Contractors, architects, engineers and public agencies can often profitable employ the Portland Cement Association as a consultant to find solutions to either large or small problems. They may sometimes find that a good share of the information needed is already available. PCA researchers have a practical turn of mind- a trait now available to more segments of the construction industry as the Association expands its contract research program beyond the limits of projects directly related to cement and concrete. Through projects now going forward, research teams are tackling such practical questions, including how to: reduce maintenance on high speed, heavy freight line railroad tracks, better integrate service systems withing structural frames- a design improvement for commercial buildings, and improve the design of shear walls for structures in seismic areas. Under the now policies PCA's work will expand to include proprietary projects of all types: (a) research or testing programs involving wood, metals, plastics, and other materials, including structural problems in which such materials are used with concrete; (b) general programs that apply known data and engineering principles toward new products or the application of known techniques to improve existing products or processes. Such work will be in addition to the conventional testing functions regularly performed by independent test laboratories.