Q.: Is there a good general reference that gives standard specifications for concrete work? Sometimes the designer or owner seems to think anybody should know that certain operations are expected, whether the operations have been written into the specifications or not.

A.: The best reference is ACI 301, "Specifications for Structural Concrete for Buildings." It would be good practice for all contract requirements to contain a statement like "Concrete work shall conform to all requirements of ACI 301," citing the edition that is most recent at the time the contract requirements are written. Whether this is done or not it would be wise for every contractor to keep a copy of the latest ACI 301 at the jobsite for quick reference. ACI 301 gives standard requirements for materials for concrete, formwork, joints and embedded items, reinforcing steel and prestressing steel. It covers proportioning and production of concrete, setting and stripping formwork, placing and finishing concrete, testing, evaluating and accepting. Every concrete contractor ought to become familiar with its provisions.