Fellow FCIA members, it is time to begin another year – a very special year for the FCIA organization. 2019 marks the 20th Anniversary for FCIA, an incredible milestone. This anniversary becomes official at the FCIA Firestop Industry Conference & Trade Show in November, where we will host a commemorative celebration and hopefully the largest conference to date, though I hope that we as an organization celebrate this accomplishment all year long. It will no doubt be special, so please make sure to attend this celebration that you helped make a possibility.
It is truly an honor for me to be the 2019 president for this exciting year. I have been fortunate enough to be around for 14 of the 20 years, and I have personally witnessed great strides with constant improvement and growth.
The secret to the success of the organization is not only the leadership of the Executive Director and his team, but also the numerous past and present members of the Board of Directors and the members of the numerous important committees. But more than that, it is the members of this organization that have continued as FCIA memers and made it their livelihood to keep people safe in the event of a fire. The passion the Firestop Contractor companies have for performing this firestopping scope of work accurately and doing all we can to ensure that the systems are installed by the most qualified individuals in the construction industry has driven the organization from its inception until today and will continue to do so in the future.
Many of the members of the FCIA have the same great quality - Contractors, Inspection Agencies, Manufacturers and Associates alike. We are not complacent. Through the proper 'D'esign, 'I'nstallation, 'I'nspection and 'M'aintenance of Firestopping, and FCIA Members involved in all of it, you keep buildings safe.
We believe that the installation of the firestopping scope of work can be improved, the percentage installed by Specialty Firestop Contractors increased and even all firestopping captured totally by those who have the mindset of “if it is not 100% right, it is 100% wrong.” We are continually motivated to develop goals that will drive an industry that we have great pride in, even though many in the construction industry still do not understand - or respect - the firestop systems concept.
Being involved in these decisions or goals is difficult. So, when you as a member of the FCIA are coming up with ideas, please remember to ask yourself, “Will this help everyone in our industry and the FCIA? Or could it negatively affect some?”
This is probably the most difficult thing for everyone to agree on, but the reality is, we are an association with members that are both new to firestopping and experienced veterans. Some of our members are small and others quite large. We have both union and non-union members as well. The impacts of the decisions made should continuously be considered. Occasionally we will be unable to move forward, however this will no doubt give birth to new ideas or ways to accomplish similar goals that will positively affect FCIA members across the board.
Some of these ideas or goals could be:
1. Figuring out how we can get construction projects to have a separate scope of work or bid package just for firestopping, removing it from the hands of those companies that are not educated in, nor respect the complexity of, firestopping, as a Specialty Firestop Contractor would.
2. To quantify the number of locations to be destructive tested by 3rd-party Special Inspection Agency Inspectors so we know how many will need repair.
3. To implement the requirement for consistent labeling, which will further separate Specialty Firestop Contractors from and expose the uneducated installers that are incapable of providing the necessary accurate information that the label will require.
4. Figuring out how can we reduce the need for engineering judgements.
5. Determining what systems the industry needs for certain applications and communicating this to the manufacturers.
There is no doubt that we have come a long way in the last 20 years, but it is also evident that we still have a long way to go. Let’s work hard to continue molding and shaping this industry we have all made our own.
Thank you to FCIA Members for your commitment, which provides the engine for us to promote fire- and life-safety through firestopping. Thanks also to all who volunteer their time and talents to further this industry, including my fellow Board and Committee Members. I look forward to serving you and the FCIA this year.