Young points to Stratford Place, a development in Sultan, Wash., as a successful example. The owner used pervious concrete pavement for the area's driveways, roads, and integrally colored sidewalks. Using pervious concrete eliminated more than $260,000 in construction costs for the 20-home development, and the builder gained two extra lots, valued at $100,000 each, in the space normally reserved for stormwater retention.
“Pervious concrete is a great product because it really does what it's supposed to do,” says Zig Vitols, vice president/general manager of the Arkansas division of Martin Marietta Materials. “It has a huge future but I don't like to overplay it too much. We are going to plod along a bit, get it into our repertoire, and learn how to do it right. We will get a couple of our people certified, and now that we've got a couple of certified placers in town who have the special equipment, we're going to go after it.”
“Our goal is to get concrete finishers that are looking for a niche market to come to our seminars and get them trained by someone in how to install pervious,” says Young. “We give them the opportunity to talk with people who have done it before.Pervious installation
ARMCA has expanded its certification effort to include pervious concrete installation. Modeled after the ACI flatwork finisher program NRMCA started a program to certify pervious concrete craftsmen in 2005. (See "Pervious Concrete Contractor Certification".)
NRMCA recognized the potential of pervious concrete, but it also saw a huge challenge in getting contractors educated in doing these projects correctly. Pervious construction isn't difficult, but if it's placed and cured the same as conventional concrete, failure of the installation is likely. Contractors apparently agreed, since more than 2000 people have been certified over the past two years.
Young and Vitols believe that NRMCA pervious certification will fast track this emerging technology. “Providing certification is the only way I know to do it,” says Young. “We need to make sure contractors are trained properly and then send them out in the marketplace. If you don't do it right, it can't be remedied easily. The key is education, education, education. We have to have trained people and the proper tools, or it will give the product a bad name, and everyone involved gets blamed.”
“Arkansas is doing a great job with this, especially considering the size of the market and their resources,” says Vance Pool, NRMCA's senior national resource manager. “They even have a city inspector as one of their trainers, which helps keep the public sector involved.”
ARMCA sent four people to NRMCA's train-the-trainer class, and then sponsored a training program and certification exam. “We just got started on this in the last year, and so far, we've only had three classes,” says Madison. “It's not been a huge number of people yet, but we are beginning to get calls and there is increased interest. One of our members just told me about a potentially huge job in Fayetteville, so it's going to grow.”
— The author is a construction writer and consultant with Complete Construction Consultants. Efirstname.lastname@example.org.
The American Concrete Institute has been certifying individuals as knowledgeable and qualified in various concrete skill sets for more than 25 years. Today, there are more than eight major disciplines that ACI certifies, ranging from field testing technician, to flatwork finisher, to shotcrete nozzleman, and at least 15 more programs in various stages of development. The largest is the field testing program, certifying that the more than 63,000 card-carrying technicians know the proper ASTM-approved procedures for conducting a slump test, for making cylinders, and for measuring air content and unit weight.
The flatwork finisher certification program has grown slowly over the past 20 years, but today there are about 2900 certified finishers and 4500 technicians, with the difference being that finishers have the years of experience, while technicians have just passed a written exam. For more, visit www.concrete.org.