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Strength Through Association—The Web That Supports the Construction Products Industry

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ncca logo groupAs an association, the National Coil Coating Association (NCCA) has the ability to speak with one voice on any number of issues. The association is dedicated to the coil coating process: cleaning a metal substrate (aluminum, hot-dipped galvanized steel, etc.), chemically treating the substrate to enhance corrosion resistance and paint adhesion, priming the strip with a corrosion-resistant primer, and topcoating the strip with any number of materials designed to provide aesthetics and durability to the coil-coated metals used in the construction products, transportation, appliance, and HVAC markets.

NCCA, however, is part of a web of associations that are deeply involved in the markets mentioned above. And like the webs of our arachnid friends, this “associations web” creates a collectively strong infrastructure that could not be created by any one association on its own. For now, let’s restrict the discussion to the prevalent prepainted metal market: construction products, which include walls, roofs, doors, and other components of a building.

Let’s start with the metal substrates for construction products. These materials fall into two categories: aluminum and metallic-coated steel. The latter category includes materials such as hot-dipped galvanized steel, Galvalume®, and magnesium-modified metal coatings. For steel building products, the metallic coating is critical to providing corrosion protection. Aluminum, on the other hand, is inherently corrosion-resistant and does not require a protective coating. Both metal substrates—steel and aluminum—are supplied in a variety of chemistries that provide the necessary combination of strength and formability. Each substrate type has one or more associations that support its use in the construction products industries.

NOTE: Sentences in quotes are taken directly from the “About” section of each association’s website.

The Aluminum Association is a large organization that covers all usages of aluminum—including construction products—from manufacturing the metal to converting it to construction materials that are brought to market—and then coordinating recycling efforts when these aluminum products reach their end-of-life point. “It provides global standards, industry statistics and expert knowledge to member companies and policy makers nationwide.”

The Steel Market Development Institute (SMDI), a business unit of the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), promotes the use of cold-formed steel framing for building construction and is responsible for developing and maintaining building codes and standards. “SMDI increases and defends the use of steel by developing innovative materials, applications and value-added solutions for customers in the construction, automotive and packaging markets.”

Since a large percentage of steel is destined for the construction products market, and since—as mentioned earlier—all of it needs to be metallic coated, a number of associations serve the needs of the market: GalvInfo Center, American Galvanizers Association, and BIEC International Inc.

  • “The GalvInfo Center, a program of the International Zinc Association, was established in 1999 to serve current and potential users of steel sheet coated with zinc-containing coatings. The core activity of the Center is to provide technical information and support to direct inquiries about the application, performance, and unique terminology of these products.”
  • “The American Galvanizers Association (AGA) is a not-for-profit trade association dedicated to serving the needs of specifiers, architects, engineers, contractors, fabricators, and after-fabrication hot-dip galvanizers throughout North America.”
  • “BIEC International Inc. is the worldwide licensor of the technology and know-how associated with 55% Aluminum-Zinc alloy coated sheet steel.”

Supporting all industries with important standards is ASTM International (formerly known as American Standards & Testing Materials). “Over 12,000 ASTM standards operate globally. These standards enhance performance and help everyone have confidence in the things they buy and use. Working across borders, disciplines and industries, we harness the expertise of over 30,000 members to create consensus and improve performance in manufacturing and materials, products and processes, systems and services.”

The American Coatings Association (ACA) “is a voluntary, nonprofit trade association working to advance the needs of the paint and coatings industry and the professionals who work in it. The organization represents paint and coatings manufacturers, raw materials suppliers, distributors, and technical professionals. ACA serves as an advocate and ally for members on legislative, regulatory and judicial issues, and provides forums for the advancement and promotion of the industry through educational and professional development services.”

Speaking of paint, color is an important attribute. The Color Pigments Manufacturers Association (CPMA) is active in this area. “CPMA is the only U.S. trade association representing color pigments manufacturers, intermediate suppliers, pigment dispersions, preparations, and distributor companies in North America.”

Each of the aforementioned associations has an important role to play in the creation of prepainted metal products. In all cases, however, prepainted metal is fabricated into an article as it enters commerce. Since we are limiting our discussion to construction products, let’s investigate those associations active in this area:

  • The Metal Building Manufacturers Association (MBMA) focuses on large structures (e.g., factories, warehouses), where structural steel is an important component of the building. Such buildings are sometimes called “pre-engineered buildings,” and MBMA tackles many of the engineering challenges common to the industry. “MBMA provides leadership, research, and education that increase the prominence and usage of metal building systems as the premier solution for performance, aesthetics, and sustainability in building construction.” It is common to find prepainted metal used for walls and roofs in this industry.
  • The National Frame Building Association (NFRB) is involved in construction applications where wood framing (as opposed to steel) is the key component of a building. “NFBA is a non-profit trade association that promotes the interests of the post-frame construction industry and its members. The association’s members are primarily post-frame builders, suppliers, manufacturers, building material dealers, code and design professionals, and structural engineers.” Like MBMA structures, NFBA buildings often utilize prepainted metal.
  • The Metal Construction Association (MCA) “focuses on the promotion of metal in the building envelope (walls and roofs, for example).”
  • The Metal Roofing Alliance (MRA) is an alliance of other associations that all have a stake in promoting the use of metal roofing in residential construction. It “is the leading voice for companies and professionals involved in the residential metal roofing industry.”

When it comes to roofing and meeting “cool roof” codes and standards, the Cool Roof Rating Council (CRRC) is an important part of this web of associations. “The CRRC is incorporated as a non-profit educational organization to implement and communicate an accurate radiative energy performance rating system for roof surfaces, support research, and serve as an educational resource for information on roofing.”

What’s a building without doors? For this application, the Doors & Access Systems Manufacturers Association (DASMA) “is North America’s trade association for manufacturers of garage doors, rolling doors, high performance doors, garage door operators, vehicular gate operators, and access control products.”

For the prepainted metal market, these wide-ranging associations clearly create a case of “strength in numbers.” Each of the associations I’ve mentioned is guided by industry professionals who work cooperatively to achieve as a group more than could be achieved by an individual. If you want to be part of this collective, visit the associations’ websites and learn how you can participate.


David A. Cocuzzi

NCCA Technical Director

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