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May 17, 2013

Architectural/decorative concrete / tie
St. Martin’s Abbey courtyard

Photo courtesy of WACA [enlarge]
Weather was one of several variables that added to the challenge of paving this university courtyard.

Location: Lacey

Owner/developer: St. Martin’s Abbey

Project team: DLB Earthworks, general contractor; Jeffrey B. Glander, architect; SCJ Alliance, structural engineer; Allied Concrete Applicators, concrete contractor; Miles Sand & Gravel Co., ready-mix supplier

St. Martin’s University installed a 34,000-square-foot colored and stamped concrete courtyard at the abbey on its campus in Lacey.

Numerous challenges accompanied the project, such as maintaining color uniformity, keeping the mix design consistent throughout multiple pours, achieving slump and psi consistency, and dealing with weather.

Engineering specifications required that the decorative concrete could not exceed a 4-inch slump and must achieve 4,000 psi in 28 days. It was crucial that the mix design maintain a low water-to-cement ratio while using plasticizers and retarders for ease of stamping, and still achieve the required psi.

One reason for the strength requirement is that the courtyard must be accessible to emergency vehicles and fire department equipment.

The project started in June and finished in November. Weather conditions varied widely during that span, so consistency was a challenge. Drainage for the large site also had to be taken into account.

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