Herbert Construction Becomes Georgia’s First CFA Certified Contractor


May 29, 2018


Herbert Construction Company Becomes First Certified Foundation Company in Georgia

Mt. Vernon, Iowa – Concrete foundations constructed in the state of Georgia will now be produced by the state’s first CFA certified foundation company, Herbert Construction Company based in Marietta, Georgia.  “Certified Residential Foundation Company” is a program rating established by the Concrete Foundations Association, headquartered in Mount Vernon, Iowa, www.cfawalls.org, offering third-party quality assurance for professional concrete foundation companies.

Recognizing the need for a national program to establish a consistent base of knowledge and quality assurance for the cast-in-place concrete foundation industry, the Concrete Foundations Association™ of North America (CFA) created the Certified Residential Foundation Company over a decade ago. The program recognizes certified companies in the states of Missouri, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Maryland, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio and now Georgia.

“The Certified Foundation Company program was an ideal extension of the Certified Residential Foundation Technician that is offered through the American Concrete Institute,” states Jim Baty, Executive Director for the CFA.  “Introduced in 2007, the technician program established a grueling examination of the knowledge base for understanding the codes and standards that shape the minimum requirements for today’s residential concrete foundations.  However, having a person on staff or even multiple project managers that knows the important sections of code documents was just the start.  This industry needed a recognizable standard for operation of a quality foundation company.”

Herbert Construction became involved early on in the program as company President, Doug Herbert, participated in the formation of the market development package offered to companies achieving the benchmark.  The aggressively growing economy set the wheels in motion for the company to follow up on its original intent to become a certified company. “It became increasingly important and eventually essential for us to show our region that we are serious about our foundations and this program,” states Doug Herbert.  “I became an ACI/CFA Certified Technician several years ago and all along it has been my intent to have the company follow suit.  This shows our current and future customers that we are committed to being the best company that we can be.  We’ve put in a considerable effort to become a Certified Residential Foundation Company.  Our employees are what makes this certification possible, and we believe this will set our company apart from other construction companies as we continue to hire great people to join our company.”

Company certification was the obvious next step in Herbert Construction’s consistent involvement in the CFA. From their multiple awards in the CFA’s annual Projects of the Year competition, to their leadership and involvement in the association’s Board of Directors. That was instilled in the second generation, family-run company early on from founder and CEO, Barry Herbert, his daughter and V.P. for the company, Amanda Morris and now Doug Herbert. A member of the CFA since 1992, the process to become a certified company forced the family to look deeper into their processes, understanding their safety culture and identifying new ways to step forward in their commitments.  “Certified companies must prove their safety programming, commitment to workforce safety and performance, financial stability and quality of relationships,” states Ed Sauter, CFA Manager for Certification Programs.

“I’m quite proud of the statement this certification makes to our company culture and to our customers,” states Barry Herbert.  “Our goal has always been to commit ourselves to leadership through our processes, our relationships and our performance.  We are very pleased to have been through this process as it demonstrated just how much we already knew about our company but also some new ways to improve our processes and our commitments.”

For more information on Herbert Construction Company, please contact Doug Herbert at (770) 795-0103 or visit their website, www.herbertconstruction.com.

For more information on the CFA, please contact James Baty, Executive Director at (319) 895-6940, jbaty@cfawalls.org or visit the Association’s website at www.cfawalls.org and go to keyword Certification.

For more information on the American Concrete Institute and their individual certification programs visit their website, www.concrete.org.


Further information, including electronic files, logos and photography, is available from Lindsey Bloomquist, Manager of Communications and Networks for the Concrete Foundations Association, lbloomquist@cfawalls.org | (319) 895-6940.



For Sale: 2004 Putzmister 38Z Boom Pump

CFA member from Indianapolis, IN has the following piece of equipment for sale:

2004 Putzmister 38Z Boom Pump with newer pipe and ware parts.  Comes with three (3) new boom sections and has a current boom inspection.

The truck is a 2004 Mack MR688 with 150,000 MIKKES; 400 HP Mack engine and 4,800 pump hours.  The tires are rated at 75% rubber and the brakes are rated at 75%

This truck is ready to pump.

Asking $ 195,000.00 and financing is available with 20% down.

Contact John at Starlite Leasing, Inc. at 317-201-8229

For Sale: Used Aluminum Concrete Forms w/ Smooth Faces

An inventory of concrete forms from the manufacturer Wall-Ties & Forms has been introduced to the CFA for interested parties.  We are supporting this used equipment as a favor from past membership participation.

These 8-ft and 4-ft forms are roughly 10-12 years old and have a 6-12 hole pattern.  All forms have been inspected and repair completed over the entire set.  Faces have been lightly scraped for cleaning.  A complete inventory list and more images are included below.

For purchase interest, contact Mitch Kueckelhan at 314-574-3907.

CFA Hosts Rocky Geans Construction Business School

The arrival lobby at Custom Concrete, Westfield, IN – host for the 2017 Rocky Geans Construction Business School by the Concrete Foundations Association

December 12th to the 14th was an interesting new stretch for the CFA. A new education partnership to benefit the concrete contractor member of the Association was crafted with industry motivation expert, Rocky Geans. Rocky is a name many will recognize with familiarity having attended seminars at World of Concrete or stayed current with articles published in key trade magazines relevant to the concrete industry. The Construction Business School is a new venture for this concrete contractor as he enters the next phase of his career. “I had a great career as a concrete contractor,” states Geans. “It was time to move on though, and I wasn’t ready to leave the industry. Concrete is my passion and I really enjoy meeting other contractors, talking about their business and passing along any pieces of advice from my career that might impact theirs.”

This is precisely what thirty-five people attending the CFA’s offering of Rocky’s school found. Custom Concrete in Westfield, IN offered their facility and training room as the host for this event. Beginning the evening of the 12th, registered attendees met up for a reception at Noble’s Pizza and had a great time getting to know Rocky, meeting many new faces and catching up with some old acquaintances. On Thursday morning, the short walk or drive to Custom’s location was met by a tremendous staff and a gracious welcome. Through the next two days, Rocky’s curriculum immersed every attendee into the challenge of comparing systems, management styles and cultures to that of the Custom Concrete framework laid out all around and the contents of this course.

“This is the first time I have spent this length of time thinking only about the way I run my business,” stated Daryl Knoerdel of Knoerdel Foundation Specialists, Georgetown, PA. “I feel like I’ve got a long way to go but I was also encouraged by seeing steps that I can take now.”

The atmosphere for the school was set by the positive attitude of the Custom Concrete Education Meeting Space

Rocky recognized more than one face in the audience and asked Mary Wilson of Michel Concrete, Springfield, IL toward the end of the class how she felt after sitting through it the second time around. “When I signed up for this class, I started feeling guilty, questioning whether I had done anything with the investment I made in the last one,” stated Wilson. “While I was reminded of a lot more we have to do and was given more great things to think about, I was surprisingly satisfied with many of the little things we have already implemented. Having my husband along this time to give us two minds absorbing and thinking of ways to make changes will be all the better.”

“It was a real pleasure to host so many CFA members to our facility at one time,” stated Brad Schrock, Chief Operations Officer for Custom Concrete. “We had a chance to get many more of our people invested in the event, meeting other CFA members and really getting a sense of the value this Association has to our operation. No matter how refined a company is, we know there is always more that we can do to make us even better.”

CFA is committed to bringing two more chances for the Rocky Geans Construction Business School in the second half of 2018. Stay tuned to the Events Calendar at www.cfawalls.org and your email for notifications.


Safety Really Is Job #1

by Levi Schrock, chair of CFA Safety Committee

Throughout the years, safety has been a subject of conversation at the CFA. We confess, however, that it has usually been brought up as a reaction to a hot topic posed by OSHA. Today, we hope to be advanced enough in our thinking to be talking about safety long before OSHA comes up with a relevant rule, or before one of our members gets cited, or before our association has to look at insurance options. We now recognize that safety needs to be prioritized in the same ranks as accounting strategy, production growth, new business ventures, advancing technology, human resourcing best practices, ownership structure, and all other important areas in a business. We propose a radical way of not just “doing” safety but being inherently safe.

But how does a residential foundation construction company learn safety’s best practices for our industry? In America today, we do not see published writing on safety in our industry at all, much less helpful advice. Sure, we have OSHA like everyone else; but the truth of the matter is that the strategies and techniques on how to best implement and grow in safety in the residential foundation construction market are not widely known (much less communicated).

For starters, the CFA overhauled and rebooted our safety committee in the fall of 2017, asking company leaders to put together a board of safety professionals from within our membership (not another industry). This diverse group has been taking a hard look at “OSHA’s Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs,” and they are putting a CFA spin on how these practices relate to companies in our industry. Wouldn’t it be refreshing to read an intensive “safety’s best practices” guide that was designed with only our industry in mind? Since such a document does not properly exist (we hope one is out there, but if there is, we cannot find it), we decided to make our own.

Necessity is the mother of invention, but all too often we only see necessity too late. The best businesses will see a problem before it has arrived and proactively change processes to avoid that problem. Businesses that wait to deal with the negative consequences of poor safety are either doomed to fail or lucky to survive. However, if we know ahead of time that poor safety performance will absolutely result in such dire consequences, why do so many of us put off safety precautions? Let’s be honest: Is safety a true consideration when injuries are down, insurance is happy, and OSHA is not interested in your business? For most companies in our industry, ownership is too busy dealing with other “emergencies” from everyday business to be concerned with average safety performance. To our own dismay, we often misinterpret the effectiveness of consistently dealing with safety. Similar to the prospect of “buy low, sell high,” safety needs to be a priority when it is not a hot topic, not only when it is what everyone is talking about – having this shallow view on safety will rob you of the greatest rewards that safety can offer your company. We want to show you what these great rewards can be.

Our safety committee will soon be publishing a work that will include a walk-through of OSHA’s guidelines for having a safety program, tips from some of our company’s more successful safety ideas, and even some lessons that have been learned the hard way (which will hopefully help you avoid some of the issues we have run into). The amount of information from one company may be good, but when we combine the CFA’s resources from our diverse membership and experiences, we find a wealth of knowledge that needs to be shared. To give a practical example of the kind of information that will be offered in the safety guide, here’s a sneak peek into the kinds of ideas we are compiling:

Be Present in the Doc’s Office: Continuing with the thought of knowing your doctor well, you should know the visit well, too:
“For this one you need to really have the trust of the doctor and the trust of the injured employee, and even if you do have the trust of both, you should ask permission every single time. However, if you do this right, you can be allowed (welcomed, even) to sit in on the injured employee’s doctor visits. This was huge for our company. I usually sit completely quiet in the room. In this scenario, I hear the doctor/patient conversation firsthand, and know for myself exactly what was said. The employee must stick with this story now and should the doctor’s paperwork look anything different from what I hear the doctor say in the visit, I can call and have it corrected. Also, the employee is now put in a spot where s/he must tell the doctor what s/he has told me. For instance, I once had an employee complain of back pain. When I took this employee to the doctor and sat in on the appointment, this employee went on and on about pain in his knee and elbow. This not only opened my eyes to foresee the motive this employee had in going to the doctor, but it made it infinitely easier to prepare for (rather than if I would have heard this from the doctor later and then tried to pick up the pieces). I’ve also found that being in the doctor visit I can give all the necessary work comp/company info that the employee doesn’t know, which makes the paperwork way easier later. And finally, I’ve been able to help bridge the gap in understanding regarding the work we do. The doctors have a difficult job, and when a wall worker has to explain what s/he was doing when the injury occurred, the physician just has to interpret the work the best that s/he can. When I am present, I can usually explain the job process and how it makes sense that the employee was injured doing a particular duty (which can help the doctor diagnose what the problem might be). I won’t pretend this strategy doesn’t have a downside, but there are many reasons as to why it is beneficial to invite yourself to these doctor visits.”

This excerpt is an example of what we will be providing to help educate our members. Everyone has a story or an idea – this safety guide holds great power in bringing many of these thoughts and stories together.

Whether safety is a thriving aspect of your company’s culture or is still in its infant stages, stay tuned to see what the CFA safety committee will be producing in mid-2018. To that note, never hesitate to ask safety questions of the CFA. We don’t pretend to be all-knowing, but through collaborative group efforts our members have likely encountered some useful answers for most questions you may have. We look forward to a safer 2018 with this renewed focus in mind.

Tricks of the Trade: “Droopy Tie Syndrome”

from Dennis Purinton, Purinton Builders, East Granby, Conn.


This issue’s Tricks of the Trade is shared by a CFA member (the current president) in the spirit of continuing to share great ideas and to challenge you, the reader, to consider the ways you overcome annoying details and situations to be more effective and economical in your work. If you are from an active CFA member company and your trick is selected for publication, your company will have 50 points placed into your account for Member Rewards, redeemable for your CFA transactions. If you are from a company that is not a member, we will offer you a $100 discount on your first year’s membership fees — a great way to get to know the CFA.

More and more it seems that our projects are requiring a change to be made at some point nearing the end of forming, requiring us to open up a section of formed wall. Has this ever happened to you? Maybe the customer has decided that he/she wants to add a window to a particular section of the wall or change the size of the opening to a regulation egress condition. Sometimes the builder identifies the need for additional utilities (or the utility plan information does not arrive on time), where a sleeve is now necessary. There are also those annoying times when a member of your crew inadvertently drops something into the wall. Whether that coffee cup or soda can will be noticed or not, they don’t make quality aggregates and our position is to have the formed condition cleaned immaculately for inspection. There are even those times when we have been required to add reinforcement during an inspection.

No matter the reason, these changes and happenstances result in the necessity of opening up a section of the already-formed wall. When you pull that form panel(s) out, whether it is a full or filler, the ties between it and the adjacent panels are likely to fall out of position. Some form systems have just enough of a notch to position them back in place while you carefully reinsert the panel. More than likely, however, the multiple vertical ties at each seam are not easily held in place, and then there are those sitting between two removed panels as well.

During a recent shared experience with a crew from Bartley Corp that came to help me on a project, I was introduced to this trick to resolve the problem, maintaining both efficiency and patience.

  1. Remove the necessary panels or fillers.
  2. Add or remove accessories, trash or design components that resulted in needing to remove the panels in the first place.
  3. Take any thin gauge wire (we use the same twister wire we use for our rebar), push it through the panel tie hole, then push it through the form tie.
  4. Twist the wire tight, aligning the form tie with the form tie slot in the panel.
  5. Replace the panel or filler.
  6. Reinstall necessary pins and wedges.
  7. Break the wire before trying to strip the form.

Try following these steps the next time you have to remove a panel and see if it lowers the frustration of getting all the ties lined up again quickly, so you can move on. One headache created by your customer or a crew member does not have to throw off the entire day.

Obituary: Mahlon Eash Jr. (1964-2017)

It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of longtime CFA member, Mahlon Eash Jr.

Mahlon Eash Jr., 53, of Gambier, passed away Dec. 26, 2017. Mahlon was born on May 28, 1964, in LaGrange, Ind., to Emma and Mahlon Eash Sr. He married Erma Gingrich on March 14, 1987.

He was a member of Community Christian Fellowship Church. He was owner and CEO of Foundations Plus Poured Walls.

Mahlon leaves memories to be cherished with: children, Tyanna (Evan) Green of Gambier, Alex (Sammi) of Danville, and Chandler and Mahlon Spencer at home; grandchildren, Lake Daniel, Archer Douglas, and Baby Green on the way; siblings, Mervin (Esther) Eash of Utica, Duane (Nancy) Eash of Gambier, Lorene (Dan) Hochstetler of Utica, Laverne (Sara Kay) Eash of Gambier, Floyd (Linda) Eash of Utica, and Ernie (Janice) Eash of Mount Vernon.

Mahlon and beloved wife, Erma at wedding of their daughter, Tyanna (shown above).

He was preceded in death by his parents, Mahlon and Emma Eash; brother, Dennis Eash; and sisters, Marietta Eash and Karen Miller.

Funeral services were held on Saturday, Dec. 30, 2017 at Lasater Funeral Home.

To offer condolences or to share a memory with the Eash family, visit www.lasaterfuneralhomes.com.

Many of you attending the Concrete Foundation Conventions or the CFA Winter Social in recent years may recognize Mahlon and remember him as always smiling and full of an energetic joy. His spirit for this Association and industry will certainly be missed.


Obituary: Ronald E. Colvin (1943-2017)

It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of longtime member and past president of the CFA, Ronald E. Colvin.

A Berrien Springs icon passed away on Sunday, Dec. 10, 2017: Ronald E. Colvin, known to all as “RC.” He was the first New Year’s baby born on Jan. 1, 1943, in Waco, Texas, to the late Andrew Jackson Abernathy Colvin and Ruth McFalls. He died at the age of 74.

RC graduated from Berrien Springs High School in 1961. RC built businesses and provided jobs for many people in the community.

He could be a generous mentor, helping those who help themselves, and many times, helping those who were helpless. However, he was so much more than a provider for his family and friends—he was our foundation.

RC’s businesses included JC Concrete Inc., JC Waterproofing and JC Conveying, which he grew into this area’s largest residential and light-commercial concrete company over the past 37 years. RC and his wife, Jo, also owned and operated The RoundTable Bar & Grill, which provided a refuge for people to relax, reflect and try to shoot their best game of pool.

RC is survived by his wife, Jo Colvin; sons, Greg (Carlene) Colvin-Garcia, Ron (Michele) Colvin, Brad (Jenn) Johnson and Ken (Danielle) Johnson; daughter, Karen Delgado; grandchildren, Paige Colvin, Garrett Delgado, Jade and Eva Colvin-Garcia, Taylor and Ty Johnson, and Chloe, Tori and Logan Johnson.

RC was preceded in death by wife, Francine Colvin, and grandson, Travis Johnson.

A celebration of RC’s life was held at Allred Funeral Home in Berrien Springs, with a visitation on Friday, Dec. 15, and a funeral on Saturday, Dec. 16.

Remembering Ron

by Ed Sauter

Those who knew Ron Colvin (RC) will never forget him. Beneath the ever-present beard, overalls, Hawaiian shirts and sandals was a kind, smart, and caring individual who would do anything to make life better for those who worked with him.

Ron Colvin at a CFA event in 1982 – Racine, Wisconsin.

Ron was a little unconventional in his appearance and approach to things, but in a great way. I worked with Ron (I never did call him RC) throughout my tenure as executive director of the Concrete Foundations Association. He had strong ideas and made certain they were heard. If he thought an idea was “bull-xxxx,” he said so. When he became treasurer of the association, I always had to be on my toes because Ron knew more about financial reports than most people, especially me. He mentioned to me that he had worked in the banking industry at one time, but a certain disagreement with management led him down another path. He would always ask me questions I didn’t know the answers to, and I knew better than to try to bluff my way through. I’d have to say, “I’ll get back to you on that one, Ron—now if we can move on,” hoping he wouldn’t push the issue. While he may have put me on the spot when it came to financial reports, he had my back on every important issue that came to the table.

Ron Colvin (left) congratulates Barry Herbert (right) and presents him with the CFA President’s plaque for two years of service.

Ron’s passing caused me also to reflect on how important all of you have been to us. Scott and I were elected to the board at the same time, and our first meeting was also Ed’s first as head of the association. This particular group has been very important to the success of our company (we still use the footing system Ron showed us 25 or 30 years ago), but more importantly, I consider each of you a close friend. My only regret is that we see so little of one another now days. – Barry Herbert, Herbert Construction Company

Always a part of the fun. Ron here heads off to practice with his yo-yo after a lesson from the “Yo-Yo Man” at CFA Convention 2002 – Mt. Hood, OR

I talked Ron into serving on the ACI 332 Committee (Residential Concrete Construction) along with Barry Herbert when I chaired the committee (which was all about residential concrete construction) because it had nobody with true construction experience participating and representing the interest of the residential contractor. How can you talk about building with concrete without a voice from those who actually do the work?  (Note: Brent Anderson and Buck Bartley were also on that committee and became great contributors.) His outspoken and frank comments, supported by Buck, Barry and Brent, sometimes left heads turning, but they almost always won the arguments.

Ron made me think hard about the CFA and about my business. I think he made the CFA a better association, and I am sure glad I served with him. There have been some colorful people in our association – and Ron may have been the most unique!  Kind of crazy how long ago it was that Bill, Arie, Bruce, me, Barry and the others in our group were on the board with Ron. Thank you all for the memories!! – Scott Smith, MPW Construction Services

Ron had a thirst for knowledge when it came to everything related to concrete and foundations. To board meetings Ron would often arrive several days early, in his Cadillac, and drive around the town to see how others were doing things (and I’m sure correcting some of the things they were doing wrong).

An after-education conversation in Mt. Hood, OR – CFA Convention 2002. Gary Bromley (left), Buck Bartley (center), Ron Colvin (right).

I remember at Mount Hood he suggested we go for a drive through the mountain back roads to look at the scenery. I assumed we would be doing it with a 4-wheel drive Jeep, but no: he picked us up in his rental Caddy.

The last time I saw Ron was at his pool hall in Berrien Springs. Ron told me he had always wanted to have his own pool hall and he fulfilled that dream after “trying” to retire from the foundation wall business. My wife and I were traveling with some friends on our way back from a wedding in Michigan and I decided to stop in, unannounced, to see if he might be there. I had no idea where the business was located, but I figured I’d just stop in town and inquire at the local hardware store as to where I might find Ron Colvin. “Ron Who?” he said. Then it hit him: “Oh, you mean RC. He’ll be at his pool hall just outside of town.”

Ron Colvin (left) and Richard Crosby (right) engaged in one of their many talks on the value of business education topics.  CFA Convention 2001 – Niagara Falls, Ontario

I jokingly told my wife and friends as we walked in, “Just look for the big guy with overalls, a Hawaiian shirt and sandals.” Sure enough there he was, dressed in his “working attire,” sitting on a stool, working out the details to his next pool tournament. He welcomed us with open arms and seemed disappointed that we couldn’t stay more than a couple of hours. He always had time to offer advice and opinions. The world could use a few more RC’s. He will be missed by many.

One of the few captured photos of Ron in a blazer. Terry Schniepp (left) and Ron Colvin (right).

Twisted Steel Micro-Rebar in Load-Carrying Concrete Walls

by Samhar Hoz, Jeff Novak, Luke Pinkerton


Concrete walls are widely used in building construction. Concrete is strong in compression; however, its tensile strength is only 8 to 15 percent of the compressive strength. Thus, plain concrete does not have good tensile properties. Cracks can develop due to loads, restrained shrinkage, or temperature changes that give rise to tensile stresses in excess of the concrete tensile strength.

Historically, many walls have been constructed of plain concrete. Modern codes, however, only allow plain concrete walls to be used in limited circumstances, where the walls are inherently stable. Design provisions for plain concrete are found in ACI 318-14 (1) and ACI 332-14 (2).

Reinforced walls are designed according to ACI 332-14 using rebar to increase their structural capacity. The minimum wall reinforcement required by ACI 332 is provided primarily for control of cracking and temperature stresses. Also, the minimum vertical wall reinforcement required by ACI 332 increases the strength of a wall. However, most wall designs provide standard diameter bars that are widely distributed and only carry load effectively after the concrete has cracked.

An alternative way to reinforce concrete walls is by using twisted steel micro-rebar (TSMR). TSMR reinforced concrete refers to concrete reinforced with short, randomly oriented twisted steel filaments. TSMR is fully anchored in concrete using continuous twisted rib deformations along the length of the shaft, similar to rebar. Because this type of reinforcement is distributed throughout the matrix and is fully anchored, it carries load both before and after the concrete develops cracks. In addition to its load-carrying capacity, TSMR provides redistribution of loads, potential reduction in crack widths, and increased durability of the finished structure. The degree to which these benefits are realized depends on the amount of TSMR added to the concrete mix. The mechanisms of how TSMR provides these benefits and how TSMR reinforced concrete can be used in practices is the subject of this paper.

The International Residential Code (IRC) governs the construction of walls used in residential structures (2). This building code basically references ACI 332 or ACI 318 (3) for the design of concrete structures. Although TSMR is not referenced in the IRC, the code does allow the use of alternative products as long as they undergo a detailed review process. The alternate means of code compliance (AMC) provision is in Section 104.11 of the 2015 IRC.

R104.11 Alternative materials, design and methods of construction and equipment. The provisions of this code are not intended to prevent the installation of any material or to prohibit any design or method of construction not specifically prescribed by this code, provided that any such alternative has been approved. An alternative material, design or method of construction shall be approved where the building official finds that the proposed design is satisfactory and complies with the intent of the provisions of this code, and that the material, method or work offered is, for the purpose intended, not less than the equivalent of that prescribed in this code. Compliance with the specific performance-based provisions of the International Codes shall be an alternative to the specific requirements of this code. Where the alternative material, design or method of construction is not approved, the building official shall respond in writing, stating the reasons why the alternative was not approved.

Evaluation reports (ERs), sometimes called code reports, are based on acceptance criteria (AC) or evaluation criteria (EC) and have been used by the construction industry for many decades. They are used to help assess a product’s code compliance through the code’s specified AMC provision and are typically used for products or systems not addressed in the code. They are also provided to help the building official and design professional determine if products or systems meet the prescriptive requirements and/or intent of the code. ERs have facilitated the use of new, innovative products through an evolving review and implementation process. They have also been used for products that are covered by the code as well as for times when there is some ambiguity in the code provisions. ERs have become a tool to facilitate, expedite and, in some cases, improve the design, building permit, construction, inspection and quality confirmation processes.

Helix TSMR received a Uniform-ES code approved evaluation report ER-0279 (4) in 2013, which states that Helix TSMR can be used as primary concrete reinforcement for structural applications.


TSMR Mechanism

Figure 1: TSMR pullout behavior.

TSMR is an engineered product that substantially reduces the formation of cracks by increasing the tensile strain capacity of the concrete. This reduction or elimination of cracks optimizes the concrete’s durability. TSMR pieces are uniformly distributed, providing effective three-dimensional reinforcement.

As the concrete hardens and shrinks, microscopic cracks develop. TSMR intersects these micro-cracks, preventing them from developing into macro-cracks and potential problems. Today, the designer and contractor do not have to settle for the rebar or wire mesh method and gamble on it being in the right place. Technology has developed TSMR, a far superior system of engineered reinforcement that provides automatic high-tech crack protection in the concrete’s hardened state.

The Helix brand TSMR has a square cross section and is produced to have a twisted profile that allows each piece to bond to the matrix over its full length. Helix 5-25 TSMR is made from 1,700 MPa (246 ksi) minimum high tensile strength steel, which is similar to that used in pre-stressing cables. It is 25 mm (1.00 in.) long and 0.50 mm (0.02 in.) in diameter, and there are 25,307 fibers/kg (11,500 fibers/lb).

The untwisting of TSMR as it pulls out of concrete produces behavior that is significantly different than traditional steel fibers: pullout is governed by twisting resistance rather than friction. In addition, the twist anchorage allows for efficient tensile stress redistribution within the concrete prior to concrete cracking. The result is a significant increase in the concrete’s strain capacity and proactive pre-crack properties. After the formation of a crack, the tensile stress remains constant as untwisting occurs, providing reactive post-crack properties (4).

Figure 1 shows TSMR as manufactured (left) and after a pull-out test (right). The left or upper, unused piece shows a consistent helical twist along the full length. Those twists allow the entirety of each piece to bond with the concrete, bridge micro cracks and carry loads at a lower strain. The right or lower piece shows that in order to be pulled out of the concrete, TSMR must untwist, which produces a constant tensile strain resistance.

Tensile resistance is the primary engineering feature to pay attention to in the design of TSMR reinforced concrete. While beam tests have been the traditional way to evaluate fiber-reinforced concrete, flexural stress must be calculated using the section properties for the uncracked section. Because the stresses in a beam vary at different depths (both before and after cracking), the flexural test does not adequately measure the tensile performance of micro-reinforced concrete.

Evaluation criteria EC-015 established a direct tension method to characterize TSMR (6). Direct tension tests are used to determine the load capacity of individual TSMRs using a cylindrical tensile test specimen. The design methodology uses this tension response data to compute a tensile resistance stress that is related to a particular dosage rate of TSMR in concrete.


TSMR Construction Advantages

The difference between a wall built with TSMR (B) and a wall built with rebar (A) is illustrated in Figure 2. The conventional approach with rebar reinforcement does not behave as a true composite since concrete must crack before the reinforcement becomes active (4).

Figure 2. Concrete wall reinforcement with conventional rebar and TSMR

The purchase, delivery, cutting, bending and tying of rebar and mesh is time-consuming and costly. Placing the reinforcement at the specified depth is a critical step since the wall’s strength is decreased greatly when it is misplaced.

Building with TSMR eliminates placing errors since it is distributed throughout the concrete. Generally, TSMR is delivered to the job site already mixed in the concrete truck (Figure 3). The dosage of TSMR added to the mix should be noted on the batch ticket.

Figure 2. Mixing TSMR in concrete truck at job site.

Using TSMR reinforced concrete maximizes the speed and efficiency of construction. It also increases worksite safety by reducing injuries due to cuts (placing), strains (lifting), and tripping/falling (maneuvering on top of rebar) that are traditionally associated with rebar and mesh.


Wall Applications

TSMR has been used in concrete projects globally, with approvals in 99 countries. It has been used to replace reinforcement in above- and below-grade commercial and residential walls. Table 1 shows representative commercial wall projects. These projects illustrate the breadth of applications. The projects range from single-story houses to 25-story buildings. Too numerous to list, TSMR has also been used in thousands of residential projects in above- and below-grade foundation walls.

Table 1. Representative TSMR Commercial & Residential Wall Projects
Building type
Wall thickness
TSMR wall design
The Villages Development
Wildwood, FL
Over 8,000 single-story houses
6 inches
Full replacement of rebar
10 and 15 lb/yd3 Helix 5-25
Fairmont Village
Grand Junction, CO
3-story townhomes
6 inches
Full replacement of rebar
15 to 30 lb/yd3 Helix 5-25
St. Margaret Mary Catholic
Bullhead City, AZ
6-story church
6-8 inches
Partial replacement of rebar
15 lb/yd3 Helix 5-25
Holliday Inn Express
Kincardline, ON, Canada
4-story hotel
6 inches
Full replacement of rebar
10 to 20 lb/yd3 Helix 5-25
12th Avenue Apartments
Seattle, WA
5-story apartments
4, 6 & 8 inches
Full replacement of rebar
18 lb/yd3 Helix 5-25
Pensmore Estate
Highlandville, MO
5-story residence
8 & 10 inches
Partial replacement of rebar
22.5 to 45 lb/yd3 Helix 5-25
University of Waterloo
Toronto, ON, Canada
25-story dormitory
10 inches
Replaced one layer of rebar
15 lb/yd3 Helix 5-25
Hilton Garden Inn
Uniontown, PA
5-story hotel
4 & 6 inches
Replaced horizontal rebar
18 lb/yd3 Helix 5-25
Indigo Green Apartments
Indigo Bay, St. Maarten
Multiple 3-story apartments
6 & 7 inches
Replaced horizontal and reduced vertical rebar
17.5 lb/yd3 Helix 5-25 Plus #3 at 15 in.
Hilton Garden Inn
Moon, PA
5-story hotel
4 & 6 inches
Replaced horizontal rebar
18 lb/yd3 Helix 5-25
Helio Apartment Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
16-story apartments
6 inches
Partial replacement of rebar
25 lb/yd3 Helix 5-25

Carew Residence, Appleton, Wisconsin

At 13,200 square feet, the Carew home is anything but typical. In addition to living areas, the residence has a 34-foot-long indoor swimming pool, a full-size basketball court, a theater, wine cellar, and oval office with spectacular views of nearby Appleton, Wisconsin.

Figure 4. Carew Residence project.

The foundation walls, which used the TF Forming System’s vertically oriented ICF panel design, varied between 12 and 20 inches thick. Helix TSMR was added into the concrete ready-mix trucks and pumped into each wall segment, as seen in the picture below.

The Helix TSMR design for the foundation wall used 9 lb/yd3 to replace all of the vertical and horizontal rebar.

Richard Mortlock of TF Forming Systems said that “by incorporating Helix Steel in our design, we attained a higher level of structural reinforcement.”



TSMR reinforced concrete refers to concrete reinforced with short, randomly oriented twisted steel filaments. TSMR is fully anchored in concrete using continuous twisted rib formations along the length of the shaft, similar to rebar. Because this type of reinforcement is distributed throughout the matrix and is fully anchored, it carries load both before and after the concrete develops cracks. In addition to its load-carrying capacity, TSMR provides redistribution of loads, potential reduction in crack widths, and increased durability of the finished structure. The degree to which these benefits are realized depends on the amount of TSMR added to the concrete mix. Although TSMR is not referenced in the IBC or IRC, the codes do allow the use of alternative products as long as they undergo a detailed review process (Section 104.11, 2015 IRC).

In order to successfully introduce any alternative product evaluation reports are used to help assess a product’s code compliance through the code specified AMC provision and are typically used for products or systems not addressed in the code. They are also provided to help the building official and design professional determine if products or systems meet the prescriptive requirements and/or intent of the code. Contractors, builders and engineers looking for such support have access to a Uniform-ES code approved evaluation report ER-0279 (5) completed by Helix in 2013.  The ER-0279 states that Helix TSMR can be used in concrete reinforcement for walls and structural applications, which includes the residential concrete foundation wall.  For more information, contact a Helix representative at 734-322-2114 or visit their website at www.helixsteel.com/residential.


About the Authors:

Samhar Hoz is a structural engineer at Helix Steel in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She has a master’s degree in engineering management from Eastern Michigan University. She has a Bachelor of Science in civil/structural engineering from Baghdad University.  She has more than seven years’ experience in reinforced concrete structural design and construction for industrial and commercial projects.  She is a secretary of two ACI 332 residential concrete work sub-committees.

Jeff Novak is vice president of engineering at Helix Steel in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He is responsible for the preparation of calculations for tunnel structures and building components using Helix concrete. He has more than 30 years’ experience in structural design of industrial and commercial projects. He earned a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering from the University of Maryland and an MBA from Kennesaw State University. He is subcommittee chairman of 506-b Fiber Reinforced Shotcrete and active on committees 506 Shotcrete, 360 Design of Slabs on Grade, and 544 Fiber Reinforced Concrete, and he is on American Society of Testing and Materials subcommittee C09.42 Fiber Reinforced Concrete.

Luke R. Pinkerton is president and chief technology officer at Helix Steel in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He has a Bachelor of Science in physics from Hope College and a Master of Science in civil/structural engineering from the University of Michigan, and he founded Helix Steel in 2002. He has 12 years of experience in reinforced concrete design, steel fiber design, non-linear finite element analysis, and blast and impact resistant design and testing. Luke is a member of ACI Committee 332, Residential Concrete Work and ASTM Concrete Pipe – C13.



  1. American Concrete Institute. “Building code requirement for reinforced concrete.” (2014). ACI 318-14, Farmington Hills, Mich.
  2. American Concrete Institute. “Building code requirement for reinforced concrete.” (2014). ACI 332-14, Farmington Hills, Mich.
  3. International Code Council, 2015. Country Club Hills, Ill.
  4. Pinkerton, L.R. & Novak, J. (2014). Twisted steel micro-reinforcement – Advantages of microscopic composites. Concrete. 48. 36-37.
  5. Uniform Evaluation Service Evaluation report #297 (2013). Uniform Evaluation Service,. Ontario, Calif.
  6. Uniform Evaluation Service Evaluation Criteria #015 (2014). Uniform Evaluation Service, 5001 E. Philadelphia St. Ontario, CA 91761 – USA