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January 21, 2004 7:10 AM CST

ASTM December Committee Meeting in Tampa, FL

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The American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) held its semi-annual December Committee meetings this past December in Tampa , FL. There were many different subcommittee and task group meetings held, but there were a few that were particularly of interest to mason contractors. The following is a synopsis of some of these topics.

Masonry Workmanship Standard
ASTM Task Group C15.05.07 on Masonry Workmanship did not meet this cycle. The document has not changed since the June Meetings, so Jerry Painter of Painter Masonry and Rashod R. Johnson of the MCAA decided to cancel the meeting. Last June, the C15 Chairperson, Diane Throop of Diane Throop P.E. suggested we consider a rather lengthy rationale statement to deflect the redundant negative votes that we were receiving. Rashod and Jerry are in the process of drafting that rationale statement and the entire workmanship standard should be out to ballot this current code cycle.

If it passes through the committee, this document will be the first ever published masonry workmanship standard in history. Because the masonry Code and Specification, the MSJC, contains some workmanship guidelines, the aforementioned document will only be used in non load bearing commercial masonry construction. This is significant in many ways, but in particular to protect lawsuits to mason contractors that are based on bad workmanship. This document has been in the works for over a decade. Every few years, as ASTM evolves, new members fight the document. Our primary adversaries have been brick and block producers, but recently other design professionals have expressed concern. This will not deter us from publishing this document. Design professionals should have some document to guide them on judging masonry workmanship and the MCAA will fight until this Standard is published.

Finish and Appearance
ASTM Task Group C15.03.07 on Finish and Appearance (of concrete units) met during committee week. MCAA's Rashod R. Johnson is the Chairman of the task group. The scope of the task group is to reword all of the concrete Standard's "Finish and Appearance" sections to clear up the current disjointed wording. This is the section of the Standard that talks about the percentage of waste, what is allowable for acceptance or rejection of materials, and finished wall construction, and the infamous "20 foot rule".

Since they are all very similar wording, we decided to concentrate on ASTM Specification C 90 and will apply this same wording to all the other Specs once done. There was some discussion in the task group about eliminating the "20 foot rule" and also changing the allowable crack size provisions. In the interest of time, a small group decided to work on acceptable wording and ballot this wording on the next subcommittee ballot.

ASTM Task Group C15.02.07 on Finish and Appearance (of clay units) was chaired by John Bufford of ACME Brick. The primary discussion was getting through the previous ballot's negative votes.

MCAA's presence is gaining more strength as time passes. Many topics try to get into the Standards and are blocked by MCAA and other contractors. In the coming year, the MCAA technical committee will begin to have quarterly conference calls to discuss ASTM ballot items. If you wish to join this committee, please contact the MCAA's Director of Engineering, Rashod R. Johnson at rjohnson@masoncontractors.org.


About the Author

Rashod R. Johnson, P.E., is president of The Roderick Group in Chicago. He is the former Director of Engineering for the Mason Contractors Association of America and currently serves as a technical consultant to the association.

 

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