This is the 10th year the IMI has partnered with OSU to promote the masonry industry. By conducting the outreach program, the IMI hopes to make an impression with future architects, so they become familiar with brick and incorporate masonry into their building designs, which in turn leads to the creation of jobs, as contractors will need to hire masonry tradesmen and tradeswomen to perform the work.
On Oct. 30, the IMI invited just under 100 architectural students, who have some basic exposure to masonry, to the Bricklayers Local 55 Hall in Columbus for a building workshop, where the students received instruction on the use of masonry tools, were shown how to spread mortar, lay brick and strike a mortar joint. Students also learned about the make-up of a masonry cavity wall and the importance of its components.
Local 55 Field Representative Bill Hulet and apprentices from the Southern Ohio Regional Training Center volunteered to instruct and assist the students, who received hands-on experience and instruction as they attempted to lay brick in a straight line, just as bricklayers do on a jobsite. In time, the students tried more creative and different patterns, which gave them the opportunity to see how masonry can be used as a featured material in the exterior facade of buildings.
Ohio IMI Director Tom Elliott said most students told the volunteers that they (the volunteers) made bricklaying look easy. The more bricks the students laid, the greater appreciation they gain for the skill it takes to lay bricks.
According to Elliott, the workshops help the industry by showcasing the training available to BAC members and the value skilled masonry journeymen add to a project.
In early November, Elliott went to the OSU campus and lectured the students in the architectural class on masonry and masonry wall assemblies.
The IMI also conducted an OSU Masonry Design Competition, where the top four placing students win a scholarship. Projects are judged on the use of masonry, correctness of elements, graphic quality, design clarity and constructability of the assembly.
This year, 90 students submitted projects, which were reviewed by the professor and graduate students, who picked 12 finalists. The IMI then selected four judges, usually local architects, engineers or signatory contractors, who decide the winners.
According to their website, the IMI is a strategic alliance between the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers and the contractors who employ those members. Through education, technical support, research and training the IMI works to provide a more efficient construction delivery system.