This five-syllable word means many different things to the mason contractor and the masonry industry. It reveals that the contractor cares enough about the trade to educate himself, not just in the fine art of bricklaying, but in the other aspects of operating a business as well.

It means caring enough to commit yourself, crews, and firm to high-quality workmanship and providing ongoing hands-on education and training. Education is a non-stop effort since codes are constantly changing and new products and techniques are continually hitting the market. Change is inevitable, and it can be either progress or a step backward, depending upon the contractor's attitude and awareness.

Certification also provides a benchmark to owners, architects, and developers by which they can measure non-certified firms. Set the bar higher and become certified. Because more and more industry professionals are demanding “certification” labels on their contractor firms, your business become more in demand.

This attitude toward ongoing education, and the willingness to dedicate time, effort, and, yes, even money to the endeavor, tells workers that you care enough to give them the very best. Don't be left out of the certification loop.

Raise the level of professionalism throughout the industry. Demand that architects, designers, or owners request bids and estimates from “certified” contractors. You are ensuring them that they will receive the most qualified bidders, not just the lowest. The results will speak for themselves.

Many programs

Many masonry industry associations across the country offer some kind of certification program for firms in their geographic areas. Residential Masonry Contractors Association members recently met for their 4th annual certification weekend. The event offered classes as varied as Lien Rights, Contract Documents, Building Envelope Systems, Business Planning, Succession Planning, Retaining Key Employees, and a group benefit 401(k) program. Professionals in their individual fields were assembled to lead the sessions. Charts, graphs, and PowerPoint presentations were used to illustrate the importance of each topic. Question-and-answer sessions followed the speakers, allowing the masons to feel comfortable with each topic.

RMCA members who have taken the necessary training over the past several years wear their “Certified” label with pride. Window clings are affixed to trucks, Certified Mason Contractor logo appears on letterheads and faxes, and business cards are showcased by the logo.

Don't you want yours?

Barbara Headrick has worked tirelessly to promote the masonry industry and serves as the executive director of RMCA. For more information on membership in the association, visit its Web site at www.residentialmasonrycontractors.com.