Praxis Makes Perfect

Specifiers and Contractors Align Through Standards

The CSDA Mission remains “to promote the use of professional cutting, polishing, imaging and selective demolition contractors and their methods,” and “to provide a forum in which members can share their ideas, needs and concerns in a constructive framework to further enhance technologies, education and training.” Recently, the association has given support to a new platform that shares some common goals and aims to bring contractors together with architects, engineers and government officials.

Praxis Las Vegas was an official World of Concrete (WOC) education series that took place earlier this year, the latest in a number of similar events that have been held at industry trade shows across the U.S. Educational courses were held for architects while hands on training and real world application took place at the same time. Now in its fourth incarnation, people in the industry are becoming familiar with these events but what does Praxis mean and what are these programs trying to accomplish?

Praxis is the idea of taking concepts and turning them into action, bringing ideas to life. For architects, this means the process of taking what is on a drawing, rendering or specification and constructing it in the real world. This is also the goal of suppliers, contractors and the owners that create demand for construction. However, all too often the four members of the project team don’t work in harmony. This equals delays, additional costs and settling for less than the original design intentions. The goal of the Praxis event series is to bring all participants of the construction world together to learn and solve these problems together.

This was the third Praxis event that CSDA has sponsored and the second event at which CSDA conducted contractor training, scheduling elements of the association’s Concrete Polishing 101 and ST-115 certification courses at Praxis locations. The CSDA training courses were highly attended and the design community guests were impressed with the practical application. Not only that, they were pleased to have the opportunity to ask questions of the contractors present and find answers to some of their specification problems.

President Kevin Baron and Executive Director Pat O’Brien had the opportunity to meet with leaders from the specification and insurance side of the industry to share ideas on increasing the construction industry’s ability to plan for and adapt in creating a more sustainable construction systems. The association’s participation in events like Praxis are core to its commitment to educate professionals within the contractor community through coordinated and continuous learning. The CSDA Training Program has always worked with proven best practices, utilizing the latest technologies and materials to create more resilient construction outcomes.

Other participating CSDA members in Praxis events include Diamond Products, Superabrasives Inc. and Select Concrete Solutions (SCS). Diamond products conducted training on proper joint cutting and Superabraisve worked with CSDA instructor Chris Swanson for the Concrete Polishing 101 course. SCS trained students on placing, finishing and refining hydrophobic concrete systems.

The event was facilitated by another CSDA member, Tao Group. Tao Group is an independent consulting firm in the architectural and construction industries. The group has a set itself a mission to bridge the gap between concept idea and concrete reality by bringing all members of the construction team together and implement a truly integrated design delivery.

“We were fortunate to share the stage with some of the best and brightest in the construction industry, creating dialog between the groups that create construction documents and those that turn ideas into reality,” said Tao Group’s Chris Bennett. “It was an honor to work with sponsors, guest-speakers and Praxis attendees in raising the bar.”

Through participation in Praxis events, CSDA has also forged a relationship with the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) and will be working with this organization more in the future, beginning with a two-day concrete symposium at a CSI event in Portland, Oregon in August. The event will bring together subcontractors, architects, specifiers and flooring subcontractors to improve project outcome.

CSDA will once again sponsor a Praxis program later in the year during Construct, an event dedicated to those who design, build, specify, engineer, renovate or operate in the built environment. Construct is scheduled for September 7-9, 2016 in Austin, Texas. For more information, visit www.constructshow.com.

By working with the specifier community through Praxis events and providing an understanding of contractor capabilities, CSDA can continue its mission and create greater synchronization between these two groups for the benefit of all.

CSDA-ST-115 Measuring Concrete Micro Surface Texture
This is the first CSDA standard for measuring concrete surfaces and their surface texture value—a game-changer for the polishing and surface preparation industry that is drawing increased attention from the specifier community. The approach is to measure and analyze the surface texture in order to understand how the texture is influenced by the finishing process, and how the surface texture influences its behavior with regards to gloss, friction and sustainability. The vision for this standard is to obtain a quantitative measure of concrete surface profile by contact instruments.

The 5-hour CSDA-ST-115 certification class:

  • Provides instruction on how to correctly measure concrete micro surface texture
  • Discusses the importance of surface preparation
  • Talks about proper tool selection to mitigate damage
  • Issues a certificate upon completion of the class

For more information about the Standard, upcoming classes or to download a free copy, visit www.csda.org/st115.

Author: Russell Hitchen

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