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May 7, 2001 8:00 AM CDT

Industry Leaders Meet to Discuss Coordinated Masonry Research

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Nearly 30 leaders from the masonry community met in Phoenix, Arizona on January 5-6 to discuss masonry research needs and how to coordinate research efforts. TMS's Research Committee hosted the workshop that formed a part of the PERM (Planning for Enhanced Research in Masonry) project. This project is being sponsored by the Council for Masonry Research (CMR), with their organizational members of the Brick Industry Association, the Expanded Shale, Clay and Slate Institute, the Mason Contractors Association of America, the National Concrete Masonry Association, the National Lime Association, and Portland Cement Association, and also by the International Masonry Institute.

The workshop was well represented by major stakeholders in masonry, including producers, masons, designers, researchers, building owners and government agencies. This diverse group provided a well-rounded view of masonry design, construction, evaluation and research.

Participants at the workshop reviewed the success of past research needs workshops, considered needed research areas for masonry, and drafted a strategic plan for future coordinated research. As part of the PERM Workshop, issues related to needed research, potential funding sources, and challenges/impediments to implementation of research were considered. The results of the workshop are being summarized in a project summary that will be available from TMS and will include a Research Outcomes Report, which reviews the success of past research needs workshops; a report on Challenges and Opportunities for Masonry in the 21st Century; and a proposed Strategic Plan. The PERM summary will be available to TMS members following approval by CMR and the International Masonry Institute later this spring.

PERM has the following overall objectives:

  1. improve communication channels among masonry researchers and end-users of masonry research,
  2. evaluate the outcomes of past research needs efforts,
  3. prepare a position paper on the state of masonry research, and
  4. develop a strategic plan for future masonry research in the United States.

While the project will not fund new research programs, the coordination of present and future masonry research projects will be improved through a better integration of ideas, needs, funding sources and researchers. The planning effort is expected to organize future masonry research so that it will be attractive to several diverse stakeholder groups, and through their potential support enhance the level and quality of masonry research.

In addition, as part of the project, the TMS website is being expanded to include a newsgroup for communication between researchers and end-users of the research. An automated listing of current research projects and an updated listing of research needs is also being added to the website. The planning activities of the PERM project are needed to coordinate existing masonry research and to set a national agenda for masonry research in the decades to come. As masonry research programs are enhanced and accelerated, innovative applications, design solutions, and construction procedures will follow, increasing the relative competitiveness of masonry as a construction system.

People interested in participating in the PERM project are encouraged to contact David McLean (mclean@wsu.edu, phone: 509-335-4653).


About the Author

David McLean is a Professor of Civil Engineering for Washington State University.

 

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