World of Concrete can be hard to navigate. With so many exciting and important events taking palce, you can't possibly see them all at once. That's why we've put together a quick summary of some of the noteworthy seminars taking place on Jan. 23, 2008.

To Add or not To Add

"Adding Water Onsite—To Add, or Not to Add?"—presented on Wednesday by Michelle Wilson, manager of education and product development for the Portland Cement Association—had attendees walk away with the knowledge necessary to recognize applicable codes and specification requirements on water. In addition, they gained the understanding of how important the influence of water is on the consistency of concrete, including sources of water (batch water, aggregates, and wash water). Wilson also brought home the importance of water-cement ratios, and she stressed the impact of onsite water addition to consistency, set time, chemical admixtures, strength, and permeability. The session was sponsored by Portland Cement Association.

Acid expands creative horizons

During Wednesday's "Acid Etch Techniques" session, Bob Harris, of the Decorative Concrete Institute, and Tom Ralston, of Tom Ralston Concrete, differentiated between the different types of acid-staining materials commonly used in the market. Attendees left the session with the information necessary to recognize the steps required for installing acid etch finishes, identify creative techniques for installing acid etch stains, and employ various methods to achieve color variability. The session was sponsored by Decorative Concrete Council of the American Society of Concrete Contractors.

Petrography rife with potential for profitability, pitfalls

Wednesday's "Use and Abuse of Petrography in Troubleshooting Concrete Construction" seminar—presented by David Rothstein, principal of DRP Consulting Inc.—helped owners, designers, suppliers, and contractors make heads or tails of petrography, often a confusing, complicated field. "Because a petrographic report may often be a linchpin in determining fault in construction disputes, the reports are synonymous with high levels of frustration and costs to the bottom line," said Rothstein. To combat the problem, Rothstein worked to demystify petrography by laying out the basics and showing attendees the capabilities and limitations of petrography, so they can use it to solve their jobsite problems.

Staying safe on scaffolds

Any employee required to perform work on a scaffold must be trained in the hazards associated with that type of work. In Wednesday's "Scaffold User Safety and Hazard Awareness" session, Charles Dewey, of Waco Scaffolding and Equipment, shared the ins and outs of fall and falling-object hazards, unsafe access, electrocution hazards, and scaffold collapse/stability hazards. Such knowledge can help protect staff and minimize exposure to costly workers compensation claims.

Proper technique ensures coating/lining success

During the "Applications and Emerging Technologies for Coating and Lining Concrete" session on Wednesday, Bob Johnson, director of ControlTech Marketing for The Sherwin-Williams Co., shared issues involving design for coating and lining systems, and quality assurance. "From mix design to placing, finishing, and joint design, we will explore the good, the bad, and the ugly facing design engineers, contractors, and material suppliers," he said, adding that coating and lining repairs are largely avoided when the correct technologies and techniques are properly used.