NFBA Chair: There’s plenty of work ahead

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By Larry Edema Chair, NFBA Board of Directors /

NFBA listening to members to build stronger organization /

It’s my privilege to share with you news of the association’s latest activities and initiatives.

2013 Frame Building Expo
The program of NFBA’s 2013 Expo, “Building Opportunity: Advancing Your Business,” to be held February 20–22 in Memphis, Tenn., is rapidly taking shape, with some outstanding opportunities for you to increase your expertise in the industry. Educational sessions covering a wide range of topics have been slated, including these:

•  foundation options for post-frame buildings

•  condensation in post-frame buildings

•  initiating a proper safety program

•  the updated NFBA Compliance Guide, a guide to compliance with Occupational Health and Safety Administration regulations

•  life-cycle cost for a post-frame building

•  revised shallow post foundation standards

•  the three-hour fire wall: follow-up and revisions to test alternate assemblies

•  how to be on the cutting edge in post-frame construction (featuring two of the 2011 Building of the Year award winners)

•  designing a more efficient post-frame building envelope

•  ways to achieve greater success in sales and life.

I will also be presenting a “for members only” breakout session on our recently completed industry survey. This is the first time that NFBA has offered a session for members only.

The Expo trade show floor will feature many of our well-known reliable suppliers, along with some new ones. And as always, demos, competitions and prize drawings will be held throughout the Expo, along with a number of social events.

I’d like to thank our 2012 Expo attendees and exhibitors for taking time to fill out the evaluations and for sharing comments with the Convention Planning Committee. Your valuable feedback helps us choose future program topics and drives positive change related to the Expo. The committee heard your comments about registration fees loud and clear and has altered attendee pricing for the 2013 Expo accordingly. NFBA members who are builders and who wish just to visit the trade show floor may do so at no cost if they register before the early-bird cutoff date. Nonmembers who are builders will pay $50 to visit only the trade show floor if they register prior to the early-bird cutoff date. Early-bird prices for access to the full conference (educational sessions and trade-show floor) will be $75 for members and $150 for nonmembers. Registration opens in November 2012.

Excitement about the Expo is building and you’ll want to be a part of it. Watch for news in future issues and in your electronic Expo Express, which launches this fall.

NFBA’s industry study
In spring 2012 NFBA commissioned a construction-specialized market research firm, FMI, to survey the national building and design community. The objective was to provide NFBA with a model created through fact-based assessments of the U.S. post-frame market. Through this research, FMI identified key trends and drivers, evaluated historical and expected growth trends and estimated the current and projected volume of prime building components.

Key findings:

•  Post-frame construction is forecasted to grow 8 percent annually to $8.9 billion (168 million square feet) by 2016.

•  The two fastest-growing post-frame segments over the next five years will be the residential-suburban and light commercial markets.

•  The agricultural segment will be the slowest-growing sector (with a 3 percent compound annual growth rate), so PFMI’s efforts in the light commercial and commercial segments will be critical to capturing post frame’s share of the construction growth.

NFBA membership survey
In March 2012 NFBA partnered with an association market research firm to conduct a membership assessment survey among post-frame builders. Thanks to all who participated.

New NFBA photo gallery
In June the association launched a new photo gallery on the NFBA website. Visit the NFBA home page (nfba.org) to access a link to the gallery. This user-friendly feature contains sub-galleries that include photos of Building of the Year award-winning projects and photos from the Frame Building Expo. Be sure to check out the state-of-the-art slide shows in each gallery. They provide large high-resolution images with clear captions and easy navigation. NFBA members are invited to submit for consideration photos of their crew and of chapter and company events. E-mail your high-resolution photos and captions to nfba@nfba.org.

NFBA’s new Post-Frame Advantage web forum: Ask the Expert
Postframeadvantage.com, the dedicated website of the Post-Frame Market Initiative, features a new web forum called Ask the Experts. Ask the Experts is an arena for interactive discussion between architects or engineers and post-frame experts specializing in structural design. Architects or engineers post questions to the forum (accessible on the postframeadvantage.com home page), and NFBA experts in turn post answers. This tool is NFBA’s latest achievement in educating the building decision makers on the technical aspects of post-frame building and design. Visit this new high-tech web forum to see what questions architects and engineers are asking.

Decisions from the June board meeting
The board has decided to revise the NFBA Compliance Guide, which was recently removed from the members-only section of the website because the content had become outdated. The work will be done by NFBA’s legal counsel, Gary Auman, and will be made available to members as an electronic download. The revisions will be discussed in a session at the 2013 Expo.

The Technical and Research Committee has identified its top research priorities: (1) code recognition and monitoring (part of the effort to have post-frame construction referenced in the International Building Code and International Residential Code, (2) revisions to the three-hour fire-wall assembly, (3) testing of the thermal performance of post-frame wall and diaphragm assemblies, (4) updating of the Post-Frame Building Design Manual and (5) development of design data for steel-clad post-frame wall and diaphragm assemblies. In addition, the committee is considering a proposal to develop a training module for code officials. The fire-wall test variations and the research to develop design data for the steel-clad assemblies are part of the 2012 PFMI work plan. The other priorities will be forwarded for possible inclusion in the 2013 PFMI funding request. Another high priority for 2013 will be the rotatable guarded hot box currently being developed and constructed by David Bohnhoff, PhD PE, of the University of Wisconsin. This will be used to test wall and diaphragm assemblies for thermal analyses, including air barrier performance.

The newly formed Membership Committee will be including chapter presidents on its conference calls as a way to get ideas for new member benefits and learn more about our members’ needs.

Ken Gieseke of McElroy Metal has accepted the position of secretary-treasurer for NFBA. Ken will continue through the ranks to serve as chair-elect and eventually chair, becoming our first supplier chair.

We continue to monitor progress on the strategic plan established in 2011, making sure we are staying on track as we focus on our four main goals:

•  PFMI — Expanding the post-frame market

•  Membership — Increasing the membership and enhancing the Frame Building Expo

•  Accredited Builder program — Reviewing the current criteria and promoting the program

•  Technical resources — Becoming the source for information on post frame and developing a comprehensive set of standards.

We are making progress in all four areas. Of particular note are efforts on PFMI. On June 26 we hosted a meeting at the national office for representatives of 15 companies, both builders and suppliers, to find ways to advance the post-frame industry. The main topic was ways to increase the funding of PFMI. The attendees offered great ideas and suggestions, which we will be sharing with the membership in the next several months.

The NFBA Board of Directors remains focused on its primary purpose: to serve you and to advance the post-frame construction industry. We are grateful for your partnership and always welcome your feedback.

Edema is chair of the NFBA Board of Directors and assistant national sales manager for Wick Buildings.

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