Colas subsidiary settles case of sub-spec mixes for Navy airfields

A Middle East sister operation of New Jersey-based aggregate, asphalt and ready mixed producer Colas USA has agreed to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by delivering substandard concrete to U.S. Navy airfields in the Republic of Djibouti, nestled between Ethiopia and the strait linking the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. Settlements with the Department of Justice will sunset a seven-year-old case that commenced after Colas Djibouti SARL informed the Department of Defense that materials supplied to U.S. Navy Facilities Engineering projects did not meet contract specifications.

The $3.9 million civil settlement resolves allegations that Colas Djibouti knowingly provided contractually noncompliant concrete that did not meet gradation requirements, contained excessive alkali-silica reactive material, and exhibited elevated chloride content. Such conditions have the potential to promote early-age cracking, surface defects, and embedded steel corrosion, Justice officials contend, and could significantly impair the long-term durability of concrete on U.S. military bases.

“Wherever our Navy goes, we go. We will continue to unwaveringly protect our American warfighters from fraud, graft and corruption as they protect us from enemies foreign and domestic,” says U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California Robert Brewer, who announced a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) concurrent to the civil settlement. It calls for Colas Djibouti to admit to the underlying facts and accept responsibility to a one-count information for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and pay a $12,542,002 monetary penalty, comprised of a fine, forfeiture, and restitution. The civil settlement will credit $1,957,998 of Colas Djibouti’s payment under the DPA, and require an additional payment of $1,957,998.

“Government contractors that supply substandard materials to our armed forces not only cheat the American taxpayers but also impose added costs and burdens on the military,” contends DOJ Civil Division Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian Boynton. “The settlement demonstrates our commitment to ensure that those who do business with the government comply with their contractual obligations.”

ASTM International Committee C09 on Concrete and Concrete Aggregates invites papers for the Symposium on Reactivity Tests for Cement-Based Materials – From Lab Testing to Standards and Specifications, scheduled December 5 amid standards development meetings at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis. Organizers aim to a) provide a forum for experts to discuss standardization and the use of reactivity/screening testing to differentiate supplementary cementitious materials and inert materials for use in concrete; and, b) move tests from the lab to standards and specifications. Candidate symposium topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Recent advances in reactivity testing for SCM;
  • Determining links between reactivity testing outputs and concrete properties;
  • Impediments to adoption of reactivity tests in standards and specifications;
  • Strength activity testing: How to improve a flawed test;
  • Reactivity test interpretation using modeling approaches; and,
  • Examples and case studies of application of reactivity testing approaches in large-scale applications.

To participate in the symposium, authors must complete by June 18 the Abstract Submittal Form at Additional details on the program can be obtained from co-chairs Prannoy Suraneni ([email protected]) or Lisa Burris ([email protected]).