41. Modular Formwork: Building formwork used to require skilled carpenters, but today’s easy-to-assemble forms from EFCO, Peri, Doka, Ulma, Atlas, and others speed construction and require less skill to achieve high-quality finishes.
42. Ultra-High Performance Concrete: (UHPC, like Lafarge’s Ductal) was developed in Europe in the 1980s and has found some applications in structures like bridges that can take advantage of its very high tensile strength and impermeability.
43. Industry Associations: There are a lot of associations in the concrete business, starting with the American Concrete Institute and the American Society of Concrete Contractors. Then there is NRMCA (see Reasons #47, 54, and 57) plus smaller groups like the American Concrete Pumping Association, the Tilt-Up Concrete Association, and the Concrete Sawing & Drilling Association. These groups advocate for their members, provide education and certification, and disseminate knowledge. A promising recent development is funding the development of information (rather than relying on volunteers), which allows documents to go public much more quickly than in the past. “I’m proud of ALL the concrete-related associations that make our industry stronger/safer/more professional,” says ACPA’s Christy Collins.
44. Concrete is the Right Choice: “We beautify cities. Concrete buildings are safer for employees, good for the environment, save taxpayers money through longevity, stay up longer, and stay cooler. And concrete always uses local materials.” —Big Bob Weatherton
45. Cordless Tools: Make jobsites safer and work simpler. Batteries have improved and even better batteries are on the horizon, including those with inductive charging.
46. Extreme Tilt-Up: Tilt-up has gone through an innovative period when it is being used almost exclusively in some markets for mid-rise office buildings. Records for heaviest panel and tallest panel are broken regularly. Click here to see the new tallest panel at 111 feet, 9 inches tall, breaking the previous record by 15 feet.
47. NRMCA Parking Lot Design Assistant Program: NRMCA’s Design Assistant Program (DAP) was rolled out in 2012 to help everyone in the industry get the correct concrete design for a specific parking lot application. By accessing this free service, designers and contractors can get recommendations for concrete thickness and compressive strength, cross section details showing base support information, joint spacing, and other typical details. The DAP has proved effective in promoting the use of concrete in parking lots. NRMCA reports that more than 60% of all parking lot DAP projects went concrete. The DAP is on target to do 220 parking lot projects in 2016, with a goal of doing 1000 projects annually by 2020. And now, NRMCA has rolled out a DAP for concrete buildings to convert them from wood frame or steel to concrete. The results so far have been extremely positive, with four DAPs completed and many more getting under way, reports NRMCA Senior Director, Building Innovations, Gregg Lewis.
48. Reorganized ACI 318 Building Code Requirements: Substantial changes in the document’s organization included the new Chapter 26, Construction Documents and Inspection, which contains all the details that the designer must communicate to the contractor in the project specifications. This change helps reduce confusion and potential oversights.
49. Moisture in Concrete Slabs: Moisture coming from concrete has destroyed flooring all over the world. Now we better-understand the problem, know how to measure the moisture more accurately (with ICRI-certified technicians), and have excellent under-slab vapor retarders and mitigation materials.
50. Economic Impact: BASF scientist Fred Goodwin says, “Concrete is an important worldwide economic factor, yet low-cost when compared to other materials, which explains its popularity.” He points to a study by the European Cement Association focused on the multiplier effect of the cement and concrete industry that concluded “for every euro generated in this sector, €2.8 are generated elsewhere in the economy.”