Foreman Seeley Fountain Architecture and Lusk & Company helped transform this aging church in Lawrenceville, Ga., into a theater.
Foreman Seeley Fountain Architecture and Lusk & Company helped transform this aging church in Lawrenceville, Ga., into a theater.
The final result of the old church pictured on the previous page became the renovated Aurora Theatre. Specializing in restoration and repair projects is an ideal way to survive the difficult economy.
The final result of the old church pictured on the previous page became the renovated Aurora Theatre. Specializing in restoration and repair projects is an ideal way to survive the difficult economy.

World of Masonry Seminar
Jason McCoy will discuss this subject at the 2010 World of Masonry in Las Vegas. He will present the 90-minute seminar, Masonry Restoration: The Recession-Proof Masonry Business, MO-106, at 1:30 p.m., Feb. 1. To register for the course, visit www.worldofconcrete.com.

If you've worked in the masonry business long, you've undoubtedly experienced times when work was slow. With the decline of new home construction and tight credit delaying the start of new commercial projects, now is one of those times.

So I wasn't surprised when a fellow masonry contractor said to me recently, “You always seem to have projects going on, even when work is slow. Why is that?"

I replied, “Restoration and repair is steady right now.”

Even in the toughest economic times, owners will not allow their largest investment to fall down around them. Real estate investors' ability to collect rent and leverage their real assets in great part hinges on the condition of their buildings. The market for qualified contractors who restore, repair, and maintain masonry façades and walls will continue to grow as owners continue to cherish their aging buildings.

Mason contractors who develop the knowledge and passion for this type of work will always have plenty of quality jobs coming their way. Our company has, and here's how.

The need for qualified specialists

In the U.S. today, there are only a handful of large companies that specialize in masonry restoration and repair. They typically bill between $1 million and $180 million in revenue per year.

These national companies usually focus on large commercial projects. While these projects often exceed the million-dollar category and receive a great deal of attention, they don't represent the typical masonry restoration/repair opportunity.

The vast majority of masonry restoration and repair projects needing attention in the U.S. are smaller. Our industry has very few masonry contractors interested in or willing to consider these projects. Most large repair contractors avoid them. And most mason contractors are not qualified to take on this work.

The demand for these professionals is greater than ever. Unfortunately, many building owners rely on advice from handy men, general contractors, and home inspectors who do not have the expertise. They have little knowledge in advising clients on masonry repair issues.

The mason contractor who develops an acute understanding of the cause of masonry failure, the awareness of a building's historical significance and setting, and the skills to rectify the problem will have an opportunity to build a recession-proof business.