Participating in ASTM may sound daunting or tedious … it’s one more thing to do, emails to read, and meetings to attend when you have a million other things competing for your time and attention.
We can’t argue that it won’t take an investment of your time, but hear us out on how it could benefit your company and the entire industry with less time than you may think.
If you could have a say in the standards you abide by every day by clicking a single button, wouldn’t you? If you could make an impact on industry requirements without leaving your office or your plant, wouldn’t you? If you could collaborate with industry leaders with similar goals on hot-button issues, wouldn’t you?
Anyone can be member of ASTM and can contribute to these committees regardless of your level of expertise or your background. The committees are made up of large and small producers, associates, consultants, specifiers, professors, municipalities and retired individuals with experience levels ranging from a couple months to decades.
The product, material, and installation standards that govern most of the precast concrete industry fall under the jurisdiction of three ASTM committees: ASTM Committee C09 on Concrete and Concrete Aggregates, ASTM Committee C13 on Concrete Pipe and ASTM Committee C27 on Precast Concrete Products.
The committee with the most need – and the most opportunity – is Committee C27. Products like septic tanks, grease interceptors, highway barrier, retaining wall block, hydrodynamic separators, and utility vaults, just to name a few, are the responsibility of Committee C27’s members.
That means when these standards are revised and updated, or when new product standards are created, it’s all done by people just like you from the industry. ASTM members are your peers, and your competitors.
Sam Lines, engineering manager with Concrete Sealants and chairman of ASTM Committee C27, has been involved with ASTM for many years.
“Prior to 2006, I was unaware of the process that took place to create and maintain ASTM Standards,” he said. “As a precast concrete producer, it was my feeling that there were industry experts who established the requirements that my company had to comply to, and that I was nothing more than the user of a product. Today I understand this from a completely different point of view.
“While I was correct in thinking that the standards were developed by industry experts, I had improperly assumed that my input did not matter. The reality is that every voice matters.”
It’s important representation come from all aspects of the precast concrete industry and that they participate in the balloting process. Every voice is heard and whether you consider yourself an expert or not, if you design, make or use concrete products, you have important knowledge.
Kelly Patterson is a corporate engineer with Columbia Precast and vice-chairman of ASTM Subcommittee C27.10 on Utility Structures.
“Why should you be involved in ASTM?,” he said. “Have you ever been faced with a change to a standard and asked why, or how, did that happen? Do you ever see items in a standard that don’t make sense, or are outdated, and you want to change it? Have you found a need for a new standard, or could not find one for your product? Do you ever find competitors building products that are inferior, but claim they are as good as yours?
“If the answer is yes to any of these questions, you need to be involved with ASTM. By joining ASTM you are part of a team that works together providing the standards that will constantly evolve with the industry. Don’t get left behind.”
Joining ASTM takes a couple minutes, costs $75 annually, allows you to join as many committees as you want, and comes with a free ASTM volume for joining. ASTM Committee C27 meets once in December each year but enables you to participate remotely if you choose.
Visit the ASTM website for more information, to join ASTM, and pick the committee(s) you want to join.
Contact Kayla Hanson, P.E., NPCA director of technical services and ASTM Committee C27 secretary, with questions.