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Improving Concrete Quality

Wednesday, January 18th, Sacramento, California

online registration | fax-back flyer



Thursday, January 19th, Ontario, California

online registration | fax-back flyer






Purpose and Background
Improved concrete quality has far reaching benefits—in improved performance, reduced time and costs, a lower environmental footprint of concrete and an overall improvement in the quality of concrete construction. However it is hard to find a course focused on the subject of improving concrete quality. Based on quality surveys and award submissions, it has been observed that the industry does not commonly track quantifiable quality indicators and, as a result, the return on quality investments is not well understood. Improving Concrete Quality, a book authored by one of the instructors addresses these issues. That book, as well as other NRMCA resources provides the basic content for the course.

This course will delve into quantifying tangible and intangible benefits due to improved quality. It will discuss variability associated with concrete ingredient materials, manufacturing and testing—means to measure and thereby improve concrete quality. Basic statistical concepts will be presented to measure and monitor quality and to recognize when action is needed. Other key topics include recognizing abnormal material variation, tracking and improving batching accuracy including mixing water, internal testing, identifying non standard testing and initial curing, essential elements of a quality management system, internal audits, and tests a concrete producer should do.

Who Should Attend?
This course will be of significant value to concrete producers who will come away with readily implementable steps to manage variability and attain a more consistent product thereby seeing performance benefits and cost savings. Concrete ingredient material suppliers will benefit by understanding the needs of their customers and to develop information on variability that can help their quality systems.
The course will be of interest to contractors and testing laboratories. The course will help testing labs measure and improve testing quality.
Design professionals can benefit from this course by recognizing the opportunity for improved quality in concrete construction and the evolution to performance based specifications.

Text/handouts – Publications worth $500+

  • NEW Improving Concrete Quality book

  • Print out of the presentations

  • NRMCA QC Manual Section 1 – Ready Mixed Concrete Quality Control Guide

  • Quality Management System for Ready Mixed Concrete Companies (on CD)

  • NRMCA Quality Award, Survey and Certification Information

  • Variables that Influence Concrete Compressive Strength

  • Code and Standards Requirements for Acceptance Testing – Presentation with notes and checklist

  • NRMCA/ASCC Pre-Construction Checklist

  • Related Technology in Practice topics

  • Related Specification in Practice topics and P2P Presentation


Kevin A. MacDonald, FACI, is President and Principal, Beton Consulting Engineers LLC, Mendota Heights, MN, with specific expertise in the production and performance of concrete. He is a licensed professional engineer in Minnesota and Ontario, Canada, and is a Fellow of ACI. MacDonald Co-Chairs ACI Subcommittee 130-B, Production/ Transport/Construction; ACI Committee 306, Cold Weather Concreting; Chairs the NACE Task Group; and the TAC Awards Task Group and is an active member of several ACI Committees. He is the current President of the ACI Minnesota Chapter and serves on the Steering Committee of the Aggregate and Ready Mix Association of Minnesota. He is an active member of ASTM Committees C01, Cement; C09, Concrete and Concrete Aggregates; and C15, Manufactured Masonry Units; the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE); and Professional Engineers Ontario.
He has published a number of papers dealing with the durability of concrete and is a recipient of the ASCE Charles Pankow Award for Innovation for work on high performance concretes with 98% reclaimed materials. MacDonald received his Master’s and PhD in engineering materials from the University of Windsor where he has own many awards for academic achievement.

Karthik Obla, Ph.D., P.E., FACI, is Vice President, Technical Services at NRMCA. With nearly 25 years of experience in concrete technology, he is responsible for NRMCA’s concrete producer quality initiatives as well as various educational and technical programs. He supports NRMCA’s P2P initiative and manages all the research and testing projects at the NRMCA research laboratory. A Fellow of ACI and a winner of ACI’s Young Professional Achievement Award and ASTM Award of appreciation from the Sustainability Committee, Dr. Obla is an active member of various ACI, ASTM, and TRB technical committees. He has served as chair for ASTM 09.49—Pervious Concrete, and ACI 232—Fly Ash and Natural Pozzolans. He has published a book on concrete quality and a chapter in a book on concrete sustainability and has over 75 technical articles in journals. He holds a B. Tech in civil engineering from IIT (BHU) Varanasi, India and a MS and Ph.D from University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He is a licensed professional engineer in the state of Maryland and has served as Vice-president and President for the ACI San Antonio Chapter.





7:30 am: Registration
8:00 am: Overview of Quality Department
8:15 am: Quantifying Impact of Quality Systems

8:45 am Statistical Concepts for Monitoring Quality
9:30 am: Monitoring & Controlling Water Content in Mixtures
10:15 am: Break
10:30 am: Quantifying Variability of Ingredient Materials
11:30 am: Quantifying Variability Associated with Manufacturing
12:30 pm: Lunch
1:30 pm: Quantifying Variability Associated w/Testing – Monitoring Test Data
2:15 pm: Producer Product Testing to Minimize Variability
2:45 pm: What to do with acceptance test data – Caste study of 3 projects
3:15 pm: Impact of Specifications on Quality
3:30 pm: Break
3:45 pm: The Quality-Sustainability Link
4:00 pm: Quality Management System (developing a Quality Plan NRMCA Quality Certification Program)





This course is part of NRMCA’s Seminars, Training and Education Programs (STEPS) and it provides 8 credits toward earning one's CCPf designation in the Concrete Technology career track. CCPf, standing for Certified Concrete Professional, is the highest professional designation in the industry.







For additional course information, contact Karen Bean, NRMCA Engineering & Operations Manager.

PHONE:  240-485-1168  │ EMAIL:


If you have questions or need assistance, please contact Jessica Walgenbach, NRMCA Meetings Director. PHONE:  240-485-1152  │ EMAIL:





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