Concrete Products

APR 2018

Concrete Products covers the issues that attract producers of ready mixed and manufactured concrete focusing on equipment and material technology, market development and management topics.

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Page 43 of 71

42 • April 2018 CHAIRMAN'S REPORT BY DON MARSH Scenes of failed metal or plastic drainage systems in the wake of flooding and wild- fires that defined 2017 as a year of natural disasters contrast sharply with the American Concrete Pipe Association's assurance: "Rein- forced Concrete Pipe…It is rugged, rigid, and resilient." In his first 2018 letter to members and their public or private construction cus- tomers, ACPA President Russell Tripp, P.E., noted last year's 16 events that represented $1 billion or higher in repair and rebuilding costs, plus post-disaster reports of irrepara- bly damaged pipeline systems or culverts of construction other than concrete. "Designers of pipeline systems and culverts have choices of when to specify structural concrete pipes, flexible thermoplastic conduits, or corrugated metal conduits," he concluded. "When con- sidering total installation and life-cycle costs, site conditions, structural bedding/embedment materials, hydrostatic pressures, and hazards caused by nature or humankind, reinforced concrete pipe and boxes are the clear choice. Where the threat is obvious to health and safety and the economy of an entire region or city through critical buried infrastructure, why would anything other than concrete pipe and precast boxes be specified?" Tripp and ACPA members have a seasoned leader in 2018 Chairman Mark Omelaniec, president of British Columbia-based Langley Concrete Group, to convey the "rugged, rigid, resilient" message as part of a campaign promoting engineer knowledge and indepen- dence; proper drainage system installation methods; follow up inspection of drainage systems, regardless of material specs; and, the technology and integrity at work in concrete pipe and precast operations across North America. "I want to focus on leadership training, mentoring and promoting the industry and association participation to the next gen- eration," says Omelaniec. "There is huge potential growth for our businesses by developing young people who are examining career options. The successful people in this industry are the ones who have passion. We can develop that passion in the next group of leaders." ACPA leadership is familiar turf for Omela- niec, who served as 2010 chairman and accepted the nomination for this year's term after a peer member resigned his vice chairman's post in transition to a concrete division outside of pipe & precast but under the same parent company. During this year's term, he, fellow members and staff will set an example for future leaders by stressing the core ACPA function of assisting public agencies and private owners in pre and post-construction matters. "We see of lot of departments of transpor- tation working with ACPA state or regional engineers to review, standardize and strengthen their drainage system specifications," notes Omelaniec. "Producer member and ACPA engi- neers are finding good opportunities to guide customers or their representatives on drainage basics, and remind them of the importance of standard installation requirements and lon- ger-term inspection. We need to show our product against the competition on a fair and level playing field." ENGINEERING ALLIANCES Beyond guidance in product specification and best installation/inspection practices, he adds, ACPA members and staff confront an evolving challenge rooted in state-by-state interpretation of a predecessor to the FAST Act, which funds the federal highway pro- gram through 2020. Language in SAFETEA-LU sowed confusion, ultimately favorable to concrete drainage system competition, sur- rounding a perceived need for agencies to "study" the type of materials their engineers specified in highway drainage contracts. The FAST Act maintains a clarification in SAF- ETEA-LU successor, MAP-21, under Section 1525 "State Autonomy for Culvert Pipe Selec- tion." It directs the Transportation Secretary to ensure that states have the autonomy to determine drainage system materials and types without federal interference. Concrete pipe and culvert competitors responded to Section 1525 with state-level campaigns for "materials preference" legisla- tion. "We now see a shift to more municipal level activities and promoting ordinances with the claim of improving competition," Omelaniec affirms. "We don't feel taking away the rights of engineers to determine the appropriate material and method for a drainage system is good practice. We need to make sure engineers have freedom of choice, as they are the ones who have to sign off on a project. I don't think we should subject them to political influence to change their specifications or designs." FOUNDATION RESEARCH In 2017, the association formally chartered the ACPA Research and Education Foundation as a separate 501(c) (3) organization dedi- cated to advancing manufactured-concrete drainage products, structures and methods. ACPA Vice President of Operations Kim Spahn, P.E., serves as Foundation president. Topping projects she oversees is one quantifying the negligible effect of micro-cracking (< 0.01 in.) in concrete pipe and box culverts. To address concerns some agencies have raised on structure durability and service life, University of Texas at Arlington Structural and Applied Mechanics Professor Seyedali Abolmaali is leading an investigation to a) classify the most common types of cracks developing in concrete drainage structures; and, b) test reinforcing steel corrosion potential in crack-bearing specimens. Test- ing is staged near the UT Arlington campus and involves specimens from multiple ACPA producer plants. Investigators are studying RESILIENT RINGS A visit with 2018 American Concrete Pipe Association Chairman Mark Omelaniec Mark Omelaniec

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