Codes and Standards

PCA Launches Grassroots Codes Campaign

PCA launches a grassroots codes campaign this month to encourage fire service officials and others to vote remotely on proposed changes to the International Building Code.

Banner ads in two internet magazines promote online voting with the new ICC CDPaccess system. Aimed at the largely untapped resource of U.S. fire service personnel, the ads encourage viewing the September 30 – October 5 International Code Council (ICC) public hearing testimony and voting for increased fire protection in the codes.

In the past, voters needed to attend the hearings in person. Now, the code changes are decided by local, state, and federal government employees, including those in the fire service.

“With the ICC CDPaccess voting, the opportunity exists to get our issues in front of the fire service who have historically been in support of increased passive fire protection in the codes,” said Steve Szoke, senior director of codes and standards.

View the PCA information sheet which addresses seven specific hearing issues with explanations of the concrete industry’s positions.

 “PCA will continue with aggressive strategies and tactics to influence code content,” Szoke said. “This effort may be the impetus for cement-industry wide grassroots campaigns in the future.”

Contact Jay Hall

Market Intelligence

Despite Volatility, Cement Industry Continues Steady Gains

Sullivan_framedPortland Cement Association expects consumption to increase by 5 percent by the end of 2015, according to a report by Ed Sullivan, PCA chief economist and group vice president.

“The fundamentals in the United States are sound and should support sustained growth in construction activity,” Sullivan told members at the recent Fall Committee Meeting.

The U.S. economy is characterized by steady and strong gains in net job creation, low inflation, low interest rates, and improving business and consumer confidence, all of which paints an optimistic near term outlook. While some sectors have been hurt by a strong dollar and low oil prices, these factors hold the potential of a growth dividend later in the forecast horizon.

PCA forecasts construction activity will grow 4.8 percent this year and even stronger growth is expected for next year. Cement consumption is expected to grow 5 percent this year and 6.5 percent in 2016. Each of the three key sectors on cement consumption, residential, nonresidential, and public construction are experiencing growth. Typically, when all three sectors are positive strong volume gains materialize.

Contact Ed Sullivan

Industry News

Massive Concrete Pour in Downtown Houston

Capitol_Tower_Houston_FramedThe massive mat foundation pour for Houston's Capitol Tower development was recently completed. The two-day pour operation encompassed a mat foundation footprint of over 35,000 square feet and utilized 9,200 cubic yards of concrete and 2.4 million pounds of rebar.

The building is just one of three in the U.S. to receive LEED Platinum v4 precertification and advances sustainable practices. Fly ash, a safe, recycled material, replaced 60 percent of the cement used in the foundation. The method saves more than 1 million pounds of CO2, the equivalent emissions associated with driving a car 1.2 million miles.

Among the many features, the 35-story structure's exterior design includes a high-performance curtain wall system to achieve maximum energy efficiency and panoramic views with 10 foot floor-to-ceiling glass. The lobby will integrate the street and tunnel levels, creating light-filled pedestrian crossroads with retail and gathering places.

Houston's local public radio station featured the concrete foundation placement on its "Houston Matters" program. A podcast of the segment "Building Sturdy Structures on Houston's Swampy Foundation," as well as a time-lapse video of the operation is on the show's website. 

Contact Jan Prusinski

Sustainability

Get Inspired at Greenbuild 2015

How trade associations are uniquely positioned to provide product transparency in the marketplace is the topic of a panel discussion at Greenbuild 2015.

Lionel Lemay, senior vice president, sustainable development, National Ready Mixed Association (NRMCA), is among panelists participating in the November 17 session, "Taking Transformation to Scale: Trade Associations and Leadership." Representatives of the Green Building Council, Furniture Manufacturers Association, and American Chemistry Council will also participate.

At issue in the Materials and Human Health Summit session will be how trade associations may deliver high quality training and education for their members through environmental product declarations, responsible sourcing, and product ingredient disclosure.

The summit is part of the Greenbuild events, November 16-21, in Washington, DC. The conference and expo features speakers, networking opportunities, industry showcases, LEED workshops, and tours of green buildings. Its diverse attendees include architects, code officials, green building thought leaders and developers. Go to the Greenbuild 2015 website for additional information and registration.

Contact David Shepherd

Education and Training

PCA Offers Design and Control of Concrete Mixtures Course

PCA’s publication Design and Control of Concrete Mixtures is the foundation for a concrete industry course offered October 5-8, 2015 on the PCA campus.

The course reflects the latest advances in concrete technology. Covered will be materials, properties of concrete, mix design, placement, and testing. It is especially useful for concrete industry personnel who need fundamental yet practical concrete knowledge and combines classroom instruction, lab demonstrations, and hands-on training to help employees meet customer needs.

For more information, go to the PCA website.

Contact Michelle Wilson

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