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Industry tackles incendiary silica rule

In a unified front, concrete, cement and aggregate interests question the scientific basis, worker benefit claims, enforcement feasibility and compliance costs at the heart of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking On Occupational Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica.

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To reap efficiency or sow fragmentation

Impending ownership changes of two concrete and cement businesses, one each side of the Atlantic, remind us how reasonably regulated free markets overwhelmingly trump those hamstrung by heavy-handed government agencies. Consider the investor-sanctioned Martin Marietta Materials–Texas Industries merger versus the British government-ordered creation of a portland cement, GGBF slag and ready mixed producer from the sale of existing players’ assets. The driving forces behind the transactions are the embrace or rejection of realities of a market rewarding efficiency versus fragmentation.

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Argos Proceeds On Cemex-Blazed Trail

Merger and acquisition activity is off to a rapid clip in 2014, as a second year of broad-based housing starts kicks in, construction materials production assets recover from recession-skewed valuations, and major domestic and international operators stake claim to new markets, or rethink their scope.

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CSHub Investments’ Ripple Effect

A new roadmap shows how European Union cement interests, with much customer assistance, can clip carbon dioxide output from 1990 levels by 80 percent at mid-century. The ambitious goal fits the European Cement Association, based in Brussels—ground zero of carbon trading schemes, voluntary initiatives and regulatory pursuits aimed at net CO2 emissions reduction across the business and consumer landscape. It hinges on improvements in fuel- and energy-intensive cement milling, coupled with promotion of the energy or fuel efficiency inherent in concrete building and transportation slabs or structures.

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New LEED version challenges entire building, construction supply chain

The U.S. Green Building Council points to transparency as a guiding principle of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating program’s latest version. Unveiled at the 2013 Greenbuild International Conference and Expo last month in Philadelphia, LEED v4 responds to the increasing recognition of life cycle energy consumption by addressing buildings’ operating phases, but keeps provisions where concrete can contribute to credits on a scorecard for Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum level certification.

Read more: New LEED version challenges entire building, construction supply chain