Paver Industry

Observing the building industry, it can be generally stated that owners/builders/developers, our potential clients, will readily spend good money on most recommended or desired improvements to the quality or the looks of their buildings. That is what they want and understand, and that is what in their eyes directly affects the sales, rent or lease potential of the facility. However, they are much less concerned with the "secondary" topics such as site work, proper grading, soil and slope stability, drainage, pavement design and construction, and the likes. These are normally taken for granted and are considered a necessary evil and are not allocated a high priority on the list of distribution of the overall project budget.

Consequently, those of us involved in the planning, design, construction, marketing, and sales of paving products are faced daily with a constant uphill struggle under the pressures to minimize costs by lowering standards and compromising quality.

In the Concrete Paving Block (CPB) Industry, these pressures are further compounded by the fact that it is a relatively new product in the USA and lacks the exposure it achieved in other parts of the world. A lot of fortitude and willingness to educate and inform is required in order to break the many barriers of resistance due to its lack of local track record. Because of the conservative nature of a majority of regulatory agencies and the general resistance to change and new ideas, it is imperative that everyone involved with CPB, at any level, be thoroughly acquainted with the product, its technical merits and construction requirements, its advantages as well as, if not more importantly, with its limitations. There will be pressures to overdesign, to install a concrete base and to use mortar to hold "these funny things" together from the agencies and from some design professionals, while the private sector clients will push to eliminate the gravel base (never mind that many concrete installations fail because of this very fallacy that base is not necessary for concrete pavings) and, at the same time, to lower the price and provide a 5 to 10 year warranty!

The success of concrete block pavements depends on the individual success of every paver project undertaken! This success, in turn, depends largely on the level of commitment and dedication to the concrete paver industry, possibly on an exclusive basis, exerted by anyone involved both in the manufacturing and in the installation of pavers.

General points of importance & rules to follow by Paving industry can be summarized as follows:

1. Do not oversell the product and promise no miracles. Addressing the limitations and identifying the specifics of every case will go a long way towards making the sale and, more importantly, avoiding problems and misunderstandings in the future.

2. Educate the client and those directly involved in the project about CPR to raise their level of comfort. Be cautious though not to get into too many technical details as this may backfire. Make sure your representatives are adequately trained and knowledgeable about the products and its technology, as well as in the business practices related to their corresponding area of responsibility.

3. Prior to starting any project, make sure that it is thoroughly planned, from the preparation of the site, through pavement design and co-ordination of all construction operations, including all other trades and all material deliveries. If proper consulting and testing are not provided for, learn as much as you can about the project and arrive at your own design and recommendations. Be firm in making your professional judgments and clearly communicate them to your client. Should you be asked to compromise any of your recommendations, remember that Murphy's Law does work!

4. Proper installation is probably the single most important factor in the overall pavement success. Pay attention to the following things to ensure the perfect installation.

  1. Establish your standards and practices for installation and be consistent in following them. Do not compromise quality and use good judgment in making adjustments for specific job requirements.
  2. Use the proper equipment for every job. A vibratory plate good for 6Onnm stones may not be sufficient for a thickness of 80riern; guillotine cuts may be too rough for certain aesthetic applications and a saw may be needed; the lack of basic surveying equipment may make the difference on a very flat surface.
  3. Inspect the stones for any defects, breakage, irregularities in color, texture, stains, thickness, etc. Know the general industry specifications as well as those specific for your project.
  4. Use a sufficient number of qualified and experienced personnel in order to assure the quality, timeliness, and profits of your installation. Remember however, that in most cases, success is not what you expect, but what you inspect!
  5. If the placement of base is a part of your contract make sure to select the proper material, use adequate moisture content and, most importantly, do not attempt to use a light vibratory plate to compact 4 inches or more of road base — a larger compaction machine, such as a vibratory roller, is needed. Special soil conditions need to be considered such as expansive clays, organic or other unsuitable soils, freeze-thaw action, high-water table, etc. These normally require specialized attention and are generally handled by a selection of materials, surface, and sub-surface drainage design added thickness of the base, the introduction of select material subbase, removal, and replacement of a top layer of the subgrade with granular soil, dewatering methods and the introduction of geotextiles.
  6. Proper lateral confinement must be assured by proper edge restraints. If curbing or other adequate devices are not otherwise provided in the project, appropriate edge restraints must be employed, such as concrete curbs/bands, the PAVE EDGE System, redwood headers in non-traffic areas, or other means which will meet the needs and constraints of the project.
  7. Make sure to use the proper sand for the joints; apply it dry after compacting the stones, arid finish by additional compaction as needed.

5. Keep up with the Industry! Join the professional organizations, attend shows and conventions, read trade literature and do not hesitate to look for answers to your questions from your local manufacturer, National Concrete Masonry Association (NCMA), National Precast Concrete Association (NPCA), Pave Tech or any source which you will get to know through your active involvement in the Paver Industry.

So, with these general rules of thumb, you can be sure of installing and laying great paver structures with excellent durability and performance and make it big in the paver industry. There are many things that usually get ignored. However, as much as ignorance is bliss, that is not the case always, and especially not when you are dealing with such important structures. Quality and performance are never to be compromised and for that, these principles need to be followed intently. So, keep up with these requirements and that shall be all you need to make it big in the paver industry.