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Should the CFA Expand Its Scope?

The Concrete Foundations Association has always been about residential foundations. While all of our members are involved in some aspect of the residential foundation industry, many of them perform other types of work in both the residential and commercial markets. It has become a necessity in order to survive in the current economy.

CFA members perform grading, excavation, and backfill; they build basement and floor slabs, and sidewalks; they install site utilities such as water and sewer lines; they perform concrete work on commercial projects; they build above grade housing; they own ready-mix operations; and, they build with insulated forms. While they may have been forced into some of these options in order to survive, it is unlikely that they will stop doing that work once the economy improves. It would be shortsighted to put all your eggs back in the basket that got you into trouble in the first place.

The CFA is already involved in above grade concrete homes, including structural slabs. A separate council called the Concrete Homes Council was created several years ago to address the needs of those involved in the RCF (Removable Concrete Forms) above grade concrete homes business resulting in a web site, a comprehensive manual, and marketing materials specific to this market. Its mission and operations were folded into the CFA last year due to lack of activity in the current economy but concrete homes will be constructed as the economy returns and the CFA will serve the needs of that industry.

It is within this context that the CFA staff and the board of directors have had both formal and informal discussions regarding the scope of the CFA. Since our members are involved in a broader range of services to the residential concrete industry, should the CFA expand the education and representation it provides its members to include those areas where members operate. Nowhere is this more evident than in the area of slabs – in particular residential slabs. There is no “residential concrete slabs association.” This is of particular note because most of the problems that occur with concrete installations on residential work occur in slabs. Staff can attest to this given the number of calls we receive asking about slab problems – and we are the Concrete Foundations Association.

The summer meeting this year will feature an additional day of education for attendees who are involved (or want to become involved) in residential slab construction. It was a late addition but we put together a great program with several presenters, headlined by Kim Bashum, a mainstay of the World of Concrete seminars and demonstrations. If you can come a day early, make sure you add the slab seminars to your agenda. Information can be found in this edition of Concrete Facts.

Discussions on a formal change of scope will continue and a decision is still down the road – we have plenty of work to occupy ourselves for the foreseeable future but it is a topic that is worthy of deliberation. We would like your input – visit with us at the summer meeting, send us an email, or pick up the phone and call. We are here to serve your needs and the only way we know what you need is for you to speak up.

Ed Sauter, Executive Director, CFA

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Concrete FACTS, a publication of the Concrete Foundations Association, is THE voice for residential concrete industry news, market intelligence, business strategies, technical solutions, product information, and other resources for professionals in the cast-in-place concrete industry. Subscriptions to Concrete FACTS is available to anyone involved or interested in the residential concrete industry as a service to your industry. Please contact CFA Headquarters to find out more about your free subscription or Email Us