General Shale imparts color, texture variety in new stone and brick products

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Johnson City, Tenn.-based General Shale enters 2016 with new concrete and clay masonry selections and colors—providing builders, architects and design professionals a wide range of hue, texture and size combinations for meeting current residential and commercial building trends.

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Oldcastle Architectural harmonizes block, stone, bagged product branding

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The top gun in concrete block and stone veneer has unveiled a brand to make its vast portfolio of innovative masonry products and services easier to identify, select and order. Echelon Masonry will build on Oldcastle Architectural’s track record of continuous innovation in conventional or premium architectural block; unit color variety; lightweight or full depth veneer stone; high performance wall systems; and, products with advanced environmental or acoustical performance.

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Besser teams with ‘bio-enhanced concrete’ developer on production technology

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Through an agreement formalized last month, Besser Co. and Tel Aviv-based ECOncrete Tech Ltd. envision a commercial-scale production system in which proprietary additives and mix designs yield dry cast concrete whose porosity and chemistry foster plant growth. Research has demonstrated how concrete bearing ECOncrete’s mix technology can reduce the ecological footprint of urban and coastal infrastructure and mitigate climate change impacts.

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Headwaters to integrate fly ash-based CalStar process into Block Group

Sources: Headwaters Inc., South Jordan, Utah; CP staff

Headwaters has acquired the fly ash-centered technology of recently liquidated brick, paver and masonry trim operator CalStar Products. The intellectual property will be integrated into the Block Group, with concrete masonry production and distribution in Texas and Louisiana, through Headwaters Construction Materials, the leader in ASTM C618 fly ash processing and marketing.

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Contractors ramp up headcounts anticipating private, public market growth

Seventy-one percent of construction firms plan to expand their payrolls in 2016 as contractors expect increased activity in a range of public and private market segments, according to results of an Associated General Contractors of America and Sage Construction & Real Estate survey. Conducted as part of AGC’s “The Challenges Facing a Growing Industry: The 2016 Construction Industry Hiring and Business Outlook,” the survey indicates contractors foresee a positive year despite tight labor conditions, regulatory burdens, and information technology security challenges.

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EPA pegs five-year wastewater infrastructure investment tab

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A survey of current or target projects that the Environmental Protection Agency conducted with states and territories finds that $271 billion is needed over the next five years to maintain and improve the nation’s wastewater infrastructure. Investment areas or subjects include the pipes that carry wastewater to treatment plants, technology that treats the water, and methods for managing stormwater runoff.

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First code improvements adopted based on Feds’ Joplin tornado study

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Protecting schools and their associated high-occupancy buildings from violent tornadoes is the goal of the first approved building code changes based on recommendations from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) technical investigation into the impacts of the May 2011 tornado that devestated Joplin, Mo.

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