Business Development

Construction Trade Associations: A Comprehensive Guide

In this article we’ll discuss different associations in the industry and the benefits of construction trade associations.

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Members of the construction industry often have a trade association they like to call home. Whether it is a CFO from a large general contractor, or an engineer at a mid-sized construction company, there are thousands of people who reap the benefits of trade associations every day.

Setting the Stage

In an industry where market pressures are fierce, and margins are razor thin, it may seem counterintuitive to gather with your competitors to share knowledge and information. Construction however, has always done things a bit differently, and trade associations benefit contractors in more ways than you might think. In this article we’ll discuss different associations in the industry and the benefits of construction trade associations.

Let’s dig in.

The Major Players

There are dozens of trade associations in the construction industry. Some are niche in the market or department they serve, and others serve a broader constituency. To set the stage, let’s focus on three major players in the industry to gain a wider perspective.

  1. Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. (ABC)

ABC’s philosophy is to “help our members develop people, win work and deliver work safely, ethically and profitably for the betterment of the communities in which they work.” They represent over 21,000 members. ABC provided resources for education, thought leadership, news, and peer groups. ABC membership consists primarily of merit shop, or non-union contractors.

  1. The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC)

The AGC has over 27,000 member firms. AGC’s mission is to “provide a full range of services satisfying the needs and concerns of its members, thereby improving the quality of construction and protecting the public interest.” The AGC also has organizational outreach at the State level and some states have multiple districts. Additionally, the AGC is a powerful legislative advocate for the construction industry. Most AGC members are union contractors.

  1. Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA)

CFMA is "The Source & Resource for Construction Financial Excellence" and the only nonprofit organization dedicated to serving the educational needs of today's construction financial professionals. With over 9,000 individual members, CFMA is the industry leader in everything finance, and is where CFM’s go both to teach, learn, and network. Financial professionals are also empowered through CFMA to achieve their CCIFP (Certified Construction Industry Financial Professional) designation.

While these groups are large and impactful in their own right, there are other incredible groups that are a bit smaller, or support more specific members of the construction industry.

Additional Trade Associations & Resources

Specialty Contractor Focused Associations:

American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA)

  • ARTBA aims to be the most trusted information source for infrastructure news regarding investments, policy, etc.

American Subcontractors Association, Inc. (ASA)

  • ASA “promotes the rights and interests of subcontractors, specialty contractors and suppliers by building strength in community through education, advocacy, networking and professional growth.”

Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA)

  • MCAA serves the unique needs of approximately 2,600 firms involved in heating, air conditioning, refrigeration, plumbing, piping, and mechanical service.

National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA)

  • NECA is the voice of the $171 billion electrical construction industry that brings power, light, and communication technology to buildings and communities across the U.S.

Finance Focused Associations:

American Institute of CPAs (AICPA)

  • AICPA is the world’s largest member association representing the accounting profession. Their history of serving the public interest stretches back to 1887. Members may be public accountants, or financial professionals who work for construction companies or other businesses.

Construction Industry CPAs/Consultants Association (CICPAC)

  • Contractors aren't members, however, cpa's, tech companies, and others who serve contractors are. CICPAC is a resource that enables CPA firms to gain (or maintain) a strong presence within their local construction communities, so they can find success in their field, while expanding their knowledge and depth of the industry.

Risk / Insurance-Focused Associations:

International Risk Management Institute (IRMI)

  • IRMI provides insurance analysis, conferences, continuing education courses, and certifications, including their Construction Risk annual conference.

Diversity Focused Associations:

National Association of Minority Contractors (NAMC)

  • The association represents the interests of millions of skilled minority workers across the country. Through a network of local chapters and in collaboration with strategic and corporate partnerships, NAMC assists members with building capacity by providing access to opportunity, advocacy, and contractor development training.

National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC)

  • With more than 115 chapters across the country, the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) offers its members education, support and networking to help advance their careers in construction, build their technical skills, and become leaders.

National Black Contractors Association (NBCA)

  • The NBCA is a national voice for Black Contractor Association chapters across America and addresses the needs of African Americans in construction, women in construction and other under-represented contractors.

Benefits of Construction Trade Associations

Trade associations provide excellent value to both construction professionals and construction businesses. Some of these benefits include:

  • Provide a place to find new information or recommendations for new technology
  • Act as a lobbying body for government protections and funding
  • Supply a space for positive engagement with peers and the opportunity for constructive feedback
  • Enable members to earn certifications through sponsored courses
  • Allow members to take part in group purchasing to provide cost savings

“The value of construction trade associations goes well beyond direct financial ROI,” shares Pam Hummel, Executive VP of Marketing and Industry at Briq. “Associations provide legislative advocacy, opportunities for formal learning and job training, and the chance to network with peers. This peer-to-peer networking becomes critical as you advance in the industry and build a network of trusted partners and advisors. Industry alliances can help build your business, support your financial goals, and achieve your operational objectives. And you’ll probably make some good friends along the way.”

How can you get involved?

It’s not uncommon for a construction professional to be a member of more than one trade association. It’s best to research what trade associations might be appropriate for you based on your interests, your job responsibilities, or what kind of company you work for. Most require an annual membership fee, but the knowledge and skills that can be derived from these memberships pays for itself in the value it provides.

Visit the above resources for detailed information regarding memberships and missions of each association.

Trade Associations: We love ‘em

Briq is proud to boast multiple CFMA members, including Chief Revenue Officer, Ron Goldschmidt, and Executive VP of Marketing and Industry, Pam Hummel.

Briq is the first data analytics platform built specifically for the construction industry. We join modern technology, with hundreds of years of combined construction industry experience to give you deep insights into your business.

By automating repeatable tasks, connecting disparate software, and predicting trends, we enable more efficient workflows, more accurate forecasts, and more profitable outcomes. Contact us to see what Briq can do for you.