A visit with Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute 2016-2017 Chairman Matt Lynch

Matt Lynch

As producers saw paver demand pace double-digit gains last year, the Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute launched new programs and initiatives—through committee channels and the ICPI Foundation for Education and Research—to ensure industry momentum carries into 2016 and beyond. A 2016-2019 strategic plan stresses ICPI’s role in industry growth and product quality, plus increasing acceptance of an expanding technical and educational resource offering. A newly adopted vision holds, “ICPI is the authority for concrete pavers, which are universally recognized as the best value for pavement systems.” And, a new mission compels the Institute and members, “To deliver education and technical guidance leading to awareness, acceptance and use of segmental concrete pavement systems in the United States and Canada.”

Interlocking concrete pavement market conditions favoring strategic plan, vision and mission realization are indicated in the ICPI 2016 Industry Sales Survey, to be released this month. New home construction, acceleration in sales of existing homes, a rebound in public section construction spending, and an increase in commercial construction all contributed to strong growth last year for U.S. and Canadian segmental concrete pavement. Survey respondents, including 29 companies representing 141 paver-producing machines, report shipments across all segmental concrete pavement categories up 15.4 percent in the U.S. and 8.9 percent in Canada compared to 2014 figures.

The Industry Survey encompasses segmental paving products including interlocking concrete pavers; permeable interlocking concrete pavers; concrete grid pavers; paving slabs; and, other concrete products, including patio stones. In the principal category of concrete pavers, as defined by ASTM and CSA: U.S. production increased 15.2 percent year-over-year, from 517 million to 595 million square feet, while Canadian output grew 10.6 percent, from 85 million to 94 million square feet. At just over 78 percent of all sales, the survey finds, the residential market continues to drive segmental concrete pavement. Commercial sales, including municipal and industrial projects, claimed a 1 percent share increase from 2014, representing nearly 22 percent of the total 2015 market.

Robust year-over-year sales activity, notes ICPI Chairman and Oldcastle APG Northeast President Matt Lynch, “Demonstrates continued demand for pavement systems with versatile design options, low maintenance and environmental benefits. The construction industry is experiencing an economic recovery that supports the expansion of our market share in residential and commercial applications.”

Among notable residential and commercial market developments is permeable interlocking concrete pavement (PICP). Industry Survey respondents cite significant increases in PICP residential sales, likely reflecting the increasing popularity of municipalities issuing stormwater credits/reimbursements to property owners who reduce their impermeable surfaces. On a related note is the Southeast Atlanta Green Infrastructure Initiative, embodying the largest North American PICP installation of its kind to date. The project will see completion of six miles of permeable paver streets this summer, becoming one for the records. The Atlanta initiative, along with installations of more conventional scale, underscore how PICP continues to be a high growth product as a means to meet national, provincial, state and local regulations to reduce stormwater runoff.


A leading target of technical support outlined in the new ICPI strategic plan and mission statement, PICP is fittingly the subject of a new Institute-assisted American Society of Civil Engineers benchmark reference, Permeable Pavements. “ASCE is an appropriate group in which to develop design standards,” Lynch affirms. “After all, why not get engineers involved in the development of national standards on design methods? This was the case in 2010 when ASCE released a structural design method for interlocking concrete pavements. We expect ASCE to release a new design method for PICP towards the end of 2016. This will be a comprehensive document state transportation and stormwater agencies, as well as municipalities, can reference in their design guidelines for permeable pavements.”

Support for design and engineering references goes hand in hand with ICPI efforts to secure PICP in federally funded transportation work. The Institute pursued inclusion of permeable pavements for the first time in federal transportation policy within MAP-21, which carried the federal highway program from 2013-2015. Toward fiscal year 2017, the House Appropriations Committee recently adopted ICPI-advanced language in its version of the Transportation and Housing and Urban (THUD) Development Bill, which will fund the Federal Highway Administration. It mirrors language the Senate Appropriations Committee adopted in the upper chamber’s version of the THUD Bill:

Permeable Pavements. The Committee encourages the [Transportation] Secretary to accelerate research, demonstration, and deployment for permeable pavements to achieve flood mitigation, pollutant reduction, stormwater runoff reduction and conservation. Projects may include roadway shoulder load testing and documenting life-cycle cost efficiency.

The continuity has important procedural significance, ICPI notes: Because the same language is in both bills, there is a virtual certainty it will be retained in the final vehicle funding FY2017 federal programs.

“The U.S. seems poised to ramp up construction on transportation facilities, and we want to position our industry to have an attractive portion of that market,” said Lynch, as the THUD Appropriations Bill took shape this spring. “We want to attract all the attention we can, and encouraged FHWA to help us reduce barriers to adoption in specifying permeable pavements on not only mass transit projects, but roadway shoulders as well.”

“This is one of ICPI’s chief goals in accessing government policy to drive expansion of use for PICP,” added ICPI Executive Director Charles McGrath, CAE. “The federal government is in a position to lead on this matter, particularly in transportation. And specifically, we need more research and demonstration projects to get municipalities to adopt permeable pavement.”

On the other side of government affairs activities—regulations—ICPI recently joined 22 other construction industry trade associations in filing a U.S. Court of Appeals petition to challenge the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s final respirable crystalline silica rule. Construction Industry Safety Coalition (CISC) members share OSHA’s goal of reducing silica exposure on construction worksites but have significant concerns about whether the agency’s rule is technically feasible—particularly the final permissible exposure limit. CISC will continue to work with members on ensuring workers are fully protected from plant and worksite safety and health hazards.


ICPI’s strategic plan focuses on expanding the commercial segmental concrete pavement market as designers and project owners look to the Institute for technical support. Members and staff plan to continue in 2016 a range of activities from recent years, including direct support to provincial, state and municipal agencies in developing permeable pavement design guidelines. Agencies supported with technical information and guidance to date have included the FHWA, Federal Aviation Administration, Caltrans, District of Columbia Department of Transportation, Ontario Ministry of Transportation, plus Denver Urban Drainage and Flood Control District.

Agency representatives, along with civil and geotechnical engineers, consultants and contractors attended spring 2016 programs in Irvine and Berkeley, Calif. Hosted by 11 paver producers, the seven-hour seminars offered continuing education credits from ICPI plus American Institute of Architects and American Society of Landscape Architects, along with professional development hours. Presenters included pavement engineer David Hein, P.E. of Applied Research Associates, Inc. and ICPI Technical Director David Smith. Presentations covered a) site selection, including a software tool for ranking site suitability for PICP, structural design, hydrologic sizing, construction specifications and methods, and maintenance; and, b) use of the Permeable Design Pro software program to determine subbase thicknesses for water storage, infiltration and traffic load. Dr. David Jones of the University of California Pavement Research Center, Davis, examined how PICP full-scale load testing in 2014 led to validation of ICPI design tables for determining subbase thickness.

The Berkeley presentation included a visit to nearby Allston Way, California’s first publicly-owned PICP. Don Irby, PE, associate civil engineer with the City of Berkeley Public Works Department, explained how the 27,000-sq.-ft. project was developed, constructed and maintained.

ICPI plans to continue working with cities and regions in both Canada and the U.S. to educate municipalities and departments of transportation on industry best practices. Augmenting in-person presentations, the Institute is reviewing target topics for a rapidly growing webinar series, which in the past year has included such themes as “Long-Term Performance of Permeable Interlocking Pavements,” “Comparing PICP to Other Pavements,” “Research and Innovations in Segmental Concrete Pavements,” and “Starting and Maintaining a Hardscape Maintenance Business.”


As members convened in Orlando earlier this year for the ICPI Annual Meeting, the ICPI Foundation for Education and Research exceeded by more than $200,000 its total endowment goal of $5 million in pledges. The Foundation is guided by a new Board of Trustees mission statement: “To fund targeted educational and research programs and industry tools that will benefit the segmental concrete paver industry, in line with the strategic goals of ICPI, in a financially sustainable way.”

Newest on the project roster, the ICPI Foundation is funding a two-year, $80,000 PICP maintenance research investigation at the University of Toronto, targeting best management practices for two operational scenarios: winter operations and hydraulic rejuvenation. It joins a series of projects covered under funding continuing in 2016:

  • Segmental Paving Slab Modeling/Structural Analysis. Concrete paving slabs are units that require two or more hands to install, and are seeing increased use in residential, commercial and municipal applications—especially with some exposure to vehicular traffic. Applied Research Associates has developed pavement thickness recommendations for paving slabs, thin paving units and paving planks; they address various bedding, base and soil types. Resulting charts will be included in an ICPI Tech Spec.
  • University of California, Davis PICP Full-Scale, Accelerated Load Tests. A final report posted on includes PICP subbase thickness design charts validating those ICPI published in 2011 and based on the AASHTO 1993 flexible pavement design method. UC Davis design charts provide thinner and more economical subbases in semi-arid climates since thicknesses are determined on the number of water-bearing days. After a July 2015 report presentation, Caltrans agreed to include UC Davis design charts in its Pervious Pavements Design Guide. The charts are in the draft ASCE PICP national design standard expected in 2016.
  • North Carolina State University PICP Monitoring. Multiple studies have shown PICP is an effective tool to improve stormwater runoff hydrology and water quality, even when sited over high infiltration soils. This project weighs PICP efficacy over nearly impermeable soils (approximately 0.01 in./hour or 0.254 mm/hour).
  • Landscape Architecture Foundation grants. Ten university landscape architecture programs have received funds covering landscape performance course and class/studio development. This endeavor accelerates awareness and practice of evaluating landscape design performance—an approach practitioners are increasingly adopting in sales and business development.
  • Landscape Architecture Foundation Landscape Performance Series Website. A three-year grant supports expansion of the site to include information on measuring segmental pavement performance. This includes providing case study ideas, curating case study collections, providing input on social media and blogs, and online learning module development.
  • University of Missouri PICP Hydraulics Research. Graduate students have designed and built a laboratory flow testing device to measure PICP horizontal inflow and overflow. Numerous tests have been conducted on pavement specimens with 6-, 10- and 12.5-mm joints plus No. 8 and 9 jointing aggregates at various slopes. Testing included clogging studies with high concentrations of total suspended solids. Deliverables include an Excel tool that determines the hydraulic characteristics a site can attain. Conclusions reframe PICP performance in terms of joint widths and aggregate sizes.

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2016-2017 CHAIRMAN



Oldcastle APG Northeast Region

Red Bank, New Jersey




President and COO

Mutual Materials

Bellevue, Washington




Director of Engineering Products

Pavestone Co.

Fairhope, Alabama

32 Atlanta32 ASCE
Oldcastle APG is supplying Belgard permeable interlocking concrete pavers for the Southeast Atlanta Green Infrastructure Intitiative, whose six miles of streets are scheduled for completion this summer. The landmark project dovetails a major resource to which ICPI contributed: the 260-page Permeable Pavements, published in late 2015 by the American Society of Civil Engineers.