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Association & Industry News

Earlier this week, NRMCA sent a letter to Department of Labor (DOL) Secretary Marty Walsh and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Acting Assistant Secretary Jim Frederick informing them of the industry’s concerns regarding an impending Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) to mandate COVID-19 vaccines for certain employers. NRMCA detailed to DOL/OSHA that the industry “has been a strong advocate for, and continues to openly encourage, getting COVID-19 vaccinations for employees throughout the industry. However, the Industry holds very serious concerns regarding mandating COVID-19 vaccinations of our workforce. The Industry is concerned about the lack of current ETS specifics needed for preparation and implementation, the inability for stakeholders to provide comment, and an overall lack of clarity for justification of an ETS. We are most concerned about how such a requirement will impact our workforce, that predominantly operates outdoors, but namely our ready mixed concrete mixer truck drivers that we are dependent on to deliver ready mixed concrete to the point of placement.”

NRMCA continued, “While the Industry is mainly concerned with drivers of ready mixed concrete trucks, we also worry about the impacts on aggregate haul truck drivers, cement tanker drivers, and others that we rely on who serve our Industry. Any forced mandate for drivers, regardless of company size, that may force drivers to resign would create a colossal and wide-spread problem. There simply are not enough drivers to replace any drivers that resign due to a vaccine mandate. This realization would have dire effects for the economic impact these drivers and their companies command, not to mention their impact on any infrastructure package that Congress ultimately approves.”

NRMCA closed its letter by stating, “NRMCA and the ready mixed concrete industry are committed to doing our part to help bring about the end to this unprecedented and unfortunate state of affairs. As recognized critical essential infrastructure that will be dramatically impacted by an ETS, we caution DOL and OSHA not to implement a regulatory scheme that would only serve to exacerbate the country’s COVID-19 pandemic. We encourage DOL and OSHA to temper the reach of the ETS so as to not adversely impact the ready mixed concrete industry’s workforce.”

NRMCA’s letter resulted from President Biden’s announcement from earlier this month directing OSHA to develop an ETS that “will require all employers with 100 or more employees to ensure their workforce is fully vaccinated or require any workers who remain unvaccinated to produce a negative test result on at least a weekly basis before coming to work.” This mandate is of particular importance to the ready mixed concrete industry as concrete plants fall under the jurisdiction of OSHA. While there still remain a lot of unanswered questions, what we have heard from OSHA is:

  • The ETS and all pertinent details will be published within the coming weeks (no specific date);
  • When the ETS is published, it will become effective immediately;
  • OSHA will NOT be allowing stakeholders to provide input before the ETS is published/effective;
  • The ETS will become effective immediately in states that are under OSHA jurisdiction, but the 22 states that run their own safety plans will have 30 days to implement;
  • The 100 employee threshold is applied companywide, NOT by individual facility/location;
  • The ETS will likely NOT cover remote/physically isolated employees (no specifics yet);
  • Testing details, timing, verification, payment, paid time off (PTO), refusals, boosters, etc. will all be addressed in the ETS;
  • The mandate and testing requirements will mesh with any current requirements and laws already in effect, and
  • OSHA plans to publish a final rule on the issue within six months which will take into consideration stakeholder comments.

Click here to read NRMCA’s response letter, here to read the president’s remarks from earlier this month and here to review the president's six-pronged COVID-19 action plan.

NRMCA will continue to monitor this issue and advocate for beneficial industry outcomes with the Administration and OSHA.

For more information, contact Kevin Walgenbach at kwalgenbach@nrmca.org.

The next session of the Global Concrete Summit is set for Wednesday, October 13, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Eastern time. The topic will be high performance concrete, including durability, extended service life models, and validation, performance-based specifications to foster sustainability and innovative concrete products and production methods. Speakers include:

  • Benjamin A. Graybeal, PhD, PE, U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) - Ultra-High Performance Concrete
  • Professor Luna Lu, PhD, ACPA professor, Lyles School of Civil Engineering and Materials Engineering, Purdue University - High Performance Nano-silica Admixture on Concrete Curing and Beyond
  • Neal Cass, sales manager, Hydronix - Moisture Control in Concrete Batching Plants
  • Professor R. Douglas Hooton, PhD, professor, University of Toronto - Using Slag Cement Together with Portland-limestone Cement to Improve Performance and Further Reduce Concrete’s Carbon Footprint
  • Oscar R. Antommattei, PE, FACI, concrete, chief engineer & materials engineering manager, Kiewit Engineering Group - Experience with High Performance Concrete at Kiewit
  • Caroline Talbot, director marketing admixtures and concrete technologies, Euclid Chemical Company - High Performance Admixtures at Euclid Chemical Company
  • Cecile Vaudevire Roman, commercial innovation & sustainable solutions manager - High Performance Concretes at Lafarge Holcim
  • Benjamin Gallagher, senior technical leader, groundwater and land research, Electric Power Research Institute - The State of Fly Ash Harvesting

Register for free now at www.globalconcretesummit.com. For more information, contact Lionel Lemay at Llemay@nrmca.org or 847-922-7995.

Government Affairs

On Sunday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that the House would pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act on Thursday, September 30. The speaker insisted that the House would pass the bill “this week.” It is unclear whether she has the votes for passage of the legislation and the ability to make good on her promise.

Action on the bipartisan, Senate-passed surface reauthorization and infrastructure investment would come on the heels of White House outreach to House Democrats last week, the looming expiration of federal highway programs at the end of the month and the ripening of the Speaker’s promised date for considering the bipartisan bill: September 27.

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act includes both a five-year reauthorization of federal highway programs at robust funding levels – a nearly 40% increase over existing funding – as well as $550 billion in federal investment in infrastructure. This bill represents the sort of infrastructure investment that NRMCA and our member companies have been advocating for over the past years. It embodies the priorities NRMCA’s Government Affairs Committee set forward this summer and includes many of the industry’s priorities while leaving out much of the harmful policy included in other proposals.

In particular, the legislation includes increased funding for federal highway programs by an average of 38% annually, dedicated funding for bridges and major projects, and codification of the Trump Administration’s One Federal Decision permitting reforms. More importantly, this legislation does not include many of the negative policies included in other proposals, such as an increase in mandated minimum truck insurance levels, review of the 2020 Hours of Service rules, restrictions on construction of new capacity, and labor policies like the PRO Act.

As of Tuesday, it was unclear whether the speaker had the votes on the bipartisan infrastructure package. Several dozen progressives have pledged not to support the bill until the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill is passed by the Senate or a House-Senate deal is reached to guarantee passage. Similarly, very few Republicans are expected to support the legislation because of claims that it is “linked” to the $3.5 trillion social spending package. Hence, it is unclear whether Speaker Pelosi will have the votes to pass the package though it is likely that she will successfully wrangle the needed support.

Should the House pass the Senate-passed bill, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will go to President Biden to be signed into law – a huge win for the ready mixed concrete industry, the American economy and the transportation construction industry.

NRMCA has been actively engaged over the past months with a broad coalition representing transportation stakeholders and the business community urging Congress to pass this critical legislation. NRMCA and our allies have been meeting with Members of Congress and their staffs, sending letters and leveraging the relationships and presence of our members to urge congressional support for this bill and we will continue pushing for these priorities until the bill is passed – whether this week or in the future.

Take Action:

  • Call your representative: you can look up your representative here and call his or her office to express your support for the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
  • Send your representative a letter: click here to send your representative a pre-written letter (feel free to edit it) urging him or her to support the IIJA when it comes up for a vote.

For more information, contact Andrew Tyrrell at atyrrell@nrmca.org.

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Pavement

The Rocky Mountain Chapter of the American Concrete Institute recently announced that the Denver Pikes Peak Shuttle Lot concrete overlay project was selected as the 2021 Excellence in Concrete winner in the Flatwork/Paving category. The 34.5-acre project (shown in part here) includes a 10-inch thick concrete bus lane as well as a 4.5-inch concrete overlay over asphalt for the car parking areas and took only eight months to complete. The project is reportedly the largest concrete parking lot overlay ever constructed in the U.S.

The contractor for the project was American Concrete Paving Association Colorado/Wyoming member Concrete Works of Colorado (CWC) owned by Marc Lenart. ACPA CO/WY, the CP Tech Center and NRMCA staff worked with DIA Landside Engineering Group and CWC to develop the design and construction specifications for this important project. Concrete overlays have also been a marketing focus for the ACPA CO/WY Chapter and for NRMCA for some time.

For more Information, contact Don Clem at dclem@nrmca.org.

 

The American Concrete Institute (ACI) recently published the ACI PCR-330-21 Commercial Concrete Parking Lots and Site Paving Design and Construction GuideThe publication of this document in conjunction with the ACI 330.2R-17 Guide for the Design and Construction of Concrete Site Paving for Industrial and Trucking Facilities replaces the ACI 330R-08 guide. By separating the old document into two documents based on the loadings, it allows each to focus on the aspects that are most relevant for that type of development. There are pieces of an industrial design that are not necessary for low- to medium-volume parking lots and vise versa. 

Some of the changes noted in the ACI 330-21 guide include:

  • Pavement thicknesses are calculated by Pavementdesigner.org;
  • Revised descriptions and traffic category classifications;
  • Reduced modulus of subgrade reaction (k), Modulus of Rupture (MOR) and truck frequency input values;
  • Elimination of dowels (refers users to ACI 330.2R-17); and
  • Additional sections on fiber reinforced concrete.

NRMCA incorporates these two ACI guides for parking lot designs when preparing recommendations for projects submitted through NRMCA’s Design Assistance Program (DAP). If you have a project and are looking for a concrete design, review of a design or specification, contact your Local Paving representative or submit project information to the Paveahead.com website.

For more information, contact Amanda Hult at ahult@nrmca.org.

Buildings

Build With Strength (BWS) and the Valley Contractors Exchange in Paradise, CA, will be holding a developer roundtable event on October 19 - 20 to support “Rebuild Paradise, CA,” one of the communities that was significantly damaged from wildfires in November 2018. The program is NRMCA’s next in a series of upcoming BWS events to demonstrate to owners, developers, general contractors, engineers and architects about the ownership and construction benefits that insulating concrete forms (ICFs) provide to commercial, residential and multifamily owners and contractors.

“We have provided the building blocks for fire safe, resilient and energy efficient homes that can be built quickly and economically. Now, we will show that building a better and safer community with concrete is able to be done at scale,” said NRMCA Senior Director, Building Innovations, Patrick Matsche.

BWS will answer some of the issues related to rebuilding in the “new normal” of wildfires in California and the Western U.S. As rebuilding continues in fire ravaged areas, we hope to provide solutions to begin to deal with problems related to urban interface, fire resilient construction and the increasing cost volatility of builders’ risk insurance for wood frame construction along with homeowners’ policy cancellations where fire hazards are driving up costs dramatically relative to the premiums charged for non-combustible concrete solutions.

Build With Strength is a coalition led by NRMCA that promotes concrete building systems through communications, project promotion, education and advocacy. To learn more, contact Patrick Matsche at pmatsche@nrmca.org or 415-672-5275 or Brandon Wray at bwray@nrmca.org at 408-806-0453.

Click here to read more about Build With Strength's partnership with Habitat for Humanity that is helping to build ICF homes throughout the United States.

NRMCA provided testimony on proposed code changes to the model building, fire and wildland urban interface codes at the International Code Council (ICC) Group A Public Comment Hearings which took place on September 21 - 25 in Pittsburgh. NRMCA  Vice President, Fire Codes and Standards, Shamim Rashid-Sumar joined concrete and allied industry advocates to provide technical information on public comments to proposed code provisions impacting the concrete industry. NRMCA and industry allies were successful in upholding previously issued committee disapprovals against the introduction of combustible materials for fire wall construction; removing noncombustible protection for mass timber floors; allowing mass timber in exterior walls of Type III construction and the use of fire retardant treated wood in mass timber walls.

NRMCA and industry allies were also successful in overturning previous committee disapprovals to support favorable code changes, such as establishing compliance with requirements for flame spread in exterior walls based on approved analyses using existing test data as well as a new requirement for a minimum amount of metal flashing or noncombustible construction at ground, decking and roof intersections for exterior walls of structures in the wildland urban interface.

The final stage for decisions on these provisions of the 2024 I-codes will be the Online Governmental Consensus Vote (OGCV) taking place over the next two weeks following the public comment hearings.

Build With Strength is a coalition led by NRMCA that promotes standards advocacy to leverage policies on safety and resiliency and help place more concrete. For more information on fire codes and standards advocacy efforts, contact Shamim Rashid-Sumar at ssumar@nrmca.org.

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SEO

NRMCA's Ready Mixed Concrete Delivery Professional Driver of the Year Award, now in its 26th year and sponsored by the Truck Mixer Manufacturers Bureau (TMMB), acknowledges the significant contribution of ready mixed concrete truck drivers to the growth and success of individual companies and the ready mixed concrete industry. As a salute to these key members of the concrete production and delivery team, the award recognizes the driver’s career achievement, safety, professionalism, competence and customer service skills in a manner that will enhance the industry and public image of the career of Ready Mixed Concrete Delivery Professional.

The 2022 Ready Mixed Concrete Truck Driver of the Year Award winner will be honored at an awards ceremony at NRMCA’s Annual Convention in San Antonio, TX, in March 2022.

Nominations must be e-mailed to DOY@nrmca.org by Friday, December 31. Click here to download the nomination form and for more information. You may also contact Gary Mullings at gmullings@nrmca.org.

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Engineering

The NRMCA Annual Concrete Technologist Training and Certification program (Short Course) will be offered online from November 5 - 15 with exams scheduled for November 15. Interested persons are encouraged to register now; the number of available slots is limited.

The Technical Short Course provides a fundamental understanding of concrete, aggregates and concrete making materials; requirements in industry codes and standards, and proportioning concrete mixtures. Attendees have the opportunity to obtain industry-recognized NRMCA certifications: NRMCA Level 2 and 3 Concrete Technologist certification. The Short Course is intended for quality, sales and other personnel with a technical role with ready mixed concrete companies and suppliers to the industry. New hires in these roles can also benefit from attending. A significant amount of technical content is covered that requires the attendees to have a basic concrete technology background and at least a high-school level of math.

The course content will be available to registrants through the NRMCA learning site with login access. Some material will be mailed and precourse study content will be made available to registrants before the course begins. The course will be self-directed for attendees with content posted online and periodic live sessions for review and discussion.

Click here for more information and the registration link. You may also contact Mason Jean at mjean@nrmca.org if you need assistance with registering for the course.

NRMCA's Concrete in Practice series is popular for its concise coverage of technical topics that can be provided by concrete producers to contractors, designers, testing technicians and other users. A new topic on Portland Limestone Cement (PLC) has been published and is now available. PLC is a blended cement that conforms to ASTM C595 specification for blended hydraulic cement. It is a good option to be considered by concrete producers for projects that require a reduced carbon footprint of concrete mixtures and for other performance-based reasons.

CIP 45 on PLC was developed by the NRMCA Research Engineering and Standards (RES) Committee in concert with the corresponding Portland Cement Association technical committee. It can be useful information to distribute to designers if specifications do not include a reference to ASTM C595 or otherwise do not permit the use of PLC.

The RES Committee has updated five other CIP topics:

  • #3 - Crazing Concrete Surfaces
  • #13 – Blisters on Concrete Slabs
  • #18 – Radon Resistant Buildings
  • #43 – Alkali Aggregate Reactions
  • #44 – Durability Requirements for Concrete

CIP topics are periodically revised to ensure they include current information. They can be viewed and purchased here or by contacting Jacques Jenkins at jjenkins@nrmca.org.

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The NRMCA Concrete Durability course was offered as an online course from September 10 - 21. It was attended by 25 industry personnel with recorded videos and content on the NRMCA training site. Several online sessions and quizzes were offered to address questions and review of the content. The course was taught by Kevin Folliard, University of Texas at Austin; Michael Thomas, University of New Brunswick and NRMCA Executive Vice President, Engineering, Colin Lobo. Attendees participated in groups on a specification case study using NRMCA's ConcreteWorks software and presented their cases to the full group.

The exam offered at the end of the course was passed by 22 individuals; 18 earned the NRMCA Concrete Technologist Level IV Certification (which requires current NRMCA CT Level 3 Certification obtained at the Technical Short Course). NRMCA congratulates attendees on their participation and their level of success on the certification exam.

For more information contact Colin Lobo at clobo@nrmca.org.

The Fall 2021 newsletter of the National Concrete Consortium includes the following items:

• Moving Advancements into Practice (MAP) Brief titled Effects of Vibration on Concrete Mixtures is now available from the NC² Resource Library. Vibration is important for consolidation of fresh concrete, but improper vibration can lead to mixture segregation, removal of air and the movement of water toward form walls, producing surface voids. The brief describes an investigation into the nature of vibration, the mechanical properties that cause material separation and concrete load relationships under dynamic conditions.

Summary Findings of Re-Engineered Continuously Reinforced Concrete Pavement (CRCP): Volume 1 - The Illinois Tollway seeks balanced, tested CRCP solutions with the same or lower initial cost and life-cycle cost assessment as other paving options. This study therefore investigated internally cured concrete mixtures containing supplementary cementitious materials (SCMs) in the lab along with crack properties and CRCP performance under environmental and falling weight deflectometer (FWD) loading in the field.

Mitigation of Corrosion in Continuously Reinforced Concrete Pavement. This project evaluated CRCPs throughout South Dakota in order to determine the extent of steel reinforcement corrosion in selected Interstate pavements. Topically applied corrosion mitigation products were also evaluated in the lab and on CRCP test sections.

Development of Pavement Performance Models for Pavement Management Incorporating Treatment Type - Reducing error in agencies' predictive models of pavement deterioration enables timely intervention and accurate planning, often leading to significant savings. Therefore, when TxDOT’s Pavement Management Information System (PMIS) was recently replaced by Pavement Analyst™ (PA), the agency's current performance models were calibrated and updated, and more accurate roughness models were developed for PA implementation.

• FHWA Concrete Clips: Workability and FHWA Mobile Concrete Technology Center

Click here to access National Concrete Consortium newsletters.

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Please note that e-mail and direct links to each event listed below can be accessed from NRMCA's Web site.

October 13, Free Virtual Conference
2021 Global Concrete Summit: High Performance
Sponsored by NRMCA, Grey Matters, Build With Strength and Pave Ahead
Email: Lionel Lemay, 847-922-7995

October 18 - 20, Orlando, FL
Ready Mixed Concrete Safety Course
Email: Mason Jean, 703-706-4853

October 18 - 22, Online Course
CCSP Module I (“Concrete 101”- Technical/Product Knowledge)
Email: Mason Jean, 703-706-4853

November 5 - 15, Online Course
NRMCA’s Concrete Technologist Training and Certification Course “Short Course”
Email: Mason Jean, 703-706-4853

November 9 - 11, Dallas
Effective RMC Supervisor Course
Email: Mason Jean, 703-706-4853

November 17, Free Virtual Conference
2021 Global Concrete Summit: Resilience
Sponsored by NRMCA, Grey Matters, Build With Strength and Pave Ahead
Email: Lionel Lemay, 847-922-7995

November 30 - December 2, Orlando, FL
NRMCA Environmental Certification Course
Email: Mason Jean, 703-706-4853

December 7 - 10, Orlando, FL
Plant Manager Certification Course
Co-located with Florida Concrete & Products Association
Email: Mason Jean, 703-706-4853

December 7 - 9, Dallas
CCSP Module II (Understand the Concrete Contractor Business: Customer Business Knowledge)
Email: Mason Jean, 703-706-4853

December 15, Free Virtual Conference
2021 Global Concrete Summit: Low-Impact Development/Responsible Sourcing
Sponsored by NRMCA, Grey Matters, Build With Strength and Pave Ahead
Email: Lionel Lemay, 847-922-7995

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