Preparing a Site for Concrete Placement

Everyone checks out the finished product of company concrete construction. But few give much thought to how a site is prepared for concrete placement.
Both the site preparation and the actual pouring demand precision concrete construction.

What’s Required for Site Preparation

If you’ve ever tried to create even a small cement pad or a short driveway, then you know the job is a lot more than just pouring cement and finishing the surface. For those who may be unaware of all that happens before a cement surface is installed, here’s a short crash course on site preparation.

First Things First

If the base upon which you plan to pour concrete is not prepared properly, the concrete will crack or chip. Your concrete must have a stable base.
The first step is to bring in a half a foot of compact base. How much you need to add to what is already there depends on the condition of the present soil. Of course, you also need to consider the climate, and what will be parked on or moving over this cement.
You may not need much if any base soil. The type of soil and how cold your winters are must be taken into consideration. If heavy machinery or constant traffic will be crossing this concrete, adding more base and using gravelly base materials are both considerations. Turn to an experienced concrete supplier for advice for base materials.

Compacting the Base

Use a plate compactor each time you a couple of inches of base materials. A good tool is a vibrating plate compactor. It will compact your base.

Dampen the Base

If your base isn’t compacting well, try dampening it. Spraying down each 2” of base material with a hose to get the best compaction. You can tell if it is damp enough by grabbing a handful and squeezing it to form a ball. Properly dampened base material holds its shape. If it crumbles, add more water. If it won’t form a ball, then it’s too wet.

Straight Forms

Once your base is compact and deep enough for your needs, create a form. Stretch a string between screws at the edge of the form boards. Use it as a guide for straight form boards straight. Concrete slabs need a minimum slope of an eighth of an inch for every foot. This prevents water from pooling.

Securing Forms

Drive a stake every three feet or closer. Align the form board to the string. Stakes should be as straight and flush with the board as you can make them. Backfill the forms with dirt to keep them straight. Brush old motor oil along the inside edges of the form boards to keep the concrete from sticking.

Secure the Stakes

Screw the stakes to the form boards. A good choice is Torx-head screws . Hammering in nails often loosen stakes and throws form boards out of alignment. The screws can protrude into the pour area. Then you can spin them out easily after concrete is poured.

Making Stakes Flush

Cut stakes even with the top of the form boards. That way they won’t be in the way when you’re pouring or screeding.

Use Rebar Reinforcement

Install half-inch rebar in a two-foot. grid pattern. Tie with rebar ties and fasten with a tie-wire twister.

Cut Rebar

Fit your grinder with an abrasive metal-cutting blade. Cut the rebar. Then bend corners with a rebar bender .

Tie Existing Slabs

If you must join two concrete slabs, connect them with rebar. This ensures they are the same height. Drill the entire length of the bit, so rebar fits snugly. Tie chunks of rebar into the grid.
Whether it’s a concrete driveway, a patio, or a huge barn, your concrete project should last for decades. But it won’t if it isn’t properly installed. No matter where they are pouring concrete, good concrete finishing company knows that good finishing techniques are important.

A Guide to Commercial Concrete Finishing

When it comes to commercial concrete companies Milford, customers look for a company that focuses on and has expertise in just that one area. They want a company others have used and have confidence in the firm’s abilities.
Concrete finishing is a task that requires a meticulous touch.
Concrete Flatwork

What’s Involved in Concrete Finishing?

Concrete finishers are skilled, trained tradespeople. They work with concrete placing, finishing, protecting the surface and repairing projects.
Concrete finishing also means taking responsibility for creating and setting up concrete forms. These must allow for the exact depth and pitch for the project.
Concrete finishers receive concrete from a concrete wagon chute, a concrete pump, a concrete skip or a wheelbarrow. They place it inside the forms. Next, they spread the concrete with the assistance of shovels, rakes, or a straight edge. Sometimes they use all three. The move their tools back and forth across the top of the concrete in the forms. This is to “screed” the concrete or level it.
After leveling the freshly-placed concrete, finishers smooth the surface. They use special tools to do this. These might be hand trowels, long-handed “bull floats” or even powered floats.
When the concrete is leveled and floated, the concrete finishers then use an edger which they press between the forms and the concrete. Edging tools create rounded or beveled edges. This process is called chamfering. It is done to prevent the edges from chipping.
Concrete Flatwork

Concrete Finishing Techniques

Basic concrete finishes include smooth and screed surfaces. Manual and mechanical or power trowels create smooth and fine-level surfaces.
If you want a surface that is less slippery, after placement, leveling, and troweling of concrete is completed, a broom is dragged across the surface. This creates small ridges so that the concrete when wet is not so slippery.
Broom finish is not the only way to create texture on the surface of the concrete.
Another technique is to wash the top layer of the concrete away. This leaves exposed edges of the natural stone aggregate. It is an attractive and slip-resistant finish.
Other materials might also be embedded into the concrete. Examples include rose quartz, limestone, basalt, granite, colored glass or seashells. Creative finishers might use combinations or other solids.

Concrete Finishes

After the concrete is set, getting a high-quality seal to protect the surface is important.
A salt finish is often employed on swimming pool decks. To do this, finishers apply rock salt to the wet concrete. Next, they wash it off. It leaves small pores on the finished surface.
Another finish is created by stamping the concrete. This creates a texture. Inlaid designs are placed on the still-wet concrete. These designs might be brick, stone, or decorative patterns. Some designs mimic building materials. When the concrete is dry, these stamps are removed.

Concrete Coloring

Concrete might also be colored or stained. In concrete coloring, color is added to complement the architecture around the concrete.
Staining is similarly done by mixing pigment into the concrete before it dries or adding it after concrete is cured.
Using pigments is simple. The concrete finisher adds pigment to the concrete mix before it is poured. These pigments come in liquid form in disposable ready-to-pour bags. These are added along with the rest of the concrete ingredients.
Pigment colors range from browns to greens, grays, blues.
Staining products also change the concrete look. These are subdued, subtle shades.
If you want more variety, you can use acrylic staining materials.
You can stain concrete no matter how new or old it is with these water-based acrylic stains. Follow up the staining with a seal to protect the color and the surface of the concrete.
To keep concrete looking fresh and to protect it, using a commercial concrete cleaner is always a good regular practice.

Selecting Support Systems for Deep Excavations

If your project involves electing significant digging, then you need to consider a specialist in the area. You need a proven excavation equipment company MI
Deep excavations must be made carefully, or like the proverbial house of cards, they will simply collapse into themselves. This requires a company not only with excavating expertise but also several excavating and earth-moving machines
Many companies first work with a GPS system and software that allows them to create a three-dimensional model of the excavation project.
Using this model talented operators are able to apply advanced concrete construction to do things like grade adjustments that result in a stable, attractive project that is completed on time and within budget.
Mass & Fine Grading Contractors
There is a lot more to excavation than simply sticking a scoop into the ground. Excavation projects involve any or all of the following processes. Each requires skill, knowledge and specialized equipment:

• Demolition

If you have an existing structure on the site where you want to excavate, this will need to be torn down. It makes sense to hire a company that can do the entire job from demolition and excavation to construction. A comprehensive service business can provide seamless service from teardown and disposal of existing materials to rebuilding.
Companies with demolition experience know how to dispose of waste within the safe and legal practices of the municipality.

• Clearing and Grubbing

Your site may have shrubs and trees that will impede new construction. A comprehensive excavating company will also be able to remove such obstacle as trees, stumps, shrubs, and litter that may have been part of the old building.

• Erosion Control

While construction is occurring, erosion and sediment control is a concern. Competent excavation and construction companies know what measures to take to reduce movement of sediment during construction. They implement both land management strategies and man-made structures to reduce erosion.

• Mass Grading and Hauling

Without mass grading your construction site would not be prepared. During mass grading, the soil is moved to create a base foundation for your structure. This step is crucial to having a solid base. Without it, your structure will not stand the test of climate and time.

• Fine Grading

There is an art to fine grading construction. The site is leveled. Lines are uniform. It is an important step in the construction process that involves specialized earthwork machines.

• Trenching

Trenches are excavations that are deeper than they are wide. Special equipment is used. Cared muse be taken to avoid cave-ins and crumbling soil. The trenches are often used to create the infrastructure for buildings.

• Concrete and Asphalt Removal

Part of the demolition of an existing structure is the removal of any concrete that existed on site. This includes old walls, foundations, and asphalt. Special machines are needed to break up and haul away these materials.

• Subbase and Aggregate Placement

Coarse and fine aggregate is used to form a solid base for the construction. Good drainage and a solid foundation that lasts are dependent upon this step.

• Detention and Retention Ponds

Stormwater retention ponds minimize the erosion and flooding of impervious surfaces like pavement and buildings. These increase the volume of surface runoff as rain does not have a chance to sink into the soil. Retention ponds reduce the potential flooding and water quality problems.

Protecting Workers During Excavation and Trenching

A construction site is a potential occupational health and safety nightmare if you don’t know what you are doing. Trenching can be especially hazardous. Professional firms like Merlo, however, always employ effective safety measures, considered a mandatory and routine part of the job.
We know that when employing professional trenching construction services MI, keeping workers and the public safe are the top priority. The largest risks posed by excavations and trenching are falls, cave-ins, contact with electrical lines, and falling loads.
During the planning phases, it’s important that operators address all aspects of hazards in each of these areas for each new job undertaken.

Safety Harnesses and Protective Gear

Any worker exposed to height risks must use a safety harness. All workers need protective vests and hard hats.

Fall Protection

Protective barriers must be erected around the trenching and evacuation site. Even shallow trenches present a hazard for someone who could slip and fall, potentially fracturing a limb or even worse.

Electrical lines

Location of any underground utility lines must be considered before any trench excavation procedure begins. You must call the utility company hotline, 811 (“call before you dig”) to establish the position of utility lines. Utility companies will respond within 24 hours or less.

Stop Systems for Loading

It’s important that workers in an excavation area are warned when overhead loads are being shifted to avoid injury from falling debris. A stop system, either hand signals or signs, an aural warning, or barricades may be used to indicate when mobile loads are overhead.

Ensuring Material is Sufficiently Clear of Excavation Area

A barrier should be placed to at least 2ft (0.6m) from the edge of an excavation to prevent construction materials being placed near the cavity.

Preventing Cave-ins

There are three effective ways to prevent a cave-in: sloping the sides of an excavation, supporting the sides of an excavation with properly designed boxing, or shielding the sides of an excavation site from the work area.
Protection against cave-ins is required in all sites where the depth of excavation is more than 5ft (1.5m), except where the walls are comprised entirely of solid stable rock. Once the job is complete, remember to remove the material in place to prevent cave-ins carefully.
construction services

Appointing a Competent Person to Assess Hazards

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) on excavation standards, requires a competent person to be appointed to assess the safety and hazards on the excavation site.
This person must be capable of assessing soil types, be familiar with excavation procedures, hazard identification, and understand the excavation standards contained within the CFR 29, Part 1926 Subpart P for excavation and trenching. Inspections of the site must be conducted daily to ensure all areas remain safe and secure.
Appointment of an in-house safety manager and implementation of a safety system assists in streamlining site safety. Each job site becomes safer than the last, as workers are fully aware of what needs to be reported and corrected.
Each job requires an individual assessment, in accordance with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). For Michigan construction excavation services, compliance with the MDOT concrete safety practices is also required.

Michigan Construction Safety Standards for Concrete

When it comes to quality construction, it is key to find those individuals and businesses that know the proper safety standards for the location state. This way, construction is done right the first time, every time. Adherence to a state safety code also shows a general sense of professionalism in a business, and it is this professionalism that any consumer should pursue to ensure they receive the best work possible for their money. Follow along below to learn more about the Michigan safety standards for concrete construction.
 Construction Safety Standards for Concrete
Steel Reinforcement
There are a few key requirements involved with the use of steel as reinforcement in concrete construction projects:

  • A proper walkway must exist in an area that is designated as a general traffic access point.
  • Exposed steel elements must be covered or guarded in some way to prevent serious harm to employees.
  • Any form of steel used as a vertical structure must be properly reinforced or braced, so it does not collapse.
  • Steel that is being used for reinforcement cannot be used as a load-bearing element in a lifting device (nor can it be welded to be used as a load-bearing element).
  • Roll-wire mesh must be properly secured so it cannot recoil and cause serious harm.

Concrete Mixing, Pouring, and Floating
The basic safety concerns behind concrete mixing and pouring are either the pouring machine itself might malfunction or otherwise fall outside of the operator’s control and that the proper precautions are put in place to make sure accidents, and mis-pours are less likely to occur. Every dispensing device must have some form of automated control switch or safety latch so that, in the case of a malfunction or mistake, the flow of the material can be stopped promptly and the damage hopefully reduced.
Forms and Shoring
All formwork must be properly braced “until it becomes self-supporting.” Furthermore, forms and shoring cannot be removed until the concrete has been adequately tested to determine its strength. The concrete must be able to support itself and the superimposed loads it was created for.
In vertical shoring, soil composition and its ability to bear heavy loads must either remain consistent or be modified by adding the proper material to it so that it can continue to serve as a load-bearing entity. All shoring equipment must be inspected and approved by a qualified specialist who will determine if the equipment is appropriate as well as whether the shoring itself is adequate for the job. No equipment should be deformed, broken, or bear broken parts. Moving parts should be in proper working order, and all necessary connections must be seamless and secure.
Pre-stressed and Post-stressed Concrete Operations
All stressed materials should be free of dirt, grime, rust, paint, and any other deformities or imperfections, as these may cause weak bonding between concrete components. When not in use, stressed materials should be stored on blocks and layered with waterproof coverings to avoid potential damage.
When moving stressed materials, they must be lifted at the proper points and employees should be careful not to stand underneath materials or too close to the lifting mechanism. To further increase safety and limit accidents, “audible or visual signaling devices shall be operated to warn employees when tensioning operations are underway.” Stressed materials operations should not come as a surprise to anyone in the work area so long as all safety measures are taken accordingly.
Precast and Tilt-Up Operations
Before work can commence, a qualified individual must draft a plan of action for where placements will occur. This plan must be available at all job sites involved in the project for reference.
All materials attached to tilt-up pre-cast concrete materials must have a load-bearing capacity that is twice that which they are intended to carry. Non-tilt-up precast concrete materials must be capable of carrying four times the intended weight.
For precast concrete walls, adequate support is required to prevent the walls from collapsing and causing potential harm to others or damage to property. Employees must not stand next to or underneath any precast walls or other vertical materials.
Lift-Slab Operations
It is the responsibility of the construction supervisor or employer to ensure all jack equipment is, at no time, overloaded and that all jacks are properly labeled with their maximum load capacity. If a jack is overloaded, construction must halt, and the appropriate measures must be taken to ensure no harm or accidents occur because of this negligence. Furthermore, all jacks must have some form of safety mechanism so that, in the event of a malfunction, it has an automatic shutdown option.
Final Thoughts
Michigan safety standards are detailed and, in some ways, strenuous, but they exist for a reason: to protect employees and ensure a job well done. When it comes to concrete construction, look for the best companies who understand the importance of MIOSHA and MDOT safety regulations.

Controlling Silica Exposure in Construction

Crystalline silica (CS) is a substance found in nature. It is a component of, among other things, sand, granite and the earth itself. It is also a persistent danger for over two million workers who are exposed to it in 600,000 U.S. workplaces.
The construction industry is particularly affected. That’s why the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has strict guidelines for minimizing CS exposure on the job and protecting health.
Health Dangers
Silicosis is a lung disease caused by breathing CS particles. It can cause fibrosis, a formation of scar tissue that reduces lung capacity. What may start out with minimal or no symptoms can progress to severe impairment or even death. There is no cure, only management of symptoms. Exposure to silica can be acute or long-term (10+ years).
Recently, linkages have been found between CS and chronic bronchitis, kidney disease, autoimmune disorders, cardiovascular issues and lung cancer. It can also make someone more vulnerable to tuberculosis. Preventing exposure to this material can reduce medical costs and save lives.
Controlling Silica Exposure in Construction
Issues in Construction
Certain construction jobs have a higher risk of CS exposure. Sandblasting to remove paint, jackhammering, well drilling, concrete mixing, tunneling, and cutting brick or concrete can create an opportunity for ingestion of CS-laden dust. Additional risk areas include laying railroad track and replacing rotary kiln linings.
OSHA standards for CS exposure are set at less than 25 micrograms of silica per cubic meter over an eight-hour workday. Once exposure reaches 25 micrograms, action must be taken.
Practical Prevention
OSHA has established a Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) which dictates how much CS dust a worker can be exposed to in a work shift. Contributing factors include the length of exposure and the size and ventilation of the work area. The agency has established training programs for employers to help them reduce the amount of CS dust their workers are exposed to.
Here are just a few of the suggestions:

  • Workers must use any provided ameliorants such as water sprays and ventilation.
  • Substitute less hazardous materials for CS when available.
  • Don’t smoke. It exacerbates CS’s adverse health effects.
  • Have everyone take part in training and air monitoring programs.
  • Use type CE positive pressure blasting respirators. Beards and mustaches might prevent a tight seal.
  • Workers must change out of dusty work clothing before leaving the work site and take showers when available.
  • Workers must wash hands and face before eating or putting on cosmetics.
  • Large-machine operators must remain sealed inside the cab with proper fresh air circulation provided.

Employer Options
Employers can choose two different methodologies for assuring compliance with OSHA regulations. The first is to adhere to control methods recommended for specific tools and circumstances. For example, use saws that have water continuously fed over the blade to tamp down dust.
Another approach is to institute a monitoring program and then decide which exposure methods work best on the work site. Systems can include vacuum dust collection and use of respirators. Use of compressed air without ventilation should be avoided as should dry sweeping.
Medical Monitoring
An important method for keeping track of exposure is medical monitoring over time. This should include chest x-rays and lung function tests every three years for those who wear respirators for 30 or more days per year. Keeping detailed records is important.
Compliance Assistance
OSHA offers free compliance assistance for small and medium-sized businesses. This includes on-site consultation that is separate from the enforcement arm of the agency. To find your nearest program, call 1-800-321-OSHA.
Michigan-Specific Rules
Michigan is the top state associated with silicosis, and rates have only been going up since 2011. The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) has updated safety standards from those that were based on 1960s-era research.
The MIOSHA website has links to training PowerPoints that can help employers create a silica exposure control plan and inform employees of their responsibilities. There should be a competent point person to fulfill all requirements listed in Section 1926.1153 (g) of the standard.
Pyramid of Action
Required employer actions can be thought of as a pyramid. At the top are permissible measured exposures of less than 25 micrograms per cubic meter. No additional monitoring is needed in this instance.
In the middle of the pyramid are exposures of 25 to less than 50 micrograms. This level requires caution and mitigating action. Assessment should be repeated in six months’ time.
Exposure levels at 50 micrograms and above are dangerous and must be dealt with immediately and reassessed in three months’ time.
Any changes in work conditions necessitate reevaluation and baseline monitoring.
Signage is an important way to keep employees and supervisors aware of their responsibilities in CS reduction. All points of exposure should be labeled as should any CS containers. Safety data should be posted and worker training visually reinforced.

OSHA Concrete Standards

Prior to 1971 accidents in the workplace caused more than 14,000 worker deaths and nearly 2.5 million disabled workers annually. In response, Congress passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 and created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requiring U.S. employers to provide safe and healthy working conditions for workers dictated by workplace laws and standards. The organization was also given the responsibility for education, training, outreach, and assistance.
OSHA regulations apply to most private sector employers and employees in many industries from Agriculture to Waste Management and some public-sector employers and their workers, typically through state OSHA agencies. However, self-employed workers are not covered by OSHA.
OSHA regulations are enforced in all 50 states and U.S. territories and jurisdictions. States have the option of implementing their own federally approved occupational safety and health regulatory programs. These State-Plans must have regulations that are equal to or more rigorous than the federal OSHA regulations.
Standards and Requirements
OSHA sets their standards and requirements based on workplace research as well as input from technical experts, employers, unions and other stakeholders. The agency provides education, training, and tools for employers and employees to help them abide by the standards and maintain safe and healthy working conditions.
OSHA is also responsible for enforcing regulations and conducts investigations into the possible causes of job-related injuries, deaths, and illnesses. Officials may issue substantial fines for violations and if warranted, refer the offending organization to legal authorities for criminal prosecution.
As an example, in July 2008, OSHA issued citations and penalties totaling $8,777,500 against the Imperial Sugar Co. and its two affiliates. The investigation followed an explosion and fire on Feb. 7, 2008, at the Port Wentworth refinery that resulted in the deaths of 13 employees and the hospitalization of 40 others.
OSHA requires employers to inspect the workplace for potential hazards and take measures to eliminate them. Employers must also maintain accurate records of workplace injuries and illnesses, conduct training classes for employees to recognize safety and health hazards, and educate workers on accident prevention precautions.
OSHA regulations also stipulate that employees comply with all applicable OSHA standards, follow OSHA safety regulations, wear required protective equipment, and report hazardous conditions and any report job-related injuries and illnesses.
Worker’s Rights
Employees have numerous rights as defined by OSHA regulations. They are entitled to receive copies of OSHA regulations and request workplace hazards, procedures, and precautions information. Workers can request OSHA inspections when hazardous conditions or possible workplace violations exist. They can also refuse to be exposed to working conditions that pose the risk of serious physical harm or death.
OSHA Concrete Standards
The Concrete Industry
Dating back to ancient Egypt, concrete has a long history as a building material. Today, it is the most common material used in construction worldwide. Safety is a concern in all stages of concrete production, from Portland cement manufacture to construction using concrete.
OSHA’s Alliance Program and Strategic Partnership Program participants work with OSHA to publish information on hazards in concrete manufacturing and construction, including applicable OSHA standards and regulations. Some of the leading workplace hazards for the concrete industry are specified, and links to safety and health resources are provided for controlling these hazards.
The concrete manufacturing sector must conform to OSHA’s General Industry standards (29 CFR 1910), and the construction sector must conform to OSHA’s Construction standards (29 CFR 1926).
Silica Hazard
As an example of OSHA involvement, the agency recently published a fact sheet to help employers in the concrete, and other industries comply with the new standard on worker exposure to respirable crystalline silica (1910.1053) for general industry and maritime.
The permissible exposure limit for respirable crystalline silica has been lowered for all industries to 50 mcg per cubic meter of air during a work shift of eight hours.
A common material found in the earth’s crust, crystalline silica is contained in sand, stone, mortar, and concrete. It is a principal ingredient in products like pottery, glass, ceramics, bricks, and artificial stone.
Composed of tiny particles measuring only a few microns, crystalline silica is created when sawing, cutting, drilling, grinding, and crushing materials such as concrete, stone, brick, rock, block, and mortar.
Workplace activities such as abrasive sandblasting, drilling into concrete walls, sawing concrete or brick, and sanding or grinding mortar result in worker exposures to respirable crystalline silica dust. The manufacturing of brick, concrete blocks, stone countertops, ceramic products, and cutting or crushing stone also produce crystalline silica.
About 2.3 million people in the U.S. are exposed to silica at work. Those who inhale the crystalline silica particles are at risk of developing grave silica-related diseases, such as Kidney disease, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Lung cancer, and Silicosis.
To protect workers from respirable crystalline silica exposure, OSHA has issued two new standards, one for construction, and the other for general industry. In the construction industry, OSHA began enforcing the standards in September 2017.
Final Thought
OSHA has been very effective in improving workplace safety. Since 1971, the agency has reduced the work-fatality rate by more than 50%, and it has significantly impacted the overall injury and illness rates in several industries including the concrete industry.

Subsurface Utility Engineering Requirements

Subsurface Utility Engineering Requirements
Subsurface Utility Engineering (SUE) is the overall aspect of mapping underground utilities including pipelines and cable lines to help aid in the design on a site. This complicated process uses geophysics, civil engineering, surveying, and often three-dimensional underground imaging radar. The amount of detail that SUE has stored must be accurate. The SUE remains on file for years and can be consulted when new construction occurs. A SUE should be easily accessible in case it is needed in times of natural disasters or technological crisis.
SUE is value added to many projects and can save time and money.
Additionally, there are environmental challenges that SUE can help overcome such as detecting or mapping underground septic tanks, storage tanks, and even harmful contaminants.
Our modern way of life leaves most Americans expecting access to all utilities all the time. In the home or at the office, employees typically access electrical power to run a computer most hours of every day. Unlike in developing countries, the loss of just a few hours of electricity may cost U.S. businesses thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.
SUE can help minimize outages by providing vital information to repair crews.
How SUE Works
Assuming that a new development is in the planning stage, using SUE information, planning is much easier. Architects, engineers, surveyors, project managers and others can access SUE to help properly plan the entire project.
There Are Four Levels of SUE
The four phases of SUE build upon one another, so architects, engineers, and other professionals can properly designate utilities in their design. The phases are:
Quality Level D
The first stage involves research and data collection which can be in the form of paper or digital records, an internet search or site inspection.
Quality Level C
The above ground survey is performed at this stage. Occasionally there may be a conflict in data from level D and C which will need to be investigated to determine accuracy.
Quality Level B
Project managers designate underground utilities by calling 811 or contacting local utility companies.
Quality Level A
By using three-dimensional underground imagining radar or other assets from the geophysics, civil engineering, or surveying fields, the presence or absence of a subsurface utility can be located. Then, either the area is simply marked on the surface for reference later or excavations can begin.
This stage involves locating the physical utility by potholing, which is the vacuum excavation of a site to obtain visual confirmation of utilities and other obstructions.
Recovery, Diversion, or Relocation
If excavations begin, the utilities are exposed. If there is a desire to avoid that existing utility, then a diversion can be executed. The final option is a relocation of the existing services. Regardless of what is the final decision, SUE eases the time and money that once not only held back many construction projects but also proved costly due to downtime of existing utilities.
Management of Data
Given the importance of accessing the data later, it should be stored in a client’s CADD system, on GIS files, in project plans, or in a technological cloud storage space.
Legal Access
Some of the SUE stakeholders are public works, and others are corporations or private citizens.
Using the gathered data can create a conflict matrix that will ease the legal decisions on proposed plans (highway, developments, bridges, drainage, etc.) or renovations (repairs or maintenance to bridges, roads, etc.) that might otherwise arise and remain unresolved for years. As the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has a publication titled the Standard Guideline for the Collection and Depiction of Existing Subsurface Utility Data, CI/ASCE 38-02, legal conflicts have firm guidelines to reference.
SUE Professionals
SUE Professionals
There is a high level of expertise required in SUE contracts. Anyone working on a SUE project should be well trained, capable, and experienced. There are usually certified engineers, geologists, and land surveyors responsible for the quality of the work.
As there is a wide range and type of highly technical equipment required, technicians must be knowledgeable enough to keep everything working correctly, well maintained, and correctly calibrated.
Companies involved in SUE need substantial financial backing to manage an SUE business. The start-up, maintenance, and overhead costs are prohibitively high for most entrepreneurs.

American Concrete Institute (ACI)

The American Concrete Institute, or ACI, is a society for concrete education and standard development for the concrete industry. It works to maintain and update American concrete standards. It has chapters located all over the U.S. and the world including Canada, France, and Saudi Arabia. The ACI headquarters is located in Farmington Hills, Michigan.
History of Organization
The idea for ACI first came about as a response to the negative public perception of concrete. There were no standards for making concrete blocks, resulting in concrete products of inconsistent quality.
Charles Brown first proposed the creation of an organization that ultimately became the ACI at the beginning of the 20th century in an article he wrote for a publication called Municipal Engineering. Brown argued that forming a concrete institution to standardize practices in the industry will improve public confidence and increase sales.
As a result, the National Association of Cement Users was formally established in 1905. This name was later changed to the American Concrete Institute.
The institute’s first headquarters was in Philadelphia. The first ACI president, Richard Humphrey, ran meetings out of his company’s office suite. Under Humphrey’s leadership, ACI developed the first-ever reinforced concrete building code.
Within seven years, by 1912, ACI had created 14 standards. In 1912 ACI also started a monthly publication for industry professionals such as engineers, construction workers, concrete producers and material suppliers.
ACI Committees
Like many large organizations, the ACI has organized itself through the establishment of various committees. Some of these include the committee for certification, the committee for education, and the committee for students and young professionals (SYPAC).
The ACI’s committee for certification oversees the institute’s activities in the certification of people involved in or interested in the field of concrete. For example, standards exist for the certification of a field technician and a laboratory technician. The chair of this committee is Joe Hug, and it has their meetings in various locations across the U.S.
Education and SYPAC
The ACI’s committee for education oversees the institute’s activities in the education of the concrete industry for both the academic and practical backgrounds. Sub-categories of the committee exist for topics such as concrete repair, designing concrete structures, and programs for university students. The committee meets during ACI annual conventions in various locations across the U.S.
American Concrete
Current Publications
The American Concrete Institute currently publishes over ten different journals, standards, and papers throughout the year. There are two separate journals, one on the topic of structural engineering and another on the topic of materials engineering. Additional publications exist in the form of guides and manuals, certifications publications, and its original task of maintaining concrete standards.
Structural Journal
The ACI’s Structural journal is a peer-reviewed publication on the topic of structural engineering design and analysis, with additional focus on structural concrete elements and their design and analysis theory. All ACI Members receive an automatic subscription to the journal to keep them updates. To publish in the journal, however, manuscripts must be on a topic of interest for the ACI and need to further educate the community on the topic of concrete material, design, and construction.
Materials Journal
Similar to the Structural journal, the ACI’s Materials journal is also a peer-reviewed publication. However, it is dedicated to the topic of material engineering in the area of concrete properties, use, and handling. Also similar to the Structural journal, all ACI Members receive an automatic subscription to the Materials journal. And to publish in the journal, manuscripts must be on a topic of interest for the ACI and need to further educate the community on the topic of concrete material, design, and construction.
ACI Certifications
ACI runs three certification programs aimed at technicians, specifiers and owners, and employers. These specialized programs include certifications as a cement physical tester, concrete quality technical manager, and masonry field testing technician.
These programs are accessible at many different locations inside and outside the United States.
Conventions and Exhibitions
The ACI conducts conventions twice per year so concrete professionals across the industry can collaborate. The Spring 2018 convention will be held in Salt Lake City Utah, March 25-29th. The ACI encourages students and young professionals to attend the event by offering a host of scholarships and discounts. The conventions are a great opportunity to network and discuss current trends in your field.

European Concrete Standards

Concrete is made up of three main components: water, cement, and aggregate (a mixture of rock, sand, and gravel). When these three components are mixed, chemical reactions within the cement acts as a strong binding agent to hold the entire mixture together.
In Europe, the EU and local governments have set specific standards that concrete manufacturers must meet before it can be sold and used for building projects.
European Concrete Standard Overview
Due to the popularity of concrete in the construction industry, there are many regulatory bodies for the standardization of concrete. The European Standards, abbreviated as EN, is a list of standards maintained by the European Committee for Standardization. EN 206 is a set of standards designed for concrete.
The types of standards related to concrete include precast and structural.
These standards only apply to normal-weight, heavy-weight, light-weight, and pre-stressed concrete. Preparations are still underway to create standards for sprayed and infrastructure concrete. And no standards have been created for aerated, foamed, and no-fines concrete.
Terms Used in the Standard
The European Concrete Standard uses many terms specific to the concrete industry. Some of these terms are fine aggregate, coarse aggregate, binder, and water content.
Fine and coarse aggregates refer to the size of the aggregate in the concrete. According to the standards, fine aggregate is made up of sand particles that will pass an upper sieve that is less than 4mm. Coarse aggregate, on the other hand, is made up of larger particles that cannot pass an upper sieve of 4mm.
The binder of the concrete refers to the cement paste that binds the concrete together. There are various types of binders. Adding varying amounts of binder can make a difference in the way the components of the concrete bind together.
Water content, like the binder, can also be added to the concrete in varying amounts changing the consistency of the final product.
Standard Category Standards
The European Concrete standards list many categories or classes based on concrete’s physical properties.
Exposure classes refer to the environmental conditions the concrete is exposed to at its place of a pour. Different environmental conditions are sorted into different exposure classes. Concretes can be exposed to multiple classes at once. For example, class XO concrete refers to concrete without any reinforcements and can be exposed to all types of environments except for severe freeze/thaw and abrasive ecosystems. Class XC3, on the other hand, refers to concretes exposed to moderate humidity.
Consistency refers to how much water is mixed with the concrete. The more water in the concrete, the easier it is to work with, but it is not as strong as concrete using lesser amounts of H2O.
In the European concrete standard, consistency is classified into compaction, flow, slump, and vibe classes, while high water-content concretes have not been classified.
The compressive strength in concrete refers to how much compressive force the concrete can withstand before it crumbles. The compressive test works by placing a cylindrical block of concrete inside a compression machine and increasing the force until the concrete fails.
In the compressive strength category under the European Concrete Standard, the sample concrete cylinder has a diameter of 150mm or 300mm and is sorted into classes with varying compressive strength.
Concrete Type Standards
Concrete types standards are defined by where and how the concrete is produced. Some types defined in the European Concrete Standard include cast in-situ concrete, precast concrete, pumped concrete, and more.
Cast-in-situ concrete is mixed while on location. The concrete must perform under different external conditions to meet this specification. Stages of how the concrete is made – from preparation to production, delivery, placing, and curing – are all regulated. For example, when the concrete cures, it should be protected from extreme climatic influences such as direct sun, wind, and frost.
Precast concrete is not mixed on location. Instead, it is made at one location and delivered to another after it has already hardened. Some critical factors during the production process for precast concrete include concrete design, production, preparation, and placing of the concrete.
Pumped concrete is liquid concrete that has been placed on location via a pump. Standards for pumped concrete must ensure the concrete can be pumped without becoming segregated or blocking the pump line. In the European Concrete Standard, features such as concrete composition, water/binder ratio, and workability are all critical for pumped concrete. For example, the composition of pumped concrete must have particle diameters less than 1/3 of pipe bore and a finest-grain-content of less than or equal to 0.125mm.