Learning While Doing

Spring 2013

Challenges faced by pavers

by Peter Fretty


Learning While Doing

The Williamsburg Village project was built well before the interlocking concrete pavement industry formed an association, and well before association guide specifications directed designers and contractors on best practices for materials and installation. Therefore, information on best practices came from other sources. For example, the contractor did not use extremely fine bedding sand thanks to advice from German contractors who had extensive experience building paver roadways.

In the late ’70s, little guidance existed on the correct compactor force needed for seating pavers. Fortunately, the contractor gave attention to these kinds of details each step of the way. Bill Schneider of LPS Pavement notes, “We knew that compaction was critical for project longevity, and compactors for pavers need to exert at least 5,000 lbf (22 kN). You cannot use the small compactors and expect the same level of performance. Knowing the right size of the aggregate and sand is also important.”

For the commercial and municipal markets to grow, Schneider says that contractors need to decide to operate in the commercial or residential markets. Successful contractors can operate in both markets if they chose, but should use different crews and develop each through different companies.

“If you go to Europe you will see that they use far more pavers than we do here,” he says. “In Germany, they do not use residential contractors to do commercial work. When you are doing commercial work, there is more to it than simply laying pavers. The contractor needs to understand that a pavement system is built and that it requires relentless attention to quality control of materials and their installation, verified by testing, all from specifications that follow industry guidelines.”