General Shale-Meridian order serves as latest case of antitrust law limits

By Don Marsh The U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division ordered General Shale and Meridian Brick LLC to divest three plants, 14 showrooms and distribution yards, plus six mines in a proposed settlement of an antitrust lawsuit challenging the producers’ merger, consummated early last month. The agency filed the settlement and suit-triggering complaint in the U.S. District Court for the…

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Bid-rigging contractor discovers law federal agencies choose to enforce

By Don Marsh In an age of opponent cancellation and selective federal, state or local law enforcement, a U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) plea agreement with an employee of a contractor performing concrete work for Minnesota municipalities offers two takeaways. First, despite Herculean efforts, the current White House has some unfinished business in its quest to erase all things Donald…

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Sound carbon guidance

By Don Marsh An energy market-driven nonprofit, RMI, offers credible perspective in its just-released Concrete Solutions Guide, geared to construction interests taking stock of the carbon dioxide emissions factor behind their project materials, products and methods. Posted at www.rmi.org, the document presents specific opportunities for “a nearly ubiquitous material with a sizable climate impact” and expands on the need to…

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Industry prepped for Buy Clean era

BY DON MARSH A Carbon Leadership Forum team updates us this month on the trajectory of procurement policy compelling suppliers or contractors to include environmental product declarations (EPDs) in public building and infrastructure project bids. Laws or pending legislation reference declarations abiding International Organization for Standardization terms, which strive for data uniformity and apples to apples comparison of material or…

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Vulcan-U.S. Concrete, concurrent deals speak to underlying industry strengths

U.S. Concrete will move Vulcan into the U.S. ready mixed production elite, joining Cemex USA, CRH Americas Materials and Martin Marietta. U.S. Concrete reported 2020 deliveries of 8.2 million yd. from 150 operations in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington D.C., Texas, northern California and the Virgin Islands. Vulcan dispatched 2.9 million yd. of ready mixed in 2020 from…

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Eagle Materials earns last laugh on Monday morning quarterback

Two years ago we saw Dallas-based Eagle Materials Inc., slightly reeling from a fracking sand production play, heed an activist investor’s proposal for a Light Materials (wallboard, paperboard) and Heavy Materials (cement, aggregates, concrete) business split. The action had the aura of an opportunistic New Yorker swaggering into Texas to shed light on running a construction materials business.  Eagle Materials…

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Precast Show and World of Concrete: Productive industry exercises resume

The fluidity of public health and travel advisories from the White House to state houses to city halls forced Precast Show and World of Concrete organizers to promote their postponed events with pending labels. Backed with Operation Warp Speed vaccine development dividends, sound minded authorities have enabled the National Precast Concrete Association and Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute to stage the Precast…

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Consensus inconveniences irk climate crowd

Increasing awareness of residential and commercial buildings’ contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions levels, mainly through electricity or direct fossil fuel consumption, is leading to more scrutiny of wall and roof system energy efficiency. The International Code Council Board of Directors has responded with “Leading the Way to Energy Efficiency: A Path Forward on Energy and Sustainability to Confront a…

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Quikrete’s biggest, best bet yet: Forterra

Quikrete Holdings Inc. continues one of the most impressive deal making streaks to date for a private North American construction materials player. After making a name in hardware stores and lumberyards, then evolving plant footprint and stockkeeping unit offerings for big box home improvement retailing, the producer has reached deep into engineered or specified construction.

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