The use of fly ash in concrete steadily increased for many years, mostly due to the benefits the material imparts to the qualities of hardened concrete: greater strength, less permeability, lower heat of hydration, and lower susceptibility to alkali-aggregate reactions. With the desire to make concrete more sustainable, fly ash found a new niche: Because it reduces the quantity of portland cement in a mix, fly ash also reduces the carbon footprint associated with that mix, making concrete more environmentally friendly. In 2009, after the failure of a major disposal facility, EPA threatened to declare fly ash a hazardous waste, which would have thrown into question its use in concrete. The concrete industry fought this designation with a unified approach and, on Dec. 19, 2014, the agency released a final ruling declaring fly ash non-hazardous and encouraging “beneficial use,” such as in concrete. This is an important victory for our industry — and for the environment.

WOC Wrap-Up

World of Concrete 2015 was a smashing success by every measure: 55,779 attendees (up 15% from 2014); 1,459 exhibitors (up 200); and a 23% increase in seminar attendance. The mood across the show was one of almost giddy optimism. The annual economic outlook from PCA’s Ed Sullivan (which most of us had come to dread over the last six or seven years) had a sunny message: Job growth is driving the construction economy to strong gains at least through 2019.

Avoiding Bad Apples

In a recent blog, I wrote that I felt our industry is getting better at identifying the bad apples — owners and others in the A/E/C community who aren’t to be trusted. Terre Tulsiak disagreed, saying that “in my experience the ‘bad apples’ are allowed to exist merely by their connections with building officials. Others may be aware but are silent, even in matters of safety, as their own livelihood may be affected.”


Concrete Construction is published by Hanley Wood Media’s Commercial Construction Group, which also includes Concrete Surfaces, Concrete Construction Products, The Concrete Producer, Masonry Construction, and Public Works. Since 1999, Patrick Carroll has been the publisher, meaning that he was responsible for keeping the business profitable. With some magazines, that creates friction with the editorial side that wants to remain “untainted” and erect a wall between advertisers and content. That was never the case with Pat, who always strongly supported editorial integrity. Pat left Hanley Wood at the end of February — we will miss him.