NCMA| New Study Shows Drop in Overall Fire Safety Scores


New study shows drop in overall fire safety scores
National Association of State Fire Marshals 
Fail Safe
A new study shows that changes to building codes over the past two decades have measurably decreased the fire safety scores of buildings. Project FAIL-SAFE, administered by the National Association of State Fire Marshalls Research & Education Foundation (NASFM Foundation) has released preliminary data showing an overall trend in reductions in passive fire safety features, such as compartmentation, and an increased reliance on active fire safety systems such as alarms and sprinklers. "More data is needed, but the early conclusions indicate an overreliance on sprinklers at the expense of passive fire safety systems, which endangers both the public and the fire service alike," said H. Butch Browning, President of the NASFM Foundation and Louisiana State Fire Marshal. Read the press release here. Find out more about Project FAIL-SAFE here.

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Updated Manufactured Stone Veneer Installation Guide now available!
MVMA Guide Cover
The 5th Edition of the MVMA Manufactured Stone Veneer Installation Guide is now available to download! This updated version contains several important revisions, including provisions for installation over continuous insulation, recommendations on mortar usage, and details for installations using cement board. Download a copy for free today. Download Now!


Something for everyone at ICON EXPO 2018
ICON Expo Logo
Education, demonstrations, networking and more....all will be happening at the ICON EXPO 2018: Machinery & Equipment Show, February 9-10, 2018, at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, Indiana. Now is the time to start making your plans for this inaugural show dedicated to the manufactured concrete masonry and hardscape industry. The ICON EXPO 2018 brochure highlights the programs and events taking place during ICON EXPO 2018 and the NCMA Annual Convention, February 6-8, 2018. Click here for a complete schedule of meetings and programs taking place during the week. Reserve your exhibit space and/or register to attend, if you have not done so already. Call us at (703) 713-1900 for more information. We can't wait to see you in Indy!

Maine School of Masonry exceeds goal for capital fundraiser
Daily Bulldog 

Maine School
The Maine School of Masonry has exceeded their target of $8,00 to expand the Historic Restoration and Preservation facilities at the school. With donations of over $9,100 including a $5,000 grant from The Sugarloaf Charitable trust, MSM will now be able to enroll more students into their courses in the coming years. The Main School of Masonry is a private, not-for-profit masonry school that has been training students in the fundamentals of masonry work since 2005. Find out more about the school at https://masonryschool.orgRead more.

Florida Masonry Industry and Department of Corrections work together to teach the trade
Masonry Magazine 
Masonry FL
Florida is now experiencing major growth in the construction industry and the demand for laborers is outpacing the availability of skilled workers. The Florida Masonry Apprentice and Education Foundation (FMA&EF), the Masonry Association of Florida (MAF) and the Florida Concrete Masonry Education Council (FCMEC) are working with the Florida Department of Corrections to to provide a pathway to work for inmates who wish to learn a trade. FMAEF is in contact with over 200 inmates who are taking the FDC Masonry courses and there are now 11 masonry programs available throughout the state. Read more.


Concrete masonry shelters animals in San Jancito
Concrete Masonry Designs
Shelter Animals
Despite its humble architectural expression, the planning was actually extremely complex and required extensive interface with the users,” said Harley Ellis Devereaux Senior Project Designer Gary Leivers, AIA, RIBA, LEED AP. “The requirement for a single level and a footprint of 37,000 ft2 (3437.5 m2) suggested several independent buildings clustered around a series of outdoor spaces.” The extensive program for the San Jacinto Animal Shelter included large spaces for animal housing and holding areas, and also administration offices, along with a full veterinary surgical suite. One important criterion was to create a welcoming area and a relaxing environment that encourages visitor interaction with the animals awaiting adoption and to provide space for animal owners reuniting with their lost pets. Read more.

An old sugar mill is transformed into a dramatic concrete hotel 
Deezen Arch
Beijing-based Vector Architects have designed a beautiful resort style property by converting an old sugar mill into a dramatic hotel in the Yangshuo County region of South Central China. The new Hotel was designed with modern elements like an exterior facade of concrete blocks and a simple gabled roof. The resort’s new outdoor area was designed to allow guests to wander around the landscaped grounds and enjoy natural views that are framed by both the old and new structures. Read more.

OSHA director nominee faces tough questions at confirmation hearing
Business Insider 
Donald Trump’s nominee to lead OSHA is Scott Mugno. Mugno has pledged to work with OSHA staffers to advance its safety mission, including examining ways to improve collaborative programs with employers. Scott Mugno is a FedEx Vice President (of Safety, Sustainability and Vehicle Maintenance), he is also an attorney that started his career with FedEx in 1994. He is facing tough questions from Senators about his record. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., questioned Mr. Mugno’s commitment to workplace safety, given his work with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has sued to overturn several OSHA regulations, including its controversial electronic record-keeping rule. Read more.


Will a tax overhaul send the economy on a sugar high?
US News
US economy
A growing number of economists are using the term "sugar high" to describe what the tax bill is projected to do to the U.S. economy, by providing short-term policy for growth before possibly pushing the country into a recession. The other concern is the increased debt burden that the tax bill would generate. Both the House and Senate tax bills would drive the U.S. more than $1 trillion deeper into debt over the next 10 years according to the COB office. Read more.

After 7 years of job growth, room for more, or danger ahead?
New York Times 
UPS Boxes
In November 228,000 jobs were added. Wall Street economists had expected an increase of about 200,000 in December, according to Bloomberg. The US job market is the strongest it’s been in a decade. The economy has now added jobs for 86 consecutive months and the unemployment rate is lower than it ever got during the last boom, which ended when the economy entered into a recession in late 2007. Read more.

Kraft Updated AD

CarbonCure competing in CO2 reclamation contest
Green Biz
Carbi Crete
Did you know that the process of creating various concrete products is an estimated 5 percent of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions annually, according to data obtained from the U.S. Department of Energy and the International Energy Agency? Countries like China, India with emerging economies are finding ways to significantly reduce their carbon footprints. Two Canadian startups that are semi-finalists in the $20 million NRG COSIA XPRIZE competition to convert CO2 into valuable materials, CarbonCure Technologies and CarbiCrete. Both companies are also researching different methods to profit from cutting CO2 emissions in the production process of manufacturing concrete products. Read more.

Five questions with Chris Hines of Boral Stone Products
Featured Member Chris
Name: Chris Hines
Company: Boral Stone Products
City/town where you work: Toledo, OH

How did you get into the industry? After several years in construction, I realized my body would not last the duration and decided to go back to school. After school I landed a job with building materials giant Owens Corning. Owens acquired a company that included the Cultured Stone® Business and before long, I was providing technical support for that part of the business.

What is your favorite part of your job? The feeling you get after you have helped someone with a tough question and they thank you and typically provide detail of the challenges that lead them to you.

What is the best advice you ever got (work or personal)? Laugh every day and more often if you can cause it. Oh…..and turn the nut counter clockwise until you hear a click and then turn clockwise to tighten it.

What do you do when you are not at work? Anything outdoors. Fish, Hike, Camp, Shoot, Ride and Repeat

Favorite Movie? Any James Bond 007 movie

VP of Industry Advancement Jason Thompson will be in Chicago, IL December 17-19 for the Alliance for Concrete Codes and Standards (ACCS) meeting.

NCMA offers SRW certification, are you interested in becoming a certified SRW installer? Would you like to become a certified trainer as well? Contact Gabriela Marsical for more information today on all our SRW Education programs

Solutions Center

What is the correct way to sample and test CMU? 
Solutions Center Logo
Sampling and testing of CMU is commonly done in accordance with ASTM C140 “Standard Test Methods for Sampling and Testing Concrete Masonry Units and Related Units”. Some tests that are usually done for CMU include, compressive strength test, absorption test, and minimum normalized web area test. For more information on sampling and testing CMU see TEK 18-2C “Sampling and Testing Concrete Masonry Units”.

Are you attending World of Concrete next month? NCMA is hosting a dinner on Tuesday, January 23 at 7:30 pm and we hope you can join us. If you can attend please RSVP to Carrington Blencowe at 

Associate Member Division Board elections complete 
Congratulations to the following individuals on their newly elected positions to the Associate Member Division Board for four-year terms:
  • Richard Solomon, Solomon Colors Inc.
  • Grady Gunn, Lehigh Cement Company
  • Paul Hoben, Carolina Stalite Company
  • Tim Bott, Allan Block Company

Terms begin at the conclusion of the 2018 NCMA Annual Convention. NCMA appreciates these individuals’ continued support of NCMA and the concrete masonry and hardscape industry.

New premier education event at ICON EXPO 2018
MaSS logo
The Masonry System Selling Education Conference (MaSS) is a premier event designed to bring together experienced masonry sales personnel and regional promotional executives and to furnish essential tools to promote and sell concrete masonry as a system. A combination of inspirational general sessions featuring building product business analyst and strategist Mark Mitchell, targeted breakouts on competing building systems and networking opportunities will foster shared marketing and promotion insights to help reframe your team’s strategy . The conference, scheduled February 8-10, 2018 is being held during ICON EXPO 2018 in Indianapolis, IN. Conference includes access to the tradeshow at no additional charge. For more information or to register click

Knowledge Garden offers educational topics for everyone
ICON Expo boot camp
The Knowledge Garden located on the ICON EXPO 2018 show floor will offer 30-minute lightning talks about industry trends and hot topics. Talks will take place on Friday, February 9, 1-4 pm, and Saturday, February 10, 10 - 11 AM and 1- 3:30 pm at the Indiana Convention Center. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from some of the industry’s leading authorities on these very timely topics. Register here for ICON EXPO. 

Friday, February 9, 1:00 – 4:00 pm Saturday, February 10, 10:00 am - 11:00 pm and 1:00 - 3:30 pm

SRW Installer certification at World of Concrete
For the first time, NCMA will be offering Segmental Retaining Wall Basic Installer certification at World of Concrete! This one day course will be offered on Thursday, January 25 in Las Vegas. Take this opportunity to get certified now. The credential earned by participants demonstrates the knowledge and experience for successful SRW installations. Consumers and industry partners look for this certification when choosing an SRW installer. You can find more information on this course at World of Concrete here.

Fifth ICPI-NCMA Commercial Sales Course was well attended
Sales Course
The fifth Commercial Sales Course on articulating concrete blocks, pavers, and segmental retaining walls received great reviews. The course attracted 22 members nonmembers of both NCMA and ICPI associations for 3 days full of information sales personnel needs to sale to the commercial and transportation markets in Chicago, IL. We thank all the attendees and the interest from other companies. For more information about upcoming course visit