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Echelon and Belgard Aid Homebuilders Faced with Shortage of Skilled Masons

According to a recent survey conducted by the NAHB, homebuilders continue to see rising shortages of skilled labor. Shortages seem to be particularly severe relative to housing starts, which still have only partially recovered from the 2007-2009 downturn.

“We’ve been fighting labor issues for 15 years, and it keeps getting worse,” says Atlanta general contractor Clint Tucker. “The majority of my crew has been with me for four years or more. Finding new skilled labor is next to impossible. Plus, there’s a lack of work ethic. They just don’t stick around.”

More than half of the survey respondents (57%) note a shortage of directly employed bricklayers/masons, with the number even higher for subcontracted masonry labor (67%). Because of these issues, 75% of builders report having to pay higher wages for skilled labor, and 64% report increased difficulty of completing projects on time.

To help builders combat these jobsite issues, Oldcastle® APG offers two distinct product lines that increase installation speed while offering an alternative to traditional masonry installations. At the same time, Oldcastle continues to invest in the education of the masonry labor force for the future.


One of the performance upgrade options for Echelon Masonry, the EnduraMax wall system works with a large variety of brick and masonry units to cut installation time by up to 20% and improve energy efficiency, moisture management and acoustical comfort. Since masonry units are installed through the use of pre-formed installation panels, the need for skilled masons in eliminated.
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Outdoor kitchens continue to increase in popularity, and are becoming a standard feature in higher-end homes. The Belgard Elements line offers a variety of pre-built masonry kitchen units and fire features that are constructed in a factory setting and shipped in sections to be installed on site with a forklift. What would take a mason weeks to build from scratch on site is installed in a matter of hours without the need of a skilled mason.
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In addition to the product lines above, Oldcastle APG is investing in the future of masonry education and growth by pledging $500,000 to The Masonry Foundation, an extension of the Mason Contractors Association of America (MCAA) that is dedicated to tackling issues facing the masonry industry, such as training and other labor issues.


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