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For the past 18 years, I’ve been telling anyone who would listen, and, really, those that didn’t care to listen too, that concrete is the best building material known to man. Quite frankly, it’s an easy case to make because the evidence to support that fact has been standing for 2,000 years.
I’ve always talked about the concrete in ancient structures that are still standing today – like the pyramids in Egypt and the aqueducts, Pantheon and Colosseum in Rome – as proof of its strength and durability. Well, yesterday I came across an article in The Telegraph that used these same examples.
The article goes on to detail the development of Portland Cement and its founder, Joseph Aspdin; the use of concrete during the Second World War to detect incoming planes; and Thomas Edison’s research with precast concrete.
Turns out that Edison experimented with precast concrete houses, which came complete with concrete furniture, appliances and even a concrete piano! I’ve been to his former house in Florida, now a museum, and knew he had dabbled in cement and concrete. But the precast house was news to me. In the debate of Hurricane Sandy rebuilding, Edison’s work seems appropriate even today.
The Telegraph article was just one more spotlight on an industry that has continued to amaze me every day since I started at the National Precast Concrete Association. Whether it’s the resiliency of our members and their products, the longtime friendships that make this association more than just a voice for the industry, or the evolution of the products our members manufacture, it’s an industry that makes it fun to get up and go to work every single day.
Concrete has always been the world’s best building material, and with the quality control procedures, advanced forms, admixtures and technical expertise we have today, precast concrete is more versatile, durable and practical than it has ever been in the past.
Others may have you believe that there are building materials out there that perform better than concrete. If you believe that, I’ve got a dome in Rome to sell you.
President, National Precast Concrete Association