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December 29, 2008 9:00 AM CST

NCMA Scores Victory for Sustainable Design


President Bush has signed into law the Department of Defense (DOD) authorization bill for fiscal year 2009, legislation which funds the nation's military programs. The bill includes a major provision that addresses one of National Concrete Masonry Association's (NCMA) top legislative priorities. That particular provision requires that the Secretary of Defense to incorporate principles of sustainable design and life-cycle, cost-effective practices as an element in all military construction projects submitted to Congress for approval. All projects submitted by DOD elements, which include the U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force, will have to take into account these criteria.

By enacting this provision, Congress is validating legislatively the arguments long articulated by NCMA and the concrete masonry industry that the DOD projects should be utilizing construction materials that are more sustainable and cost effective over the life cycle of the given construction project. These new requirements will likely require a significant paradigm on the part of the DOD in the way building materials are selected.

While some military service branches have continued to favor the use of durable building materials, which provide maximum long-term sustainability and lower maintenance costs, other elements have sacrificed long-term cost-effectiveness and performance in the interest of achieving short-term objectives.

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About the Author

Masonry, the official publication of the Mason Contractors Association of America, covers every aspect of the mason contractor profession - equipment and techniques, building codes and standards, business planning, promoting your business, legal issues and more. Read or subscribe to Masonry magazine at


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