On the heels of its 2005 diamond anniversary, National Ready Mixed Concrete Association (NRMCA) is achieving major progress this year promoting performance-based
On the heels of its 2005 diamond anniversary, National Ready Mixed Concrete Association (NRMCA) is achieving major progress this year promoting performance-based specifications among concrete practitioners nationwide. As part of the association’s Prescription-to-Performance (P2P) initiative, the NRMCA P2P Steering Committee was launched in October 2002 with the aim of encouraging performance-based specifications in ready mixed applications as an alternative to existing prescriptive specs, while fostering innovation and new technology.
Two new products released in January will further advance the P2P effort. That step forward will happen under the watch of 2006 NRMCA Chairman Peter Brewin, president, Transit Mix Concrete & Materials Co., division of Trinity Industries, Inc., Dallas.
P2P has the ability to revolutionize the industry, Brewin affirms. Just this January, the foundation issued two new studies Û significant, technical pieces of work that will support P2P efforts.
The P2P movement received a significant boost when NRMCA’s ally, the RMC Research Foundation, released two important research documents. The first, titled Preparation of a Performance-based Specification for Cast-in-Place Concrete, includes a comprehensive review of worldwide performance-based specifications and recommendations for transitioning the industry toward their use.
The second, an Experimental Case Study Demonstrating Advantages of Performance Specifications, presents a side-by-side comparison of prescriptive and performance-based concrete mixtures. The lab-based experimental case study includes technical data supporting code and specification changes and documents a comparison of prescriptive and performance-based mixes for two types of applications Û warehouse floors and bridges. Fresh and hardened concrete properties are quantified and contrasted to demonstrate the benefits of concrete mixtures designed to meet performance-based specifications. In addition, the study evaluates ACI 318 Building Code durability provisions.
Yet, P2P is not an attempt to remove all prescriptive specifications, NRMCA affirms; its intent is rather to provide an option, so performance specs are universally available, thereby letting market forces determine which specification option Û prescription or performance Û is used.
SPRINGBOARD TO THE FUTURE
The milestone of NRMCA’s 75th anniversary in 2005 offered an occasion to relaunch the association with a new logo, renewed focus, new publications, redesigned web site, and reinvigorated staff. Our anniversary was an excellent event, but more importantly, it highlighted the success that NRMCA has had in the last 10 years, Brewin tells Concrete Products. We reviewed our history, but we also looked ahead at our agenda, which is really impressive. We have quite a story to tell.
The association is currently as strong as it’s ever been, Brewin contends. As our association grows, we maintain good governance with the members and professional staff, he says. All that is in place, with a very strong budget. There were times past when the resources to fund programs weren’t available. We’re in a much different situation now, growing with good funding and a superb professional management staff.
During his tenure, Brewin plans to continue the association partnering that NRMCA has fostered in recent years to great advantage. I want to continue in the steps of past chairmen, focusing on keeping the association strong and viable, while continuing to partner with the Portland Cement Association [PCA] and American Concrete Pavement Association [ACPA], he asserts. NRMCA’s State Affiliate Program, launched in 2005, has expanded our cooperation and partnership with state and regional associations across the U.S., and I will work to foster these relationships as well, Brewin adds. We’re in a unique position where these associations are recognizing how much we have in common, and how all the initiatives we are pursuing aid our mutual interests.
Primary among shared interests are promotion and advocacy, Brewin tells Concrete Products. There’s a strong opportunity to focus our collective energies in promotion, he says. Our San Antonio convention in April will be co-located with PCA’s board meeting, and our next annual meeting also will be co-located with PCA. I want to work more closely with other concrete material associations to promote and defend our agenda.
Providing further value for its producer members, the association has initiated a new program that it hopes will effectively track concrete production across the country. Starting in 2006, concrete producers located in the Atlanta, Chicago and Denver metropolitan areas are invited to participate in a pilot program measuring ready mixed shipments.
The program is open to all producers operating in 53 counties that comprise the three Metropolitan Statistical Areas, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau. On a quarterly basis, participants will complete an electronic survey and receive a customized report providing details of the company’s share of total concrete production and specific application categories or mix types, including integrally colored, self-consolidating, fiber-reinforced, pervious pavement, and flowable fill.
FOUNDATION OF SUCCESS
The RMC Research Foundation is critical to the success of NRMCA programs, Brewin emphasizes. Headed by Executive Director Julie Luther, an NRMCA veteran, and controlled by an industry star-studded board of trustees chaired by Cemex Regional Vice President Christopher Crouch, the foundation’s mission is to support research and educational programs that will advance and improve the concrete industry. Nearly $500,000 was spent on foundation research in 2005; and, the foundation’s endowment goal is $20 million, which will provide $1 million in program funding annually in perpetuity.
It speaks volumes for the commitment of the industry to advancing the agenda of the association, Brewin notes. The foundation endowment has given us tremendous support for education and research. In earlier years, we would have great ideas, but no money: the foundation has changed all that.
Last July, the RMC Research Foundation launched a completely revised website. Though the web address remains unchanged (www.rmc-foundation.org), the revised site offers more extensive information, including a variety of downloads such as research summaries and P2P products. Now available as well is the option of contributing to the foundation or making a pledge payment with a credit card online over a secure network.
CIM SPREADS TO ASU
The RMC Research Foundation also supports educational programs that broaden the knowledge base of the industry’s professionals. Accordingly, the Concrete Industry Management (CIM) undergraduate degree program at Middle Tennessee State University is one of the most important and practical educational initiatives supported by the foundation.
The CIM program is an undergraduate degree curriculum uniquely designed to prepare college students for a career in concrete industry management. At MTSU, a CIM Patrons group has facilitated student travel to industry events through a foundation grant supporting the CIM program, which also funds student scholarships and further development of the CIM undergraduate curriculum. Currently, MTSU CIM is working toward development of a graduate-level CIM program.
The expansion of the CIM curriculum last fall to Arizona State University-Tempe was an occasion for great excitement at NRMCA and the foundation. The Arizona CIM program comprises part of ASU’s nationally recognized construction management program at its Del E. Webb School of Construction.
One of the strongest examples of how industry support is returning great dividends to the industry is the CIM program, Brewin observes. We have just launched another curriculum at ASU and the funding is in place. A great group of local supporters, such as Rinker, Cemex, Vulcan, Hansen, and Maricopa Ready Mix, have taken the lead with the backing of the foundation. They have taken a patron’s role in the local area to support this program.
Additionally, negotiations are underway to expand CIM to California. We have another program on the way at California State University at Chico in northern California, Brewin reports. Those programs are being launched at this time, and we hope to have three universities participating.
Other projects have included the development of training videos, courses and certification programs, as well as the establishment of the RMC Research Foundation Education Center, an advanced training facility located near NRMCA offices in Silver Spring, Md.
GRAY, YET GREEN
Even When it’s Gray, Concrete is Green is the theme highlighting NRMCA’s efforts to promote concrete’s environmentally friendly features, making it the building material of choice for environmentally sustainable construction. Sustainability drives the adoption of LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) building specifications by a growing number of government agencies and private developers. The Ready Mixed Concrete Industry LEED Reference Guide, released in October by the RMC Research Foundation, provides stakeholders an understanding of the LEED program and identifies where ready mixed can be applied in a project to earn LEED points. The guide can be downloaded free of charge in pdf format from NRMCA’s web site; printed versions are available for a moderate fee.
The foundation has issued a LEED information book, Brewin notes. There is no question that the association has taken a big step toward educating its members in the use of ready mixed to achieve LEED ratings. We’re working hard as an association to get this material into the hands of our members so they can take advantage of LEED credits.
In 2005, NRMCA also launched a web site, www.GreenRooftops.org, describing how green roof tops built on cost-effective waterproof concrete provide insulation to reduce building energy use, minimize heat-island effects, reduce stormwater runoff by absorbing rain, and counter air pollution by processing airborne toxins and reoxygenating the air.
Concrete’s lighter color and high albedo (degree of reflectance) also reduce heat-island effects in urban areas, decreasing electricity required for cooling and nighttime lighting. As concrete parking provides three times the reflectivity of asphalt, less lighting potentially reduces costs by up to 30 percent. A reflective surface, furthermore, means brighter and safer surroundings for pedestrians and drivers.
Because post-industrial by-products from manufacturing and power plants can be used in its production, concrete also supports recycling, thereby reducing landfill needs. Its service life is measured in decades, NRMCA asserts, but when the end comes, concrete can be crushed and recycled as a high-quality aggregate for hundreds of applications.
PERVIOUS PAVEMENT PROMOTION
Targeting municipal applications, NRMCA continues to emphasize the benefits of pervious pavements, which help collect storm water and enhance aquifer recharge or drainage to fresh water systems. Conventional impervious pavements, particularly parking lots and streets, collect oil, anti-freeze and other automobile fluids that can be washed into streams, lakes and oceans during rainy weather; by contrast, NRMCA explains, pervious concrete is a performance-engineered slab with a 15-30 percent void system that allows rainwater to percolate through. When pervious concrete is used for parking areas, streets, plazas and walkways, it minimizes runoff of stormwater to surrounding streams and lakes, allowing for natural filtration to recharge local groundwater supplies.
In addition, pervious concrete can reduce the need for expensive stormwater drainage and wet pond detention/retention systems, allowing for more effective land use. Although pervious concrete has been used in some localities for decades, recent interest in green building and U.S. EPA recognition of pervious pavements as a best practice for stormwater management have heightened interest in the material throughout North America, NRMCA says.
In December, the association announced a 2006 Concrete Technology Forum: Focus on Pervious Concrete, scheduled for May 24-25 at the Renaissance Nashville Hotel. A total of 12 technical sessions will be offered during the event, with 30 presentations from nationally renowned researchers and practitioners. The technical sessions will present innovative developments, new construction techniques, and product formulations that optimize performance of pervious concrete.
Summer 2006 will bring several seminars on pervious concrete pavement offered by NRMCA and PCA in conjunction with a property development trade journal. The one-day seminars are scheduled for Denver on July 10, Sacramento on July 12, and Los Angeles on July 13. Additional cities and dates are being planned for later in 2006.
STANDING UP TO STORMS
Wind-resistant residential, industrial and commercial buildings in hurricane-prone areas have been identified by NRMCA as a promising growth opportunity for concrete. To that end, NRMCA has joined with other concrete industry associations to offer a one-day seminar, Storm-Resistant Concrete Building Systems. Three locations in the Gulf Coast region will host the event in early spring: Hattiesburg, Miss., on April 11; Baton Rouge, La., on April 12; and, Mobile, Ala., on April 13. Topics covered during the seminar include hurricane forces and hurricane-resistant construction, hurricane-zone building code requirements, concrete masonry construction, precast systems, tilt-up concrete construction, removable forming systems and insulating concrete forms.
NRMCA seeks to underscore the fact that concrete has been long recognized as the material of choice for resisting high winds, flying debris, and storm surge associated with hurricanes and tornadoes. The seminars will demonstrate how concrete building systems can be used to construct storm-resistant homes and buildings.
The effect of hurricanes, high winds and flooding on various building systems will be assessed during a forensic study launched in October 2005 by the RMC Research Foundation. The program will include an evaluation of building structures and codes along Mississippi’s Gulf Coast region and their impact on minimizing or abetting structural damage due to weather-related incidents. The foundation and the Mississippi Concrete Industries Association working with Mississippi State University’s civil engineering department will perform the forensic examination of building structures, plus code evaluations, in an effort ultimately to help rebuild areas devastated by recent hurricane activity and ensure public safety in the midst of future turbulence.
After Hurricane Andrew hit south Florida in 1992, a similar forensic study benefitted the region in identifying changes in building codes that could reduce the damaging effects of future storms, notes then-RMC Research Foundation chairman Hardy Johnson, a Florida resident. This study of Mississippi’s Gulf Coast region will give building officials and specifiers the information they need to ensure that new buildings Û both commercial and residential Û will be less susceptible to the threat posed by natural disasters.
TRANSIT MIX CONCRETE
Founded in 1939, Transit Mix Concrete and Materials Co. Û now a unit of Trinity Industries Û has become one of the industry’s largest ready mixed suppliers. It operates over 100 concrete facilities, plus nine portable plants, in Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas. A 650-plus mixer truck fleet provides considerable flexibility in meeting customer needs, great and small.
Transit Mix has extensive experience in the production of mixes for commercial, industrial, residential and government projects. Relying on advanced quality control capabilities, it easily meets or exceeds product specs. Decades of experience and current technology enable delivery of any type of concrete a project demands. Besides conventional concrete, the company produces lightweight, high strength, and slipform paving mixes. Its Smoothcrete products enhance the ease with which concrete can be finished, significantly reducing tool and equipment maintenance and contributing to a job’s bottom line.
Transit Mix also is promoting flowable backfill, an easy-to-handle mixture of cement, fly ash and water that will not settle. Strengths ranging from 50 to 150 psi are achieved without dumping, lifting, spreading or tamping. Suitable for sewer and utility trenches, building excavations and retaining walls, flowable backfill also can be used as structural fill for footings, foundations and pipe bedding. Environmental remediation jobs, such as abandoned underground storage tanks, sewers, and manholes, can be filled safely and easily with the material.
Additionally, the Trinity Materials division has 14 mining operations in Texas and Louisiana, producing sand, gravel, and limestone base. Encompassing six locations, the new Trinity Aggregate Distribution division is positioning Transit Mix as a major player in material distribution. Û www.transitmixconcrete.com.
NATIONAL READY MIXED CONCRETE ASSOCIATION
Transit Mix Concrete & Materials Co., Division of Trinity Industries Dallas, Texas
IMMEDIATE PAST CHAIRMAN (2005)
Ritchie Companies (Lafarge North America) Wichita, Kansas
INCOMING CHAIR (2007)
Capital Concrete, Inc. Norfolk, Virginia
The National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, founded in 1930, is the leading industry advocate. To ensure ready mixed concrete is the building material of choice, NRMCA supports continued expansion and improvement of the industry through leadership, advocacy, professional development, promotion and partnering.
Marking its 75th anniversary last year, NRMCA works through partnerships with state associations on issues such as promotion and regulatory concerns. It thereby extends the reach of state groups to a national level.
NRMCA’s committees include Government Affairs, Operations, Environment and Safety, Education, Membership, Promotion, Business Administration, Research, Engineering and Standards, Information Technology, Vision Strategic Planning Committee, Nominating Committee, Audit and Finance Committee, and the Construction Industry Alliances Committee. These committees organize a host of conferences and education courses across the calendar.
NRMCA is also a principal sponsor of the ConExpo-Con/Agg exposition, which is staged every three years at the Las Vegas Convention Center and features upwards of 2 million net square feet of exhibits.
Robert Garbini, P.E., is NRMCA president. The association can be reached through a relaunched web site, www.nrmca.org, or at NRMCA, 900 Spring St., Silver Spring, MD 20910; 301/587-1400, 888-84NRMCA; 301/585-4219 (fax); or e-mail: [email protected]