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House of Representatives Pass BRICK Act


Since January of 2013 members of the brick industry have been developing relationships with members of Congress. This has involved many visits to offices to speak with both staff and members of Congress themselves. A clear message was delivered to Capitol Hill, regulations being written by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) are burdensome, costly, and excessive. This message has resonated very well with many members of Congress. Since 2013 Congress has sent letters to EPA asking them to be reasonable in their rules when it comes to the brick industry as well as to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) when they were reviewing the economic impact of the Brick MACT.

The relationship building paid off when the House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce wrote the Blocking Regulatory Interference from Closing Kilns (BRICK) Act. This act quite simply allows for all litigation on the Brick MACT to be settled before the clock starts ticking on the compliance deadline. This prevents the industry from having to comply with the rule and then having it vacated post compliance again, saving jobs, money, and even companies.

 



L: Ed Watson and Kay Granger R-TX; R: Ed Watson and Martha Roby R-AL.

 

The BRICK act was introduced by Representative Bill Johnson (R-Ohio), who has been willing to stand up and protect the brick industry since he first met with Janet Kaboth of Whitacre Greer. Speaking before the Energy and Commerce committee Johnson said “Forcing brick and tile companies to comply with a costly, job-killing rule that is still pending in the courts makes no sense. The majority of U.S. brick plants are small, family-owned operations, often located in small communities that depend on the plant for good-paying jobs. However, in order to comply with these new EPA requirements, many brick companies – who are already struggling to find capital for plant modernization projects – would be forced to come up with millions of dollars to pay for control equipment that provides no return on investment.”

Henry Brick’s Davis Henry and McAvoy Brick’s Creighton "Butch" McAvoy were invited to speak in front of the committee and let them know how the EPA is affecting their business. There was a lot of support for the BRICK Act and very few questions from those that were opposed to it. The bill left the committee with votes going along party lines and it would go before the entire House of Representatives.

 



L: Henry Davis and John Shimkus R-IL; R: Ed Watson and Bruce Westerman R-AR.

 

The Brick Industry Association’s Environment Health and Safety department launched a letter writing campaign to garner support for the bill in the full House vote. In total there were 660 letters that were sent to 192 members of Congress. With the help of Lobbyit.com, Ed Watson was able to make a consolidated effort to visit Congressional offices and encourage them to support and vote for the bill. The BRICK Act and our message of regulatory common sense connected with many members and on March 3 while the bill was before the House, many Representatives spoke up in support.

“Most companies that find themselves threatened by this rule are small businesses – many are family-owned – and the industry is still dealing with the effects of the recession and the weak recovery that continues to suppress demand for bricks and other building materials,” said Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

“It is also unclear how much of an impact these regulations will have in significantly reducing mercury and non-mercury hazardous air pollutants,” said Representative Bob Latta, (R-Ohio).

The BRICK Act even caught the eye of Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin). He called the brick industry “the latest target of the Obama administration’s regulatory assault on American manufacturing.”

“The EPA’s burdensome emission standards are another breach of executive power that may well be struck down by the courts, but not before jobs are lost and the industry suffers,” Ryan said.

Support of the bill also crossed party lines. Two of the original co-sponsors were from the Democratic side of the aisle, and they did not miss their chance to speak on behalf of the brick industry.

Representative Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (D-Georgia) voiced his support after speaking with Kate Sams of Cherokee Brick, saying “A basic material for homebuilding and construction, bricks are more than just a figurative cornerstone in the United States construction industry. Passing this legislation would guarantee the EPA would wait until its 2015 emissions standards are reviewed by courts before implementing the rule and before manufacturers across the country are needlessly required to spend millions of dollars.”

Representative Terri Sewell (D-Alabama) added, “I am supportive, Mr. Speaker, of reducing emissions and I’m also in favor of protecting our environment. But this must be done in an economically viable way. It is simply unfair for regulators to continue to move back the goal posts on small brick manufacturers like Henry Brick Company.”

 


At the end of the day, by a 238-163 vote in which seven Democrats voted in support and no Republicans voting against, the House passed legislation that would put the EPA rule on hold until courts decide lawsuits challenging the regulation’s legality. This is a huge development for the brick industry and one that everyone should be proud of. Thank you to everyone that sent a letter or paid a visit to Washington DC.

The process will begin again soon as a bill now has to go through the Senate.







New Brick Brief on Using Queen Size Brick


BIA’s Engineering & Research staff has recently published a new Brick Brief on using queen-size brick, "Constructing Walls with Queen Size Brick".

Queen-size brick is growing in use all over the country and in areas where its use has been limited in the past.  This Brick Brief is targeted towards builders and helps to explain some of the coursing and detailing differences that they may encounter with their use.

For questions, contact Brian Trimble at btrimble@bia.org.
   

 

How To Construct Walls with Queen Size Brick | A Brick Brief from the Brick Industry Association




2015 Brick in Architecture Awards Call-For-Entries


The Brick Industry Association is continuing its 26-year tradition of honoring architects for excellence in brick masonry and is pleased to announce a call-for-entries for the 2015 Brick in Architecture Awards!


View Full Press Release 

As the largest and most prestigious juried awards program of its kind, the Brick in Architecture Awards showcase the best work in clay face and paving brick from architects across the country. We cordially invite you to submit your best projects to the competition in the following categories:

 

Commercial (Under $10 Million)
Commercial (Over $10 Million)
Education - K-12
Education - Colleges & Universities (Higher Education) *
Health Care Facilities
Municipal / Government
Houses of Worship
Residential – Single Family
Residential – Multi-Family
Renovation (Additions) ** / Restoration (Restoring)
Paving & Landscape Projects

 

*   Includes residence halls & academic/administrative buildings
** Additions must use at least 50 percent new clay brick products on the building. Restoration must include at least 50% clay brick products, which can either be new or salvaged.

 

Winners from this year’s competition will be featured in Brick News Online, Brick in Architecture, and through a special insert in the December 2014 issue of Architect magazine! And all entries will be featured in BIA’s online Brick Gallery.

The 2015 awards competition will be conducted entirely online. For complete information on eligibility, submission requirements, and judging, visit
www.gobrick.com/ArchitectureAwards.

 

To start your entry, visit www.gobrick.com/ArchitectureAwards.
Deadline for submission of all entries is April 30, 2015

 

The Brick in Architecture Awards program is a key tactic that works in support of the association’s strategic goals. To broaden the reach and success of this effort, we encourage you to pass this Call-For-Entries along to your architectural colleagues so that they too can enter for the chance to receive national recognition for projects using your clay brick.

Brick makes a lasting statement — and winning this award could solidify your name with your architectural customers. Log on today and submit your entry to the 2015 Brick in Architecture Awards!

If you have any questions, contact Tricia Mauer at
tmauer@bia.org or 703-674-1539.





BIA Joins Social Media



Although BIA has a presence in the social media world for some time now, our efforts have not been focused on building our online audience as much as they could have been.  One of BIA’s goals this year is to make a more concerted effort to connect to the online community.  Since MNR uses BIA’s website and online presence, Kelly Ewell, MNR’s Director of Marketing Services, will be taking a more active role in making BIA’s  social media sites more active overall as well. You might be “fans” or follow some of our online profiles, but do you know all of them?

 

 Facebook

 www.facebook.com/BrickIndustry

 Google +

 plus.google.com/b/110223317068809412714/110223317068809412714/about/p/pub

 Instagram

 www.instagram.com/BrickIndustry

 Pinterest

 www.pinterest.com/BrickIndustry

 Twitter

 www.twitter.com/BrickIndustry

 You Tube

 www.youtube.com/BrickIndustry

 Linked In

 www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=318848792
 (this is the Linked In social media account)

 Linked In

 www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=1931504&trk=my_groups-b-grp-v
 (this is the Linked In discussion group)

BIA invites each of you to like, follow, join, or subscribe to each of these sites.  Some of the above accounts are newly created, so you’ll be helping to build our following.

Our use of these accounts will be an experiment at first to find a good balance of how to broadcast our information, but hopefully our efforts will be a good, low cost way of reaching industry members, architects, builders, and planners in real time with our message.  Each social media site has a different focus or slant to it.  For example, Facebook and Twitter are considered the most popular, but the younger generations are moving away from Facebook and towards Instagram. And while there are anecdotes that claim Google+ is not as popular, it’s run by Google and they dominate web searches, so using Google+ is good for Search Engine Optimization and term rankings if nothing else.  By claiming our space in each of these we can give BIA the best chance of reaching all types within our audiences.

We hope to see you online!




 
 
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