PennDOT may require certification of concrete finishers

PennDOT concrete finisher certificationConcerns over improper concrete finishing on sidewalks may lead the Pennsylvania Department of Transport to require certification of concrete finishers on its projects.

The Pennsylvania State Transportation Innovation Council, PennDOT and the Pennsylvania Aggregates and Concrete Association are introducing new certification courses for concrete finishers. The plan is to require certification for project specs by the end of 2021, according to PennDOT.

Contractors and unions are being informed of the possible requirement. “Ultimately, we are telling them by the end of 2021, they will be required to be certified,” says Harold Hill, STIC’s Construction and Materials Technical Advisory Group leader. “We are giving them a timeframe to get their people certified.”

The need for certification became apparent on a project in northeastern Pennsylvania when new concrete sidewalks prematurely lost their top finish, PennDOT says. The agency notes that the Delaware Department of Transportation has added certification requirements to its specifications, and the Maryland State Highway Administration has researched the issue.

In moving toward the possible requirement, the three Pennsylvania organizations have introduced a full-day certification course that includes three to four hours of classroom instruction and two to three hours of hands-on finishing work. The goal is to eliminate mistakes that can lead to repairs or reconstruction, PennDOT says. Courses have been held in six engineering districts and will spread to the rest of the state. The course was developed by the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association and is being taught by members and staff of Pennsylvania Aggregates and Concrete Association. The certification would be for the life of the recipient.

“The goal of the course and the emphasis is field practices to reduce the occurrence of scaling,” says James Casilio, PACA director of technical services. “By focusing on what goes into quality concrete flatwork, this course will lead to longer lifespan, among other things.”