March 2013

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New Orleans: Jazz, Great Food and Streetcars - back to top

World-renowned restaurants line the streets in the French Quarter, one of America’s most historic areas. Indulge yourself with local delicacies, unique flavors and famous New Orleans cocktails at every meal. Come on in and experience culinary delights within each French Quarter restaurant. Check out some of your options.

New Orleans, famous for its great food, growing from its French and Creole traditions, is equally well known for its music. The streets of the French Quarter are swinging every night of the week. No matter your age or interest, there is music for every ear wafting out of downtown clubs and restaurants. Here are some sure bets for your trip to the French Quarter during the SEAA Convention & Trade Show.

Streetcars are another fascinating aspect to the Big Easy. Getting around New Orleans by streetcar is a great way to see the city. There are three different lines: St. Charles, Canal Street, and the Riverfront, each of which originates downtown but takes you different parts of the city.

One-way fares are $1.25 and can be paid with exact change when you board. One-, 3- and 5-day unlimited ride passes are also available for $5, $12 and $20 respectively. See the Regional Transit Authority (RTA)'s website for a list of places to purchase these. Please note that passes are non-refundable and non-replaceable.

Best of all, there’s a streetcar stop in front of the SEAA convention hotel!

New Orleans' St. Charles Line, the oldest continuously operating streetcar in the world, takes you through the garden district and historic area. The mahogany seats, brass fittings and exposed ceiling light bulbs are from a day when plastic seats and aluminum rails were not even a thought. Rumbling around the ''neutral ground'' of St. Charles Avenue and Carrollton Avenue for more than 150 years, the streetcar symbolizes the charm and romance of the City of New Orleans.

Watch a fun video about the St. Charles Streetcar.

SEAA Convention Workshop: Avoiding Contract Traps - back to top

During the SEAA Convention in New Orleans, Attorney Sewall C. “Spike” Cutler, Jr. will be sharing common-sense strategies for finding and disarming traps and tricks you may find in your contract documents.

“Contracting,” is how we do business yet how many of us don’t read – or understand – the contracts we sign? Spike will discuss contract formation, scope, schedule, changes, delays, claim & dispute resolution on a basic level from the trade contractor’s perspective.

Learn about what new – and harmful – language is showing up in contracts, how trade contractors can leverage their affiliations and relationships for better contracts, and how a few key areas of change can make a huge difference when trouble raises its ugly head. Learn to recognize and avoid contract language that puts your company behind the eight ball.

The best lawsuit is the one you avoid – and a little effort at the contracting stage can head off most litigation, and improve your chances of prevailing when you have to fight.

Sewall C. “Spike” Cutler, Jr. is a founding Shareholder in the Dallas law firm, Cutler-Smith, P.C. A 1992 graduate from the Southern Methodist University School of Law in Dallas, Spike’s practice has consistently revolved around the representation of clients engaged in the commercial construction industry, with a predominant focus on representing commercial construction trade subcontractors, with clients in all trades.

Spike is General Counsel for the Subcontractors Association of the Metroplex, Inc., the United Masonry Contractors Association, the Independent Electrical Contractors - Dallas and the Independent Electrical Contractors of Texas, serves on the Board of Directors and the Legislative Council of the Independent Electrical Contractors of Texas and is a member of the Attorneys’ Council of the National Subcontractors Alliance. An advocate for the subcontracting industry, he is a frequent speaker on legal issues of concern to construction professionals, including bidding practices, contract negotiation, lien and bond law and project management risk control.

Convention Sponsor List Growing, Openings Still Available - back to top

CLICK HERE for the current list of Sponsors.

SEAA appreciates the numerous companies that have stepped forward to sponsor various aspects of the SEAA Convention & Trade Show in New Orleans. There are still some sponsor opportunities available for the convention, golf tournament, and spin fishing. Take advantage of this chance to help SEAA and promote your business. Call SEAA at 336.294.8880 or sign up online HERE. Click article heading above for full list of current sponsors.

Exhibitors to Date for SEAA Trade Show - back to top

These exhibitors will be available at the SEAA Convention & Trade Show to display their products and talk with members about how they can help your business. It’s not too late to sign up to exhibit and showcase your business’ products or services to convention attendees.

Jim Larson Announces His Retirement- back to top

Jim Larson, long-time SEAA member who currently serves on the Board of Directors and as 2nd Vice President, has announced his retirement from Phoenix Steel Erectors where he served as President. He asked that we share this message with SEAA members and E-News readers:

“It is with mixed feelings that I am announcing my plans for retirement. I have been involved in the construction industry for over 40 years in fabrication, steel joists, metal deck, door systems and hardware, reinforced concrete and my passion, steel erection.

“I have met many fine individuals in the construction business and hope to stay in contact The last 10 years have been as a partner in Phoenix Steel Erectors, the most rewarding part of my career. I will truly miss the employees, vendors and customers.

“I plan to stay involved in my associations to a lesser degree and spend more time with family and hobbies. I will be available to discuss any projects I was involved with, to chat over a cheeseburger and a beer, or just to reminisce. I can be reached at Thanks to everyone that made my career so fulfilled.”



Member Spotlight: Jewett Metal Buildings & Steel Erectors- back to top


Jewett Metal Buildings & Steel Erectors, a division of the 40-year-old, family owned Jewett Construction Co., Inc., is a leader in the pre-engineered metal building industry. Based in Raymond, New Hampshire, the firm provides professional, pre-engineered metal building sales, installation and consulting; erects structural steel; and provides welding and miscellaneous metals work to clients in New England, NY, NJ, and PA.

Jewett Metal Buildings combines a proven track-record of excellence with the empathy of a General Contractor. All company staff take pride in craftsmanship and strive to exceed customers' expectations through hard work, attention to detail, and by building and maintaining strong business relationships. Customer service is paramount, so all employees work closely with clients to ensure that all projects meet tight scheduling deadlines.

Jewett Metal Buildings & Steel Erectors’ projects run the gamut—additions, renovations, and new construction for everything from hazmat storage facilities, freezer plants and airplane hangars; to mini malls, warehouses and manufacturing facilities; and, in conjunction with parent company, Jewett Construction Co., Inc., many high-profile automotive dealerships, including a recently completed, 77,000-square-foot, LEED-certified Toyota dealership.

In addition to running its own division and often working hand-in-hand with its parent company, Jewett Metal Buildings & Steel Erectors also contracts with other general contractors in the New England area who seek quality metals work on jobs as diverse as FedEx warehouse and distribution facilities, marinas, sports complexes, retail stores and municipal complexes.

The company’s project management team adheres to the highest performance and safety standards and can boast a safety MOD rate that remains an outstanding example in the construction industry today. The project managers are diligent about budget and scheduling, working with on-site project supervisors and field personnel to ensure that steel components arrive on the construction site in a timely manner and are erected on schedule.

Besides participation in the Steel Erectors Association of America, Jewett Metal Buildings & Steel Erectors is also a member of the Metal Building Contractors and Erectors Association and the Steel Fabricators of New England. Additional information can be found at


What Employers Should Know about Welding Fumes - back to top

By David B. Ratterman, Attorney with Stites & Harbison

Reprinted with permission of the author.

Welder exposure to manganese fumes has been a matter of continuing interest in the construction industry. In some instances state OSHA standards for worker exposure vary from federal OSHA standards. In other instances state and federal standards are not always consistent with exposure recommendations published by welding consumable manufacturers. Litigation over this issue has varied from jurisdiction to jurisdiction across the United States. Some authors refer to manganese as the “next asbestos.”

Manganese is present in a number of welding consumables and is also present, in some form, in base metal. While research currently available has not shown definitive scientific evidence of significant ill effects from exposure to manganese at the low levels found in many fabrication welding operations, some reports suggest that there is a correlation between exposure to high levels of manganese dust and fumes, and development of possible lung and central nervous system (CNS) conditions. The CNS conditions are sometimes described as “Parkinson's-like” symptoms.

There is currently not a widely-accepted blood test that will accurately determine an individual's exposure to manganese or the accumulation of manganese in an individual's body systems. The only currently-available method to predict a welder’s exposure to manganese fumes is air sampling of the welder’s breathing zone.

Some studies suggest that "normal" welding operations (where recommended welding techniques are utilized in well-ventilated work areas) should not expose welders to concentrations of manganese dust and fumes above most current regulatory thresholds. However, compliance with higher thresholds in some states is much more difficult to achieve without use of special protective equipment. The keys to lower exposures appear to be good ventilation, open spaces, education on good work practices, and avoidance of welding in confined, poorly ventilated conditions for prolonged periods of time. Prolonged welding in confined spaces (such as inside box girders or tanks) without ventilation should be addressed by a combination of welder rotation, respirator use and/or local exhaust ventilation (e.g. smog hogs).

A first course of action for companies that engage in welding operations and have reason to believe that manganese fume exposure could be an issue, would be to conduct air quality testing at the welder's actual work station. This involves placing an air sampling device under the welder's hood to monitor the quality of the air that the welder is actually breathing. The testing itself must be undertaken in accordance with rather strict procedures in order to obtain reliable test results. However, technically competent employer personnel can be trained to conduct the tests themselves properly and at a relatively low cost. Evaluation of the tests need to be performed by an independent, third-party laboratory

When testing indicates that exposure to manganese welding fumes is elevated a “stepped” analysis of the company’s welding theater and practice is in order. It would include the following:

  1. Assure that the air testing is being performed properly.
  2. Assure that welders have been trained to utilize welding techniques that minimize the welder’s exposure to welding fumes.
  3. In some instances fairly simple modifications can be made to shop ventilation systems. In other cases larger efforts may be necessary.
  4. When welding in spaces where high manganese dust or fume concentration cannot be avoided, welder rotation should be practiced and/or application of some form of personal respiratory equipment should be strongly considered. In some cases respirator use could be required by Federal or State OSHA.

In some instances regular quality testing is available at no additional charge to an employer under the terms of company or group insurance policies; and coverage for employee illness resulting from manganese exposure may be provided by workers compensation insurance. However, in other instances common exclusion clauses in many insurance policies could deny coverage to companies that become the object of welding fume litigation. Accordingly, individual company insurance coverage should be reviewed; and, where applicable, counsel from competent insurance professionals who understand this issue is in order.

David Ratterman , a Member of the Stites & Harbison's Construction Service Group, concentrates his practice in general construction law , with particular emphasis on the fabricated structural steel industry. David has been lead trial counsel for numerous contractors, design professionals, material suppliers and construction owners involved in complex matters in litigation, arbitration and construction mediation. Formally trained as a construction arbitrator and mediator and listed on several national construction neutral panels, David has participated as an ADR neutral or advocate in resolution of construction disputes totaling well in excess of a half billion dollars.

NCCCO Launches Online Certification Verification System - back to top

The National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) has launched an online system that allows the credentials of CCO-certified individuals to be instantly verified via the Internet.

Access to the new system, known as Verify CCO Online or “VCO,” is through the NCCCO website or via a special address, After registering and logging in, users simply enter a certification number and the system provides a listing of all associated certifications, together with their expiration dates. VCO can be accessed at any time from nearly every device with an Internet connection, including computers, smartphones, and tablets.

“Providing this access to the NCCCO national certification database allows an individual’s CCO certifications to be checked with a few keystrokes, 24/7, 365 days of the year,” said NCCCO Commission Chairman, Ellis Vliet. The service is being provided completely free of charge to registered users, he said. 

“VCO is expected to be particularly useful in cases where employers are presented with a photocopy of a CCO certification card which, by itself, is not sufficient proof of certification,” said NCCCO Executive Director, Graham Brent. But he also cautioned that, similarly, printouts from the VCO system are also not considered valid proof of certification by themselves and do not replace an official CCO photo ID certification card.

NCCCO issues separate CCO certification cards for operators, riggers and/or signalpersons, and crane inspectors, with separate certification numbers and expiration dates. The comprehensive VCO system not only lists the types of equipment that operators are certified on but also indicates if they have additional CCO certifications and displays all this certification data on a single screen. This feature will help employers maintain up-to-date records of their employees and ensure their compliance with all current and future governmental requirements.

“With OSHA’s November 2014 deadline for crane operators working in construction to be certified fast approaching, we expect this system to become an increasingly important tool for employers and government entities seeking to verify operators’ certification status,” Brent added.

The National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) is an independent, non-profit organization established in 1995 by industry to develop and administer a nationwide program for the certification of crane operators and related personnel. Since then, NCCCO has administered over 700,000 nationally accredited written and practical examinations and issued more than 130,000 certifications in all 50 states.


Foreman at Phoenix Steel Erectors Honored with Retirement Poem - back to top

Phoenix Steel Erectors of Haymarket, VA recently hosted a retirement party for one of its foremen, Fred Brinson. Fred had previously worked for another SEAA member, L R Willson, for nearly 30 years before coming to Phoenix Steel Erectors for another seven years.

While at Phoenix, he was able to share his knowledge with the younger employees and teach the hands-on experience of iron working; something that one does not learn from books. He was able to give back this type of training to our industry that has been an integral part of many of our careers.

Fred wanted to spend more time with his family, church and hunting and so announced his recent retirement. His wife Janet composed and read the following poem at the event. Those in attendance loved it and wanted to share it with SEAA members.

The Night Before Retirement
‘Twas the night ‘fore retirement
And all through the house
Our cats kept a stirrin’
Probably chasing a mouse.
Jan in her jammies
And I in a cap
Had just settled down
For a short winter’s nap.
When all of a sudden
I came wide awake
As I thought of steel beams
And retirement cake!
I could hear myself yelling
“Just a bit to the right”
As they swung a steel beam
That was in a place too tight.
Awake and asleep and confused all around
I kept thinking of welding,
Hot slag dropping to the ground.
Blueprints and workers all danced in my head,
As I thought of telling a fabricator
That he could drop dead.
Then what to my wandering eyes did appear
But a piece of nice land, with a tree stand and deer;
I could see myself shooting that ten pointed buck
I was loading him while laughing in the back of a truck
Then all of a sudden Pete and Jim drove into sight
Waving directions, more blueprints and a brand new job site? !?
I turned with a nod, and got into my truck
Still laughing over getting a shot at that buck
And they heard me exclaim as I drove out of sight
I’m retired, I’m retired, and that made it right!

Written 12-27-12 by Jan Brinson
For Fred’s Retirement

Well done, Fred. Well done.

International Construction’s New Digital Magazine for Tablets & Mobiles - back to top

International Construction magazine is now available in a new edition for tablets and mobiles, offering subscribers the most convenient method possible of receiving magazines digitally. In addition, this new format--much more than a facsimile of the printed magazine—offers access to rich media:

Extra photos – Photos become photo galleries allowing readers to view many more shots of equipment, site reports, and other visuals.

360° photos – Sliding the screen and rotating the image 360 degrees gives readers an unprecedented view.

Audio – Podcasts and commentary from the editor are conveniently linked.

Video –This option provides footage of new products, brings slideshows alive for things like league tables and show previews, and presents video highlights from events & exhibitions

Archives -- Readers gain access to many back issues in one click of the mouse.

These versions are free and available on all tablet platforms, including iPad, Android, Blackberry and Kindle Fire. Plus, they are available on PCs and Macs online and PCs offline via

Crane to Dismantle A Minesweeper on a Coral Reef - back to top

The Jascon 25, a pipe-lay construction crane vessel

A US Navy minesweeper lying on a coral reef in the Sulu Sea will soon resurface in pieces after a pipe-lay construction crane vessel helps dismantle it.

In January 2013 The USS Guardian hit the protected Tubbataha Reef off the south-western part of the Philippines. Originally contracted to lift the ship, the SMIT Borneo salvage vessel ran into difficulties with anchoring the crane another vessel, so the Jascon 25 was requested as a replacement.

The Jascon 25 has a Huisman-Itrec main crane with an 800-ton lifting capacity at 30 meters, a whip hoist capacity of 120 tons at 35 meters and an underwater capacity of 50 tons at 720 meters. It is also fitted with a heave compensation system.

The vessel’s TTS pedestal type auxiliary deck crane has a 34-ton lifting capacity at 20-meter radius as well as a 22-ton lifting capacity at 30 meters.

Lt Antony Falvo, deputy public affairs officer for the US Navy’s 7 th Fleet, stated to The Wall Street Journal that the USS Guardian will be broken into three parts before being lifted to prevent further damage to the coral reef. Fuel and waste from the navy ship has already been removed to reduce damage to the surrounding reef and sea.

Lifting and removal of the stranded ship is expected to be completed by late March, 2013.


Industry Launches Best Practices Guide on Workplace Risk Assessment - back to top

Four organizations in the aerial work platform (AWP) industry have released a best practices guide for workplace risk assessment and aerial work platform equipment selection.

Working together, the American Rental Association (ARA ), Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) and the Scaffold & Access Industry Association (SAIA) recognized an industry need for help in identifying hazards, guidance for conducting a thorough workplace risk assessment and implementing control measures, as well as assistance in selecting the most appropriate AWP equipment for the project. The industry remains committed to increasing awareness of best practices, clarifying responsibilities and addressing the safe use of AWP equipment, all of which this guide accomplishes.

“The associations continue to work together to promote the safe use of AWP equipment,” said Tony Groat, executive vice president of IPAF’s North American training arm, American Work Platform Training (AWPT). “We created a document that provides simple guidance with four steps that gives us the ability to provide more details than the standard might. It’s simple to follow and well-explained.”

Here are the four steps:

1. Identify the hazards

2. Evaluate the risks, identify who might be harmed and how they might be harmed

3. Define, document and implement control measures

4. Review and update as necessary.

The Statement of Best Practices for Workplace Risk Assessment and Aerial Work Platform Equipment Selection document was unveiled by the participating organizations during The Rental Show, the ARA’s convention and trade show, Feb. 11, 2013 at The Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas. This document is available as a free download from the website of each participating organization.