of construction education classes, from bricks and mortar to electrical. I didn’t know any of it existed until SEAA’s involvement with NCCER.”  

Legnon, who also serves as Secretary on the SEAA Board of Directors, puts it this way: “SEAA recognize the importance of making ironworker training available to our members. We see the need locally and nationally. Workforce shortages are affecting all of our members. Developing an accredited fabricator program through NCCER would greatly benefit our membership.” SEAA continues to support and grow efforts among craft trades professional organizations to create a unified message that the craft trades are an excellent first choice for a career field among young people looking to their future. As SEAA’s Underhill believes, “Increasing the number of qualified workers will come from managing our image, educating parents and counselors, explaining the various career paths, and creating curriculum to train people.”

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WE’VE RAISED THE LEVEL OF SAFETY TO A WHOLE NEW HEIGHT AND OWNERS NOTICE Rigging, fastening, and field fabrication are some of the modules from the SEAA/NCCER Ironworker curriculum used in Cooper Steel’s Fabricator program. Credit: Shelby Sudduth

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BUSINESS OPERATIONS

By Fred J. Ode

In Defense of Spreadsheets: Why Spreadsheets Aren’t Your Real Problem

B

ack in 1996, I crawled out of bed one morning at 5 am, I walked into the bathroom, and when I glanced in the mirror, I didn’t like what I saw looking back at me. At 46, 11 years since I’d first set out as an entrepreneur, I looked more than a decade older. I was fried, overworked and drowning — and that morning I felt ready to walk away. We were just a 16-person software company with 350 clients. Rather than keeping myself to one to two tasks, I was in charge of marketing, sales, program design and QA, as well as employee and client issues. Up to that point I had put no management systems in place. We didn’t even have a voicemail system nor a management team. I’d built an entire company around me doing everything, because that was the way I’d always done it. That morning was a turning point for me and the company. It’s ridiculous to expect one person to perform every job in a business — and it’s the same for spreadsheets. They have limitations. Problems appear when you push your spreadsheets to do more than they’re meant to

Fred J. Ode is the founder and CEO/Chairman of Foundation Software and Payroll4Construction.com, a family of companies designed to help contractors run the business side of their construction business. Contact Fred at fode@foundationsoft.com. 38 | THE STEEL ERECTORS ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA

do. Recognizing those limitations and seeing how they can point to bigger issues with processes is incredibly important. Generally, spreadsheets are not the problem. They’re a symptom.

Realistic limits JBKnowledge’s 2018 Construction Technology Report indicates that over 51% of construction accounting workflows still rely on spreadsheets. Often they’re used to patch gaps in software that doesn’t meet the demands of the construction industry. But using spreadsheets to do job costing, accounting, estimating, scheduling, project management and more leads to redundant data entry and time lost on tedious manual work — both of which can also result in errors. And this only gets worse over time; as a company grows, its data grows, and those spreadsheets begin to sprawl. Eventually, companies can develop numerous spreadsheet “islands” full of isolated data. Financial and project information is disconnected across multiple files and spreadsheets, making it impossible to know who changed what and what's correct. While powerful, spreadsheets are also fragile — one accidental change to a cell or formula can send errors rippling throughout your workbook. Now can you blame all that on your spreadsheets? I don’t think so. It’s how they’re being used.


Connector | SPRING EDITION March 2019 | 39


40 | THE STEEL ERECTORS ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA


Where spreadsheets excel (pun unintended) Technology will only help by leveraging something you already do well — the people and processes you already have in place. Spreadsheets are no different. Problems begin to surface when companies outgrow them for their data management, job cost tracking and reporting — or when they already have process issues that aren’t being addressed. This is why you see all those articles telling you to leave spreadsheets behind and invest in new construction-specific software. However, buying new software isn’t going to help if you don’t already have a system and team in place to use it properly. In fact, adopting new technology you aren’t ready for is likely only to accelerate your problems in the end. Whatever size your company is, spreadsheets can be an excellent supplement to software and process that are already working for you. For example: 10. If you have small enough billings that you can still use small business accounting software, spreadsheets can give just a little extra help tracking and manipulating job cost data. 11. If you use construction accounting software or a larger ERP system, there might be some advanced custom reports you want to pull (“query”) directly from your software database. 12. After exporting reports from your software database, spreadsheets can perform complex calculations and organize data in different ways, using pivot tables and sliders, with greater freedom than you might find in your accounting software. 13. Using data from your software, spreadsheets can give you a sandbox to safely manipulate numbers, create if-then scenarios and calculate projections without impacting your actual data. The bottom line is, your spreadsheets should only be working to save you time and simplify processes. But in no case should your spreadsheets be your database! There will always be a place for them — as long as they’re not doing more than their fair share of the work or forcing you to spend more time making them work.

Fixing the problem So if you’re running into a problem with your spreadsheets, take a step back and really look at why that might be. How did you get to the point where they’re no longer working for you? And perhaps more importantly, what’s been preventing you from pursuing a solution? It might be resistance to change. It might be the need for someone to champion new technology — or to ask “why” your company is doing things the way they are. If you’re like me, the problem might be you! Spreadsheets are a tool, and like any other tool, they have their place in your business. However, you want to make sure you’re in a position to get the most out of whatever tool you’re using — and make sure it’s the right one for the job. After all, you can dig a ditch with a shovel, but there may come a time to upgrade to a backhoe. So if you’re spending hours entering data into spreadsheets for your construction-specific needs, it may be time for a new solution. Whether that means upgrading your software and data systems, talking with your vendor to make sure you’re using your software to its full potential, or working with a construction CPA or business advisor to evaluate your processes, do whatever you think will help you get back to focusing on what’s most important for you and your business.

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TOPPING OUT

Bidding Happy Retirement

A

lan Sears, who has been a SEAA board member for at least 15 years and actively involved with the association for nearly 20, recently retired from Nucor-Vulcraft, where he was the National Accounts Representative. As a previous recipient of the Person of the Year and William Davis Service awards, these honors speak to the quality of the man. “Many of you know him as the emcee of SEAA’s Convention & Trade Show. As he departs from the SEAA Board of Directors in April, the association extends its warmest wishes for a happy retirement,” said Tom Underhill, Executive Director. “We appreciate his years of service leading the awards programs and being a gracious master of ceremonies of the convention, which we hope he will continue to do for many years to come,” he said. “It has been a rewarding experience from a knowledge standpoint, but more importantly from the wonderful friendships I have made,” said Sears of his involvement in SEAA. As for the future? “I have been the interim choir director at church for the past year and it appears that it is becoming a permanent interim position!”

WORKFORCE STATS

Meet New Members Check out the Member Directory at SEAA.net. Derr and Gruenewald Construction, Henderson, Colo., providing pre-construction planning and engineering, steel fabrication, steel erection, precast concrete, and metal decking services.

Source: 2019 Sage Construction Hiring and Business Outlook Survey of 1300 AGC contractor member companies.

Participants in Cooper Steel's inaugural Fabricator training program began the 12-week session in January.

UP NEXT

Project of the Year Winners Rental Equipment Selection Welding Tips

42 | THE STEEL ERECTORS ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA

Eastern Metal Works Inc., Milford, Conn., providing engineering, detailing, fabrication and erecting of structural, miscellaneous and ornamental steel for residential, commercial and facility maintenance projects. Monterey Structural Steel Inc., Watsonville, Calif., is a fabricator of structural steel, miscellaneous metals, stairs and ornamental iron. Trivent Safety Consulting, Westminster, Colo., provides training, site safety inspections, and health and safety policy development.

Summer Edition June 2019 Ad Deadline: May 17, 2019 ConnectorSales@seaa.net

Check out SEAA’s new website!


NASCC: The Steel Conference QUALITY TRACK AHEAD St Louis, MO :: April 3–5

All signs point to NASCC: The Steel Conference where a special quality track will focus on topics of interest to fabricators and erectors. Meet us in St. Louis to learn more about quality management systems and AISC Certification. Visit aisc.org/NASCC to register today!


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“We are large enough to meet all of your insurance needs, yet small enough to appreciate your business and provide personal service.”

Supporting the Steel Erectors Association of America and Promoting a Safe Work Culture! We offer the following coverages: General Liability, Property, Auto, Umbrella, Inland Marine (Equipment), Workers’ Compensation, Professional Liability, D&O, Health and Life Insurance.

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Profile for The SEAA Connector

Connectors - Spring 2019  

In this Spring issue of the Steel Erectors Association of America's Connector's magazine: United Message - Industry organizations are joinin...

Connectors - Spring 2019  

In this Spring issue of the Steel Erectors Association of America's Connector's magazine: United Message - Industry organizations are joinin...