Members Meet and Celebrate the PCA Centennial

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PCA held its 2016 Spring Congress March 13-15 in Chicago. Former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour gave the keynote address at the group lunch on Tuesday. Barbour spoke about Hurricane Katrina and lessons learned in the wake of the powerful storm. He pointed to storm preparation and resilient people as factors that contributed to the safety of so many residents. He concluded that much of the state, and the coast in particular, has rebuilt with concrete and come back stronger than before.

On Monday evening, the group celebrated PCA’s centennial at the Renaissance Blackstone Hotel, site of the first PCA meeting in 1916. Board Chairman John Stull, Centennial Chairman Cary Cohrs, and President/CEO Jim Toscas spoke on the past, present and future of the association.

Cohrs noted  that Continental, Lehigh, and Ash Grove were all founding members, operate under the same name today, and remain PCA members. He also acknowledged some first families of cement -- industry pioneers that remain active today. Ash Grove Cement Company has been managed by the Sunderland family for four generations, since 1909. Lester T. Sunderland, great grandfather of current Ash Grove Chair Charlie Sunderland, served as the second president and chairman of PCA in 1920. The Wulf family has managed Monarch Cement since 1913. Walter Wulf, Jr., is a current PCA Board member. His father served as chairman of PCA’s 50th anniversary committee in 1966.

On Wednesday, the Congress wrapped up with Board of Directors meetings for PCA and CTLGroup. Ed Sullivan, PCA chief economist and group vice president, presented the year-end cement industry economic report.

Contact Jan Farnsworth

Market Intelligence

Competitive Building Materials Report Shows Little Change in February

PPI Graph for 03-21-16_FramedFebruary 2016 showed little change in the competitive building materials Producer Price Index (PPI) report.

The asphalt PPI fell 0.8 percent in February from the month prior, after rising 2.6 percent in January. Though January’s spike did not begin a new trend, it illustrates that there can be a disconnect between asphalt and oil price when oil prices are in decline. The price of oil has fallen nearly 45 percent since April 2015. In that same time, the price of asphalt has fallen less than 1 percent on net.

Lumber’s PPI remained relatively steady, declining 0.3 percent from January. Lumber prices fell 7.2 percent in 2015, despite a 10 percent gain in single family housing starts. It is likely demand for lumber was not as great as was anticipated, which caused the capacity utilization rate to decline.

The Steel PPI was down 1 percent from January. Global commodity prices continue to plummet, and PCA expects this will cause the price of steel to fall below its trough from 2009 before rebounding in 2017. 

Contact Joe Chiappe


Attend the 2016 Washington DC Fly-In


Make plans today to be part of the 2016 Washington, DC Fly-In on May 24-25. This event provides an opportunity to interact with key lawmakers and regulators and help lobby on policy that affects cement plants across the United States. It also marks an occasion to participate in and celebrate PCA's Centennial Anniversary.

More information

Contact Rachel Derby

Market Development

MIT CSHub Streamlines Life Cycle Assessment of Buildings

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MIT CSHub recently announced a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology which streamlines LCA assessment of buildings. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) enables builders, engineers, architects and the like to analyze the environmental performance of a proposed building design. However, surveys have shown that LCA tools are not widely-used because the analyses are time-consuming, require burdensome data collection, and are poorly integrated with the design process. CSHub has developed a streamlined LCA methodology called the Building Attribute to Impact Algorithm (BAIA) which allows practitioners to focus on the parameters that matter and leave the rest underspecified. This speeds up the analysis process and leads to more informed design decisions.

Read brief 

Mark Justman


Building Seismic Safety Council Develops Priorities for 2020

Earthquake_Red_Crsss_Map-framedThe National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) Building Seismic Safety Council (BSSC) recently met to develop priorities for 2020 code provisions. The council deals with the complex technical, regulatory, social and economic issues involved in developing and promulgating building earthquake risk mitigation provisions that are national in scope. The March 8 colloquium presented issues and proposed priorities for 2020 provisions that are intended to be incorporated into the 2024 edition of the International Building Code (IBC) published by the International Code Council and other model codes. Proposed priorities include:

  • Validating acceptable risk.
  • Adjusting risk criteria to better reflect new and increased data on ground motion measurements.
  • Modifying how seismic hazard risk is quantified, deterministic seismic hazard analysis (DSHA) versus probabilistic seismic hazard analysis (PSHA).

Provision update committee teams continue to address areas including the seismic design of concrete, masonry, steel, and wood structures. 

See the staff report on this meeting

Contact Steve Szoke


Gajda to Present at American Society of Civil Engineers Event


John Gajda, senior principal engineer at CTLGroup, shares his mass concrete knowledge and expertise on March 23 at the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Metropolitan Section Construction Group Winter Seminar in New York City. Mass Placement Concrete – Theory, Benefit, Practice, and Local Usage is the theme of the two-night continuing education event. Gajda is the chair of ACI 207. Over the past 20 years he has worked on more than 600 mass concrete projects encompassing thousands of mass concrete placements throughout the world.


Register Today for California PCA CEMS Hardware Technician Summit


The April 19-20 PCA Mercury CEMS Hardware Technician Summit in Ontario, California, will be the last course offered before the September compliance deadline. The Tuesday, April 19, session focuses on ThermoFisher Scientific CEMS and the Wednesday, April 20, session focuses on Tekran CEMS.


Contact Rick Bohan or Mike Schon

Education and Training

Faculty Will Benefit from July Workshop


Faculty in engineering, architecture, and construction management will benefit from the PCA Education Foundation Professors’ Workshop on the PCA Campus on July 20-24. Besides the opportunity to network with colleagues from other universities, the professors will receive valuable information on the latest developments in concrete design, construction, and materials to bring back to their classrooms. Scheduled topics in the week-long workshop include concrete materials properties, engineering and economics of concrete structures including bridges, and design, construction, and performance of concrete pavements. The workshop fee of $395 includes handout materials, demonstrations by software vendors, resource literature, lunches, and receptions.

See the PCA website for registration and schedule.

Contact Michelle Wilson