ICPI Board Chair Says Concrete Paver Industry Must Address Construction Labor Shortage and Increasing Demand for Products

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Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute's board appointed a Special Committee on Workforce Development at its 2017 Summer Meeting that will create vocational and high school education programs to help encourage and prepare more young people to enter concrete paver contracting and installation.

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Greater product demand requires more qualified contractors and installers to deliver the best possible projects for customers. In order for the industry to continue moving forward, we need to urgently address the labor shortage.

The segmental concrete paver industry is thriving in the U.S. and Canada, however it must overcome a qualified labor shortage and be prepared to fulfill the growing demand for segment concrete pavement systems, according to Matt Lynch, Board Chair of the Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute (ICPI).

During his State of the Institute remarks at the 2017 ICPI Summer Meeting, Lynch informed members that the recently released 2017 ICPI Industry Sales Profile showed sales of concrete pavers in the U.S. and Canada reached a post-recession high of 721.4 million square feet in 2016. The same study reported sales of permeable interlocking concrete pavers soared 20.2% in the U.S. during 2016, while paving slab sales increased 9.6% in the U.S. and Canada during the same period.

Lynch then said, three of every four contractors who participated in the ICPI 2017 Contractor Industry Report survey indicated that one of the greatest challenges confronting them was recruiting/hiring quality employees, particularly installers.

“Both challenges are linked,” said Lynch. “Greater product demand requires more qualified contractors and installers to deliver the best possible projects for customers. In order for the industry to continue moving forward, we need to urgently address the labor shortage.”

ICPI is taking a leadership role in developing specific programs for contractors, installers, producers, materials suppliers, and designers, according to Lynch.

“ICPI now provides contractor webinars, video education offerings, and installer courses designed to help develop qualified employees,” he said. “During the last 12 months, ICPI member paver producers and dealers have sponsored 94 installer courses in the U.S. and Canada for more than 1,700 participants. This summer and fall, course sponsorships and registration are strong again.”

The ICPI Board Chair also said the Institute’s “Education Committee has created an education road map that identifies new education programs that support and expand on existing ones. These education programs are for installers, sales reps, design professionals, academics, students, and project owners.”

In addition, the ICPI Board appointed a Special Committee on Workforce Development at the Summer Meeting that will create vocational and high school education programs to help encourage and prepare more young people to enter concrete paver contracting and installation.

ICPI is also working diligently to help establish product standards and installation/maintenance best practices for permeable interlocking concrete pavement and slabs, according to Lynch. He said ICPI:

  • Released Tech Spec 18: Construction of Permeable Interlocking Concrete Pavement Systems and Tech Spec 23: Maintenance Guide for Permeable Interlocking Concrete Pavements
  • Is currently creating Tech Spec 24: Structure Design of Segmental Concrete Paving Slab and Plank Pavement Systems and Tech Spec 25: Construction Guidelines for Segmental Concrete Paving Slabs and Planks
  • Participates in developing product and design standards published by ASTM, CSA, and the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).
  • Developed permeable and slab information resources on its website (http://www.icpi.org) for industry professionals and designers, as well as residential and commercial customers

“The economy and leadership of ICPI members are driving the industry forward,” said Lynch. “Sales of concrete pavers have increased 54% since 2010 when the industry was suffering through the recession. Our goal is to educate and develop a workforce to be prepared for future growth of the industry.”

About Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute
ICPI is the trade association representing the growing industry of segmental concrete pavement systems in the United States and Canada. The association’s membership includes producers, contractors, suppliers, design professionals, and distributors. ICPI is the authority for concrete pavers, which are universally recognized as the best value for pavement systems.

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