Painter’s Corner: Busy-Busy

Jerry Painter  

Man, what a busy month of June. The first week of June, we were in Denver for ASTM meetings. The Masonry Society Meetings were June 13-15, and the 13th North American Masonry Conference was June 16-18 In Salt Lake City. After a week of catching up at home and the office, we spent a couple of days in the Panhandle working with the mason contractor chapter to establish an apprenticeship class.  

Going into Denver, we were able to squeeze in a few days to stay with a couple of special friends. We spent most of our time meandering in the Rocky Mountains visiting the wildlife enjoying the beautiful scenery. It made me think of the many times when my parents were traveling around the Rockies.  

My Dad would always say that his eyes just couldn’t take it all in. Those were my exact same feelings. You get up into all that grandeur and visit with the mountain goats, fish, deer, and ducks you begin to see just how insignificant we can be.  

But in the code and standard world, YOU are not irrelevant.  As a matter of fact, you and other mason contractors are critical to the maintenance and promotion of the codes and standards that affect us, every job and every day.  

At the TMS meeting, one of the discussions centered on the use of 3/16” horizontal joint reinforcing, ladder vs. Truss HJR and butt welding any attachment to the HJR. This is the reason we need contractor participation. Engineers, professors, and producers are the ones making the decisions. We need more input from the segment of the masonry industry. You are the ones that must meet the job specifications and the Masonry Code TMS 402/602.  

Also, of interest in the TMS 402/602 meeting, the subcommittee on veneers is continuing their review of TMS 402 Chapter 12 on veneers. There have been almost 200 negative/comments about working thru and settling. Once this is complete Chapter 12 will be easier to read and understand. There are Task Groups also working on the HJR issues and trying to clarifying some misconceptions in TMS 602 Part 3.5 D.1 on grout pour height.  

The 13th NAMC this year was one of the largest ever. While it is titled the North American Masonry Conference, it had an international flavor. There were 158 papers from around the world presented on almost any type of masonry research you can imagine.  

There were 17 Innovative Technology presentations given on new products and system innovations. Some of these you may be aware of already and some you will see in the notto-distance future.  

The ASTM meeting in Denver did not have any major issues. There are people still looking for some strength of mortar field testing. That is NOT going to happen while I’m breathing. There is the very best quality assurance protocol for testing mortar in the field.  

If you are not sure what the protocol is, or you are expanding your business into the market where QC/QC will become part of your process and need help. Ask for it. Don’t fumble and stumble along, losing time and money. Your local association or MCAA WILL help you.   

Another issue we can’t seem to find a resolution for is the proposal of Acceptable Masonry Workmanship. Part of the problem is that ASTM develops standards and guides by consensus. This means that every vote for NO has to be dealt with. Currently, there are no tolerances for masonry in ASTM. There are some in TMS 602, but you must remember that this is a structural document and not one for visual appearance. So, if an architect/designer wrote in the project specifications that they wanted the head joints between the masonry units to be exactly 3/8”, can you do it?  

What about a 1/32” difference between the face planes of the masonry units? If we as masonry contractors don’t help navigate or drive the bus, we will only go where everyone else wants to go. We need this document, or you will succeed or fail by the masonry mockup. If you have questions or would like to help by verifying tolerances on a project or two of yours, contact me thru your MCAA.  

RAISE THE LINE and come on around the corner.