Alan Wilson to speak at the first annual TCA convention

Alan Wilson, AIA, design principal at the Haskell Co., has agreed to speak at the first annual convention hosted by the Tilt-Up Concrete Association (TCA).

The theme, “Tilt-Up 4 Today: Energy, Environment, Economy, Efficiency,” was selected to highlight the diverse and growing attributes of the site-cast tilt-up method. Ed Sauter, TCA executive director, said Wilson's expertise and leadership role in tilt-up design make him an ideal speaker.

Said Sauter, “This gathering of design and construction professionals will showcase all that tilt-up has to offer. And, as one of the leading architects embracing tilt-up today, Wilson's presentation will offer participants great insight as to what makes tilt-up a worthy piece of architecture.”

Wilson will include how to take advantage of the liquid forming process, designing tilt-up to respond to a user's sense of scale and proportion, developing and articulating building massing and/or facades to give them meaning, as well as how to use tilt-up to express an underlying building concept.

Jim Baty, technical director of the TCA, said the three-day Tilt-Up Convention will feature intensive training and education seminars for contractors and engineers, as well as a trade show, building tour and focused sessions on marketing and architectural design.

The convention will be held Oct. 12–15 in Atlanta. Hanley Wood, LLC is the official media sponsor. Additional information and registration details are available on TCA's Web site at

U.S. cement shortage dire as construction maintains momentum

The Associated General Contractors of America has called on Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez to intervene in the increasingly dire shortage of cement in the United States before major economic disruptions occur. AGC has received reports from contractors and concrete suppliers nationwide documenting quotas, delays, and possible layoffs due to cement shortages in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, and Florida.

“What makes these reports especially alarming is that they are coming at the beginning of the high-demand season for cement, meaning more severe problems are almost certain in the near future,” said AGC CEO Stephen E. Sandherr.

In addition, some of the states named had no shortages last year, or at least not this early, meaning that shortages are likely to be even more widespread than in the 35 states where the Portland Cement Association noted shortages or “tight” supplies as of November 2004.

“We urge the Secretary to head off a crisis that could spread throughout the economy by concluding agreements with domestic cement producers to suspend the anti-dumping duty on Mexican cement,” Sandherr added.

Mexican cement could reach the United States in days by barge or rail, which would reduce congestion and delays for ocean carriers, U.S. ports, and their customers, as well as the construction industry.

Meanwhile, AGC's chief economist Ken Simonson said construction spending set a record for the 15th straight month in April, led by factories, communications, stores, multi-family housing, warehouses and hotels. Simonson was commenting on the Census Bureau's report that the value of construction put in place rose in April to $1.067 trillion at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, up 0.5% from the upwardly revised March total and up 8% from April 2004.

“More noteworthy than the single-month gain was the strong performance of so many project types through the first four months of 2005 compared to the same period of 2004,” Simonson said. “Overall, construction increased a hefty 9% year-to-date, with several categories far exceeding that rate. My major concerns are about availability and cost of certain materials, especially cement.”