You are here: Blog
Enter Title


From category archives: Brick Industry Association Blog

BIA News

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, 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.

Brick News Online: March 2016


If you are a BIA member, check your inbox because the newest issue of Brick News Online comes out today.  This month's articles will include content such as:

BIA News

Information on Spring Meetings in Nashville in April
Congress Passes BRICK Act
Webinar Tomorrow on PCR, LCA, and EPDs
Research Paves the Way towards Wider Use of Clay Pavers
Sponsorship Opportunities for Spring Meetings
Brick in Architecture Awards Call-for-Entries Receives Wide Coverage

Regional Updates
Midwest/Northeast Region Updates
Southeast Region Brick Forum Recap

Industry News
February Brick Shipments
Brick in the News
Architectural Insights
Builder Insights
Housing Statistics

In Every Issue
Upcoming Events
Member News
Classified Ads

If you're a brick manufacturer, distributor, or affiliated industry supplier and would like to receive Brick News Online, contact BIA for more information about membership.

BIA to Host Educational Event at National Building Museum for Architects and Planners

On December 16, the Brick Industry Association and the Baltimore/Washington Brick Distributor Council will be hosting “The Economic Impact of Development on Communities at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC.  The seminar will be worth 3 AIA Learning Unit Hours HSW or 3 AICP CM Learning Units as a series of three speakers address the following topics:

Smart Growth and the Economic and Fiscal Health of Communities
Chris Zimmerman
Vice President for Economic Development
Smart Growth America

Communities around the nation are always concerned about their fiscal and economic health. Economic health means the general economic well-being of the community: How does new growth and development add to or detract from the creation of jobs, wealth, retail sales, economic competitiveness, and fiscal sustainability? Fiscal health refers to a local government’s bottom line: Does the life-cycle cost of new development—upfront infrastructure, ongoing service provision, and eventual repair and maintenance—cost more to the town than it brings in tax revenue? The choices that a community makes about its pattern of development through its land use and transportation policies profoundly impact the potential for its growth and prosperity. It also impacts the cost of providing government services and the associated level of taxation. Bear in mind that the nation’s demographics are changing in a way that is profoundly affecting the housing market. The formula for economic growth is also changing to be driven by the emergence of the “knowledge economy” and the importance of professional talent, all while the long-term costs of suburban development patterns for infrastructure and service provision remain high. In the twenty-first century, all three of these factors must be taken into account in community decision making.

The City of the Future
Brooks Rainwater
Director, City Solutions and Applied Research Center
National League of Cities

The city of the future is a nexus where political will, policy choices, and community engagement combine to create an atmosphere that is ripe for innovation and experimentation. Given the transforming nature of the global economy, innovation is increasingly being seen as a phenomenon with its own geographic and physical manifestation within communities. From innovation districts helping to reshape swaths of the built environment of cities to the sharing economy creating new typologies for urban economics, the city is the key connector. This presentation will cover the centrality of cities and the land use implications from increased urbanization and changing transit patterns, with the goals of achieving increased levels of connectivity, collaboration, and innovation in this urban century.

Sticking to the Plan
Julie Pastor
Loudoun County Department of Planning and Zoning

Over the last 25 years, Loudoun County has faced the challenges of a small, rural farm community of 86,000 people evolving into the fastest-growing, wealthiest county in the country. Today it is home to more than 350,000 people and hosts a significant share of Northern Virginia’s job growth and the Washington Dulles International Airport. The County’s policy documents have helped to shape the design of its communities by encouraging well-defined neighborhoods and have helped ensure the realization of a vibrant rural economy. This lecture will highlight how the planning concepts and policies embraced by Loudoun for rural preservation, neo-traditional design, new urbanism, transit-oriented development, mixed-use development, and the integration of the natural and cultural resources into a unified green infrastructure strategy have provided lasting economic and social  benefits in the community.

Also included will be a tour of the National Building Museum along with a lunch and networking opportunity to wrap up the day.

Register now at about the seminar, or contact Kelly Ewell at or 703-674-1544 for more information.

BIA to Host Educational Event at Camden Yards for Architects and Planners

On November 4, the Brick Industry Association and the Baltimore/Washington Brick Distributor Council will be hosting “The True Cost of Development and Its Impact on Communities on November 4, 2014 at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Maryland.  The seminar will be worth 3 AIA Learning Unit Hours HSW or 3 AICP CM Learning Units as a series of three speakers address the following topics:

Community Character in Baltimore
Thomas J. Stosur
Baltimore City Department of Planning

For well over 200 years, Baltimore has been an ever-evolving urban center. Its strategic location on the Chesapeake Bay has always made it attractive for shipping and industry, and port-related uses are still flourishing in the outer harbor. The Downtown Central Business District has long served as the region’s hub for finance, real estate, and professional services, and boasts a host of impressive office towers. Over the past few decades, economic restructuring, demographic shifts, and advances in technology have brought drastic changes to Baltimore. These forces play out in different ways across the city’s landscape, and they manifest themselves in the city’s urban form and architectural character. How does the City of Baltimore convey its urban design goals and encourage high-quality urban design? How does the City preserve what is best about its urban fabric and architectural character but promote new investment that creates jobs and attracts new residents? What are the urban design challenges and opportunities to be addressed in neighborhoods experiencing disinvestment? This session will speak to the Planning Department’s role in fostering an urban design vision for the City and the tools it uses to preserve and enhance community character throughout Baltimore.

The Federal Government as a Good Neighbor: In It for the Long Haul
Karen Handsfield, AICP, LEED AP
Program Analyst
U.S. General Services Administration

The GSA is very interested in the power of public architecture to inspire citizens with pride in their government and their country as well as in the ability of federal facilities to contribute positively to the communities in which they are located. The influx of investment for a new federal facility or renovation to an existing one can catalyze neighborhood improvements—in terms of street life and foot traffic, in supporting local business growth, in fostering development where the private market might not otherwise go—when the facilities are located and designed with the urban context in mind. The many types of buildings GSA designs, constructs, and manages all have different roles to play but with one thing in common: all of them are intended to be long-term community fixtures. This program will highlight the ways in which GSA works on its existing inventory of buildings and analyzes the design of future buildings to leverage community goals while meeting the needs of federal government agencies.

Looking Beyond Buildings to Create Sustainably Responsible Communities
Dan Winters, CRE
Senior Fellow - Business Strategy and Finance
U.S. Green Building Council

The USGBC’s LEED rating system is designed to transform our built environment by engaging market forces. By transparently differentiating assets based on key attributes, LEED is shaping our built environment for generations to come. LEED works in concert with additional tools including STAR Communities and EcoDistricts to inspire and help create better, more sustainable inter-connected neighborhoods that look beyond the scale of buildings to consider entire communities. Learn how market participants are implementing best practices to achieve the ultimate goal of creating beautiful, economically prosperous, and environmentally responsible places to live, learn, and work.

Also included will be a tour of Camden Yards along with a lunch and networking opportunity to wrap up the day.

Register now at about the seminar, or contact Kelly Ewell at or 703-674-1544 for more information.

Brick News Online: September 2014


If you are a BIA member, check your inbox because the newest issue of Brick News Online comes out today.  This month's articles will include content such as:

BIA News

Fall Board and Council Meetings to be Held in New Orleans
Brick PAC for a Stronger America
BIA Members Can Use "Members Only" Logos
Registration Open for 2014 Brick University
Environmental Health and Safety Updates

Regional Updates
Midwest/Northeast Region

Industry News
Housing Statistics
Architectural Insights
Builder Insights

In Every Issue
Upcoming Events
Classified Ads

If you're a brick manufacturer, distributor, or affiliated industry supplier and would like to receive Brick News Online, contact BIA for more information about membership.

BIA Offers Architects New Online Course to Boost Energy Performance

The Brick Industry Association has created a new online course for architects in conjunction with AEC Daily. This free, self-paced course, “Boosting Energy Performance in Brick Walls,” is BIA’s first partner course with AEC Daily and is part of their Daily Course Collections.

BIA’s new course provides an overview of designing for energy efficiency in brick masonry construction, including best practices for insulating the building envelope, avoiding thermal bridges and condensation, and using passive heating and cooling strategies.

“Partnering with AEC Daily offers architects the latest information and guidelines on maximizing brick wall energy performance, while making the course available to more industry professionals,” said course presenter Brian E. Trimble, CDT, PE, LEED AP, BIA’s regional vice president, engineering services and architectural outreach.

By the end of the program, participants will be able to:
  • List the methods of heat transfer, the factors that affect heat transfer, as well as the effective strategies used to reduce heat transmission
  • Define the basic properties of heat loss and heat gain, including the principles of R-value, U-value, thermal mass, air barriers, and condensation
  • Discuss where thermal bridges occur and the best practices for improving the energy efficiency of a brick wall assembly
  • List the energy codes that pertain to building construction as well as the available compliance options
  • Describe the various types of passive heating/cooling strategies that can be implemented to reduce a building’s energy requirement

Additional BIA resources for architects and designers may be found at

BIA Creates First Online Course for Community Planners

The Brick Industry Association has created its first online education course for community planners, “Making or Faking Great Places, Design Guidelines for Smarter Growth.” American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) members who complete the free course can earn one free Certification Maintenance (CM) credit.

With changing demographics, a new interest in public health, environmental concerns, and a desire for energy efficiency, more and more communities are looking to adopt principles that promote smart growth and can guide infill and redevelopment. This presentation was created for planners who are interested in developing design guidelines or updating existing guidelines that will ensure smart growth reflects the distinctive and unique character of their community.

“The cookie-cutter approach to smart growth falls short in building upon the visual character that makes a community unique,” said planner Ann Stanley, AICP, a BIA consultant. “This new course offers planners information about creating guidelines that can help retain the character of their communities,” she said.

The course provides an overview of:

  • the legal framework that gives communities the authority to regulate aesthetics, character and materials;
  • the policy and regulatory tools available at the community level for implementing character; and
  • the process for engaging the public to define the character that will make their community a great place.

BIA’s community planners also provide a variety of free services to local government agencies. These complimentary services include assisting with drafting design guidelines for new development, on-site presentations, consultations and information on best practices for including clay brick in zoning and design standards.

Brick News Online: August 2014

If you are a BIA member, check your inbox because the newest issue of Brick News Online comes out today.  This month's articles will include content such as:

BIA News

2013 Annual Brick Industry Report Now Available
Registration Open for Brick University
Engineering Updates
Environmental Health and Safety Updates

Committee Updates
Non-Residential Committee
Paving Committee
Public Sector Committee
Residential Committee

Regional Updates
Midwest/Northeast Region

Industry News
Housing Statistics
Architectural Insights

In Every Issue
Member News
Upcoming Events
Classified Ads

If you're a brick manufacturer, distributor, or affiliated industry supplier and would like to receive Brick News Online, contact BIA for more information about membership.

Building Safety Month: Week 4 - Building a Brighter, More Efficient Tomorrow

Most people already know many of the superior qualities of brick – durability, aesthetics, and low maintenance – but brick masonry is also advantageous when considering the energy efficiency of buildings.

Today’s energy codes require that building walls meet certain thermal performance criteria, usually expressed as U- or R-values. The codes are more sophisticated by taking into account many things including climate, percentage and area of windows, insulation location, and interior heat generated by lighting and people. Despite these added factors, the good news is that clay brick walls can easily meet the energy requirements because of their heavy weight, or thermal mass.

Thermal Mass

Thermal mass, simply stated, is the use of heavy, dense materials to store and then slowly release heat at a later time. Brick masonry wall systems exhibit superior thermal mass properties.


Current energy codes recognize the benefits of thermal mass. They do this by requiring lightweight walls to have higher R-values to achieve the same energy performance as brick masonry walls with lower R-values. In other words, brick masonry walls require less insulation than lightweight walls for the same energy performance.


Thermal Lag

The thermal storage properties of brick masonry help shift peak heating or cooling loads to off-peak and dampen the peak temperatures. Instead of the outside temperature being felt immediately on the inside, the mass of brick slows down the transfer of heat to the interior or from the interior out. This is known as thermal lag. The thermal lag property of a solid brick masonry wall causes as much as a 6 hour time lag between the peak outdoor temperature and the peak indoor temperature.


The benefits of thermal lag can be utilized to economic advantage by shifting the maximum heating or cooling loads to off-peak hours. Utility rates often vary based on demand throughout the day, with rates the highest when demand is greatest. Shifting the peak load to the later part of the day during off-peak hours results in lower electric charges and lower overall operating costs for owners. Many utilities will work with customers to create this off peak demand.


Temperature Damping

In addition to shifting the peak heat loss or gain, the heat capacity of brick masonry walls causes a reduction in the total heat loss or gain. This property is called temperature damping and can be considerable, especially for areas with large heat gain differences. Many people have a feel for this property from experience. On the hottest summer days, a brick masonry building or home is typically cooler, even without mechanical cooling. Temperature damping reduces total energy consumption.

nergy usage continues to be a prime concern in today’s society and by using clay brick, architects and designers can help optimize the energy performance of their buildings and conserve energy.

Building Safety Month: Week 3 - Surround Your Building with Safety

Safety measures come in all shapes and sizes.  Fortunately for homeowners, clay brick exteriors have its occupants covered in many different ways.  Be safe and secure from harmful mold, ongoing repairs, damaging fires, and unpredictable storms inside a brick building.

Safe from Mold
Brick construction is a multi-layered system that prevents moisture and mold better than anything else. Of the eight types of materials that account for 90% of home construction, the National Association of Home Builders' Research Center confirmed brick is the best for moisture control. That’s because behind the outer wall of brick is a one-inch column of air that allows any moisture that might get in to either quickly evaporate or exit the wall through weeps at the base of the house.

Safe from Repair
People who own brick homes often say they need no maintenance. Ever. While that may be a bit of a stretch, the fact is that the brick on your new home will need no maintenance for about 100 years. So, while almost every other material requires repeated work, costing thousands of dollars each time you paint or clean or replace, your brick simply won’t.

Safe from Fire
According to most building codes, brick is officially listed as “non-combustible.” If an exterior fire starts, for example, from leaves burning, from another house on fire, or from any other source, brick will not burn. Fire will not penetrate brick walls from the outside. In a one-hour severe fire test, brick withstood the flames the entire time. Compare that to fiber cement which crumbled before the end of the test and vinyl siding that was completely destroyed in 18 minutes. Brick's one-hour fire rating protects your family better than any other non-masonry building material.

Safe from Storm Damage
When it comes to severe storms and flying debris, an independent university sponsored an experiment to find out how brick fares. A machine was constructed to hurl wood 2x4s at hurricane speeds into brick, vinyl, and fiber cement walls. The boards didn’t even nick the brick, but they went right through the vinyl and fiber cement and right into the imaginary living rooms behind them.

So what's the conclusion? The three pigs had it right. Brick is safer.

Pages: Previous123NextReturn Top