Codes and Standards

New Jersey Apartment Fire Exposes Inadequate Safety Codes

A huge fire that destroyed a 408-unit apartment complex in Edgewater, New Jersey, last month is causing public officials to re-examine building codes governing multi-family construction and the safety of combustible wood-frame construction.

Fire protection provisions in new construction reduce the use of non-combustible materials like concrete in favor of sprinkler systems alone. However, reliance on a single system results in less protection than the addition of passive fire resistant materials like concrete, masonry and steel. PCA and other concrete interests have long advocated for balanced design for safety and property protection.

Following this fire, New Jersey officials are re-thinking the appropriateness of light-frame construction for multi-family dwellings.

Read more at Think Harder.Blog

MIT Concrete Sustainability Hub

MIT CSHub Issues Concrete Science White Paper

HubLogoThe Concrete Science Platform (CSP) of the MIT Concrete Sustainability Hub recently released a white paper that summarizes the first phase of research results on the structure of calcium-silicate-hydrate (C‑S‑H), the key binding component in cement paste. Researchers in the CSP have created models of C‑S‑H at the atomic-scale that shed new light on its performance in several areas.

These studies aimed to discover ways to make a more resilient concrete that lasts longer and reduces the material’s carbon footprint.

The CSP concentrated on three areas:  dissolution, precipitation and hardened paste. Each area produced a new model that fills a gap which previously eluded scientists. The models are flexible and can be used to answer questions at nano- to micro-scales as well as at a macro level. For example, the models provide input that might be used by industry to expedite the development, testing, and quality control of cement and concrete materials.

View a PDF of the full report.

Market Intelligence

Cement Consumption Shows Growth

United States portland cement consumption grew 9.3 percent in the third quarter of 2014 against the same period in 2013. Growth among user groups was widespread with 15 of the 18 segments tracked recording gains in excess of 4 percent. 

Several segments highly concentrated in the residential sector have experienced the largest growth, including brick & block (22 percent), interlocking pavers (16 percent), concrete roof tile (15 percent) and building materials dealers (15 percent).  

PCA’s Survey of Portland Cement by User Group provides end-user cement tonnage for 18 individual segments. Historical data tables and graphs detail segment performance. In addition, current year segment forecasts and summary analysis, linked to PCA’s latest national forecasts, are provided.

Contact Brian Schmidt

Association News

PCA Spring Meeting Registration Open

APP-640X550-SPRING15Registration is now open for the PCA Spring Meeting, April 6-8, 2015, at the Marriott Chicago O’Hare in Rosemont, Illinois.

In addition to PCA committee sesions, meeting highlights include the presentation of PCA’s Sustainable Manufacturing Awards on April 7 and an economic update by Ed Sullivan, PCA group vice president and chief economist, on April 8. In addition, the Board of Directors for both PCA and CTLGroup will meet.

Deadline for hotel reservations and meeting registration is March 16.

Register for the meeting online.

Contact Kathryn DiProva


If It’s Not Concrete, Convert It

When Lenexa, Kansas, decided to repave its heavily traveled 79th Street, the city awarded the work to the only bidder out of 10 who designed the job with concrete and a sustainable building method.

The asphalt street was deteriorating due to car and truck traffic of more than 5,700 vehicles per day. Near a soccer and baseball park, elementary school, church, and public works operations center, the road was a safety concern.

The job included eleven intersections (6.75 by 10 foot joint spacing, 21,000 square yards of concrete), and burlap drag texture were included in the street improvement. Global positioning system (GPS) controlled bulldozers, Kansas City Metro Materials Board 4K and 5K mix designs, and fly ash modified subgrade were used during the April to September 2013 project.

By converting to concrete from asphalt, the city achieved its goals of improving safety, reducing the construction schedule, and minimizing future maintenance. The street now has a minimum 30-year life expectancy.

Emery Sapp & Sons (contractor), Geiger Ready Mix and Talon Concrete Aggregates (ready mix suppliers), and George Butler Associates (engineer and designer) and the City of Lenexa comprised the improvement team.

Design Build Institute of America, Kansas American Concrete Institute, the Missouri/Kansas American Concrete Pavement Association, and the Concrete Promotional Group of Greater Kansas City all recognized this project for excellence.

Contact Michael Young


Registration Open for 57th IEEE-IAS/PCA Cement Industry Technical Conference

IEEE-IAS-PCA Cement ConferenceRegistration is now available for the 57th annual IEEE-IAS/PCA Cement Industry Technical Conference, April 26-30, 2015, at the Sheraton Centre Hotel in Toronto, Canada.

The largest conference in the industry, this meeting is an excellent opportunity to learn the latest economic forecast, industry news, government regulations updates, and the latest technology that impacts its operations and business continuity.

The meeting will include presentations from the industry’s top technical people, addressing the diverse technical issues and proposing potential solutions to the many challenges facing the cement industry. In addition, St. Mary’s Bowmanville facility, Canada’s largest cement plant, will host tours.

Register online at

Education & Training

Call for Abstracts

UHPC logoProspective authors are invited to submit abstracts by March 15 for the First Interactive Symposium on Ultra-High Performance Concrete (UHPC 2015) to be held in the New York metropolitan area this fall.

The three-day symposium will provide a platform to present recent UHPC activities and innovations as well as to participate in thematic workshops, led by various topic leaders. Discussed will be the latest developments in UHPC material and structural design with an emphasis on enhanced performance, sustainability, durability, resiliency and cost efficiency. Also covered will be material characterization methods adapted to UHPC, numerical material and structural modelling, small and large scale applications, repair and retrofitting, and other aspects to further broaden technical knowledge and practical experiences.

The topic should relate to the scope of the symposium. The corresponding author will be asked to select one or multiple topics from a list of more than 20 categories to aid in topic classification during abstract submission. Authors of accepted abstracts will receive further instructions on the preparation of full-length conference papers. All submitted abstracts and papers will be peer-reviewed by the International Scientific Advisory Committee led by the Scientific Chair and Co-Chair. All accepted papers will be included in the conference proceedings and authors will be required to present their contributions at the event. Submit abstracts at

CP Tech Center

Two More Cement Manufacturers Pledge NCPTC Support

Continental Cement Company and Monarch Cement Company have pledged their three-year support of the National Concrete Pavement Technology Center’s (NCPTC) technology transfer activities. The companies join Ash Grove Cement Company, CEMEX USA, Holcim Inc., Lafarge, and Lehigh Cement Company.

The NCPTC at Iowa State University is a national hub for concrete pavement research and technology transfer. Founded in 2000, the center has been instrumental in developing and helping to advance the U.S. strategic plan for concrete pavement research, The CP Road Map.

Read more about NCPTC.