National Concrete Masonry Association | Top Stories of 2015

NCMA wishes a happy new year

NCMA wish you the very best of health, happiness, and prosperity this holiday season and in the coming New Year. The NCMA offices will be closed on Friday, January 1.

Some fire-safety experts question lightweight wood construction
The Charlotte Observer
It’s hard to miss the raw material forming the skeletons of new apartment buildings going up around Charlotte: wood. Lightweight construction materials – beams formed of wood fibers and wooden floor assemblies built in factories – allow for faster, easier construction, advocates say. Read more.

OSHA final rule on silica goes to OMB for review
Safety + Health
December 23, 2015 -- OSHA has sent a draft of its final rule on silica to the Office of Management and Budget, one of the final steps in a process that will lead to the publication of the long-awaited standard. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez made the announcement Dec. 21 during a conference call with stakeholders. “Current standards that we have are more than 40 years old. They have been inadequate in protecting workers,” Perez said. Read more.

Catastrophic apartment blaze exposes wood construction + fire sprinkler folly 
Concrete Products 
January 29, 2015 -- "If it was made out of concrete and cinder block, we wouldn’t have this sort of problem,” Edgewater (N.J.) Fire Chief Tom Jacobson said at a press briefing after a blaze destroyed or severely damaged more than half of Avalon at Edgewater, a 408-unit apartment complex built to code of conventional wood construction. The January 21 blaze saw minor injuries to two firefighters and two civilians and no loss of life, a circumstance New Jersey Governor Chris Christie called an “enormous blessing. However, approximately 1000 people have been displaced. Read more.

For additional information regarding concrete masonry for fire resistance, visit the NCMA Solutions Center, click here or read the article Concrete Masonry Provides Fire Resistant Construction..

New technique could make cement manufacturing carbon-neutral
UCLA Newsroom 
October 1, 2015 -- Concrete surrounds us in our cities and stretches across the land in a vast network of highways. It’s so ubiquitous that most of us take it for granted, but many aren’t aware that concrete’s key ingredient, ordinary portland cement, is a major producer ofgreenhouse gases. Read moreImage courtesy

Manufactured stone veneer shows high cost-value return
January 15, 2015 -- Manufactured stone veneer was added to Remodeling magazine’s 2015 Cost-Value Report.  The report compares average cost for 36 popular remodeling projects with the value those projects retain at resale in 102 U.S. markets.  According to the report, manufactured stone veneer ranked “second among projects with a cost--value return of 92.2%.”  To see the entire report, click here.

An Oklahoma suburb, tornado-ready
New York Times 
May 15, 2015 -- Sometimes it appears as if there is a target hanging over Moore, Oklahoma, Storms seem to find it. Although the city was spared last week as tornadoes swept nearby, overturning cars and destroying dozens of homes, Moore hasn’t always been so lucky. Read more.


"A NEW solution for PERFECTstones."

Will the U.S. economy slip into recession in 2016?
Hip hip, hooray for the U.S. economic recovery! Unemployment is down, consumer confidence is up and the "animal spirits" that keep America Inc. hopping are finally reawakening. The Federal Reserve feels optimistic enough to have turned the page on the Great Recession earlier this month by raising interest rates for the first time since 2008. Phew, glad that's over. Read more

US new home sales rose 4.3% in November
New U.S. single-family home sales in November rose less than expected and the prior month's increase was revised down, suggesting some loss of momentum in the housing market. The Commerce Department said on Wednesday sales increased 4.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 490,000 units. October's sales pace was revised down to 470,000 units from the previously reported 495,000 units. Read more.

Webinar on life cycle inventory data collection tool - Jan. 11
Through a joint project with ICPI and NCMA, a data collection tool that can be used by concrete masonry producers to collect Life Cycle Inventory information has been developed. This tool will assist producers in collecting the right data, and help to reduce costs associated with life cycle inventory and EPD development by reducing data review. A webinar has been scheduled for January 11, 2016, at 11:00 AM ET to introduce the tool and provide instructions on how to use it. Register using the form here, and the webinar information will be sent to you. Note that the content of this webinar will be the same as one previously held in November.

Registration open for the 2016 NCMA Annual Convention!
General registration is open for the National Concrete Masonry Association’s Annual Convention taking place February 26-28, 2016, in Orlando, Florida, in conjunction with the ICON-Xchange B2B Forum. Register by February 1st to receive substantial registration discounts. ICON-Xchange brings the focus back to the concrete hardscape and masonry community. MEET with current colleagues and associates as well as make new contacts. CONNECT in a new setting; attendees get immersed in the offerings of ICON-Xchange. LEARN what is new in the industry, best practices and how to utilize available resources. Join us for this powerful industry event!

For more information on the NCMA Annual Convention and ICON-Xchange, visit the website. For a detailed schedule of events, click here.

The official hotel for the ICON-Xchange and NCMA Annual Convention is the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort located just off Universal Boulevard, east of the Orange County Convention Center North/South expansion and just 10 minutes away from the Orlando International Airport. The ICON-Xchange group rate is $189. Space is limited so reserving rooms early is recommended. Reservations can be made by calling 866-996-6338.


Besser Company
The World Center for Concrete Technology provides Blockmakers Workshop® training courses as well as research and testing for the concrete products industry. Learn more at


January 2016

19 – 21
National Home Builders Association - International Builders’ Show
Las Vegas, Nevada/Las Vegas Convention Center

26 – 27
The Masonry Society - Masonry Field Testing Course
Waltham, Massachusetts /Simpson Gumpertz & Heger Offices

27 – 29
ASTM, International - Committee D 35 (Geosynthetics) Meetings
San Antonio, Texas/Grand Hyatt

28 – 29
The Masonry Society - Masonry Laboratory Testing Course
Waltham, Massachusetts /Simpson Gumpertz & Heger Offices


View all Industry Events here.


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