Serving as the only national trade association that represents the clay brick industry, the Brick Industry Association (BIA) has a full slate of activities planned for 2019.
As the midyear approaches, the Brick Industry Association’s (BIA) diverse activities to safeguard and promote the fired-clay brick industry are well underway. “BIA’s activities evolve with our members’ needs and priorities, including our newly bolstered governmental affairs and industry marketing activities,” said Ray Leonhard, president and CEO.
2019 Brick Forum-BIA Southeast Region
Kicking off the New Year, the annual Brick Forum-Southeast Region ran February 11-13 at the Sheraton Birmingham Hotel in Alabama. As the industry’s largest event for brick manufacturers, distributors and suppliers, this year’s forum featured increased exhibitors, programs and exhibit hall hours with more than 40 exhibitors, primarily BIA member manufacturers and vendors.
Speakers included motivational keynoter Steve Rizzo; Tarik Sedky from Agency PURE; Britt Stokes, director of marketing, Acme Brick Co.; John Sanders, Ph.D., PE, director of the National Brick Research Center (NBRC); Matt Mara, district sales manager, General Shale; Ted Corvey, vice president of sales and marketing, Pine Hall Brick Co.; and Geoff Dunlap, president, Ragland Clay Products.
2019 Brick Trends
This year’s trends show a continuing homebuyer preference for lighter colors, including whites, grays, tans and buffs. Trending exteriors are in line with industry research showing millennials’ preferences for lighter colors made from natural materials.
Brick trends also include sleek metallics, clear glazes and glaze colors ranging from black to greens. Also popular are 16th century “historic modern” design elements such as bellcast eaves, flying trellises and arched doorways that mimic classic barrel vaulting; pattering brick to create texture; gray and black pavers; and interior thin brick for diverse residential applications.
Build Something Real with Brick
The BIA Southeast Region (SER) continues to roll out a fresh residential marketing campaign to engage primarily millennial new homebuyers. Featuring the tagline “Build Something Real with Brick,” the SER digital marketing campaign seeks to educate home buyers on brick’s versatile stylistic potential and application in today’s design, in addition to its longstanding performance attributes.
When Agency Pure investigated the homebuilding environment, its research found that builders aren’t using brick as much as in the past, partly because homebuyers are not aware of the advantages that brick provides and that brick is available in many colors, textures, and coatings. The research showed a real disconnect between brick’s use and options in current style offerings. While brick has a ubiquitous and longstanding imprint in our culture, the respondents associated brick with their parents’ or grandparents’ traditional, red brick house.
To help reverse these perceptions, Agency Pure recommended that the residential advertising campaign target consumers to compel builders to offer and use more brick if they know their buyers want it. In addition, the research showed that people became much more interested in the idea of brick once they learned that it can work in 21st century designs.
The result is a dynamic, high-impact and visual campaign that uses a media plan geared toward aspiring millennial homeowners, real estate professionals, home style and home improvement enthusiasts, and—where possible—the construction industry. Not surprisingly, this approach is also working in sync with the brick trends that the marketplace is seeing as previously described. The campaign is running in a number of cities in 2019 and will continue to be expanded in other areas of the country.
This campaign won the 2019 Gold ADDY Award from the Advertising Club of New Orleans for Best Banner ad. A Gold ADDY recognizes the highest level of creative excellence and is judged to be superior by a panel of advertising creative professionals. Winning at the local level is the first step toward possibly winning on the national scale.
BIA continues to update its website at www.gobrick.com, offering multimedia content in a streamlined format. With easier navigation and a modern look and feel, BIA’s website houses comprehensive brick resources for new home buyers, builders, architects, planners, homeowners, landscape professionals and the industry. To readily find brick and materials, the state-by-state directory lists BIA member manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, and masons.
BIA is continually working with executive branch agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to curb excessive regulation. For instance, BIA is working with the EPA on the Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) rule limiting emissions of hazardous air pollutants. The rule was originally estimated to cost the brick industry up to $100 million in compliance burdens.
BIA also worked successfully with OSHA to develop useful guidance for companies to use in complying with the new rule on crystalline silica. Going forward, BIA is developing tools to facilitate industry representatives successfully conveying messages about appropriate public policy positions, allowing companies to thrive while managing for optimal stewardship of the environment and workplace safety and health.
Joseph Casper, BIA’s senior vice president of government and regulatory affairs, returned to BIA last fall to spearhead all advocacy activities. In his former role at BIA from 2003-2008, Casper established a staff capability in regulatory and government affairs and the formation of the Brick PAC for a Stronger America. His past positions also include the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (NSSGA), the Republican National Committee, the White House office of Vice President George Bush and the U.S. Department of Commerce. He began his career in the Reagan and first Bush administrations.
Latest Brick Research
Last December, the latest fire testing of thin brick adhered wall assemblies was conducted to determine the fire resistance rating and fire propagation properties provided by the adhered thin brick veneer. The tests successfully demonstrated that a thin brick adhered wall assembly passed an ASTM E119 test, Standard Test Methods for Fire Tests of Building Construction and Materials, which certifies a 1-hr fire resistance rating on both the exterior and interior. In addition, the assembly was shown to meet code-mandated limits on fire spread to combustible components within the wall by passing the NFPA 285 Standard Fire Test Method for Evaluation of Fire Propagation Characteristics of Exterior Wall Assemblies Containing Combustible Components.
The testing was completed at Intertek in York, Pa., and was witnessed by Jensen Hughes, a fire protection engineering firm. Representatives from BIA and component manufacturers that contributed funding and product were also present.
Sustainability and LEED
BIA is working with members to develop a Brick Industry-Average Environmental Product Declaration (EPD). In 2018, members of the BIA EPD Task Force developed and beta tested an EPD data collection instrument survey. In 2019, BIA manufacturer members that choose to do so may fill in the survey for the majority of their plants in order to participate in the Brick Industry-Average EPD.
An EPD is a document that communicates verified, transparent and comparable information about the lifecycle environmental impact of products. The Brick Industry-Average EPD will provide this information in an aggregate manner for the brick product category in the U.S. market. Brick from companies that choose to participate will be listed in the Brick Industry-Average EPD and will be eligible to contribute to the EPD credits in LEED v4 and v4.1 for projects pursuing LEED certification.
BIA continually reviews and updates its many online education and training courses on fired-clay brick characteristics and construction. For BIA members who want to deliver BIA’s AIA/CES-accredited presentations to architects and designers, BIA offers a Brick University Online program that enables members who complete the Certified Brick Specialist designation to present any of BIA’s pre-approved presentations to architects and designers. Designed to impart a high-level knowledge about brick products and the brick business, the Brick University curriculum for BIA members is comprised of 13 in-depth technical and sales training examinations created and managed by BIA.
For architects and designers, BIA has partnered with AEC Daily to provide e-learning for architects, engineers, and other construction professionals. The website contains educational opportunities that allow architects to earn AIA/CES credits online.
Since most brick goes into single family housing, BIA ensures that builders have valuable information about brick in residential applications. In addition to its YouTube channel offering helpful nuggets, BIA also offers an onsite Bricklaying Knowledge Program that was developed by BIA technical and master mason professionals, as well as several collateral pieces in the form of Builder Notes.
Upcoming BIA Meetings
BIA’s annual Spring Meetings will run May 7-9 at The Alexandrian in Alexandria, Va. The Fall 2019 Fall Meetings will run October 22-23 at the Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va. For more information and registration, go to Attend & Learn at www.gobrick.com.