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January 2012: For The Record

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For The Record

Yesterday, I bought a red helium balloon. When I got home, I ceremoniously released the balloon into the sky, accompanied by a prayer. The date was Dec. 19, the 22nd birthday of a young man who, only a few months before, was electrocuted accidentally, while working on the construction site of a hospital. Sean’s mother is a friend of mine from high school, so I – like so many – have felt her pain as she copes with the tremendous loss.

To the first responders, another worker was killed on another job. To the coroner, another young person passed before his prime. To his coworkers, a great guy was taken away too soon. But Sean’s death reaches far beyond the week-long coverage of a local television broadcast or hometown newspaper. Sean was someone’s son, grandson, brother, cousin and friend – all of whom are beyond distraught.

Think about your masons who work to build not only the next beautiful brick, block or stone building, but also your company and its future. Are you protecting your workers by following the appropriate PPE and safety requirements? And, are you protecting yourself?

A careless act on the part of anyone involved with a construction project could lead to a split-second accident. And I am here to tell you, that accident can leave more than an empty position to fill within your crew. These preventable jobsite accidents leave broken families – mothers who will never sleep through the night again, children who will try to remember their fathers’ voices, and wives who will wonder how to move forward.

Be safe out there. Your lives are worth the extra effort.

Letter to the Editor

In “Know Your CMU Foam Insulation” (Nov. 2011), the author confuses test methods ASTM C518 and ASTM C177 in referring to C518 as an “absolute method” test method.

In describing C177, ASTM states: “The apparatus in this test method [C177] is one of the absolute methods used for generation of the reference standards …While the precision of a comparative method such as Test Method C518 may be comparable with that of this test method [C177], Test Method C518 cannot be more accurate. In cases of dispute, this test method [C177] is the recommended procedure.”

In describing C518, ASTM states: “This test method [C518] provides a rapid means of determining the steady-state thermal transmission properties of thermal insulations and other materials with a high degree of accuracy with the apparatus has been calibrate appropriately …. Proper calibration … requires … using specimen(s) having thermal transmission properties determined previously by Test Methods C177, or C1114 … [C518] is capable of determining thermal transmission properties within ± 2 % of those determined by Test Method C177 … In all cases the accuracy of the heat flow meter apparatus [C518] can never be better than the accuracy of the primary standards [C177] used to calibrate the apparatus.”

The author correctly wrote “no brand of CMU foam exists … that can make a 2-hour CMU wall a 4-hour CMU wall ….” However, the author attributed 4-hours to extra thick shell walls and extra grout but ignored other factors.

The manufacturer that most aggressively claims its foam turns 2-hour CMU walls into 4-hour walls ran its E119 test with 100% expanded shale block, and juked-up its foam to pass 4-hours. The lab manager who wrote their report has also written: “The reason things don’t add up is that this test was performed with a special ingredient that greatly improved the wall’s ability to resist the transmission of heat by increasing the moisture content of the foam. It was not their regular foam and it is not what they are passing off as the foam that achieved the rating.” The manufacturer juking-up their foam for the test was the key to passing 4-hours!

Bob Sullivan, Technical Services, cfiFOAM Inc.
800-656-3626, bob4foam@msn.com

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