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Fabricators Discuss Planning as Key to Success at Utah Stone Summit

May 21, 2015 · By Terri Hewlett · No Comments

On February 18th, 42 fabricators from 5 states gathered at Arizona Tile in Salt Lake City, Utah to discuss how creating a plan can build a stronger company and help sell product.  The result was a day of education and networking that built relationships and strengthened the natural stone industry in the region. 

The MIA and Stone World Utah Stone Summit was billed as a marketing and town hall discussion.  Soon after the discussion started, everyone realized strong planning could quickly mitigate any problems that a company faces.

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No CommentsTags: education · fabricator · mia · stone world

President's Message

May 21, 2015 · By Terri Hewlett · No Comments

Greetings fellow MIA members, I hope things are going well for you as we approach mid-year. I have been visiting with quite a few industry people over the last couple of months in the United States and at trade shows in Brazil and China. There remains an optimistic feeling about the balance of this year; however the pace of improvement has been disappointing for some. There is mixed data, but what I see at this time, shows the domestic housing market has slowed over the last few months. However, reports still expect a 7-10% increase for the year over 2014 activity. Many sources are reporting total construction for the U.S. should finish 2015 at 8-9% over 2014. There are caveats to the data; a harsh winter in some parts of the country has delayed project starts and the plunge in oil prices may temper growth projections in the energy regions across the nation. It’s hard to imagine these influencers would not impact the year end actual results. This makes 2015 a little more unpredictable, however, the U.S. market is still the focus of the Brazilians and the Chinese as they see their domestic economies struggling for growth. 

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No CommentsTags: business · nsc · president's message

A Note from Jim

May 21, 2015 · By Terri Hewlett · No Comments

So much of the MIA’s mission is focused on providing members with technical support, standards, education, and credentialing.  Yet the one area I sometimes take for granted is the role the MIA plays in bringing people together.  Whether it is helping with business-to-business relationships or helping members connect with the design community or consumers, the MIA is a great vehicle to help you make connections

In the past 60 days, I’ve really enjoyed watching the following member networking activities:

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No CommentsTags: coverings · education · international · membership · safety · women in stone

Construction Corner: Some Housing Markets May Take a Decade to Reach Pre Recession Levels

May 21, 2015 · By Terri Hewlett · No Comments

While the overall housing market has rebounded steadily from the drastic drop caused by the recession, some experts say that in some large urban areas it might take more than 10 years for homes to recover their value.

At the same time USA Today quoted 24/7 Wall Street as saying that, on average, it will still take the value of single family home nationally, at the current pace, another 2.5 years for full recovery. The housing markets with the longest recovery periods either had especially slow growth rates, particularly large percentage drops in home values, or both.

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No CommentsTags: construction corner · nahb

Queries & Quandaries

May 21, 2015 · By Terri Hewlett · No Comments

Q: We recently received some material with off-colored veining and unsightly patching and filling.  Our purchase order clearly stated “select” material was to be supplied.  What we received is definitely not select.  We need a document to help make our case to our supplier that we did not get what we ordered.

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No CommentsTags: queries and quandaries · technical

Law Library: Basics of Appropriations/Eminent Domain Cases

May 21, 2015 · By Terri Hewlett · No Comments

Black’s Law Dictionary defines “eminent domain” as the right of the state or sovereign to take private property for public use.  In laymen’s terms this means that the government takes private property for what the government perceives to be an overall benefit to the community at large.   In most contexts this means taking real estate for highway improvements or expansions, development of public facilities, grounds or parks, buildings or schools.   We have all seen movies in which a private land developer comes in and gobbles up personal residents as part of a commercial real estate development project and there is one holdout who cannot be bought no matter what the price.  Unfortunately, in the case of the government, they can never be a hold-out as long as the government pays fair market compensation to the property owner. 

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No CommentsTags: law library

Law Library: Mandatory Overtime

March 10, 2015 · By Terri Hewlett · No Comments

Employers and management have the general right to schedule mandatory overtime for their employees.  This right is subject to any provisions relating to overtime which may be contained within individual employee employment contracts or collective bargaining (union) agreements with a labor force.  The key to determine whether such a demand is lawful (in the absence of a specific agreement) is whether the overtime which the employee is being mandated to work is "reasonable."  The totality of facts and circumstances are reviewed in determining the “reasonableness” standard.
 

    Q:    CAN AN EMPLOYEE REFUSE TO WORK MANDATED OVERTIME?

    A:    If no contractual provision exists addressing this issue in an employment contract, employee handbook, collective bargaining or other contract, the decision will turn on whether the mandatory overtime is being required or is discretionary.  The next factor is to determine whether a replacement worker is available.  The final factor is to determine whether the declination of the employee is based upon an inconvenience or a hardship (such as a disability or other justifiable cause).  

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No CommentsTags: law library

Queries & Quandaries

March 10, 2015 · By Terri Hewlett · 1 Comment

Q:    We do a lot of interior lobby cladding projects using 2 cm marble, travertine, or limestone anchored with traditional wire tie and plaster methods.  It seems like years ago we were always working in enclosed space with the air conditioning running.  Now, in the majority of our jobs, we’re forced to work without air conditioning and in some cases without the lobby even fully enclosed.  It’s taking forever for our plaster spots to dry out.  Is there an MIA standard that mandates conditioned air for interior stone setting?

A:    There is no standard, but the number of calls that I receive regarding residual spots from plaster setting methods suggests that you are not alone in having this issue.  It all stems from the current practices in construction scheduling.  When I got in the industry back in the early ‘80s, a lot of projects were said to have been on “fast track” schedules.  If what we were doing back then was truly fast track, then what is being done today must be “hyper-track”, and I’m hoping to be retired before we’re forced into “negative time warp” scheduling.  One of the ways to trim time off of the overall construction schedule is to replace sequential, consecutive mobilization of different trades with concurrent mobilization.  And in doing so, the HVAC contractor is still installing their equipment while you’re installing your stone, so the HVAC system isn’t yet operable.  In some climates, this is not a big issue.  But in humid climates during the summer time, the relative humidity is so close to the dew point that there is essentially no drying of the plaster.  One gypsum manufacturer’s product literature states that the optimum drying temperature is 110° to 120°F (~45° to 50°C).  If you have indoor air with a temperature of 70°F (~20°C) and a relative humidity of 50%, it would have a dew point of about 50°F (~10°C).  And if you took that air with a 50°F (~10°C) dew point and raised the temperature to 120°F (~50°C), the relative humidity would now be less than 20%!  So if that’s the optimum drying conditions for plaster, it should be no surprise that effectively no drying is going to occur in saturated air of say, 90% or higher relative humidity.  The MIA’s Dimension Stone Design Manual states that setting spots may be visible for up to 8 months, but I have seen them take in excess of a year to fully dry out.  In some cases, I’ve seen extended drying times result in permanent staining, as the water has had ample opportunity to transport contaminants to the stone’s surface.  The concern about drying conditions would not be limited to walls, since thick-bedded stone flooring, particularly when a membrane occurs below the bedding, also requires evacuation of the excess moisture through the stone surface.  And whether the installation is vertical or horizontal, grouting, and especially caulking of the joints, reduces the transmissibility of the system greatly.  Leaving the joints open for as long as possible will accelerate the drying process.

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1 CommentTags: queries and quandaries

Construction Corner: All Signs Pointing Upward for Housing, Remodeling Sectors

March 10, 2015 · By Terri Hewlett · No Comments

There were a lot more smiles on the convention floor at StonExpo Marmomacc Americas than in recent years and that’s because of the outlook for 2015, as portrayed in numerous government and private sector reports, has been very positive for both the new housing and remodeling sectors.

For instance, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Remodeling Market Index (RMI) posted a record high result of 60 in the final quarter of 2014. A reading of 60 indicates remodelers’ confidence in the quarter-over-quarter improvement in the remodeling market. An RMI over 50 indicates more remodelers report market activity is higher (compared to the prior quarter) than report it lower.

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No CommentsTags: construction corner · nahb · stonexpo

A Note from Jim

March 10, 2015 · By Terri Hewlett · No Comments

As we look ahead to May 2015, I am pleased about the collaboration being undertaken to help educate architects and designers at two industry shows.

AIA Convention / Atlanta (May 14-16)
The Atlanta AIA convention will again bring the MIA, BSI, NSC, ILI, Marmomacc, and Informa Exhibitions (formerly Hanley Wood) together to collaborate on providing education on the AIA show floor. In 2014, we worked together to deliver a “natural stone academy” setting which showcased some of the best face-to-face learning available about natural stone. We will be duplicating these efforts at the 2015 show! For the MIA’s part, we will be presenting:

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No CommentsTags: ceu · education · marmomacc