• Q: How do we, as ready mix concrete sales people, flip a project specification from conventional temperature-shrinkage reinforcement to Fiber Reinforced Concrete (FRC) or from one FRC system to the system we are selling?

    November 17, 2010

    A: Most ready mix concrete sales people are not aware of the process required to secure a change order to the specifications for a given project when desiring to replace the wire mesh with Fiber Reinforced Concrete or to offer an alternative to the FRC system specified.

    Actually, there are two roads that can be followed to successfully convert a specification. The first road is the simplest in terms of steps in the process. If the project has yet to be bid (this is the important point) and the ready mixed concrete salesman has identified or been alerted by the contractor(s) bidding the project that the project’s specifications contain old technology (wire mesh) the ready mixed concrete salesman can go directly to the consulting engineer and request for an FRC alternate. The ready mixed concrete salesman can accomplish this task as follows: one, he can personally present the appropriate material to the consulting engineer, two, he can make a joint presentation with the local representative of the fiber company or, three, he can request the fiber company to handle the communications with the engineer.

    As with the second approach the important element to the presentation is being able to provide the alternate language to the specification along with the supporting documents, which could include a Letter of Certification from the fiber supplier’s engineer. To facilitate an easy transfer of information and data ABC Polymer Industries has assembled a specific package of material that includes a CD for the engineer that includes the engineering language to modify the specification. We think it is also critical that samples of the material are made available to the engineer and ABC Polymer has sample packages containing all of the products we sell.

    The second approach requires considerably more work. This path would be used after the project has been bid and the successful bidder is requesting the ready mixed concrete producer to get fibers approved as an alternative to the wire mesh or the ready mixer wants to furnish the fibers currently marketed by that ready mixer.

    When this is the case the ready-mix concrete company will submit the engineering data package prepared by ABC to the concrete subcontractor or prime contractor who will carry the material to the engineer. Acceptance by the engineer will result in a change order. In some cases, the ready mixer or the contractor will request ABC to carry the material directly to the engineer. ABC is prepared to handle these requests.

    These approaches emphasize both the engineering benefits of converting to the FRC package and the¬†‘Value Engineering’¬†argument. Specifically, the Value Engineering approach promotes the cost saving involved in using the fibers versus the wire mesh while maintaining equal to or better engineering benefits. ABC has a document that talks about the cost saving when FRC replaces wire mesh.

    In either case, the importance of having available to the engineer the data required to modify a specification is imperative. All of ABC’s microsynthetic fibers and macrosynthetic fibers, as well as Blends, have been tested using consensus test methods in recognized commercial laboratories.

    Our goal at ABC is to be able to provide the engineer, contractor and ready mixer the best fiber reinforcement system available, which mandates furnishing the most up to date information and data.

    -R.C. Zellers, PE/PLS, Director, Engineering Services