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PCI Northeast

Innovations E-Newsletter

Featured Article

Functional Resilience

The United States continues to see a rise in losses due to damage from natural disasters. What is important to note is that there has been a significant increase in losses starting in the 1970s. The losses presented here and throughout this article unless otherwise noted are from the Property Casualty Service and presented in 2010 equivalent dollars.

At the same time the US is experiencing these greater losses, the building and design industry has taken a greater interest and earnestly looked at how to build structures that are more sustainable -- especial in terms of the construction process and materials. Recently, a new layer of interest has been added to understanding what sustainable design and construction means.

The Portland Cement Association has recommended adding measures into the building codes, and adding the idea of functional resilience to the way U.S. structures are designed.

Functional resilience incorporates many aspects of building design and construction, and while a very broad concept, designs that include provisions for functional resilience will tend to be more durable, robust, disaster resistant, have longer life expectancies, and be more readily adapted for reuse and even re-purposing. “Integration of durability and functional resilience into sustainability codes, standards and programs is long overdue,” David Shepherd, director of sustainability for the Portland Cement Association (PCA) said. “Some say the most sustainable structure is the one that isn’t built. We believe the most sustainable building is the one still standing.”

Being built to withstand natural disasters is one idea of functional resilience. For example, looking at how we design structures to withstand wind events, such as a midwestern tornado, shows how much we might be saving.

Here are the combined losses reported for tornados, hail storms, and thunderstorms. Increases in the frequency and severity of other events are not clearly evident as shown with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data on tornados. The number of severe tornados is not increasing, but decreasing…

Chart 1

The dramatic increase in losses is also shown to be more rapidly increasing that the amount of residential construction according to the U.S. Census Bureau statistics. The same is true for commercial construction put in place. Annual and cumulative commercial construction have consistent slopes as compared to the slope of losses.

Chart 2

If the relationship is not directly related to increased frequency of events, re-distribution of population, or the amount of buildings built, what else can be a significant factor.

There have been significant changes in construction practices in the United States since the 1970s. Each of these alone may not have had a significant effect, but each warrants consideration with regard to its role in increased losses.

A resilient building is not limited to one that is operational after a natural disaster, but also one that can withstand the hardship of the passing years. The Brookings Institution projects that by 2030, the U.S. will have demolished and replaced 82 billion square feet of its current building stock, or nearly one-third of existing buildings, largely because the vast majority of them weren’t designed and built to last any longer. Robust, functionally resilient buildings are frequently reused and even re-purposed when downtowns are renovated.

Special thanks to Marty McIntyre, Executive Director PCI-IW and Steve Szoke, Director, Codes and Standards, Portland Cement Association for providing the information in this article.


Danbury Hospital Parking Garage

Danbury, CT


Hospital Parking Expansion Crisis Solved with Precast!
Resolving parking issues is the first phase of the huge expansion planned for the Danbury Hospital in Danbury, CT. The expansion includes adding a fourth level (207 spaces) to the existing Blue Garage, and an addition to the West End Garage (98 spaces). However the new level to the Blue Garage could not commence until the existing structure (built in the 1980’s) was brought up to current seismic code. The Design-Assist approach used for this project brings together the Engineer of Record, Desman Associates, CT; the precaster, Blakeslee Prestress, CT; the Architect, S/L/A/M Collaborative, CT; and the contractor, Gilbane Building Company, CT, early in the process.

Thomas Basile, R/A, at Desman Associates, utilizes this approach because it “speeds up the process and timeline of construction, and any details for the project concerning the precast can be worked out between the precaster and engineer early on so that the most economical and efficient production methods are used for the project.” This approach aided in resolving the challenge of bringing the existing Blue Garage up to seismic code.
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Everyday Solutions: ABC Standard Designs from SHRP2

A Free Webinar – Join Us! Tuesday, January 17, 2012 – 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. Eastern ABC (Accelerated Bridge Construction) Center at Florida International University (FIU) presents Everyday Solutions: ABC Standard Designs from SHRP2
To register, please visit <> for instructions
Earn one hour of PDH

Opening Speaker: Atorod Azizinamini, Chair, CEE Dept, FIU
Presentation Title: ABC Announcements (10 Minutes)
Description: This portion of the webinar will provide you with the latest happenings in ABC in the US and abroad to keep you informed.

Featured Speaker:
Bala Sivakumar, P.E., Co-Principal Investigator, SHRP2 R04
Vice President of Special Bridge Projects, HNTB


New Lunch and Learn Offered
Precast and Higher Ed Applications

Higher Ed

Sign up for the new AIA NCEES approved presentation on Precast Applications for Higher Education. PCI will provide over $300 of complimentary literature for your library.

This presentation helps the designer understand precast building systems and products that can be used in College University applications. Precast concrete components including hollow-core plank, architectural panels, and high performance insulated wall panels have been long viewed as a durable method in building construction. Proper detailing and specifying precast will be reviewed along with topics such as acoustical considerations; fire and energy efficiency. Presentations conducted at noontime include a complimentary lunch.

Length: 1.0 Hour | Credits: AIA 1.0 HSW LU | PDH: 1.0

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Precast Housing Applications and Precast Parking Garage Design & Construction

Tuesday, January 10, 2012.

Location: McLaren Engineering - Lecture Hall
100 Snake Hill Road, West Nyack, NY 10994

5:45 PM - Reception, Food and Refreshments
6:15 PM - Speaker Presentation and Discussion

ASCE/NYSSPE Members: $20.00
Non-Members: $35.00

Speaker: Rita L. Seraderian, P.E., FPCI, LEED AP Executive Director, Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute Northeast

Topic: High Performance Precast Housing Applications
Length: 1.0 Hour | Credits: AIA 1.0 HSW LU | PDH: 1.0

Precast concrete components including hollow-core plank, architectural panels, and high performance insulated wall panels have been long viewed as a durable method in building total precast concrete building systems. This presentation helps the specifier understand precast building systems.

Subjects include, Hotels, Multifamily Housing, Retirement Facilities:

  • Fabrication and installation procedures
  • Proper detailing requirements
  • Building Envelope Considerations for Energy Efficiency
  • Fire resistance
  • Blast Resistance
  • Acoustical benefits
  • Sustainability

Part II: Parking Structure Design and Construction - 1 Hr.
The presentation offers a comprehensive overview of current issues in parking structure design and construction.

Structural Precast Concrete Topics include:

  • Framing systems used to improve security and comfort
  • Durability consideratio
  • Maintenance
  • Standard details

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Resilience the Missing Link in Sustainable Design

Friday, February 17, 2012

PCINE Executive Director Rita Seraderian to speak Friday, February 17th at the The Capital District’s Celebration of National Engineers Week 2012, sponsored by the New York Society of Professional Engineers, Inc. Her seminar topic will be on “Resilience the Missing Link in Sustainable Design”.

The Capital District’s Celebration of National Engineers Week 2012 Seminar – Friday, February 17th
Resilience the Missing Link in Sustainable Design (1 PDH)
Presenter: Rita L. Seraderian, P.E., FPCI, LEED AP; Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute

This session will explain an approach for integrating functional resilient concepts into sustainable design for true high-performance buildings. The benefits of reduced maintenance and damage from disasters enhance sustainability by minimizing the amount of energy and materials required for repair, removal, disposal and replacement.

Time: 9:30am—10:30am, Salon E.
Location: Albany Marriott, Wolf Road, Albany, NY

Registration is required. Register online at


New PCI Member Directory Published

Member Directory

PCI has published an updated member directory. The Directory contains a complete 2011-12 listing of members, PCI Board and committee chairs and members, and past member recognition highlights.

Available in both print and CD versions, the directory will be sent to all PCI members, so look for it coming soon. For others, it will be available for purchase directly from PCI for $10.
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PCI Seeks 2012 -13 Precast Research Fellows / Proposals Due Feb 20th

The Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute has announced that several $20,000 awards for the 2012-2013 academic year will be offered under the Daniel P. Jenny Fellowship program. These fellowships are intended primarily for support of candidates for master’s degree level research related to precast/prestressed concrete, though Ph.D. candidates will also be considered.

Research proposals are due at PCI headquarters no later than February 20, 2012. The PCI Research and Development Council will meet in late March 2012 to decide on the awards. The RFP includes a list of current PCI research needs, including, but not limited to the following:

  • Performance of double tee flange connections and joint leakage
  • Durability enhancement in precast concrete parking structures
  • Improved detailing of double tee bearing plates
  • Diaphragm connection performance when subject to earthquake loading
  • Simplified seismic connections for precast concrete shear walls
  • Effects of reinforcement in anchorage concrete breakout zones
  • Simplification of anchorage calculations
  • Strand lifting loop capacity
  • Effects of early age concrete on capacity of adhesive anchors

PCI & Sika Announces 2012 Big Beam Contest/Begins August 15

Big Beam

PCI has announced competition guidelines for the 2011-12 Big Beam Contest. Each student team must work with a PCI Producer Member to build a precast-prestressed concrete beam which is 18 ft. long and tested as a 16 foot span. The beams will be tested and prizes awarded for best performance in the stated areas. Students must discuss both the structural design and the concrete mix design for the beam. Note: The loading pattern is changed for 2011-12.

The contest begins August 15, 2011 and ends June 15, 2012. All beams must be fabricated and tested within this time frame. Results are due by June 15, 2012 at PCI Headquarters.

Thanks to Sika for sponsoring the PCI Big Beam Contest.

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PCI 2012 Convention Call for Papers / Feb 6th Abstract Deadline

In today’s challenging economy, precast concrete continues to grow as the material of choice for transportation, commercial, institutional, manufacturing, parking, residential and many other types of structures.

The PCI Convention and National Bridge Conference is the premier international venue for the exchange of ideas and state-of-the-art information on precast concrete design, fabrication, and construction. On average, approximately 1000 engineers, precast producers, contractors, architects, suppliers, academics, researchers, officials, and students attend each year. The event provides an outstanding opportunity for networking, education, and sharing of ideas.

Abstracts may be submitted for peer-reviewed papers sessions or student posters (please see on the link below). Don’t miss out on this excellent opportunity to contribute to the precast concrete structures industry’s body of knowledge—submit your abstract today!

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Ascent Magazine

Subscribe to PCI's Ascent magazine (it's free!) or if you prefer read it online line.

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PCI eLearning

Parking PCI is proud to offer the first education management system dedicated to the precast concrete and precast structures industries, the PCI elearning Center. All courses offered through this system satisfy the continuing education requirements of engineers in all 50 states! As an AIA provider, PCI is able to offer architects approved Learning Units to satisfy their continuing education requirements. Be sure to bookmark us and visit often as we populate this interface with more and more free, easy-to-access, always-available coursework.

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Executive Director: Rita Seraderian | | © 2011 PCI Northeast

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