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With the tailwind of a home building rebound from low 2012 base levels, U.S. demand for landscaping products is projected to grow 6.9 percent per year through 2017.

ASTM International Committee C27 on Precast Concrete Products’ WK38192, Specification for Wet-Cast Precast Modular Block Retaining Wall Units, is progressing under Subcommittee C27.20 on Architectural and Structural Products. It will cover units used in gravity and mechanically stabilized earth retaining wall applications—from residential to large-scale commercial site development projects, plus public agency transportation and waterways.

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has withdrawn its proposed “Interpretation of OSHA's Provisions for Feasible Administrative or Engineering Controls of Occupational Noise.” Published Oct. 19, 2010 in the Federal Register, it would have clarified the term “feasible administrative or engineering controls” as used in OSHA's noise standard.

The 11th Street Pilot Project recently brought downtown St. Louis an urban rain garden, the market’s first design-build project of its kind. Built with the proprietary Freno Modular Rain Garden System, the precast concrete rain garden is a shallow depression filled with water-prone plants in a prescribed profile of soil, sand, and aggregates. The structure uses the technique of bio-retention to help manage stormwater by capturing runoff, storing it briefly, and filtering out pollutants through natural processes.

On the heels of a major new precast/prestressed operation in Bartow, Fla., Metromont has taken a majority interest in West Palm Beach-based Royal Concrete Concepts (RCC), a modular precast systems specialist. “The investment allows us to further diversify our business with additional building systems and grow in other market segments,” says Metromont CEO Rick Pennell, adding that one of the biggest draws to RCC is its “management team, passion, and ability to execute. This partnership will strengthen both companies. We will continue to offer safe, attractive and energy-efficient building solutions that combine speed and quality construction with the capacity to endure.”