Dave Hein, P. Eng., VP and Principal Engineer
Dave Hein, P. Eng., VP and Principal Engineer, Applied Research Associates, Toronto, ON
What trends have you seen in the past few years that could contribute to the increased use of concrete pavers in North America?
Definitely we’re seeing stormwater management and environmental awareness as major trends that are driving increased use. Sustainability is a big topic right now in all industries, and that makes it easy to talk about all the benefits that concrete pavers offer when you consider their advantages in terms of sustainability.
Also, I think some cities are beginning to see the differences between using asphalt and concrete versus using permeable pavers, and they’re hearing about the success other cities have had with pavers. The performance with a surface like asphalt is affected by how it’s applied, and that can be frustrating for city engineers. Also, you can’t test concrete or asphalt before you put it on a roadway, the way you can with pavers. So, I think all of those add up to more awareness and higher usage.
Another big trend could be the use of pavers in countries like Bolivia and China, where it’s relatively inexpensive to get into the business and you can lay the pavers by hand. That’s leading to major employment opportunities, especially for women in South America. As local municipalities begin to see that kind of usage increase, I think it’ll have an effect on what happens in North America.
From a personal perspective, what are the main benefits of your ICPI participation?
My history with the ICPI goes back 20 years, when I was approached by David Smith while I was at a conference. We talked about whether I would write a technical manual, because they wanted to use paving stones for an airport. I thought it was a crazy idea, but I did it anyway. I got input from ICPI members and technical folks and it turned out to be a pleasure working for these guys.
I think back then and now, they’re just out there trying to get the word out about using more paving stones. They’re meticulous in ensuring that standards are high. The bottom line is the barrier to get into this industry is not that high — you can buy a machine and off you go. It’s an exciting, accessible industry, and that’s creating numerous companies and each has its own agenda, but ICPI brings them all together.