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Mason Memo 8.1.2023

IMSCA is our lobbying group, they do a great job but they need funding –

help them and win something!!!

IMSCA-PAC’s 2023 fundraiser is off to a GREAT start – as of today, we have sold 330 tickets and raised $16,500!  We only need to sell 104 additional tickets to meet our 2022 fundraising level of $21,900!

THANKS to the generosity of our IMSCA members for prize donations, ELEVEN RAFFLE WINNERS will be drawn this year!

Tickets are $50 each.  Each ticket purchased buys you a chance to win the prize of your choice. 

Your choices include:

  • FOUR tickets to cheer on the Chicago Bears vs. Carolina Panthers at Soldier Field (November 9, 7:15 p.m.).  This prize also includes parking passes.  Donated by Tom Morton, LLD Electric Company.

  • FOUR tickets to cheer on the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center in 200 Club Level seats (Date TBA). Donated by Jim McGlynn, McWilliams Electric Company.

  • FOUR tickets to watch the Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates play at Wrigley Field (September 19 ,  6:40 p.m.).  These are aisle seats in Section 214 Row 6.  This prize package also includes parking passes.  Donated by Mason Contractors Association of Greater Chicago.

  • $1,500 Travel Package that includes a $500 Southwest Airlines, $500 Delta Airlines and $500 gift cards.  Donated by Bloomington-Normal PHCC/IL PHCC. 

  • $500 Amazon gift card.  Donated by Electrical Contractors Association of Chicago.

  • $500 Best Buy gift card.  Donated by PCA of Greater Chicago.

  • $500 Cabela’s gift card.  Donated by Underground Contractors Association of Illinois.

  • $500 GoPlay Golf gift card good at 5,000+ golf courses nationwide or for use on golf merchandise, golf lessons or golf vacations.  Donated by Bloomington-Normal PHCC/IL PHCC.

  • $500 Home Depot gift card.  Donated by SMACNA Greater Chicago.

  • $500 Lettuce Entertain You gift card.  Donated by Mechanical Contractors Association of Chicago.

  • $500 Morton’s Steakhouse gift card.  Donated by Bloomington-Normal PHCC/IL PHCC.

This is a great fundraiser package containing something for everyone.  We are asking our IMSCA association members to please market this to your members to help us sell tickets.  The winning tickets will be drawn at IMSCA’s Board and

Membership meeting on September 15, 2023.  The winners do not need to be present to win.  In addition to helping us sell tickets to your individual members – we also hope IMSCA’s association members can continue your generous support of IMSCA-PAC.  The raffle flier containing all of the details is attached.

Thank you for your assistance in making 2023 another successful fundraising year!  If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Jessica Newbold Hoselton - Executive Director Illinois Mechanical & Specialty Contractors Association (IMSCA) P: 217.523.4361 M: 217.891.3675

CONTRACTORS if you are waiting on a job to start and want to help your Bricklayers get some hours – loan them to the Bricklayer Share Program, we will make sure they are taken care of and they will be thrilled you helped them earn some money and keep their hours up in the benefit funds

Call Jim O’Connor to get them placed 847/ 824-0146

Masonry versus Steel Lintel Conundrum

As with anything in life, things change, thus we need to adapt to changes or else life changes without us running the risk of getting left behind. Thus, making the assumption that “I have been doing it this way for 30 years therefore it must be

okay” is not always valid therefore we need to seek to understand and question our assumptions otherwise we run the risk of missing out on opportunities.

One prime example that resonates with this is the subject of masonry versus steel lintels. Historically masons have been accustomed to and may likely prefer steel lintels for various reasons such as, “that is what I am familiar with” or “it solves shoring” and the list may go on. But one may not have the insight of the disadvantages steel lintels have in comparison to masonry lintels from other perspectives of which some include:

  • Steel lintels isolate the masonry wall from allowing the wall to function as an integrated network of beams and columns thus making it very inefficient, hence more costly. One of the best analogies is that an engineer would not design a steel lintel in a reinforced concrete wall, therefore why use this approach for a masonry wall.

  • Steel lintels cannot allow arching action thus all the loads (dead load, floor load, roof load, etc.) is being transferred into a steel lintel, thus resulting in inefficiency.

  • Steel lintels require additional and costly reinforcement.

  • Steel lintels require control joints at one or both ends to accommodate the differential movement to mitigate risk of cracking, thus likely adding to cost, complexity, it can change the bracing strategy, etc. If openings are closely spaced, hinges are created within the wall.

  • Steel lintels create challenging interface details from vertical masonry reinforcement, bearing conditions, cutting and properly anchoring of face shells and hopefully no intervening stiffener plates adding to the complexity.

  • When one conducts an apples to apples, true cost comparison steel lintels compared to masonry lintels cost more.

As quoted from a quality director with one of the country’s largest general contractors, “One of my pet peeves in construction is steel lintels for masonry openings.”

Masons have started to see the benefits of masonry lintels, therefore have started to come up with innovative ways of sharing and for the right projects have prefabricated the masonry lintels both on site and off site. Companies such as

Quick Headers have developed a solution for shoring masonry lintels and are now servicing the Chicagoland market.

Masonry lintel design is a critical part of an efficient structural masonry solution. The design of masonry lintels can add significant structural capacity to a wall that contractors and owners will welcome for crack prevention. In the past, assumptions have been made to simplify the analysis of masonry lintels that has been a detriment to its engineering and architectural design, thus making structural masonry a less attractive structural system relative to other solutions so now is the time question our assumptions so we are not left behind.

For complimentary structural masonry support for BAC Signatory Mason Contractors on behalf of the Illinois Structural Masonry Coalition, contact Jeff Diqui, Technical Director of the International Masonry Institute at

Resources to aid in understanding masonry versus steel lintels:

1. Paper: Masonry vs Steel Lintels

2. Case Study: Project Re-Design from Steel to Masonry Lintels

3. Video: Why Lintels for Masonry Walls Video

MCAGC Golf Outing- July 21st, 2023

Thank You Sponsors!


We had a tremendous day – Best Weather of the summer – and a great crowd!!!!

Heat Hazards

Construction workers, who often work outdoors in direct sunlight or in hot, enclosed spaces, are at risk for heat-related illnesses and, in severe cases, death. Rising global temperatures in recent decades increase that risk. However, these illnesses and deaths are preventable.

The resources below are organized by topic and contain information about heat hazards in construction and ways to prevent related illnesses. The sections correspond to the following new checklists from the CPWR-OSHA Alliance:

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