Performance-Based Specifications for Concrete to Advance Sustainable Development


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Title: Performance-Based Specifications for Concrete to Advance Sustainable Development

Author(s): K. H. Obla

Publication: Special Publication

Volume: 269


Appears on pages(s): 7-20

Keywords: green; optimization; performance specifications; quality; sustainability; variability.

Date: 4/30/2010

This article makes a strong case that prescriptive specifications are an impediment to sustainability. Some of the least sustainable prescriptive requirements are the use of minimum cementitious contents, restrictions on types and dosages of SCMs, and the overuse of maximum w/cm. It is not feasible to adopt an optimized prescriptive specification. On the other hand, performance-based specifications allow for mixture optimization, which requires producers and contractors to be more knowledgeable about their materials. Performance-based specifications reward attaining lower variability, which promotes investment in better quality and improved technology practices. Optimized mixtures with a lower variability will result in mixtures that are more cost-effective and sustainable. The article concludes by making a case that sustainability is more than CO2 emissions from cement and concrete production only.