Launch Slideshow

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Looking Back & Ahead

Looking Back & Ahead

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I see a great push for new research and innovation to emerge, which will focus specifically on green building. Strict parameters and guidelines will emphasize limiting the amount of waste related to processes within our industry. New laws will make it even more difficult for producers to operate effectively and efficiently if they are not up to date on the latest innovations.

Some of these innovations are becoming commonplace. Recycled concrete and pervious concrete, two relatively new products that are becoming more widely accepted, will greatly increase our industry's appeal.

Pervious concrete is the wave of the future. Its benefit to the environment is phenomenal. I've seen pervious concrete slowly bringing environmentalists and concrete producers together on a plain that I couldn't have imagined 10 years ago.

It is not enough for producers to just place a couple of pervious concrete projects in the ground. The concept must be nurtured and researched until it has reached its full potential. If we as an industry do not turn this idea into a complete realization, another industry will.

Tom McCabeOctober 1998

Tom McCabe, vice president of construction at Shockey Precast Group in Winchester, Va., has been with the company for 23 years.

The industry has been innovative and responsive in adapting to different needs over the past decade, such as code changes and seismic design requirements. We're also seeing more design-build projects now. We have to respond to schedule and pricing expectations, and deliver product faster. We've also had to keep up with critical schedules of total precast buildings.

Of course, parking structures have continued to be a mainstay. We're dealing today with more complex structures with architectural accents. They're not just plain structural buildings used for parking cars. They're multi-use facilities that are part of the streetscape, with architectural appearances. Data centers are also incorporating aesthetic features, blending structural and decorative features depending on the function of different parts of the building.

Another significant influence that's been almost 10 years in the making is the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute's Certified Erector program. It's important to meet production quality standards, but quality assurance has to continue once the product leaves the plant. It has to be put in place according to industry standards. Hence, the Certified Erector program for the field. It's a major step forward for the industry. It gives owners and specifiers confidence that their jobs have quality requirements from start to finish.

If we as an industry don't establish quality standards for our work, something else will be forced on us. And it won't mean as much as what we come up with ourselves, because we know our work better and we know what's important.