Handling Concrete Specifications

Handling Concrete Specifications, Low Strength Problems and Mixture Submittals

This will be an online course with live sessions.

February 15 – 17, 2022 | SOLD OUT

registration page

This course is SOLD OUT. To be added to the waitlist and/or to receive information on the next course offering once it becomes available, please send your request to [email protected].

NOTE: Please login and register as the person who is attending the event. You should NOT register another individual under your personal profile. Each registrant must log in and register separately.

Logging in is easy if your company is a member of NRMCA or you receive emails from NRMCA. Your login name is your full email address and your password is: concrete

If you need to set up a profile for a registrant, please contact NRMCA Membership or 703.706.4800.


REGISTRATION FEE: $295 (Members & Non-Members)

Course Schedule (subject to change):

All sessions will be live and attendance is required to receive the certificate of completion. The sessions will be recorded and the recordings made available from the website containing the course handouts until February 21.

All times are Eastern Time

Tuesday, February 15:

11:00 AM: Welcome

11:15 AM: Code and Specifications Requirements for Ready Mixed Concrete (ACI 318, 301, & ASTM C94)

1:00 PM: Break

1:30 PM: Mixture Design Submittals –What does the Engineer want? | Group Analysis of Typical Mixture Design Submittal

2:30 PM: Concrete Test Reports: What do they tell me?

Wednesday, February 16:

11:00 AM: Specification Revisions for all around benefits

12:00 PM: What causes low strength tests and how does it affect my business

1:00 PM: Break

1:30 PM: Who is responsible for the low break (testing, construction, manufacture)

2:15 PM: Using the Computer Program to Analyze Concrete Strength Results

2:30 PM: Investigating Concrete: When to use NDT, coring, load test, & petrography?

Thursday, February 17:

11:00 AM: Group Discussion and Q&A



  • Welcome
  • Code and Specifications governing ready mixed concrete (ACI 318, 301, ASTM C94)
  • Mixture Design Submittals – What does the Engineer want? Group Analysis of Typical Mixture Design Submittal
  • Concrete Test Reports: What do they tell me?
  • Specification Revisions for all around benefits.
  • What causes low strength tests and how does it affect my business?
  • Who is responsible for the low break (testing, construction, manufacturing).
  • Using the computer program to analyze concrete strength results.
  • Investigating concrete: When to use NDT, coring, load test, petrography?


Dealing with concrete specifications, troubleshooting low-strength problems and ensuring proper mixture submittals can be expensive and time-consuming. This one-day course will get into the code and specification requirements (ACI 318, 301, ASTM C94) governing ready mixed concrete. It will suggest specification revisions for all around benefits in performance and cost based on a specification guideline document. The guideline document is the result of reviewing numerous concrete specifications (Section 03300) belonging to large owners, and it has been reviewed and supported by the NRMCA Research, Engineering & Standards (RES) Committee.

Troubleshooting low strength problems is perhaps the primary reason for back charges for a concrete company. This could be almost entirely avoided by knowledgeable concrete technical personnel. The course will cover the analysis of strength test results to identify the causes of low-strength problems, including technician competence, and will provide guidance in tracking compliance with specification requirements. Other topics to be discussed include non-destructive testing techniques (such as the Rebound Hammer), core testing, evaluating core test results for acceptance, and the assignment of responsibility.

Another part of this course provides necessary details required for an efficient concrete mixture submittal following a flowchart for Selection of Concrete Mixtures. Analysis of a typical mixture submittal will be conducted as a group exercise.


Producers and contractors who attend this seminar will benefit in their discussions with design professionals. Equipped with in-depth knowledge about improving concrete specifications, they will be able to address performance issues, avoid conflict, and save money. Producers, contractors, engineers and testing labs will learn much from the discussions on investigating low-strength problems, helping them to avoid issues that impact partnering, project cost and schedule. For concrete producers, understanding how to do a proper mixture submittal is an essential skill, and it will be thoroughly covered during this seminar.


  • Print out of the presentations
  • Guide to Improving Concrete Specifications
  • NRMCA/ASCC Pre-Construction Checklist
  • Flowchart of ACI Mixture submittal process
  • Research to Support P2P (Prescriptive to Performance specification)
  • Computer program for analyzing concrete test results
  • NRMCA Publications:
  • No. 133—In-Place Concrete Strength Evaluation
  • A Recomended Practice
  • No. 179—Variables that Influence Measured
  • Concrete Compressive Strength
  • No. 185—Understanding Concrete Core Testing
  • Related Specification in Practice topics and P2P Presentation
  • Selected Publications by Mr. Luke Snell
  • Code and Standards Requirements for Acceptance Testing Presentation with notes and checklist


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 & Ready Mix Association of Minnesota.

Karthik Obla, Ph.D., P.E., FACI, is Vice President, Technical Services at NRMCA. With over 30 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 directs the activities of 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 and Concrete Committees, 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 100 technical articles and reports. He holds a B.Tech in civil engineering from IIT (BHU) Varanasi, India and a M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

This course earns 8 credits towards a CCPf designation in the Concrete Technology career track. CCPf, standing for Certified Concrete Professional, is the highest professional designation in the industry.


Architects and engineers will earn 8 Professional Development Hours upon completion of this program. A certificate of completion will be provided to all attendees. This program also fulfills some of the requirements for NRMCA’s STEPS™ Certified Concrete Professional program.

All registrants will be asked to sign a NRMCA “COVID-19 Safety Acknowledgement Liability Waiver and Release of Claims”. This waiver will be sent to registrants via email prior to the course taking place.

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