ICB conference joins knowledge and professionals More than 100 Union sheet metal industry professionals from across the country gathered for the 16th annual ICB Conference May 1-5 in Saint Charles, Missouri, just outside of St. Louis. The five-day event had classes such as NEMI Fire Life Safety Levels 1 and 2 Supervisor; Blue Beam software; National Air Filtration Association (NAFA); NEMI TAB Supervisor; EPA608; 70E, based on SMOHIT materials; Chilled Beam and American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) 200; Architectural Sheet Metal; and American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE) Certified Healthcare Constructor (CHC). Exams included NAFA Certified Technician, EPA 608, NEMI Fire Life Safety Levels 1 and 2 Supervisor, and ASHE CHC. As of this writing, results on three exams were released for 40 participants; 35 passed. (Results of EPA 608 and ASHE CHC will be reported at a later date.) “All of the courses are helpful,” said Kent Attwood, TAB supervisor for Independent Air Group, Inc. in Hesperia, California, after taking the NAFA Certified Technician class. “They keep me on my toes and remind me that I’m always in the learning process. The classes wake people up to the fact that things are always changing in our industry—mostly for the better.” Healthcare construction is hot market, new topic The CHC course—led by York Chan, administrator of facilities with Advocate Health Care, and Tim Adams, director of member professional development, for ASHE—was a first for the ICB Conference. “Safety is key. For example, lifting up the wrong ceiling tile can release aspergillus spores that can literally kill patients,” Chan said. “Normally, only general contractors pursue CHC certification. ICB, and specifically TAB workers, are the first subcontractors to show interest. I give them a lot of credit for wanting to get members certified.” Codes: not barriers, but opportunities Along with education, comradery and certification, the 2017 conference added segments on influencing the local and national codes that shape sheet metal careers, scope of work and ability to bid on projects. “Codes help anything you can drive on a job site,” said Gary Andis, ICB director of certification. “Codes have a minimum requirement, but you can raise the bar with a code change.” During lunch-and-learn sessions aimed at educating attendees and getting them involved, speakers included Misty Guard, vice president of PMG Programs at the International Code Council; Chad Beebe, deputy executive director at ASHE; Brian Rogers, regional manager, International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO), also known as the Uniform Mechanical Code Officials; and Henry Green, president/CEO of the National Institute of Building Sciences. “Codes and standards are your friends,” Green said. “They facilitate the construction process, level the playing field and lead to predictable, quantifiable, focused outcomes. Don’t think of them as a barrier to getting your project built; they help you achieve it in terms of safety, performance and design intent.” Creating and maintaining a code depends on whether it’s local—investigated and updated by a local group—or international/national—updated, often on a three-year cycle, by larger organizations. While global participation is possible, sheet metal workers can make a large impact in local codes. “That’s where they’re most affected, and it’s the best way to get introduced to the process that impacts their work,” Rogers said. “The main goal is to collaborate. We all have different needs, but we’re all after the same goal. It’s just finding out how all that aligns together.”
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