In a landmark decision, members of the Light Gauge Steel Engineers Association provided approval in June to a proposal by the Steel Framing Alliance for LGSEA to become an operating council of SFA. The ballot, which received a "yes" by 75 percent of LGSEA voting members, adopts a set of operating procedures that provide autonomy over technical issues, including technical notes, design guides, and other products and activities intended for design professionals.

Prior to this, the LGSEA had operated as a separate entity, receiving substantial financial and administrative support from SFA, which also provides direct support for codes and standards development, research, education, and other programs that aim to grow the steel framing industry. In several areas, both the SFA and LGSEA had duplicate programs and committees, and dozens of members were paying membership dues to both organizations.

The alignment of LGSEA with SFA effectively eliminates these redundancies. Under the new arrangement, LGSEA will have responsibility for making technical decisions on a broader range of industry publications, seminar content and other engineering and design issues. Members will oversee SFA's Technical Review Committee, the group through which all SFA and LGSEA technical documents are passed. And a new LGSEA Research Development Committee will take over the SFA Technology Team's responsibilities in identifying research needs and prioritizing industry research funding.

"As a council of the Steel Framing Alliance, LGSEA becomes an effective means for a professional membership in the cold-formed steel-framing industry," said Larry Williams, SFA president, who also helped found the LGSEA and served as its managing director for nearly a decade. "LGSEA is now clearly identified as the steel-framing industry's technical resource and the home for design professionals."

The alignment promises a number of benefits to LGSEA members and the group as a whole over the previous relationship. Members and leaders will gain time to concentrate on technical issues that affect steel framing design. LGSEA programs and activities will receive significant additional financial support, enabling program implementations and product development efforts to accelerate. And LGSEA members will have increased access to a broader range of industry technical products and programs, including discounts on educational programs, design standards, cold-formed steel specifications and design guides.

Implementation of the operating procedures approved by LGSEA members includes the dissolution of the LGSEA's corporate state and transfer of administrative burdens to SFA staff. A Transitional Board of Directors is overseeing the changeover. These volunteers were assigned to the task, following approval by the SFA Operating Team at its June meeting in Kansas City. In accordance with the new Operating Procedures, a nominating committee will convene for officer selection, and LGSEA members will have the opportunity to vote on a new president and vice president before the LGSEA general membership meeting at Metalcon in October.