How to Use Position Statements

In nearly two years, the ASCC Technical Committee, chaired by Bruce Suprenant, P.E., PhD., with Concrete Engineering Specialists, LLC., has produced position statements covering topics of major interest to concrete contractors. Many of these topics were suggested by ASCC members as a result of actual jobsite issues. 

The position statements have received widespread distribution via publication in Concrete International, Concrete Construction, and Concrete Concepts magazines, plus regional magazines such as Tennessee Concrete. They have also been distributed and discussed at American Concrete Institute floor seminars, and copies have been requested for distribution in Canada and the United Kingdom. Comments have been received from engineers, materials suppliers, and other specialty contractors, thus fulfilling one purpose, which was to stimulate discussion of issues that often confront concrete contractors. Another purpose was to present a position backed by the rationale for the position and by available supporting published data.

How can ASCC Members best use these statements?

Some contractors attach the statements to their bid as an explanation for changes in contract scope or exclusions that are needed to limit their risk. If general contractors don’t allow attachments to bids, modifications to individual items can be added directly to the contract, based on information in the position statements. Or, concrete contractors may attach them to supplement their interpretation of the specifications and to acknowledge current industry standards.

Other contractors bring the position statements to preconstruction conferences and give copies to all members of the construction team. This approach allows all parties to discuss the issues before they become problems. Questions related to free fall limits for placing, contaminated reinforcing steel, and location for concrete testing are particularly appropriate for discussion with the inspector for the job. Setting-time issues can be addressed by the concrete producer, and quality issues such as birdbaths, bugholes, balcony drainage, and trowel marks are best discussed with both the owner and the design professional. The statements on anchor bolt tolerances and Division 3 and 9 flatness requirements can be used to call attention to the need for coordination between trades and specifications compatibility.

The position statements also can be used to address problems during or after construction. It’s preferable to prevent problems by using the first two approaches discussed above, but contractors have also used the position statements in defense of their actions when dealing with owners, general contractors, construction managers, other trades, arbitrators, or their lawyers. For instance, some contractors attach the position paper regarding hard-troweling of air-entrained concrete to a letter to design professionals, warning them that delamination is a major risk when finishers are required to hard trowel air-entrained concrete.

Some ASCC member companies have put the position statements on their company web server so project managers and superintendents can download them and use them immediately when a problem arises. If issues can be addressed when they’re first raised by inspectors, design professionals, or owners, problems can often be resolved on the same day.

Member companies have also placed hard copies of the statements in notebooks they keep at the jobsite.

The position statements give concrete contractors a means for improving quality of the built project by helping all members of the construction team to better understand issues specific to concrete construction. The papers are also a valuable risk management tool.

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