WASHINGTON - Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association (SMACNA) members were among the more than 140 specialty contractors and association executives attending the Quality Construction Alliance National Issues Conference in May.

Participants held more than 180 separate lobbying meetings with lawmakers and staff and discussed energy efficiency, health care, misclassification reform, 3 percent withholding, pensions, and funding for school construction. Contractors interested in doing more business with the federal government attended a special session devoted to federal government work.

“The government is interested in teamwork with the construction industry and wants to hear from you,” said Dr. Get Moy, associate vice president, AECOM Design, who led a panel on federal market opportunities at a special pre-conference session. “The federal government is not interested in a short-term profit.”

Topics covered included federal green building initiatives, sustainability programs, high-performance buildings, and disaster resistant buildings. Turning theory into practice, Cynthia Vallina, energy policy analyst for the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), said it is her job to ensure that federal agencies are complying with the government’s sustainability requirements. The 2009 OMB scorecard, she said, is the baseline for guiding the greening of the government, to reduce energy consumption by 9 percent by the end of the year and 30 percent by 2015.

The military is also working to meet this 30 percent energy reduction in its facilities. “We are looking for smart solutions,” agreed George Lea Jr., chief military branch, engineering and construction, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. “We need to be lifecycle cost effective. We need you to demonstrate that.” Quality control is also important, he noted. “To get your foot in the door, look to the district office.”

PowerPoint presentations for the conference can be found online in the association’s Legislative section.

For more information, visit www.smacna.org.

Publication date:06/22/2009