Painting Pro Times, the source for paint professionals!

Sometimes at PPT we wonder if the art and science of professional application will ever rise to the level of innate fulfillment experienced by our ancestors. Like today’s sports, the anticipation and act of the mind and body working together in perfect sync is fun to watch and even better to do. It becomes a state or zone of unlocked creativity, purpose and accomplishment. Even now, many craftsmen enter a focus were time matters less and the action of preparation or spreading liquid materials takes precedent over regular thoughts.

What does the warmth of the sun, barbeques, and cool breezes from bodies of water bring to mind? Well, for starters work is not the first idea. Like in the very olden times, open-toed shoes, grilled food and refreshing dips are cherished summer pursuits. At work and in life looking back may help us understand the past a little more so future plans and actions may be better guided.

It already has been established that prehistoric cave paint application embodied the first expressions of human art and science. Before brick or stone masonry, mud or wood structures, thatched roofing, or any craft, primitive painting was underway. Painting occurred before written language. Imagine trying to learn the trade before it was invented? Although quite basic, cave painting demonstrated prehistoric people’s imagination and thirst to communicate beyond spoken words.

Cave art has been discovered on every continent, which shows that separate and far apart groups found a way to make chemical compounds that dried on stone to connect with each other and beyond one’s lifespan. Throughout time, in every society, and now, the intrinsic need to create and express has been fulfilled with liquid coatings.

Move the way-back machine dial to colonial America: about twenty years after Boston’s midnight rider alerted residents that the British were on the move. We are at 1795, after the Revolution, as a Master Silversmith, Paul Revere returned to his vocation and built a successful business. He helped form the Massachusetts Charitable Mechanic Association. There were 83 original members; each prestigiously recognized as a top craftsman in a respective trade. It is interesting to know that three Master Painters assisted with the start of the new venture.

One Master Painter, Samuel Gore, served as Treasurer alongside the association’s first leader, President Revere. Some years later, Mr. Gore was elected President. Along with contributing workmanship on projects benefitting the less fortunate and the greater commonwealth, the Massachusetts Charitable Mechanic Association’s mission was to encourage and preserve craftsmanship. Master Craftsmen teamed together to contribute to the new country and proactively took group action to uphold and share “mechanic” expertise.

Slide the time dial forward about 90 years to 1884 and the Master House Painters of the United States was born; now known as the Painting & Decorating Contractors of America (PDCA). Soon after, in 1891, some of the very same paint companies that participated in the business group piloted by Paul Revere, one of the country’s first ever industry associations, formed the Society of Painting & Decorating Contractors of Massachusetts. It is now know as Massachusetts PDCA. Amazingly 126 years later, the mission remains true to the ideals first articulated by the patriotic, midnight rider.

From the very beginning of America, paint professionals reached beyond individual talent and outside company focus and joined together championing craftsmanship and connecting to the greater community. Today, practicing, improving and sharing the liquid coating craft ties us to the esteemed heritage of yesterday’s leaders, as well as the very way back – early humans. Also, more than any other construction related group, the professional painting lineage bonds us closer to ancient man’s dreams and endeavors.

When considering the paint and coating profession’s varied and brilliant legacy, we have been spreading art and science for tens of thousands of years.

Anyone that has been in business understands the importance of clear/concise expectations for the owner, general contractor and the professional paint and coating business. Before, during and at project close out, all sides must keep their promises. The most effective way to document owner and contractor expectations is to start with a well-written, fair and reasonable proposal. Building on that foundation, we have an excellent resource article, Contract Risks, which in plain language lists the main ingredients of a valuable work agreement.

Some may think it is obvious to include everything that is in the project scope, but careful attention should be exercised to be detailed and unambiguous when defining the work scope. No one needs more funny things happened on the way to the stadium stories. In addition, it is a professional best practice to document what is not included…always note exclusions.

We may have shared this information before, however it is important to be aware and consider what other small businesses are experiencing. In the Top 10 Small Business Killers we take a look at how important it is for local contractors to follow government action. Savvy operators maintain watch with a voice or spokes-person often by joining a business group or association. Arguably, nine of the top ten listed are government overreach and the tenth killer, the qualified manpower shortage, is mainly attributed to the whack job idea that everyone must go to college and push buttons for a job. This war is best fought with a team, rather than individual companies.

The Color Selection article, although a bit of a re-tread, it is interesting in the big picture and in the overall history of human-kind sense. Check out Spices and Paint Color to see another interesting connection to the paint and coatings industry. Spices help define culture…plus, they go back to ancient times.  Some were even used beyond flavor in place of refrigeration to ward off bugs. Without doubt, spice colors inspired walls and paint finishes.

Above when we talked about liquid coatings helping to fulfill the human need to express and communicate, also think of ink. Remember paint was invented before written language and the early writing tool…feathers or quills, which started it all. Cooking, painting and next writing used at times similar ingredients or processes of mix and making chemicals.

The Fun Stuff summer installment is Speed Painting, Chem 101 & the Golden Gate. The videos cover art and science, as well as technical expertise and a grand, iconic all-American landmark.

In the News, check out the details of Graco Reports Record Sales & Earnings. Let the good times roll…or should we say spray, pump, portion and control.

The Sherwin-Williams’ Industrial Wood Coatings Division has formalized a substantial investment in the Manufacturing Industry Learning Lab (MiLL), Dennis Karnstein, Sherwin-Williams’ general manager,  stated, “The MiLL provides a fantastic opportunity for students to master the skills that will launch their trade careers with unparalleled access to industry-leading educators and equipment. There is no greater way to support our mission to grow the success of the wood industry than to ensure our future leaders have the best tools and knowledge.”

Because we are part of the overall construction market, it is worth reporting trends. Go to the NAHB piece titled Nearly 80,000 Housing Starts are Tear-Downs to learn about last year’s regional details. Apparently about 10% of new home builds are knock downs.

The 2017 Regulatory Road shows a long overdue EPA pause!

The White House released new details on the EPA’s regulatory and deregulatory actions in the months ahead. The Spring Unified Agenda update notes that the EPA has approximately 160 regulations currently in the works, which is less than in 2016. Also, the EPA has withdrawn some rulemakings that were in the pipeline in late 2016; others have been slowed for “further careful review.”

We have BIG News: the proposed RRP regulation for commercial and public building has been moved from scheduled implementation in 2017 back to the drawing board (most likely it will re-surface in 2019). Initially announced in 2010 with a 2012 start date, the EPA has continually been pushed back. The main stall has been a lack of scientific need/rationale for RRP expansion. Actually, the EPA has published zero empirical evidence demonstrating that commercial RRP is warranted. The professional paint and coating application business has played a key role in being the voice of reason and winning a series of battles with balanced stakeholder input over seven-plus years.

Also, there is Bonus News: the EPA has announced a review of the 2008 RRP for homes and child-occupied-facilities (the original RRP). There has been an outcry from a huge coalition representing the construction and real estate industries that RRP is simply not needed, the procedures are impractical and compliance is over burdensome. This fight has been lead and best articulated by the Commercial Forum, a group representing the PDCA and greater paint and coating application business.

By the way, the EPA has never demonstrated that professional craftsmen are to blame for the bulk of children’s lead paint dust absorption. There may be RRP changes on the horizon. Stay tuned to PPT and will continue the best coverage of RRP development.

Maybe the next time you are at an outdoor café enjoying a BBQ sandwich, an ever so slight feeling of connection to the ancient days may flash about inside…Maybe even a bond will be sensed with the awe and legacy of professional craftsmanship? After-all, since the earliest days, Brothers of the Brush have always enjoyed the warm sun, sandals and a great lunch.

Thanks for reading Painting Pro Times!

Mark Casale, Editor

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