The Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute elected new directors during its 2019 convention: Matt Ballain, Coreslab Structures; Jenny Frost, Wells Concrete; Harry Gleich, Metromont Corp.; Matt Graf, International Concrete Products; Chris Mosley, Consulting Engineers Group; Bob Pabst, High Concrete Group; Jay Stracener, Precast Erectors; and, Randy Wilson, Meridian Brick.

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Oldcastle Infrastructure, Atlanta, has grown a market footprint established through one of its inaugural businesses, Utility Vault, by acquiring Quality Concrete Products of Mukilteo, Wash. The producer serves the greater Seattle market with manhole, catch basin and companion drainage structure offerings. They complement output from Oldcastle Infrastructure plants in Auburn and Spokane, Wash., and expand a customer base in the Puget Sound region, a key growth area.

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Concrete decks world’s tallest wood building

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The 280-ft. (85.4-meter) Mjösa Tower in Brumunddal, Norway, officially opened on the Ides of March, becoming the global height record holder for wood building. The 18-floor development includes private residences, a hotel and commercial office space. The structure and façade are primarily of wood construction. The frame consists of glulam columns, beams and diagonal members, while floors on the first 10 levels comprise prefabricated wooden elements, including Kerto LVL (laminated veneer lumber) from Finland’s Metsä Wood. Decks for the upper eight levels are concrete, which stabilizes the structure and curtails sway. Metsä Wood promotes Kerto LVL and other engineered lumber globally; subsidiary Metsä Wood USA Inc. is based in Norwalk, Conn.

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Charah sites GGBF slag grinding mill at Houston terminal

Kentucky-based Charah Solutions, Inc. will open a second facility using new grinding technologies for finishing granulated blast furnace slag as a supplementary cementitious material. Scheduled to be fully operational in the third quarter of 2019, the facility is located within Watco’s Greens Port Industrial Terminal (GPIT) on the Houston Ship Channel, and accessible by ship, truck and rail. It will deploy processing methods developed by SCB International, which Charah acquired last year and premiered at a New York terminal.

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GCP answers investor with stockholder rights plan

The board of GCP Applied Technologies Inc., Cambridge, Mass., has adopted a stockholder rights plan and declared a dividend distribution of one preferred share purchase right on each outstanding share of company common stock. The move responds to large blocks of shares changing hands during the first quarter, netting one New York hedge fund sponsor, 40 North Management LLC, a 24.6 percent ownership stake.

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Command Alkon’s Ken Robinson, 1934-2019

Sources: Command Alkon, Birmingham, Ala.; The Birmingham News

Command Alkon has announced the late-April passing of co-founder and former executive chairman Kenneth G. Robinson II, honoring him as “an extraordinarily talented and accomplished entrepreneur” whose “belief in people being instrumental to the company’s success was recognized in his compassion for the business and its employees, together steering it through shared challenges and accomplishments.”

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Sustained workforce imbalances evident in commercial project index


Surveys behind the Q1 2019 USG + U.S. Chamber of Commerce Commercial Construction Index find that the labor shortage continues to pose major challenges to the industry, causing contractors to ask skilled workers to do more work (81 percent of respondents), struggle to meet deadlines (70 percent), increase costs for new work (63 percent), and reject new projects (40 percent).

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Shielding concrete: First line of defense against electromagnetic pulse

Miami-based Omni-Threat Structures (OTS) has developed an electromagnetic shielding concrete wall as part of a broader strategy to mitigate threats to utility and other infrastructure sectors. The OTS Intentional Electromagnetic Interference (IEMI) provides vital protection against weapons as well as ballistic/kinetic and blast attacks, prospects for which are fueling global concerns among facility and equipment owners.

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Industrial engineers craft first plant-ready 3D concrete printer

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Robotics and manufacturing automation specialist USABotics cites commercial debut of 3D concrete printing equipment in the North American market through a new entity, MudBots, and charter model. The MudBots 664 Concrete Printer consists of a rectangular, gantry-like CNC (computer numerical control) table whose robotic devices operate on XYZ axes to place low slump mixes in cord-like layers or beads through round nozzles—at rates up to 340 inches per minute.

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3D concrete printer nears commercialization via Texas housing plan

Vulcan concept

A robotics-savvy, 3D concrete printing equipment developer eyeing affordable housing solutions will deploy its first commercial unit in partnership with a fellow Austin, Texas, business and like-minded real estate developer. Against the backdrop of last month’s 2019 South by Southwest Conference and Festivals (SXSW), Icon and Cielo Property Group announced commissioning of a printer for rapid delivery of modest (< 1,000 sq. ft.) but robust residences in the Texas capital city—one of the country’s hottest housing markets.

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