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 May 2005 From the Editor's Desk
E-mail Maryann Gorman

Change With the Changing Times

Reading through the features in this month’s SN, it’s striking how well-equipped ASTM committees are to change with the changing times.

Helene Hardy Pierce’s history of ASTM International’s Committee D08 on Roofing and Waterproofing is an excellent example. Pierce examines the continuing evolution of the committee from its origins in 1905 when the primary concern of the committee was waterproofing. As the 20th century progressed, Committee D08 progressed with it, expanding from its original narrow base to encompass all manner of roofing, as well as waterproofing standards.

Hardy Pierce notes in the story, “Innovative changes in roofing and waterproofing technologies introduced a number of new products based on synthetic elastomers, plastomers and foams,” but she also points out that traditional bituminous roofing technologies have also undergone changes that have produced new products. Thus, D08 embodies both a willingness to move in new, exciting directions, while simultaneously learning from and expanding on its past. At the beginning of its next 100 years, D08 continues to strive to find better ways to keep all of us safer and drier, no matter what kind of roof is overhead.

Andrew Oberta’s article on standards for asbestos control also points out how well ASTM committees respond to change. While the use of asbestos in construction was once commonplace, the health implications of exposure are too serious to ignore.

ASTM Committee E06 on Performance of Buildings has responded to this danger by developing a series of standards designed to holistically manage asbestos, which can still be found in buildings around the world. These standards present a practical guide for owners of buildings to find out if asbestos-containing materials are present and, if so, to learn how to deal with such materials.

Finally, Christopher Capobianco writes about the work of Committee F06 on Resilient Floor Coverings. While F06 is a relatively young committee (it was formed in 1968), its impact in the construction world has already been significant. According to Capobianco, the use of F06 standards, “which has grown steadily over time, has helped clarify a number of confusing issues by creating consistency in resilient flooring specifications and recommendations.” By doing this, the committee is able to move forward to face whatever flooring issues are created by the ever-changing construction industry. Capobianco’s article details three areas — terminology, floor preparation, and concrete testing — in which F06 standards are bringing about positive changes in the flooring industry.

How we as individuals respond to change can often provide a glimpse of insight into our character. This is as true of organizations as it is of people. Based on the examples highlighted within, the character and commitment of ASTM International committees continues to be strong.

Maryann Gorman
Editor in Chief

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