Nonetheless, unscientific standards don't prevent litigants from forcing defendants to invest significant resources refuting them in court. The only way to break this cycle is to correct the standards and establish fair and objective criteria.
The concrete industry reduced its efforts in monitoring the standards that directly affect it, and such complacency has led directly to endemic litigation.
Many in the industry continue to ignore this situation. After all, concrete contractors and suppliers have insurance. And most in the concrete industry believe they: (a) will be judged by the quality of their materials and workmanship, and (b) are responsible for and able to fix the problems of their own making with their own efforts. While these attitudes are honorable, they point to continuing litigation before the industry realizes it should muster support for significant change of error-prone standards.
What can be done?
Leaders from the cement and concrete industry must become more engaged in the standards development process at both ASTM and ACI, even if it means joining a "Resilient Flooring" subcommittee. Further, they need to energize allies in related industries directly affected by defect litigation. The goal: to develop meaningful standards based on accepted scientific principles, designed to institutionalize best practices and protect consumers and the concrete industry equally.
Geoffrey D. Hichborn, Sr., PE, is a civil engineer with nearly 30 years of experience in forensic evaluation of cement and concrete materials and related construction. He serves as a Senior Consultant at Concrete Insights Corporation, www.concreteinsights.com. CIC investigates the design, installation, performance and repair of concrete and related materials, providing expert testimony in litigation and specialized consultation. CIC investigators are known as "The Concrete Detectives."