To the concrete producer in Phoenix, it's almost as if a scorching desert sun has baked and hardened local preconceptions of concrete properties and made many local specifiers seek refuge under the shady tree of familiarity. Phoenix-area members of the Arizona Rock Products Association (ARPA) Concrete Promotion Committee know they face a particularly tough task in upgrading many specifiers' concrete sophistication. They realize that the changes won't occur overnight; it's going to take a methodical effort, involving trips to specifiers' own backyards, to draw specifiers out into the sunlight of knowledge.

The committee recently completed a 2-year updating of "Arizona Recommended Specifications for Normal Weight Ready Mixed Concrete" in print and on CD-ROM. The specifications are designed as comprehensive resources for architects and engineers and are a sort of localized version of the "Optional Requirements Checklist" in ACI 301, "Specifications for Structural Concrete." The manual has a two-column format: one column is organized according to ACI 301 and references the same standards, and the other column is titled "Notes to Specifier." The manual elaborates where necessary in the latter section, often saving specifiers the trouble of referring to the other standards. This section uses years of committee members' field experience with concrete and either provides supplementary information on, or refutes the need for, some recommendations. The manual is only part of the equation. Just as important are presentations on concrete basics the committee started making to architectural and engineering firms last spring.

The manual elaborates on several specific references in its "Notes to Specifier" section. The notes reinforce the members' in-depth presentations on topics that include:

  • Fly ash
  • Air entrainment
  • Quality assurance testing
  • Retempering, Special Conditions