Market Intelligence

Steel’s Producer Price Index Stops 18-Month Slide

PPI Graph 041816

Steel’s Producer Price Index (PPI) rose 0.4 percent from February to March, the first upturn since 2014. Some consider the halt in the slide as a reason for optimism on the economic outlook of China; however, it remains to be seen if overall Chinese demand will rise enough to support a price recovery. Steel’s PPI remained nearly 16 percent below its mark from one year ago.

The lumber PPI rose 1.7 percent from February to March. The trend has been relatively flat over the past year, with mild fluctuations. Asphalt’s PPI dropped by 1.1 percent from February after falling 0.8 percent in the prior month - yet the two consecutive months of decline have not fully eroded its 2.6 percent increase from January.

Contact Joe Chiappe

Market Development

MIT CSHub: Construction Materials Price Projections Impact Life Cycle Cost Analyses

For life cycle cost analyses (LCCAs) to provide the best information possible and lead to better decisions, the cost estimates must reflect, as accurately as possible, the most likely expenditures for each alternative over the analysis period, reports the MIT Concrete Sustainability Hub. Research conducted in collaboration with the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) shows that material-specific price projections are more accurate than the conventional assumption that pavement prices follow the average rate of economic inflation. Not taking into account different inflation rates among construction materials can have significant impacts on LCCA estimates and, as a result, the allocation of DOT resources. Read more.

Contact Alpa Swinger

Research and Technology

ICC Committee to Hear More than 2,000 Change Proposals

PCA submitted more than 20 code change proposals to the International Code Council (ICC) Group B Committee hearings to be held April 17-27 in Louisville, Kentucky. More than 2,000 code change proposals were assessed based on their impact on the use of industry products to satisfy the intent of the codes. The review process involved collaboration with Alliance for Concrete Codes and Standards (ACCS), Masonry Alliance for Codes and Standards (MACC), Fire Safe North America (FSNA), and other industry allies.

Included in Group B are proposed modifications to the Fire Code, Residential Building Code, Structural aspects of the Building Code, Commercial and Residential Energy Codes, Wildland Urban Interface Code and Administrative provisions.  During the hearings, committee votes and floor actions will be tallied and reported for consideration in subsequent on-line voting.  Written public comments will accepted after the interim results are posted prior to the October hearings.

See a summary of PCA positions.

Contact Jay Hall


Action Expected on FAA Reauthorization Bill

This week, the Senate is expected to pass the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization bill. The bill would extend the FAA’s operating authority for 18 months. 

The Senate language has two significant victories for PCA members. It has an increase of $400 million for the Airport Improvement Program (AIP). This money provides grants for airport infrastructure projects across the country. The bill also allows the FAA to work with universities and non-profit organizations to research and deploy airfield pavement technologies. PCA worked with coalition partners to draft the airfield pavement technology language, and successfully worked with the office of Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) to include the amendment in the final bill. The Senate bill does not include an increase in the cap for the Passenger Facility Charge. PCA has reached out to the House to support its inclusion.

The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure passed a bill out of committee in February.  The bill is not yet scheduled for final consideration. When both the House and the Senate have passed FAA Reauthorization bills, the two chambers will meet to reconcile any conflicts in the language before sending one bill to the President for signature. FAA’s current operating authority expires on July 15, 2016.

Contact HIlary Moffett


PCA Centennial Recognized at ACI Convention

ACI President Sharon Wood recognized PCA’s centennial at the opening session of the American Concrete Institute (ACI) Spring 2016 Concrete Convention, April 17, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. PCA hosted a booth celebrating the centennial and promoting the new Design and Control of Concrete Mixtures. Jim Toscas, PCA president/CEO, Larry Novak, director of structural engineering,  Steve Szoke, senior director, codes & standards, Michelle Wilson, director, concrete technology, and others presented at the conference. Wilson is the new chair of the Specifications for Concrete 301 committee, and Jamie Farny, director, building marketing, is the chair of Residential 332 committee.

Contact Steve Kosmatka

Market Development

Enter the PCA Concrete Bridge Awards Competition

The Portland Cement Association invites entries for its Fifteenth Concrete Bridge Awards Competition to recognize excellence in design and construction of concrete bridges. Eligible structures for the 2016 competition must have been essentially completed between October 2013 and September 2015, and must be located within the United States or Canada.

All types of bridges—highway, rail, transit, pedestrian, and wildlife crossing—in which the basic structural system is concrete are eligible. Entries are equally encouraged for cast-in-place or precast concrete bridges with short, medium, or long spans. Newly constructed, reconstructed, or widened structures qualify for the competition. To submit your entry please visit www.cement.org/bridges.

Contact Alpa Swinger

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