PCA Applauds Efforts to Withdraw Water Proposal

In a letter to the Congressional Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, PCA applauded the committee’s efforts to withdraw a proposed rule to redefine “waters of the U.S.” under the Clean Water Act.

In the April 14 letter to Committee Chair Bill Shuster and Ranking Member Peter DeFazio, PCA said cement makers appreciate the committee’s leadership to withdraw the proposed rule through the “Regulatory Integrity Protection Act of 2015” (H.R. 1732).

PCA expressed concerns on the expansive effects the proposed rule will have on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Corp of Engineers regulatory authorities – effects which go well beyond Congressional direction and Supreme Court holdings. The rule would add significant costs to cement plant operations, with little environmental benefit.

The act initiates a process that will achieve a balance between jurisdictional limitations imposed on the EPA and Corps by Congress and affirmed by the Supreme Court, while ensuring environmental protection.

Cement and concrete industry professionals are encouraged to write their congress members and federal regulators on this issue. See the Government Affairs Take Action section of the PCA website for congressional contact information and a letter to the EPA.

Contact Collin Long

Market Intelligence

Paving Receptivity Index Increases 28 Percent

PCA Market Intelligence recently developed a new measurement metric that will track progress made in removing the many free-market impediments facing concrete paving. The metric consists of six impediment categories: life-cycle cost analysis (LCCA), lifecycle analysis (LCA), alternate bid, asphalt escalators, MEPDG/equivalent design, and regulatory.

Pavement Imediment Reduction Index 2014 GraphThe result was an index value between 0 and 100, with 100 implying the complete removal of all market impediments. In 2011, this value was at 43. In 2014, the index was 55, showing an increase of nearly 28 percent during the past three years. The graph (right) shows the weights that each category carried to the final index value. The most significant gains appeared from LCCA, MEPDG/equivalent design and asphalt escalators.

Removal of concrete paving impediments is an important aspect to consider as paving advocacy is a long process that will not always demonstrate immediate market share gains. While this is just a review of these factors, the report offers a glimpse into the significant progress that has been made in removing free-market impediments.  

Contact Ed Sullivan

Sustainable Development

PCA Launches EPD Webinar

With an outstanding 95 percent member response rate, PCA will launch the Industry Average EPD Project with a tutorial webinar for member company staff this Wednesday.

An Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) is a credible, consistent and verified report of the environmental impacts of materials used in construction. The webinar will provide an overview of the project benchmarks, detail the data collection process and provide invaluable tips for completing the data templates.

Any PCA member company staff that will be compiling or submitting production data is encouraged to attend this informative session on April 22 at 11 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The recorded presentation will be available at the Members Only portion of www.cement.org in coming weeks.

Contact David Shepherd

Codes and Standards

Hot Topics Dominate ACI Convention

Building codes for concrete, fire protection, energy efficient concrete and masonry systems, and resilient housing were among focus areas at the American Concrete Institute (ACI) Spring Concrete Convention and Exposition last week in Kansas City, Missouri.

Steve Szoke, PCA senior director codes and standards, made two presentations on enhanced building resiliency and a standing-room only audience attended a presentation by Larry Novak, PCA director of structural engineering, on the history and development of high-strength concrete in tall buildings.

In addition, PCA staff participated in several key ACI Committee Meetings including:

ACI/TMS 216 on Fire Resistance and Fire Protection of Structures – This joint committee of ACI and The Masonry Society (TMS) moved forward with technology discussions related to fire performance of concrete and masonry including plans for a technical session at the Fall 2016 ACI Convention. 

ACI/TMS 122 on Energy Efficient Concrete and Masonry Systems – The group advanced discussion on technology related the energy performance of concrete and masonry systems, including plans for a technical session at the Spring 2016 ACI Convention. In addition, it is developing an article for Concrete International magazine and a July 2015 webinar is being developed to introduce the newly-revised Guide to Thermal Properties of Concrete and Masonry Systems.

Contact Steve Szoke or Larry Novak

Codes and Standards

ICC Hears Testimony on Proposed Code Changes

Significant general building code and fire safety code changes are under review this week at the International Code Council (ICC) Action Hearings in Memphis, Tennessee. The ICC hearings cover all aspects of the International Building Code, except items to be heard next year by the structural committee.

PCA Codes and Standards staff and consultants will present and testify in support of proposals that strengthen the code and favor concrete and masonry solutions, and speak in opposition to those that weaken the code and favor alternative construction systems. Staff reviewed more than 600 proposed changes to prepare for the the hearings.

View PCA evaluations on fire safety, general codes, and means of egress, plus proposed changes to the ICC development process.

Contact Steve Szoke or Jay Hall

Education & Training

Seven PCA Videos Available on YouTube

Skin safety, inspecting, concrete construction myths, and concrete fundamentals are among video subjects recently added to the PCA YouTube channel.

The titles are: 

  • What to Expect When You’re Inspecting, Parts 1-4 (PCA DVD125)
  • Skin Safety with Cement (PCA DVD123)
  • Top 10 Myths in Concrete Construction (PCA DVD128)
  • Fundamentals of Quality Concrete (PCA DVD113)

The videos offer practical advice and visual examples of best practices suitable for people of all experience levels.

View the videos

Contact Michelle Wilson

Education & Training

Register Today for the Professors’ Workshop

APP-PROF15Concrete materials properties, engineering and economics of concrete structures, and design, construction, and performance of concrete pavements are the topics scheduled for the PCA Education Foundation Professors’ Workshop, July 20-24, 2015.

Held at the PCA office in Skokie, Illinois, the workshop provides faculty in engineering, architecture, and construction management the tools to teach the latest developments in concrete design, construction, and materials. Networking opportunities to exchange ideas with professors from many universities, demonstrations by software vendors, and more than $2,500 of free resource materials are also part of the week.

The workshop fee of $395 includes all handout materials, resource literature, shipping, lunches, receptions, and a dinner at Maggiano’s Little Italy in Skokie.

See the PCA website for registration and the activities.

Contact Michelle Wilson