The Inter-American Cement Federation – FICEM re-launches its Concrete Pavements Committee

OCTOBER 17, 2013
Concrete Pavements Committee - FICEM

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The Inter-American Cement Federation - FICEM re-launches its Concrete Pavements Committee in 2013, led and coordinated by  Guatemala's Cement and Concrete Institute (ICCG, for its name in Spanish) and integrated by 15 countries in the region.

Latin America and the Caribbean undergo times of continuous development, in this context, the improvement and expansion of their road network is a result from this growth. According to the Development Bank of Latin America - CAF, the road network in the region is made up of approximately three million kilometers, from which only 21% are paved.  

The cement industry is called upon adopting an important role in meeting this deficiency; due to its numerous advantages, pavements in concrete are the best option for solving this necessity as they offer:
- Longer lifespan;
- Lower maintenance costs;
- Lower pollution levels during the installation phase;
- Diminution of fuel consumption on the road for users and greater security levels;
- Reduction of lighting costs; and 
- Recycling alternatives at the end of the product's lifecycle.

Nowadays the integration of state-of-the-art technologies, the progresses in design methods and construction procedures and the best finishing wearing courses for pavements in concrete, enable the construction of roads with superior surface characteristics which offer enhanced benefits for users.

Nevertheless, the placing of rigid pavements do also pose some challenges as:
- Cost remains as the main decision-making factor for governments and other stakeholders; disregarding other equally important aspects like social and environmental benefits;
- The lack of continuity in administrative policies favor short-term projects with high visibility, neglecting the project's durability and maintenance costs; and
- In general, public tenders do not include or, if they do, list very little requirements and specifications for pavements in concrete.     
Hence, the importance of pooling our efforts in promoting that, in the analysis of alternatives for the construction of roads and highways other factors are regarded as decision factors, not only the economic, but also the environmental and social aspects, as well as the entire lifecycle of pavements.

The Concrete Pavement Committee at FICEM has started by consolidating a global research bibliography that will facilitate a deeper knowledge on the above-mentioned advantages based on solid theoretical background, thereby assisting in the design of a strategy for promoting the product before governments, multilateral organisms, concessions and financial entities, among others.       
The Concrete Pavement Committee at FICEM is also active in the promotion and divulgation of analysis tools for pavement management, such as the HDM-4 software, through video calls, private-public forums and workshops.
(Luis Álvarez Valencia
Leader of the Concrete Pavements Committee and General Director of Guatemala's Cement and Concrete Institute, ICCG)

Objectives of the Pavement Committee:
- To increase the share of concrete in the pavement market for road infrastructure building in Latin America;
- To contribute to the improvement of the image of concrete pavements through the dissemination and promotion of its advantages;
- To create strategies that allow tender systems in Latin American countries to integrate long term technical-economic assessments and;
- To divulgate the advantages of concrete pavements so that international financial organisms that fund infrastructure projects acknowledge the social, environmental and economic advantages of concrete pavements.

- Leaders of the pavements areas (Institutes and industry)
- Infrastructure R&D chief managers (Institutes and industry)
- Pavement experts from the academy and from national and international infrastructure funding organisms
15 countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Spain, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic.

- Guides on the Sustainability of Concrete Pavements
- On-line conference calls on HDM-4 for the industry and the academy
- Public-Private forums on road management tools (HDM-4)
- Seminar on design, construction and rehabilitation of pavements