Faced with declining membership, weakened event participation and declining revenue in publications, Sauter focused the CFA on tangible benefits to the contractor that could be experienced and provide significant impact to their businesses at their convenience and where they were located. For the most part, this new foundation for the Association is built on programming that doesn’t necessitate travel or event participation, though still the absolute No. 1 benefit to belonging. Programs now developing or firmly-established to build value for the membership include a protected risk self-insurance captive; a fall protection task force and OSHA-compliant alternate plan; a multi-level certification program for the residential foundation industry; and leadership for codes and standards development.
Codes and standards shape continue to evolve as one of the biggest influences to the landscape of the construction industry. However, the practical and experienced voice of the residential concrete contractor was not being heard effectively to introduce needed change to the direction of prescriptive standards. Over a period of two decades, and largely under Sauter’s leadership, the CFA assisted in the introduction of two new standards for residential concrete work. The first was a non-consensus, but universally applicable, CFA Standard based on navigating the International Residential Code (IRC). This document achieved broader references to performance options for both designer and contractor recognizing the greater technology and mix expertise as well as the practical applications existing in the market. The CFA Standard was a base step that led to the creation of a new residential concrete consensus standard published by the American Concrete Institute (ACI), “ACI 332: Requirements for Residential Concrete."
Following its initial publication in 2004 and subsequent updates in 2008 and 2010, this document became an allowable alternative referenced by the IRC that provided far greater design and construction options.
“Several years ago, when the American Concrete Institute decided to develop a residential standard, the committee chairman contacted Ed to let him know there were some very radical things being proposed for residential foundations — things like: anchor bolts at 6 inches on center, 3 inch maximum slump concrete and requirements that forms be left on the wall for 48 hours, to name just a few,” Herbert reflects. “Ed quickly put together a group of people who were willing to set on this new ACI committee and represent our interests. He was eventually named chairman of the committee. With his leadership, the tide was turned and we now have a document we can use to our advantage, instead of one that would have ultimately made most basements cost prohibitive and would have, almost certainly, put some of us out of business.”
Herbert and three other CFA contractor leaders, Ron Colvin of JC Concrete in Michigan, Buck Bartley and Kirby Justesen of Formco Foundations in Utah were part of the industry support brought in by Sauter to lead the creation of that new standard.
“Ed was the chief shepherd of the first ACI concrete code dedicated solely to the residential industry,” Bartley states. “His leadership and skills in achieving consensus in the ACI residential code committee were masterful, and a wonder to behold.”
Although far from done in his service to the CFA and with his mission to this industry, the selection of Sauter as this year’s recipient comes at a time when both the Association and the industry are taking a collective breath as business returns and anticipation for growth resumes. This year’s recognition honors the faithfulness, determination and confidence that Sauter has given to the CFA and in turn infused to many of the members for their own businesses.
When asked to describe Ed’s impact to him and his business, Smith stated: “I consider Ed Sauter a friend and look forward to our Association events, partly to see him. He is smart, well spoken, trustworthy and funny. We have been blessed that he chose to apply these traits and his considerable technical skill and determination toward the betterment of our Association and our industry. For the Concrete Foundation Association to have had the direct benefit of Ed’s vision, work ethic and skills for these many years has been a direct contributor to the success of the Association — and by being a member and knowing Ed — to my business as well.”