Why ICPI?

As ICPI enters its 25th year, the answer is clear. The Institute and its members lead the segmental concrete paver industry in the U.S. and Canada:

  • Members operate more than 60% of concrete paver producing machines in the U.S. and Canada.
  • ICPI is the industry’s recognized authority on concrete paver installation/maintenance best practices and technical information.
  • The Institute has educated 32,000 industry professionals about concrete pavers, more than any other organization in the U.S. and Canada.
  • 2,500 professionals currently hold ICPI Certification and Designations, the industry's top credentials for concrete paver installers.
  • The Institute owns and produces Hardscape North America, the largest trade show for hardscape contractors and dealers in the U.S. and Canada.

Education and Certification
 

How will ICPI’s new Education Road Map help members and designers?

“The Education Road Map provides assurance to member companies and end users by demonstrating that our solutions are based on facts, testing and research,” said Mark Dooley, ICPI Education Committee Past Chair and RLA, Architectural Sales with Basalite.

“For homeowners, it establishes a minimum requirement for education and experience they should seek from contractors installing segmental concrete pavement systems, just like other contracting professionals. For commercial project designers, there is a high level of credibility demonstrated through ICPI’s technical research and knowledge that’s easy to explain in specifications.”

Why Does European Paving Designs require all employees, including administrative staff, take the ICPI Concrete Paver Installer Course?

ICPI contractor member European Paving Designs, Inc. of San Jose, CA, specializing in commercial applications, has 16 employees who are ICPI Certified Concrete Paver Installers, the most of any company in the United States and Canada.

On its website, European Paving Designs explains why the company places such a special significance on certification: “A quality installer will invest their time and resources to become certified and obtain designations to provide higher quality and more sustainable installations.”

In addition, all other company employees, including those in administrative roles, are required to take the Concrete Paver Installer course. “EPD and the ICPI have a shared commitment of forwarding the industry, fostering growth in the market, and continual innovation,” the company’s website also states. “Here at EPD we demonstrate our commitment by making available ICPI education programs cross-functionally in the organization. Having this mindshare enables collaboration for an enriched customer experience. We are proud to have the highest number of ICPI Certified Installers in the US and to boast 99% of our Corporate ‘Crew’ has passed the Concrete Paver Installer Course.”

Randy Hays, company CEO, says participation in ICPI education programs helps European Paving Designs distinguish itself from its competition. “Educating our customers about materials and proper installation practices sets us apart,” said Mr. Hays. “Internally, ICPI Education provides our employees with a common language with which to communicate and a respect for the value that each employee’s role provides the company.”

Why does Tom Tomaro of Diamond Landscaping, Inc. teach ICPI Installer Courses?

                      

Years ago, Tom Tomaro, Vice-President of ICPI-member Diamond Landscaping, Inc. in Pittsburgh, PA, took an ICPI installer course. He learned “there was a lot of stuff I did correctly…but there were things that I could definitely improve.”

He now teaches ICPI courses to continuously enhance the quality of the industry’s final product and “level the playing field.” He says if all contractors use the proper best practices and avoid ill-advised cost cutting techniques that hurt the long-term quality of a project, the entire industry benefits. In turn, this helps his company compete because “We can sell our personality, design ability and job portfolio, rather than bidding the lowest cost.”

What benefits does County Materials gain by sponsoring ICPI Education Courses?

“Bringing the industry-recognized education to contractors in our area has raised the bar for installation,” says Darrin Braun, Sales Representative for ICPI producer-member County Materials Corporation in Waukesha, WI. “As a manufacturer who sponsors ICPI courses, we are helping to fill a void of education opportunities for contractors in our area and at the same time bringing recognition to our company among contractors and consumers.” Contractors who become certified and participate in the company’s Authorized Hardscape Contractor Program receive customer referrals, product discounts and scholarships for the education that is offered by ICPI.

How does Nicolock integrate ICPI Certification in its Hardscape Pro Program for contractors?

Through its Hardscape Pro network, producer-member Nicolock offers contractors in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic the opportunity to gain “education, sales training and the support tools they need to:
 

  • Increase your sales potential and profitability.
  • Enhance your marketability.
  • Improve the reach and effectiveness of your advertising efforts.
  • Expand the scope of your professional capabilities.”
     

Central to this program is Nicolock’s sponsorship of ICPI Education Courses in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. To participate in the company’s Hardscape Pro program, contractors need to be insured, warranty their labor for five years, demonstrate a certain level of installation experience and be ICPI Certified or be willing to take and pass the next upcoming course.

“Our ICPI course sponsorship is critical to us building a strong business development and sales operation,” said Nino Nicolia, Director of Business Development for Nicolock. “We are able to connect with contractors, make sure they learn the proper installation techniques, and add them to the list of contractors we recommend to customers.”

ICPI Resources
 

ICPI’s website focuses on key information for designers, homeowners and other end users.

The redesigned ICPI website addresses the needs of four primary audiences: Contractors, Homeowners, Members, and Designers with a specific section for their needs. The homeowners section includes comprehensive information on concrete paver benefits, selection, installation, and maintenance. In addition, the contractor member search engine on the website has been used by homeowners and other users more than 16,000 times during 2017. There are also industry-leading project profiles, detail drawings, and Tech Specs for designers and contractors.

“When I deal with homeowners, whether they are customers, potential customers, or just seeking information, the new ICPI homeowners page is an important resource,” said Donny Duke, Director of Design of ICPI-contractor member Engledow Estates of Carmel, IN. “It provides me with an independent, industry-wide source of information where homeowners obtain impartial product and installation information, including why and how to find a certified installer.”

ICPI Meetings and Committee Participation
 

What’s the benefit of ICPI Committee Participation?

“It feels like we’re on the cusp of significant commercial use of concrete pavers – particularly with permeable pavers,” said Kevin Earley, Director Commercial Belgard Pavers, Oldcastle. “Municipal acceptance is occurring in many parts of the country and this trend will grow. Being engaged in the process of developing standards and guidelines with ICPI helps ensure we’ll have good outcomes for early adopters using pavers in roadways for example.”

Mr. Earley, past chair and current member of the ICPI’s Technical Committee, says another major advantage of being involved and attending ICPI meetings is the ability to share and learn from each other. “Publicly visible projects that look great and perform as designed result in more opportunities for all of us, as the engineers and designers become more confident with specifying concrete pavers,” he said. “So, it’s important through ICPI that we share success stories and learn from each other on what applications work the best.”

Why are ICPI Meetings important to companies and the industry?

“Participating in the Annual Meeting is a great way to find out what goes on behind the headlines. Joining in the discussions and observing the various perspectives and opinions provides a much broader understanding of our industry,” said Gary Stowe of ICPI contractor member Stowe Contracting, Inc.

ICPI Foundation for Education and Research
 

University of California Davis PICP Structural Testing

An important Foundation project was the UC Davis full-scale load testing and mechanistic modeling of PICP. Completed at the end of 2014, the structural design guidelines and procedures were incorporated into Caltrans permeable pavement guidance documents. The design procedures are also in ICPI’s 5th edition of the PICP manual and will appear in an ASCE/ANSI PICP national design standard in 2018.

“This project was important for my company and the industry,” said Ron Illium, P.Eng., Regional Engineer for Basalite. “ICPI staff worked hand-and-hand with Caltrans on the state’s pervious pavement design guidelines. Getting the structural design guidelines and procedures approved by Caltrans provides a real level of confidence for engineers, government officials, and contractors. The guidelines establish PICP as a validated and useful solution for municipalities, state government, and even private commercial projects. In particular, the ICPI cross section and PICP Class 4AB Thickness Chart have been very helpful in working with designers not only in California, but also in Nevada.”

How do Foundation projects benefit members and the industry?

Concrete paving slabs and planks are seeing increased use in residential, commercial and municipal applications, especially with some exposure to vehicular traffic. The Foundation funded finite element modeling a few years ago to determine pavement thickness recommendations for paving slabs, planks, and thin pavers. The recommendations have been incorporated into a draft of Tech Spec 24: Structural Design of Segmental Concrete Paving Slab and Plank Pavement Systems. An additional Foundation project currently underway (see “Full-scale Load Testing of Paving Slabs and Planks” above) will help validate the finite element modeling and provide field-based data needed to finalize and publish Tech Spec 24.

“A common question I receive from customers and designers is what type of paver they should use for a particular application,” said Glenn Herold, P.Eng., Director of Commercial Solutions for Oaks Concrete Products. “The common response was the aspect ratio. However, this doesn’t apply well to larger format pavers. Through ICPI and the Foundation, we were able to get funding to perform finite element analysis, which clearly defines what type and thickness of product is suitable for different traffic conditions. This will be a tremendous asset to Oaks and the industry.”

Government Relations
 

ICPI works to defend and expand U.S. H-2B Worker Visa Program.

It’s a well-known fact. The aging workforce created a labor shortage in segmental concrete pavement construction. Legal, seasonal skilled labor helps fill a significant need for contractor company owners.

“Our industry needs workers through the H-2B Worker Visa Program,” said Fred Adams, Jr., President of Fred Adams Paving, an ICPI Member contractor. “ICPI’s government affairs efforts help us keep an eye on the program and influence developments. As the labor shortage grows and the demand for our products continues to increase, the H-2B Program, along with courses in U.S. vocational and high schools, will play a significant role in determining the success of our industry.”             

In 2017, the U.S. Government increased the cap of 66,000 H-2B visas by an additional 15,000 visas. With only 66,000 visas available, American businesses attested they would likely suffer irreparable harm without the ability to employ all the H-2B workers requested in their petition. In response, the U.S. Department of Labor declared a one-time increase based on its statutory authority. With the increase expired on Sept. 30, 2017, it remains to be seen if an increase will be repeated. Nonetheless, this is the first increase in H-2B visas in years and is desperately needed with the construction labor shortage. Hopefully, this successful increase will lead to changes that favor U.S. employers including the construction industry.

Hardscape North America
 

ICPI’s Hardscape North America is the industry’s largest trade show for contractors and dealers.

When asked by Hardscape Magazine how HNA compares to other industry shows, Josh Graczyk, owner of member Grindstone Hardscapes in Elm Creek, NE said, “I don’t think there is any comparison. I don’t think you can compare the mass amount of information that you get from this show. You can get so much in one stop here.”

Mr. Graczyk, who has attended five of the last seven HNAs, brought six of his employees including his wife-office manager in 2017. “You get a lot of value out of the camaraderie and having employees learn about their trade,” he told Hardscape Magazine. “It keeps them engaged about their trade. A lot of times they learn efficiencies and better ways to do their jobs, so the payback can come from that.”

Mr. Graczyk says key HNA activities for his team include the live hardscape demonstrations, ICPI education classes, the HNA Awards ceremony, and viewing the HNA Installer Championships…but he told Hardscape Magazine, “The trade show itself and the equipment are my favorite parts. You can be in the industry for 20 years, and you can go to this show and find something new that’s going to make your job easier or more efficient.”