By Tom Daniel
There has been much talk as of late regarding the potential change of what has traditionally been known as a C-216 standard brick. Currently, there is a proposal to change the standard void size of the standard brick. The new void size could be up to 30 percent, versus 25 percent. This is a 5 percent increase in void size. Ironically, there is already an ASTM standard that covers a 30 percent void size: ASTM C-652. While this issue may seem like a relatively minor one, contractors need to be very concerned about this issue and aware of how it may impact them.
A 5 percent increase in void size has seen some projects realize a substantial increase in mortar costs. These costs are either absorbed by the contractor or passed on to the end-user. Either way, it adds cost to the project, which makes masonry less competitive. Given the fact that there is no decrease in face shell, there are concerns of increased cracks, chips and broken bricks. There also are serious concerns about an increase in water penetration. In freeze-thaw areas of the country, long-term performance of brick can be impacted due to the change. There are also concerns about code compliance and industry confusion over such a change.
What can be done to help prevent this from happening? Contact the MCAA today, and become a member of ASTM, so your company has a vote on the issue. The fee for ASTM is only $75, and you’ll receive a free set of standards. Most important, you will have a vote on this as well as other issues. You need to make sure you become a member of the appropriate committees in order to vote, so please contact the MCAA today for more information. It would probably help, as well, if you asked your brick supplier where they stand on the issue. You are the customer, and you need to share your thoughts and concerns about this issue with them.
About the Author
Tom Daniel, owner of GBC Concrete and Masonry Construction, Inc. in Lake Elsinore, Calif., has worked in the masonry industry since the 1980s. During that time, he has volunteered countless hours for the masonry industry locally in California and on the national scale. Daniel spent eight years on the MCAA Executive Board, including two years as President from 2008-2010 and was the recipient of the 2011 C. DeWitt Brown Leadman Award.