PCA’s guru of gloom, Ed Sullivan (better known as its chief economist), told a packed press conference at the World of Concrete that he sensed just a twinge of optimism but that he still doesn’t expect the concrete economy to come roaring back until at least 2013. In a moment a bit out of character for him, though, he admonished the industry to move aggressively to promote concrete as a paving material, noting that concrete pavement now is cheaper than asphalt even on a first cost basis (not to mention, life-cycle cost) “We need to recognize that the stars are aligned and proactively take market share,” he said. Read more about his presentation at http://go.hw.net/cc-pursue-paving.

Vapor barriers and curling

Should the vapor barrier be directly in contact with the bottom of the concrete slab? In the January How-To Zone column, we stated unequivocally that it should. That generated a response from a reader who maintained that this caused too much curling (turn to page 12 for some reader thoughts). A couple of posts on my blog in February drew even more response, concerning dominant joints, blotter layers, and topical moisture mitigation sealers. What’s your opinion? Let us know at http://go.hw.net/cc-barrier-debate.

Creative Association Management

The American Coal Ash Association (ACAA) has moved—from Denver to Detroit. That may not seem like big news but ACAA has been leading the fight to keep fly ash a viable part of concrete mixes (see January’s article on Tom Adams, a Most Influential Person). ACAA has joined the fold and now is managed by ACI’s Creative Association Management (CAM) group, based in Detroit. Other concrete industry associations being managed by CAM are the American Shotcrete Association, the Post-Tensioning Institute, and the International Concrete Repair Institute. Part of this consolidation is due to the economic times, but also simply because ACI is very good at association management.