Welcome to this latest in the series of concrete supplements published by New Civil Engineer. This time, the regular sponsorship from the British Cement Association and the Reinforced Concrete Council has been joined by Construct and the Concrete Bridge Development Group. We are grateful to both of these very active organisations for their support.
The level of interest in new applications for cement and concrete continues to grow - and on top of that there is an appreciation of the known but underexploited environmental and whole life benefits of concrete.
In the market there is much to be cheerful about. The readymix industry is investing significantly more in technical promotion and good growth potential has been identified. The structural pre-cast industry is reaping benefits from the Egan drive for efficiency and a reawakened interest in the benefits of mass, durability and attractive, flexible designs. The masonry, roofing and paving producers are innovating as never before.
In the commercial frame market, the lessons of the European Concrete Building Project are being applied on major projects and the industry now has a very competitive package to offer.
Those clients not insisting that their design teams prepare an alternative concrete design option are seriously missing out financially, whether on a first-cost or whole-life basis.
Many buildings are now using the fabric energy storage characteristic of concrete to reduce air conditioning bills and increase internal comfort levels - all wrapped up in an aesthetically pleasing space liked by its occupants.
Concrete roads have been proven to save truck owners up to 10% in diesel costs by reducing rolling resistance - the proven durability of concrete pavements twinned with the new quiet asphalt toppings are an excellent option that really should be standard on all new and reconstructed roads and inlays.
In railways there is Europe-wide interest in concrete track-beds. Cement-based applications are cleaning up a growing amount of the UK's brown and contaminated land.
The industry is now joining together to develop a sector sustainability strategy. On the education front, all civil and structural engineering and architecture students have been given a free copy of the CALcrete concrete learning modules, design spreadsheets and an interactive library. CPD versions of CALcrete have been released by the Reinforced Concrete Council at an attractive price.
All in all, a healthy present and an optimistic future for the concrete option.
Now read on.