Modular Building Institute

Trailer Trash (Not)

The old dirty construction trailer is being replaced by high-end modular buildings. Reno Contracting in San Diego even has a LEED-accredited trailer and Streeter & Associates in Minneapolis has a trailer with in-floor radiant heat and low-voltage cable lighting. Many jobsite trailers are more accurately modular buildings. “Temporary modular buildings, such as relocatable classrooms and construction site offices, have long been viewed as a commodity by end users and therefore driven primarily by cost,” says the Modular Building Institute, Orlando. “However, as end users become more educated on life cycle analysis and the true benefits of healthy work and learning environments, this paradigm seems to be shifting.”

Safety Edge Protects Iowa Drivers

When a car goes off the edge of the pavement onto the gravel shoulder, driving back on can be dangerous if the pavement edge is vertical. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) recommends a pavement edge called the Safety Edge, tapered to 30 degrees to the road surface, which allows safe return to the roadway. This edge technology has been used with asphalt roads, but now the Iowa DOT is incorporating this detail into concrete pavements. Because concrete is the material of choice for Iowa highways, this move will positively affect thousands of drivers and make concrete pavements safer. “This technology is easy to use and extremely cost-effective,” says Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez. “And most importantly, it will save lives.” For more information, check out the FHWA Safety page at

ACI Sustainability Committee

The American Concrete Institute, Farmington Hills, Mich., has discharged its Board Advisory Committee on Sustainable Development. But before you jump to the conclusion ACI doesn’t care about sustainability, note that at only two years old, ACI Committee 130, Sustainability of Concrete, has grown to more than 100 members and seven subcommittees. Sustainability has been added to the missions of nearly every ACI committee—I guess sustainability isn’t a special topic these days, it’s a part of everything we do.

Concrete and Clean Air

When Italian cement maker Italcementi Group introduced TX Active in 2006, I belittled the notion of covering enough surfaces with this cement that it could make a difference. Italcementi estimated that this photocatalytic material, if applied to 15% of the exposed surfaces in a city, would reduce nitrous oxides, sulfur dioxide, and carbon monoxide by 50%. The most beneficial use I saw was the material tends to be self cleaning. But recent research at Eindhoven University in the Netherlands has shown that NOx levels above a road surface of air purifying concrete are reduced by 25% to 40%. In the U.S., the Missouri DOT (MoDOT) is planning to pave sections of a highway with a two-lift approach where the top lift incorporates photocatalytic cement. MoDOT is further planning a pervious concrete shoulder using the same photocatalytic cement. Maybe I should keep my mind open toward this interesting material.