For the first time, Residential Concrete is writing about people who are making a difference in the concrete housing industry. Through their efforts they are improving the way concrete is used in residential construction and the way consumers are being taught about the values and benefits of concrete. This is at a time when sustainability and building green have suddenly become a national priority. The following individuals have been critical to this movement.
It all began 30 years ago when Brent Anderson created Brent Anderson Associates, Minneapolis, specializing in design, consulting engineering, and structural concrete repair. It was the first of several companies formed to offer contracting services such as foundation construction, waterproofing, and product distribution. He thinks that actually doing installation work helps him to understand issues better when he consults for others.
Anderson has perhaps engineered the steel requirements for more concrete homes than anyone. He provides this service for architects and contractors who install masonry block, insulating concrete forms (ICFs), and removable form above- and below-grade walls. His career started when he became involved in the earth shelter homes movement in the 1970s and 1980s, providing reinforcing steel and waterproofing information. “The idea of concrete homes kind of died away until about 10 years ago when energy prices came down,” he says. “Interest in earth shelters waned and was replaced gradually with above-grade wall building systems.”
As a seminar leader, Anderson has always donated his time to organizations involved in educating contractors. He first appeared on the seminar program for the World of Concrete in 1980 and has been a speaker ever since. The ACI 332 Residential Concrete committee recently published a new code that he helped develop for the past 10 years. Throughout his career, he has provided seminar leadership for the Concrete Foundations Association, the Insulating Concrete Form Association, the National Concrete Masonry Association, and local, state, and national building code officials meetings. He also serves as a consulting engineer through his company, the Global Specialty Group, in the areas of roofing, structural concrete repair, footings and foundations, soil stabilization, waterproofing, and forensic work for litigation.
Anderson promotes the idea that standards and codes should provide realistic requirements for walls so that customers aren't stuck paying for overbuilding and wasted materials.
Signing each e-mail with “Concrete Can Do That,” Kate Driscoll is senior program manager of the Concrete Home Building Council (CHBC)—a high level council of the National Association of Home Builders. The mission of the CHBC is to serve as a resource for the use of all cement-based building materials for the residential and light commercial industries and to promote the idea of building with concrete. Driscoll sells that message to the organization and membership of builders who think much more about building with wood than concrete.
Driscoll says that her work experience has focused on marketing development and strategic planning. Her primary goal for the CHBC over the past year has been on developing the CHBC brand and promoting their training programs for builders. Jeremy Bertrand, director of NAHB's Systems Building Council, says that in their office she is known as the concrete guru and is the “go to” person for staff questions. He adds that the NAHB is becoming more interested in concrete and beginning to recognize its increasing impact on housing.
Driscoll says that the CHBC has limited contact with end-users and owners. Her primary marketing emphasis is directed to builders, encouraging them to consider constructing concrete homes, as well as using cement board siding products, concrete roofing, decorative concrete floors, and concrete patios, walkways, countertops, and driveways.