Now that the concrete has been placed the foundation is almost complete. A
portion of the foundation is going to be a retaining wall constructed adjacent to an existing building. The construction of the retaining wall will complete the foundation work. The retaining wall is to be constructed of concrete masonry units (CMU).
A pre-construction meeting has been completed with the relevant trades and
project participants. The masonry contractor, Miller’s Masonry, is a local, 2nd
generation contractor that has been doing business in the Greater Boston
area for over 40 years.
There are a variety of different masonry applications on this project.
Therefore, the meeting covered a wide range of topics, including, Mockup
walls, Material delivery and storage, permissible products for the masonry
construction, quality control, and a range of other subjects, which were all in
Unfortunately, due to scheduling conflicts, the preconstruction meeting did not take place until just a few days ago, so the
entire specification was not reviewed.
Though the representative from Miller’s Masonry and the architect disagreed
on a few items such as the frequency of quality control measures and
permissible products, they both acquiesced to the specification. Now,
construction is set to begin on Monday morning.
Monday: 7:00 A.M
The Sunday night temperature dropped low enough to create a frost.
Currently the temperature is 36°F and Miller’s Masonry is preparing to go to
work. Certain cold weather masonry construction preparations are fairly well
known. However, Miller’s Masonry has been in the business for a long time
and certainly knows all cold-weather requirements. Miller’s Masonry begins
construction on the retaining wall.
11:30 AM: 51°F
The architect calls and reminds you that due to the late scheduling of the
pre-construction meeting cold weather construction was not discussed.
However, since this cold front has moved in, the architect wants to make
sure that Miller’s Masonry is following all cold-weather masonry construction
Furthermore, the architect wants to know about any masonry construction
that may have taken place that morning. Was frost removed from the
CMU’s? Was frost removed from the existing foundation wall? Was the
existing concrete wall warmed? Did heating the aggregates, the water, or
both to the appropriate temperatures warm the mortar? Page 2 of 2
Also, in light of this cold front, the architect wants to know what Miller’s
Masonry is going to do about protection requirements. What are the
protection requirements for completed masonry at certain temperatures? Are
there temperature requirements for the masonry itself for any length of time
after construction during cold weather? In short, the architect wants to know
what Miller’s Masonry is going to do regarding cold-weather masonry work.
1:00 PM 61°F
You walk out to the job-site to ask the foreman about cold-weather masonry
At this point you notice there is no evidence of cold weather masonry
procedures; no heating elements for water, you don’t even see any tarps or
covering that should have been placed over the sand last night for
protection. You ask the foreman if he is following ACI 530 Cold Weather
Masonry practices, as agreed upon at the pre-construction meeting. He tells
you that it is 61° and cold weather practices are not necessary.
You inform him that it was not 61° this morning and you have checked the
forecast for the upcoming week and there will be much volatility in the
temperatures. On some nights it may get below 20°F, while during the day
temperatures may rise as high as 70°. You further inform the foreman that
you will be speaking with the architect regarding the procedures and
methods that Miller’s Masonry will be taking to protect the masonry from the
elements during, and after construction of the retaining wall. Therefore, you
ask the foreman again “what steps will be taken to protect the masonry from
the elements during and after construction?”
The foreman says they will do whatever the specification states. You tell him
that is all you ask. As you head back to the trailer you turn and see a big
portion of the wall is already complete.
What are you going to do?