Welcome to WOC 360

Meet The Editor

Welcome to World of Concrete 360—a full 360-degree view of the show delivered every two weeks directly to your inbox. This newsletter will provide you with news from the show, interviews with industry experts, product reviews, educational resources, and previews of what to expect at next year’s show. Bill Palmer is editor of the World of Concrete 360 newsletter. Previously he was the editor of Concrete Construction magazine for 20 years. He is a Fellow of the American Concrete Institute and is a licensed professional engineer in Michigan and Colorado. He lives in Lyons, Colorado and can be reached at bill.palmer@informa.com or by phone at 773-494-4619.

Let’s Be Civil


“What do civil engineers really do?” is the question answered in a new podcast series called “Let’s Be Civil. created by John Schemmel at  Texas State University. The podcasts focus on the current role civil engineers play in society and how that role has been subtly transformed in the last decade.

Polished Concrete Awards


Concrete Surfaces magazine has selected eleven projects to represent the best in polished concrete. There were two Projects of the Year, Blue Valley West High School in Overland Park, Kansas, and The Reach at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC. 

Safety Guidelines for Shotcrete Now in English and Spanish


"Safety Guidelines for Shotcrete” from the American Shotcrete Association is a guide to encourage personal safety considerations, but not to replace training and education programs or supervision by qualified individuals. Each shotcrete contractor has a responsibility to develop, maintain, and administer a company safety program appropriate for their operations. 

World of Concrete Completes Space Draw


Informa Exhibitions, U.S. reports that it has recently completed the space draw for World of Concrete 2021, securing more than 750 exhibitors, and reserving 85% of available exhibit space. With six months remaining until WOC 2021, organizers are anticipating an event filled with new and returning educational offerings, spectator events & competitions, indoor & outdoor exhibits, and the excitement of the brand-new state-of-the-art Las Vegas Convention Center.

Concrete and Masonry are Green


By Rick Yelton. Green building is a trend that will not go away. The Tennessee Concrete Association (TCA) is in the process of working towards certification of its new office near Nashville in the International Living Future Institute’s Living Building Challenge. 

Concrete Pumps Essential to Today's Construction


Pumped concrete has become an essential part of today’s construction: around 35% of ready-mixed concrete is placed by concrete boom pumps, according to Tom O’Malley, Senior Vice President Sales and Marketing at Schwing America. Learn how Schwing is handling today's situation.

Shallow Trenches During Cold Utah Winter


CTS Flowable Fill was used to backfill 2x9-inch trenches in street surfaces to place fiber optic cables durin a Utah winter. The mix completely filled the trench and set within a few hours.

Automating Layouts


The San Francisco technology start-up Dusty Robots has reached a significant milestone in the rollout of FieldPrinter. They have transitioned their robotic layout system from development to field testing to provide automated layout services for contractors. 

Turning Productivity Into Dollars


Increasing construction productivity is possible, according to this study. Although conducted at a Danish university, the study results are based on North American data and reveal how poor management at constructon sites has resulted in reduced productivity.

It's Hard to Argue with Success


But if you don't, it may mean limiting and constraining a construction company in a way that is often difficult to detect but powerful and insidious nonetheless. There are serious, high impact, long-term benefits associated with arguing with success. 

ACI Transitions Fall Convention to Virtual


The American Concrete Institute announces the transition of the fall ACI Concrete Convention from an in-person event in Raleigh, NC, this October, to a 100% virtual event. The ACI Virtual Concrete Convention will be held over similar dates at the end of October.  

Contradictions in Specifications for Polished Concrete


Clark Branum, with Diamatic USA, led a recent webinar for the American Society of Concrete Contractor’s Concrete Polishing Council (CPC) where he described the contradictions that can crop up in polishing contracts. All of this and much more will be discussed at the World of Concrete 2021 Polished Concrete Luncheon and Forum.  

How Fly Ash Works in Concrete


Most of us in the concrete industry know that fly ash mixed into concrete develops a better concrete, but did you ever wonder about the chemistry behind those benefits? NRMCA's Karthik Obla, provides some answers. “Fly ash is an important constituent in concrete that improves concrete performance and makes it more sustainable. We should use as much of it as possible.”

Man Plus Machine Makes Heavy Work Easy


Placing concrete masonry units is back-breaking work—that is unless the mason has a MULE to help. The MULE (material unit lift enhancer), from Construction Robotics, is a “cobotics” device, guided by the mason to clamp onto, lift, and position blocks or precast pieces including heavy 32-inch blocks.

ACI Announces NDT Specialist Program


ACI’s newest certification program focuses on nondestructive testing methods used to evaluate the in-place strength of concrete. The certified individual will have successfully demonstrated the knowledge and skills associated with six ASTM test methods commonly used by our industry to estimate the in-place strength of concrete.

When Quieter Speaks Louder


Struck-by accidents continue to be a leading cause of property damage and serious employee injuries on jobsites around North America. New white noise back-up alarms are giving workers better warning of moving equipment and reducing noise pollution from beeping alarms.

Why You Should Read Your Contract: The Pay if Paid Clause


Construction lawyer Jeff Coleman says that subcontractors should avoid so-called “pay when paid” clauses. Some states will enforce the clause outright.; others will place a reasonable limit on the amount of time that a subcontractor can remain unpaid, but still you might incur legal costs.

Restoring Our Health and National Parks


A recent trip to Zion National Park inspired RIck Yelton to write about the beauty and restfulness of nature, esepcially when combined with concrete pathways designed using the new RMC Foundation Guide to Concrete Trails.

Galvanized Rebar’s Time Has Come


Galvanized reinforcing steel has superior corrosion resistance to epoxy coated steel but the price differential has prevented widespread use in the U.S. Now, a new system called continuously galvanized rebar (CGR) has become available that overcomes that price differential while maintaining the life cycle advantage of 100 years.

COVID-19 Resources and the PPP


The NRMCA has assembled a great collection of links to web sites with information on dealing with the impacts of COVID-19, including SBA guidance on the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP),  to ensure its members are complying with, and utilizing fully, the resources available.  You can also access OSHA guidance on safe work sites.

Winners of Most Innovative Products at WOC 2020


Each year World of Cocnrete exhibitors nominate their newest products into the Most Innovative Products competition. Three winners are selected in each of the eight categories. For World of Concrete 2020, there were 54 products nominated. Here are the winners.

The Value of a Sanity Check


Sometimes a leader needs a sanity check: a team of equals that pushes a leader and to whom the leader will listen. And that’s key; leaders must listen to their teams so they can “get the tire changed" and continue their business journey.

Custom Concrete Pens


This company in Dublin, Ireland makes beautiful custom pens from concrete that are meant to be treasured by the recipient. Pens can be made in virtually any color and in several styles with laser etched logos.

A Spirit of Innovation: Somero Enterprises


Whether in reaction to contractor needs or to COVID-19, Somero has continued to innovate with new products and processes that solve problems contractors didn't even know they had.

Bill's Blog: WOC Education Comes Back Strong as Does Economy


No recession in WOC educational programs with 74 proposals for new business programs and 61 proposals for new technical seminars. That’s good becasue I believe that the construction industry will be back strong by next January. and here's why.

"Beat This Virus" Concrete Jewelry


Luke and Billie Snell have been making concrete jewelry during the coronavirus stay-at-home “to keep busy and somewhat sane.” Luke Snell has been the leading historian in the concrete industry for many years and an educator who finds simple ways to teach young people about concrete.

Wasted Opportunity


One problem with the previous money being doled out in the CARES Act in response to Covid-19 is that it’s not a stimulus at all but rather an attempt to prevent total disaster. But as PCA's Ed Sullivan pointed out, money spent to improve infrastructure is a true stimulus--$1 billion in infrastructure spending creates 30,000 to 40,000 jobs. 

90-Minutes of Efficiency


What’s similar between the workings of the human brain and the acceptance criteria for a freshly batched load of ready-mixed concrete? Both brain activity and the concrete mix have a similar period of optimal use – 90 minutes. Rick Yelton wonders if that is that the basis of C94's 90-minute rule? 

Concrete on the Farm, 1900-1940, Introduction


In the early 1900s, the farmer who wanted to improve his farm by putting in a concrete floor had to do it himself. Farmers couldn't call the local ready mix producer or concrete contractor but had to come up with suitable sand and aggregate, proportion and mix a durable concrete, and get the material into place. In this five-part article, concrete historian and Emeritus Professor at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Luke Snell details how it was done and describes techniques that remain useful today in remote locations around the world and even in the U.S. 

Concrete on the Farm, 1900-1940: Part 1--Sand


In the early 1900s, the farmer that wanted to improve their farm by putting in a concrete floor had to do it themselves. We have more sophisticated equipment and improved materials today but the process remains much the same. Part one of this series from concrete historian Luke Snell discuses how to get clean concrete sand.

Concrete on the Farm, 1900-1940: Part 2--Materials


In the early 1900s, the farmer that wanted to improve their farm by putting in a concrete floor had to do it themselves. In Part 2 of this series, concrete historian Luke Snell discuses the materials used to make good concrete.

Concrete on the Farm, 1900-1940: Part 3--Mixtures


In the early 1900s, the farmer that wanted to improve their farm by putting in a concrete floor had to do it themselves. In Part 3 of this series, concrete historian Luke Snell describes how the farmer would proportion the ixture to fit the application.

Concrete on the Farm, 1900-1940: Part 4--Mixing the Concrete


In the early 1900s, the farmer that wanted to improve their farm by putting in a concrete floor had to do it themselves. In Part 4 of this series, concrete historian Luke Snell describes how the farmer and his helpers mixed the concrete without a mixer.

Concrete on the Farm, 1900-1940: Part 5--Placing the Concrete


In the early 1900s, the farmer that wanted to improve their farm by putting in a concrete floor had to do it themselves. In the concluding Part 5 of this series, concrete historian Luke Snell describes how the farmer placed and finished the concrete and shows some examples of how the concrete was used.

Your Crisis Communication Plan


As some states loosen restrictions related to COVID-19, many are preparing for the next phase of this pandemic. Although the scenarios range from opening businesses and offices again to phased or staggered operations, the one constant is the necessity of good communications. Pause and prepare for the next wave of planned messages. 

Fourteen Things That May Change and Three That Should Not


Everyone is speculating about what changes among those we are experiencing now are likely to be permanent. We were able to quickly develop a list of 14 things that are likely to change on a permanent basis and three things that should absolutely not change If you want to run a successful construction company. 

Bill’s Blog: Gloomy Future for Construction


No economist in the concrete industry is as respected and accurate with his predictions as Ed Sullivan, chief economist for the Portland Cement Association. Over the past 20 years he has told us when the economy was going up and when it was going down. I’ve heard some gloomy forecasts from him before, like in 2009 and 2010, but nothing quite as disheartening as this. His only hope for optimism is in an infrastructue package.

Three Kinds of Crisis Leader


There have been many disruptive, shocking, scary, and momentous events in my lifetime, but this one seems to have taken on a life of its own. My friend Arlin Sorensen of ConnectWise started a blog recently with: "So, you never signed up to lead in a crisis." That's quite an arresting first sentence, and one with which we can all identify today.

Managing Construction During (and After) the Pandemic


There’s a lot of information available out there about how to handle this disruption, which has been compared to a winter blizzard that goes on for months. Check out these resources from FMI, CPWR, ASCC, and AEM. 

Cordless Tools Rule


During the 2020 World of Concrete, I had the opportunity to talk with Martina McIssac, the new CEO of Hilti North America. She brought along senior director Eric Hollister to discuss the move towards cordless tools. I wanted to learn about battery technology and where Hilti is taking it, especially in light of their recent introduction of the industry’s first battery-powered breaker, an application once thought immune to the cordless revolution. 

A Message From World of Concrete


As a valued member of the World of Concrete community, we hope that you, your family, your colleagues and employees are safe. This is a time that brings us all together in our mutual concern and compassion for each other, no matter where we are in the world. Our collective efforts will help our community get through this and allow us to resume our lives and businesses. Our thoughts go out to all those who have been affected.

What Does the Relief Package Have for Concrete Businesses?


The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) of the relief package provides $350 billion in U.S. Small Business Administration loans to small businesses under 500 employees and nonprofits for the purpose of maintaining the existing workforce. 

Battery Power is Hot at WOC


Battery-powered tools were one of the hottest trends during World of Concrete 2020, from Hilti’s new battery-powered concrete breaker to the equipment showcased at the Zero-Emission Zone, led by Wacker Neuson and featuring Green Machine and Ecoquipment. We caught up with Wacker Neuson’s Luke Sevcik after the show to see how things went.

Zeroing In on Reducing Work Site Emissions


Futurists forecast a day when construction activities are carried out exclusively with zero-emission construction products, machinery, and equipment. Green Machine and Ecoquipment are two companies that are helping to make this a reality today.

ASCC Offers Advice on COVID-19 Operations


The American Society of Concrete Contractors (ASCC) has produced a recommended practice for protecting everyone from management to field labor. It includes advice on communication, safe office and jobsite work practices, and how to handle sick employees. 

Exhibitor Profile: Stego Industries


A recent tour of Stego's research center in Denver with Technical Director Dan Marks and his team revealed a variety of tests performed on Stego products to maintain quality and spur innovation. By following ASTM test methods and through meticulous quality control protocols, Stego provides trustworthy data on its materials.

A Guide to Better Masonry Repairs


Assessment and Retrofit of Masonry Structures. from The Masonry Society  provides practical guidance on all types of masonry including historic, transitional, and modern masonry construction. The book’s main focus is structural stabilization, strengthening, and retrofit with maintenance and serviceability items addressed as subtopics. 

Online Mixer Driver Certification


As construction begins to slow, producers could experience periods of fleet idleness. One productive way to keep drivers busy is to enroll them in the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association’s Concrete Delivery Professional (CDP) certification program.

Building Business: Event + Response = Outcome


In any period of disruption, leaders must make incredibly quick adjustments on the fly. They must change how they think, change how they lead, and find ways to do business differently in challenging times. Current events are out of our control. All we can do as leaders is to choose which part of the equation we will focus upon. E+R=O.

Construction in the Time of Coronavirus


While much of America has closed down in an attempt to slow the pace of COVID-19, construction work is mostly continuing unabated. We asked concrete contractors across the U.S. how the pandemic is affecting construction in their region. Here are a few of their comments.

Stay the Course


At a ConExpo press conference held just two weeks ago, Ed Sullivan, PCA’s senior economist, offered this advice: “Stay the course, don’t panic.” Sullivan predicted that the economy would rebound to match and exceed the forecasted level of growth, but it could take from six to 18 months. 

The Need for Trust


Rick Yelton writes, "I had the opportunity to hear an overview of how trust effects construction at ConExpo two weeks ago. Autodesk and FMI have joined in an important industry study they have labeled Trust Matters: The High Cost of Low Trust.” 

PCA Launches ‘Shaped by Concrete’ Educational Campaign


The Portland Cement Association (PCA) today announced Shaped by Concrete, a new educational campaign to increase awareness of the sustainability, resiliency, and durability of concrete made with cement. The campaign will feature stories based on these themes, exploring how these construction materials shape the world around us to make our communities, cities and country better. 

Robotics Live


At World of Concrete 2020, the Advanced Construction Robotics / TyBot team was front and center during Robotics Live. Company founder Jeremy Searock, described the workings of Tybot, then gave a live demo of the device, which is an autonomous rebar-tying robot.

Getting Employees to Think Like Owners


Contractors continually ask, “What’s the very best employee incentive program?”  How do concrete contractors get their employees to do the right things at the right time? How do they improve employees’ abilities and willingness to think like owners? We think we've stumbled onto the best employee incentive plan, and so we want to share this intelligence.

Tell Your Story


What is called “earned media coverage” is content produced by someone other than the media outlet’s staff but that they want to publish for their audience. This can be a powerful tool, but how can you get the editor's attention?

Be Careful on the Way Down


Growing your construction company is fun but are you planning for the inevitable downturn to come? Learn some lessons from mountain climbers and plan your descent as carefully as the ascent.

ACI-PCI Forms Code Committee for Precast Concrete Structures


To Respond to industry need for building code requirements that address the unique aspects of precast concrete design, the American Concrete Institute and Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute are pleased to announce a new, expanded partnership to increase efficiency for design of structural precast concrete structures that will be coordinated by the new ACI-PCI Committee 319.

Robotic Dog Scans Job Sites


Faro’s robot dog walked the aisles at World of Concrete and will soon be walking job sites to deliver scanned data on foundations, structural steel, walls, columns, reinforcing steel, slabs, stairs, and more. 

COVID-19’s Impact on Construction


News reports from across the U.S. indicate a rather arbitrary approach to how to handle construction, from a complete shutdown to business as usual. Here are a few reports to illustrate the current state of affairs, although things change on virtually an hourly basis.

Calm is Contagious


The coronavirus has thrown a real monkey wrench into what looked like a terrific year for most contractors, writes Wayne Rivers. This may prove to be short-lived and the rebound may be swift, but no one really knows what to expect. There are, however, some things that leaders can and must do to keep their businesses moving forward and productive even in such a time. 


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