Author Archives: CS Editor

Manufacturers Provide the Key to Coatings Specification

A professional is selecting paint for a project. Photo courtesy Sherwin-Williams

A professional is selecting paint for a project. Photo courtesy Sherwin-Williams

by Joe Kujawski

Today’s coatings are more specialized than ever, meeting the demands of various applications. It can be difficult to navigate product options, keeping in mind performance, substrate, volatile organic compound (VOC) regulations, green certifications, sustainability, and aesthetics. With so many different aspects coming into play, the process is complex.

Fortunately, manufacturers can serve as an ally to design professionals, assisting in paint and coating specifications. These companies often have an understanding of the latest industry regulations, as well as access to project history.

Effective specification despite lack of universal standards
There are numerous industry-accepted ASTM test methods used to rate coating quality, such as hide, washability, and durability. However, these are consensus-based standards developed by industry-leading organizations. To fully understand a product’s overall performance, it is vital to work with the manufacturer to specify the right product for a project. The companies can assist in determining the unique needs of a project and match them with a comprehensive set of benefits found in the right coating.

Manufacturers can also offer insight into the constantly changing VOC regulations to help specify coatings that meet current environmental standards.

Seek collaborative help
Some paint manufacturers employ trained coatings specification advisers who tap into the latest installation techniques that can be different from a national to a regional level. Organizations such as Painting and Decorating Contractors of America (PDCA) and NACE International also offer information on proper coating techniques and best practices. These organizations have hundreds of guidelines for proper touch-up practices and appropriate application methods.

In addition to application methods, green building standards and rating systems can factor into the specification process. Since there are so many different ones available, collaborating with manufacturers is key to specifying the right coatings for a project.
Leading manufacturers may provide services such as:
● custom specifications, construction document analysis, updates, and crossovers;
● reviewing submittals and substitutions; and
● supplying product and color samples.

Questions to ask
There are numerous important variables to discuss with manufacturers during the product specification process. Key questions include:
● Is this product going to withstand the project’s environmental conditions? (e.g. Is there a lot of water? Will the walls be frequently cleaned? Is it a high-traffic space? Are there temperature extremes?)
● Is the product right for the substrate or is there a special primer that needs to be specified?
● Does this coating meet VOC regulations for the area in which the project is located?
● Is it available in the color and sheen the client wants?
● Is it available in the area in which the project is located?

By taking advantage of opportunities for specifier/manufacturer collaboration, the coatings part of the construction process can be smooth and expeditious, with current, executable specifications.

Joe Kujawski HeadshotJoe Kujawski is director of marketing for the Sherwin-Williams Paint Stores Group in North America. Based out of the company’s headquarters in Cleveland, Ohio, he directs marketing strategy for the healthcare, hospitality, multi-family, and commercial architect market segments. In his career with Sherwin-Williams, Kujawski has held many field sales and marketing management positions. He holds a bachelor’s of science from Old Dominion University and an MBA from Florida Atlantic University. Kujawski can be contacted by e-mail at

Field of Jeans Aesthetic: Maximizing visual impact with precast concrete

Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California will host a wide range of events from football and soccer to motocross and concerts. The stadium is designed to be light, airy, and open. Photos courtesy Clark Pacific

by Michael Baty

Poised to serve as one of the most efficient outdoor sports and entertainment venues, Levi’s Stadium opened in Santa Clara, California, in August. Replacing the antiquated Candlestick Park, the stadium will be the new home of the San Francisco 49ers and is functionally designed for a wide range of other events including college football, soccer, motocross, and concerts.

Construction began in April 2012 for the state-of-the-art, $1.2-billion venue spanning 171,870 m2 (1.85 million sf) with seating for approximately 68,500, as well as 165 luxury suites and 8500 club seats.

Designed by HNTB Corporation (Kansas City, Missouri) and built by local firm Turner/Devcon for the Santa Clara Stadium Authority, the new stadium is designed to be light, airy, and open. The facility’s white, painted steel structure will also create a unique viewing experience for occupants. With the exposed steel, special attention was given to carefully fitting all stadium systems within the alignments of the structure to keep the aesthetic streamlined.

The precast concrete supplier for the project employed 18 million kg (40 million lb) of the material. The stadium features 2000 precast panels (e.g. risers, walls), with each ranging from 6 to 12 m (20 to 40 ft) in length and weighing up to 15,875 kg (35,000 lb)—a bit heavier than an average school bus.

To achieve the Levi’s Stadium “Field of Jeans” concrete aesthetic, a site-cast, precast, and architectural concrete release agent was required. A proprietary blend, comprising neutralized vegetable oils in mineral oil that contains no waxes, silicones, or carcinogens was used. It is solventless and non-toxic, and meets federal, Ozone Transport Commission (OTC) state, and California volatile organic compound (VOC) regulations.

The stadium features 2000 precast panels (e.g. risers, walls), with each ranging from 6 to 12 m (20 to 40 ft) in length and weighing up to 15,875 kg (35,000 lb)—a bit heavier than an average school bus.

The stadium features 2000 precast panels (e.g. risers, walls), with each ranging from 6 to 12 m (20 to 40 ft) in length and weighing up to 15,875 kg (35,000 lb)—a bit heavier than an average school bus.

Approximately 15,141 L (4000 gal) of the release agent was used in the process to provide easy and stain-free clean stripping of all the stadium’s forms and formliners from concrete. These included stadium forms for panels for the field, lower, mid, and upper levels of the stadium (single, double, and triple risers), and all vomitory wall forms—an integral part of a stadium’s viewing aesthetic. The result mimicked the form surface and site amenities with a superior finish for visually stunning concrete surfaces, without bugholes.

The release agent strips clean and promotes longer form life by keeping the form clean and accommodating easier stripping. Green technology enhancements also allow for storage of higher quantities.

The product used was installed by personnel with backpack sprayers for application to the formwork, leveraging 253 mL (0.067 gal) per minute at 40 psi.

To achieve optimal results, form surfaces had to be clean and dry before spraying. An ultra-thin, 0.01-mm (0.0005-in.) thick film was applied to get a finish that promoted easier stripping, less form cleanup, and the complete elimination of discoloration, dusting, bugholes, and concrete buildup.

After spraying in a fine mist, workers simply wiped them down evenly with a damp rag with the release agent. If puddles formed, they were wiped off.

Additionally, regular use of the release agent keeps forms clean when employed on non-porous forms and formliners made of plastic (e.g. acrylonitrile butadiene styrene [ABS] and polyvinyl chloride [PVC]), elastomeric (e.g. urethane and silicone rubber), steel, high-density plywood, and medium-density plywood overlays. It will not stain or stick from heat curing, and does not interfere with adhesion of caulk, architectural coatings, paint, sealers, and curing compounds on cured concrete surfaces.

The Levi’s Stadium construction project also boasted a unique green-focused philosophy with an eye toward sustainability as it incorporates photovoltaic (PV) panels, a vegetated roof, water-conserving plumbing systems, building control systems, and recycled materials. The stadium has achieved Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification, and has also been selected as the site for Super Bowl 50 in 2016.

The intent of regulating VOCs is to reduce the amount of ozone (O3) produced at ground level. From the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) point of view, manufacturers of form release agents are responsible for meeting the VOC criteria. While the standard allowable amount of VOCs is 450 g/L (60.09 oz/gal), more stringent standards are emerging in states such as California, which requires a 250 g/L (33.38 oz/gal) standard.

1001121044Michael Baty is president of Cresset Chemical Company and has been with the company since 2000. He is a member of the National Precast Concrete Association (NPCA), National Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI), and Precast Concrete Manufacturers’ Association of Texas (PCMA). Baty attended Bowling Green State University, majoring in computer science.

Productivity resource published

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has released Productivity Improvement for Construction and Engineering by J.K. Yates, a book focused on implementing productivity improvement programs from engineering and construction perspectives. The text includes case studies outlining how productivity improvement programs are implemented. Contemporary approaches are summarized and readers are provided a step-by-step guide from investigation, data analysis, evaluation of alternatives, and project management. Information on building information modeling (BIM), computer simulation modeling, and sustainability concepts is also included. For more information, visit

American Wood Council publishes new workbook

The American Wood Council (AWC) has released Design of Wood Frame Buildings for High Wind, Snow, and Seismic Loads. The workbook includes design examples and checklists for wood-frame structures in compliance with 2012 Wood Frame Construction Manual (WFCM) for One- and Two-family Dwellings. Included in the resource are plans from two-story residences as the foundation for designs that resist high wind, seismic, and snow loads. The evaluated example demonstrates the WFCM range of applicability. The 2012 WFCM references the International Residential Code (IRC) and the International Building Code (IBC). The free workbook is available at

Firestop education manual released

The Firestop Contractors International Association (FCIA) has developed a comprehensive Firestop Containment Worker Education Program (FSCW-EP). The organization is focused on promoting knowledge regarding firestopping and effective compartmentation, as well as educating workers and building owners on compartmentation performance. The training program is offered in two parts of the FCIA Firestop Manual of Practice: Firestop Containment Worker Edition (FSCW-M) and the Firestop Containment Worker Instructor Edition, which is the complete Education Program (FSCW-IE). The manual provides field workers with the firestopping information that will provide the required working knowledge. Visit